Although the building isn’t the largest building Armstrong Steel has ever provided in terms of square footage, the components were certainly some of the most mammoth.
Another Armstrong Steel Building in Oil, Gas & Mining
Newfoundland is one of North America’s last frontiers. It’s cold, it’s wet, and it’s wild! Summers top out at around 60 degrees and the long winters hover at zero.
Iron Ore is king here and providing miners with equipment is one of the biggest challenges of the region. ESCO Corporation has been in the mining supply business since 1913. Although Iron Ore isn’t the only type of mining equipment which ESCO specializes – the company also produces products for infrastructure development as well as oil and gas in other parts of the globe – ESCO’s need to reach its customer requires a facility.
When ESCO Corp. decided to expand its mining supply operation in the Canadian east with a manufacturing facility, there was only one company which it felt could meet the challenges – Armstrong Steel Buildings. “The weather is tough, and because of snow, there were some really high primary structural load requirements. Because it’s basically a factory, this particular building also had some incredible secondary load requirements. Logistically, Newfoundland isn’t the most convenient place to deliver to,” said Ryan Reilly, Account Executive at Armstrong Steel.
The structure ESCO Corp. needed wasn’t the typical steel structure Armstrong Steel provides – although no building is. In the harshness of Newfoundland’s cold and salty air, wood would have deteriorated too quickly so they were certain it had to be made from steel. Concrete would have been incredibly expensive. The facility walls had to support up to 100 tons as two 50 ton bridge cranes would be required to move heavy materials from one end of the factory to the other.
“It took an advanced engineering knowledge specific to the intense temperatures outside and how that temperature would cause the structure to react to the intense temperatures inside,” said Reilly.
Reilly worked with the team at ESCO Corp. for nearly a year and a half. Because of the complexity of the structure, Armstrong Steel VP and COO, Eric Beavers, managed the project with the detailers and engineers. “The customer wanted changes, we had a lot of different things going on at the same time, and orchestrating all this so that delivery could be timed to meet the short building period in Newfoundland required that I handled this personally,” said Beavers.
It’s unusual in any company for the company’s Vice President to roll up his sleeves and manage a customer transaction. “There was a lot riding on this project, structurally. I realized early on that it had to be handled at the executive level – there was no room for error and as a leader, I needed to be accountable – to the customer and to my team,” states Beavers.
Although the building isn’t the largest building Armstrong Steel has ever provided in terms of square footage, the components were certainly some of the most mammoth. The supporting columns, alone, were nearly six feet wide.
Because Newfoundland is wet for much of the year, the roof needed to be a standing seam (meaning there were to be no holes drilled into the roof panels). “There was one time I was working with ESCO Corp. in June and it was actually snowing in the region where the building was to be erected,” said Reilly.
The exterior factory walls were about three and a half stories while the internal ceiling stretched just shy of five stories. “One yard taller and we could have parked a jumbo jet in the building – but those high walls had to support the 200,000 pounds of bridge crane equipment and nearly 10 months of heavy snow accumulation on the roof,” said Ethan Chumley, Armstrong Steel’s CEO. “Wind, rain, and the seismic activity of Canada’s southeastern coast added more requirements.”
Armstrong Steel got to work and the building was designed, adjusted, and approved by ESCO. The components were fabricated in Houston, Texas and because of the size of some pieces, it took up to eight hours to load each trailer. The pre-engineered structure required seven 45 foot trailers which would travel north across the continental United States, pass customs and into Canada. Because of Armstrong Steel’s extensive delivery experience, Armstrong was able to coordinate an efficient loading and unloading of the trailers. According to Kitty Uhle, Armstrong’s shipping specialist, “This went about as smooth as or smoother than some of our small backyard work shop deliveries.”
The building was erected in about two months and today it is primed to produce the equipment which will help keep Newfoundland at work and economically solid for years to come.