Design Flexibility and Speedy Construction at Heart of Cooperative Purchase Agreements
Kagan Pittman posted on November 04, 2019 |
Public works projects can work with design engineers from the start by expediting the bid process.
Road salt storage at Bethel Park, Pennsylvania. (Image courtesy of Legacy Building Solutions.)
Road salt storage at Bethel Park, Pennsylvania. (Image courtesy of Legacy Building Solutions.)

The design-bid-build process can have multiple parties communicating, and miscommunicating, for what feels like forever; specs are reconsidered, delaying completion dates; and costs rise for maintenance and replacement parts. These are significant problem for public works projects where time is of the essence.

Bethel Park, Pennsylvania needed to act fast updated state regulations ordered all road salt be kept under cover in order to protect groundwater.

The municipality found their answer in a cooperative purchasing agreement for a fabric building to house 4,000 tons of reserve road salt. The quick-to-build complex, designed and constructed by Legacy Building Solutions, was corrosion resistant and accommodated the limited available space and restrictive road access at the site.

“The building needed to be as salt resistant as possible,” said Mark Edelmann, an architect engaged by the municipality. “Legacy had a solid steel frame as opposed to tubular steel – it seemed to be the perfect solution.”

The final building, measuring 45 feet wide by 260 feet long atop 10-foot concrete walls, was constructed using steel components hot dip galvanized for corrosion protection, sheathed in panels of Legacy’s ExxoTec fabric, which has natural non-corrosive properties. Gutters and icebreakers along the eaves of the building were also added to manage precipitation and erosion concerns.

“Legacy is involved in a lot of applications with corrosive environments for salt storage, waste storage, water treatmentand things like that,” said Matt Van Scoyoc, design consultant at Legacy.

Flexible Design for Any Fabric Building Application

“We work with the end user to determine what is the most efficient solution for their problem. With our in-house drafting team, we drew the salt pile based on the known properties of the material such as density and angle of repose. Using those design parameters and the footprint of the site, we designed the building around that pile while providing clearances for operation, to make sure that they can fill the building with salt and be able to move it out safely with personnel and load vehicles for road application,” explained Van Scoyoc.

Interior of the Bethel Park salt storage building.  (Image courtesy of Legacy Building Solutions.)
Interior of the Bethel Park salt storage building. (Image courtesy of Legacy Building Solutions.)

This level of design customization would not be possible with a pre-engineered footprint building. Working together with the customer, Legacy can design the fabric building according to the specific requirements of the application.

Design-built fabric buildings using rigid plate steel framing can support significant hanging loads and point loads. Features and accessories like interior building liners, varying sidewall materials and enclosure, overhangs, gutters, ventilation solar panels and more can increase a buildings application efficiency.

“The passive ventilation that we can introduce to our buildings is unachievable for many of our fabric industry competitors,” said Jurek. “The eave extensions that we have incorporated into all of our building designs allows for inexpensive and effective passive ventilation within the structure when it is needed.”

Passive ventilation uses gravity to provide fresh air circulation inside a building, eliminating costs and maintenance, and can be combined with active systems. Overhangs, open walls, endwall panels and ridge vents are sources of passive ventilation.

Gutters and downspouts, installed along the building’s overhangs, can collect rainwater and divert it elsewhere to protect the building foundation and surrounding soil. Icebreakers—metal roof spikes that break up sheets of ice and snow—can mitigate the potential damage from snow and ice falling on people and objects near the building.

Icebreakers—metal roof spikes that break up sheets of ice and snow—along the roof of the Bethel Park building. (Image courtesy of Legacy Building Solutions.)
Icebreakers—metal roof spikes that break up sheets of ice and snow—along the roof of the Bethel Park building. (Image courtesy of Legacy Building Solutions.)

Legacy’s corrosion-resistant ExxoTec PVC fabric also transmits visible light to reduce interior lighting costs and maintenance for an energy efficient public works fabric structure. UV rays are absorbed and reflected to prevent damage inside the building. ExxoTec Elite fabric is also twice the strength of conventional HDPE (or polyethylene) fabric, resulting in a longer product life and warranty.

The level of design flexibility offered through design-build cooperative purchasing agreements allows for creative problem solving to, often times, reduce over-all costs.

Paying for Flexible Design in Cooperative Purchasing Agreements

The primary advantage for cooperative purchasing agreements lies in how state, local and educational (SLED) entities can acquire the best solution for their needs without relying on an open spec solicitation.

Design engineers and the product supplier partner together at the beginning of the project and before the plan drawings are even created, eliminating many of the potential risks of major projects organized through design-bid-build agreements. This saves time, costs and headaches.

“There's definitely always a budget obstacle that the client needs to get over, and so we entertain different design concepts to get over those hurdles,” said Van Scoyoc.

“For example, sometimes cast-in-place concrete construction is very expensive, and we're asked what alternatives we can recommend. A cost-effective solution that we might recommend as an alternative to cast-in-place concrete construction might involve precast concrete, such as the precast retaining wall system used by the Minnesota Department of Transportation for their road salt. The building is attached to independent foundations, outside of the salt retaining area.”

(Image courtesy of Legacy Building Solutions.)
(Image courtesy of Legacy Building Solutions.)

Having access to design engineers as early as possible provides a SLED entity an opportunity to better understand what solution is best for their needs and how to write the specifications for their needs.

For Bethel Park, Legacy and the municipality’s architect who identified the need for a custom building worked together to design the fabric building salt enclosure. The municipality purchased it through the state of Pennsylvania’s co-operative purchasing contract vehicle, COSTARS.

Co-operative purchasing agreements allow SLED entities to make purchases through a third-party contract vehicle. Soliciting bids for products that clearly weren’t the best solution was unnecessary and pricing was transparent and non-negotiable. Using the cooperative purchasing contract Bethel Park designed their building around their requirements, before making their purchaseing that same fiscal year.

“In a lot of cases we are there at the beginning,” said Van Scoyoc. “We work with them on the design that's going to make the most sense for their application, and it’s Legacy who manufactures the building, oversees the engineering, manufacturing, delivery and installation of the building.”

For more information about cooperative purchase agreements and alternative purchasing agreements like design-bid-build, design-build, and construction manager at risk (CMAR), as well as tips on how to have a smooth construction process and writing an accurate spec, watch the Legacy Building Solutions’ webinar on the subject here.

To learn more about custom-engineered fabric building solutions for SLED and other projects, visit the Legacy Building Solutions website here.

Legacy Building Solutions has sponsored this post.  All opinions are mine.  --Kagan Pittman

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