September 24, 2020

Creative Thinking Doubles Manufacturer’s Floor Space

From the outside, ThreeBond International’s recently renovated manufacturing center in West Chester, Ohio, looks like a typical industrial facility. But peel back the walls and floor, and you have a uniquely designed and constructed facility that attests to the strength of the design/build approach.

A global manufacturer of industrial adhesives, sealants, and coatings, ThreeBond’s North American headquarters was reaching capacity. Landlocked and in need of more space, the company purchased the nearly 38,000 sq. ft. vacant manufacturing facility next door.

The new facility had an open footprint, as well as a mezzanine for offices, providing ThreeBond with flexibility for building out the space. But it was still too small for the company’s long-term needs. Rather than expand out, the company took an unconventional approach: it opted to build up.

A mezzanine with muscle

ThreeBond’s parent company is located in Japan, where commercial developments are often challenged by limited space. With this perspective in mind, the company proposed adding a second mezzanine to double its manufacturing floor space.

As the project began to take shape, we engaged Schaefer, a structural engineering firm, and James C. Hawthorne Associates to help clarify the vision and define the scope. Our team designed a nearly 18,000 square foot mezzanine with a load rating of 250 pounds per square foot. A mezzanine for light manufacturing is typically designed to withstand 125 pounds per square foot; office space is typically rated for up to 80 pounds per square foot.

“You don’t see this every day,” said Kyle Kusmer, PE, Principal with Schaefer. “Lots of industrial facilities have mezzanines, but not to this level of load capacity. The load rating is equivalent to 4 feet of water over the mezzanine.”

To accomplish this feat, we designed a steel beam and column structure that could fit within the existing facility—essentially, a structure within a structure. This approach saved both time and money that would otherwise be required to retrofit the existing facility. To support the added weight, we reinforced the existing floor slab in strategic locations with more than two feet of concrete.

A full-team commitment to results

Constant collaboration is key to the success of any project. But working with a global team to deliver an unconventional solution on a tight timeline made trust and open communication essential.

“The team we worked with was based in Japan, so we couldn’t just schedule a quick meeting on-site to review plans,” said Jim Gilbert, Project Manager, Miller-Valentine. “We took great strides to make sure we had a shared understanding of their vision and their desired floorplan and how we could make that work within the existing space.”

To meet the aggressive schedule, our team began renovation work even as the project design was being finalized. The team was often called on to put their heads together to solve last-minute revisions to the plans when they found the existing structure didn’t match the as-builts.

ThreeBond’s operations use hazardous chemicals, which required our team to design specialized wall and floor panels that could satisfy stricter codes. To mitigate risk for the customer, we met early and often with the city and fire inspectors and sought guidance from the International Code Council. These upfront efforts ensured the plans were done right the first time.

Assembling the right resources for project success

Completed in April of 2020, the renovated facility includes office space, a locker room, a clean room for research and development, and manufacturing space. The renovation enabled ThreeBond to create a campus for its West Chester location, rather than build new somewhere else or spread their operations across the city.

Every project has unique nuances and challenges. As a trusted guide, it’s our job to ask the right questions and assemble the best team to remove barriers and bring our customers’ vision to life. Creative solutions and a steadfast commitment to delivering on what we promise are at the heart of every Miller-Valentine Construction project.

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