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Remote construction site turns to fabric warehouse

Designed to keep stored goods above freezing in harsh winters, the insulated warehouse supports a three-year project. By Josh Bond

When Manitoba Hydro put up the bid for the Keeyask Generating Station on the lower Nelson River in northern Manitoba, it knew the job site would be extremely remote, about 110 miles northeast of Thompson, Manitoba. The three-year, $1.4-billion project now uses an 18,000-square-foot insulated fabric warehouse reinforced for extreme weather conditions.

Project managers BBE Hydro Constructors sought a solution that would ensure the warehouse interior would be kept above freezing temperature at all times.

“Given the climate, location and overall scope, we needed a building on site to provide general warehousing of materials,” says John Lehman, a superintendent with BBE. “The building had to be insulated. We have in-floor heat and radiant heat inside, but the structure itself required a certain R-value to maintain warmth in the winter.”

The new building (Legacy Building Solutions) was designed using the company’s rigid-frame engineering concept. With R-30 insulation with a 7.5-ounce interior fabric liner, the structural I-beam design includes straight sidewalls that maximize the usable space inside. The rigid steel frame was finished with oxide primer for corrosion protection, and features 3-foot overhangs with air flow in the soffit as well as icebreakers on the roof. The building was rated to withstand 2.5 kPa ground snow load and 0.39 kPa windspeed.

Along with vehicle parts and construction components, the building also contains lumber, scaffolding and a variety of small equipment. Designed to provide room for shelving and forklift runways inside, the building’s ceiling height is 18 feet, 3 inches high at the sidewalls, spanning to a peak clearance of 47 feet, 11 inches. The structure has a pier and curb foundation that is 1 foot above grade and provides edge-of-dock, 25,000-pound load capacity levelers with a 78-inch plate, 15-inch bumpers, and a 27-inch mechanical flip leveler. Personnel and equipment can enter through seven insulated commercial steel coil doors or 10 insulated service doors.

“Due to the overall project timeline, the building had to be constructed in the dead of winter,” says Lehman. “A technical representative assisted the local crews, and installation went well. They supply a high-quality fabric structure, and we’re pleased with how it’s performed.”

About the author
Josh Bond, Senior Editor
Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.
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