The JP Cullen team has been leading structural steel erection projects in the Madison area, using prefabricated components on the jobsite. In this instance some unavoidable challenges in the foundation portion of the project delayed the schedule. The team knew they had to make a comeback in order to keep the project on schedule, and steel panel prefabrication was the answer.
With half of the ironworkers that are typical for a project of this size the team had to erect 255 tons of structural steel and bring a 228,000 square-foot building project back on track.
Iron workers were at the center of this prefabrication project. To help them establish a methodology for constructing the 85 panels the project would need, the team purchased column tops and set up a concrete test fixture. In short order they developed a plan and process for prefabricating the panels they needed while still on the ground.
When installed, the ground level fixture helped square the panels as they were built, naturally forcing the columns plumb. This not only increased efficiency, it saved time by eliminating the need to plumb each column separately. While the panels were still on the fixture all metal decking, shear studs and perimeter fall protection post receivers were attached. The pre-detailed pieces not only saved time on the site, they were safer to construct.
Better still, the process allowed the iron workers to sequence delivery of the panels to the jobsite. This ensured that the pieces arrived in the order they were being added to the building, eliminating the problem of having to search for pieces, which is typical of standard truckload delivery.
All told, the prefabrication process the team designed led to significant savings in time. Though they had fewer iron workers than were ideal for a job of this size, they were able to meet and even pull ahead of the established schedule.
Because the steel panels had been built and detailed ahead of time, workers onsite were able to fly in and set several pieces of steel at once — instead of the typical one or two — creating a schedule savings of up to four weeks per building at a critical point in the project. And because they spent less time working onsite, productivity was increased and manpower was balanced more efficiently.
Major gains in safety — always a major factor in any building project, especially during the steel erection phase — were also realized. Since the majority of the steel work took place on the ground instead of 44 feet in the air, exposure to fall hazard was reduced by 16%. Because fall protection gear wasn’t needed workspace congestion and fatigue was decreased. Quality control was also easier and more measurable.
In total the team installed:
- 210 pieces structural steel
- 616 bolts (detailing)
- 5,298 shear studs
- 27,000 SF metal decking
- 201 pieces structural steel
- 644 bolts (detailing)
- 4,511 shear studs
- 24,000 SF metal decking