Speed of construction made post-frame the right choice.
“Winter was rapidly approaching,” recalled builder Glen Thomsen. “Lawrence Township, in Michigan, needed to retrofit its old brick and block fire station to house a new fire engine”
Thomsen considered using block and steel for construction. But, given the cold weather and the longer building processes of those methods, the project would have taken an estimated six to eight weeks longer than with post-frame construction.
“It would have been impossible to secure masons on such short notice to complete the addition with block,” he noted. “Post-frame construction was the only type of structure that could be erected within the short amount of time given for completion.”
“With the extended fabrication and construction time and the higher costs of labor and materials for steel or block and brick construction,” Thomsen continued, “we estimated that the post-frame structure would cost almost half as much as either of those alternatives.”
The existing fire station and the new addition were seamlessly merged into one structure. Trusses extended from the new addition to make the entire facility look like one new building.
This process had the added benefit of eliminating all recurring problems with leakage from the original structure’s flat roof. Not only did the new post-frame structure fix a leaky roof, it also allowed the builders to attain a higher required R-value.
“We achieved a final rating of 30,” said Thomsen. “The best R-value we could have achieved using block would have been a 4.”
The project was a success. The community was thrilled with the improved appearance, and the owner was quite happy with the final cost and improved energy efficiency of the building.
“We could have selected any of a number of construction techniques for the project, but post frame made by far the most sense,” concluded Thomsen. “We couldn’t have done it as economically and quickly with any other type of permanent construction.”