The PotashCorp Administration & Maintenance Building is a 134,000 square foot central services facility.
So what makes this project special?
At the commencement of project construction, the owner had decided there would be many changes incorporated into the project’s scope. After a discussion with their architect, Sponseller Group, Inc., and H.A. Dorsten, Inc., it was agreed that we would collaborate on the process of implementing all these changes without drastically impacting the construction schedule. With the owners’ input, the architect would issue a formal request for a quote. H.A. Dorsten, Inc. would prepare the quotes and submit them with the costs for each trade shown as a separate line item. We also used agreed upon pre-determined percentages for overhead and profit costs. It was an open-book method to convey the costs involved with each proposed change. Utilizing this approach, the review, discussion, and approval of proposed changes became very practical. This allowed for a better project flow and limited construction schedule adjustment from what was initially planned.
Locating the Administration Building on a hillside accommodated the design of an open, lower-level parking garage. This created engineering challenges for Choice One Engineering and Sponseller Group, Inc. A retention pond was utilized for both the storm drainage of the site and its aesthetics, and two fountains were also incorporated. The Sponseller Group design used an elliptical curve for the layout of the west exterior curtain wall system in keeping with the curvature of the hillside.
The monumental stairs located at the southwest corner were enclosed on two sides with the Kawneer Curtainwall System. This insulated glass curtain wall system that followed the west wall’s curve allows for excellent views of the sloping hillside and the wooded areas across Ft. Amanda Road. The curtain wall sun shades also protect the building’s interior from excess sun.
There is a central 40-foot by 40-foot two-story atrium, with vaulted barrel ceiling and perimeter soffits.
There are training rooms, conference rooms, warming kitchen, restroom/locker rooms, lab, and first aid and emergency services bay, in addition to many private offices. Additionally, this area accommodates their EMTs, firefighters, and related equipment.
The development of this project was conceived because of mandates issued by the Federal Government. Due to a catastrophe at a Texas refinery, the government established more stringent safety and security parameters for all refineries and chemical plants to abide by. All impacted businesses were allowed several years to implement the expanded regulators that would affect their infrastructure. These buildings incorporate central haven areas for the office and plant personnel on-site. This provides a refuge for them if there is a disastrous release of significant amounts of toxic gases. The design of these haven areas incorporates sealed opening protection and alarm-controlled, independent ventilation systems. These areas are also stocked with emergency breathing apparatuses. The Kawneer 1600 Series Curtainwall System was engineered to a federally required blast-resistant design that would prohibit the glazing system from exploding into shards of glass.
Safety Regulations and Enforcement:
We had to abide by PCS Nitrogen’s safety regulations, which are more stringent than the OSHA requirements for other construction projects. This was a necessity due to this being a chemical processing plant. Therefore, we had regular safety meetings to review present and future work to clarify all necessary safety requirements. In addition, there were periodic inspections to ensure that all regulations were being adhered to. The PCS Nitrogen safety department was very pleased with our attention and care to keep everyone safe.
Breaking the project into two buildings and each floor, phasing of schedule, and regular meetings made the timely completion of this project possible. The two-story administration area includes a lower-level open-sided parking garage, has two enclosed stairwells, monumental stairs, an elevator, and a large atrium area. The shell of the administration building is constructed with:
- Concrete pan formed floor system over the parking garage
- Hot rolled columns and beams, bar joists, and metal deck
- Steel stud curtain walls
- Kawneer 1600 Series, Curtainwall System with sunshades
- Concrete over metal form deck
- Precast concrete walls
- Rubber membrane roof system
- Architectural metal siding
The interior walls and ceilings of the administration building are:
- Concrete block firewall separating administration and maintenance building
- Concrete block stairwells and elevator shaft
- Metal stud walls and soffits
- Suspended acoustical and drywall ceilings and soffits
The heating and cooling system is forced air with furnace/air handlers, VAV boxes, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, insulated ductwork, zone dampers for haven areas, and an automated control system.
The facility’s electrical features include lighting occupancy sensors and photosensors, data, fire alarm, security, and generator systems.
The Maintenance area includes two large mezzanines and several crane systems for material handling. It also provides auto lift and ventilation systems for motor vehicle servicing and welding services.
The shell of the maintenance building is constructed with:
- Concrete slab on grade
- Pre-engineered metal building framing system including bar joists
- Metal standing seam roof
- Split face concrete block walls and concealed fastener metal
- wall panels
- Insulated overhead and rolling service doors
The interior areas of the maintenance building are:
- Partial and full height concrete block walls supporting mezzanines and subdividing controlled work areas
- Locker room facilities
- Metal stud wall construction for offices on the south mezzanine
- Mechanical systems and storage located in the west mezzanine – also includes pallet lift