Prefab Case Study: TNT Crust Addition

In March 2021, Helmkamp Construction Co. contacted TJ Wies Prefab about possible alternate designs for a three-sided addition to an existing food manufacturing facility, TNT Crust. The owner’s dilemma was that a product line was selling so well that they needed immediate additional manufacturing capacity to be able to keep up with demand. The proposed concrete tilt-up addition was not going to be feasible due to the bar joists and required steel being unavailable until late spring of 2022. Since the owner’s specialty freezers were already on order and set to arrive in September of 2021, this simply was not an option.

TJ Wies Prefab worked with Helmkamp to propose a three-sided cold-formed load-bearing structure with a fully finished EIFS cladding to complement the existing tilt-up building’s reveal layout and color scheme. The proposed roof system consisted of a 16” deep cold-formed C-shape joist bearing on a mid-span column and beam, ledger angles at the perimeter walls, and traditional type-B roof deck on our joists. Exploration of the prefabrication options were complete just a month later, by the end of April 2021, and the alternate proposal was approved by the owner in order to meet the late fall 2021 completion date.

Structural shop drawings were completed by the end of May 2021, allowing for cold-formed metal framing materials to be ordered and panel design to begin. Early coordination was essential in order to complete prefabrication of the wall panels and meet the aggressive timeline established by the owner. This meant that the Helmkamp/TJ Wies Prefab team only had two weeks to coordinate the following:

· EIFS finish colors and textures, joint sealant colors, wall penetration sizes and locations, blocking requirements, door rough opening sizes, electrical box and device locations and sizes, etc.

· Panel transition and connection details

· Survey location of existing structures to adjust model and review Structural Steel Shop Drawings to confirm coordination with load bearing structure

· Create and receive project team approval of a dimensional panel design set highlighting building size, panel sizes and location, and size of all wall penetrations

Once dimensional approval was complete, creation of the framing and finish tickets could begin allowing us to begin fabrication the first week of August 2021. A critical part of the prefab process is early and often communication of tolerances with all key project members, and because these were load bearing panels an extensive slab analysis was conducted to ensure concrete slab levelness.  

Sixteen prefinished EIFS Load-Bearing Wall Panels were delivered on Sept 13, 2021 and installed in two working days. The entire building was up and ready for the roofer in roughly two weeks, all while building around the owner’s specialty equipment that was set prior to the walls or roof being installed.

Overall, TNT Crust Building Addition is another great example of how prefabrication can guarantee safety and efficiency with cost and schedule certainty. In the end, this makes for a very happy customer.

TJ Wies Prefab was an integral part of the successful completion of our recent building expansion. During a time when supply chain is affecting every facet of our industry, the preliminary planning, prefabrication, and extremely quick on-site installation kept us on track and helped us exceed the owner’s schedule expectations. Everything from the initial design, value engineering process, and the field installation was timely and professional. We always enjoy teaming up with TJ Wies and look forward to the next one. – Cole Hagen, Project Manager, Helmkamp Construction

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