What started as an engineering and fabrication challenge for Metropolitan Industries, has turned into one of the largest housed systems we have produced in our 55 plus year history: A prefabricated boiler-house measuring 47-feet long by 20-feet wide by 13-feet tall and weighing almost 90,000 lbs.
Following months of arduous labor and immense preparation from the Metropolitan team, the modular central steam plant designed for the new Veterans Affairs Outpatient Center at Hines Veterans Administration of Joliet, Ill. departed our facility and was placed in its permanent home.
Designed to provide steam and water utilities to a facility purchased by the Veterans Administration and located on the Old Silver Cross Hospital Campus in Joliet, mechanical division salesman Mike Temes described the project as “fast moving” and said Metropolitan wasn’t brought in on the project until the bidding process was nearly closed. The short time frame from bidding the project to receiving the customer’s letter of intent required extensive planning amongst the many departments of our company.
“Once we came to the realization that we were a legitimate contender to receive this project, a meeting was conducted between our engineering, electrical, fabrication and sales staff to determine whether or not we could complete such an intricate job during the allotted time,” said Temes. “From the start everyone involved in the project was extremely eager to help and provide support. These individuals were extremely supportive in the early process of this project and it could not have gotten off the ground without them.”
With a project integrating so many complex components, Temes said that both he and project engineer Neil Vogel relied heavily upon the expertise of Metropolitan’s staff for direction, and that the sacrifices exhibited were striking.
“This entire project has been a valuable exercise in teamwork and unity,” said Temes. “As relatively new employees, Neil and I are novices in the design of prefabricated structures and relied greatly upon our co-workers for help. Our staff members experienced in the design of these structures went above and beyond to assist us with this project, and the sacrifices made speaks volumes about the team atmosphere present here at Metropolitan.”
Among the many challenges faced throughout the project’s development, two particular challenges were overcome during the process.
“This structure is larger than what we could accommodate when it came to erecting the building within our facility,” said Vogel. “Fortunately Metropolitan invested in the expansion of our warehouse doors, thus allowing us to complete almost all of the fabrication and wiring of the building indoors during the harsh winter months.”
He also cited the drawing and assembly of the structure as a demanding process for our engineering staff. The final submittals were extremely intricate, which required our engineering, fabrication and electrical staffs to pay very close attention to detail throughout the project’s construction.
The steam boilers for this project had the longest lead time of any equipment on this project. For that reason we had to wait until the steam boilers were at our facility to start the majority of the structural fabrication.
“One of the most extraordinary aspects of this project is the fact that the majority of its construction has taken place over a 10 week period,” said Temes. “We couldn’t order materials and put torch to metal until we received the approved submittals, and studied the precise specifications that the customer required.”
Due to the sheer size and weight of the building we needed to have the base design stamped by a professional structural engineer.
“The collaboration of efforts between Metropolitan’s sales, engineering, fabrication and electrical departments, the trucking company, and the crane operator, ultimately played the most prominent role in the installation’s success,” said Metropolitan’s project engineer Neil Vogel. “Transporting such a large structure from one site to another is no easy feat, but we were able to achieve positive results with the right team and strategy in place.”
Ushered by police escorts and accompanied by many Metropolitan personnel, the boiler-house was moved nearly 10 miles to the job site with complete ease, and the installation process began shortly thereafter.
The entire installation went as well as we had envisioned, and no issues were encountered throughout the process. Both the police escorts and the trucking company did a fabulous job of not only ensuring that the structure arrived safely, but did so in a timely manner. The entire installation was a valuable exercise in teamwork and everyone involved should be credited for its success.
In an effort to provide a cost effective benefit, the VA was able to officially disconnect its building from the original Silver Cross Hospital central loop and is now receiving its steam from the new modular central steam plant.
Project engineer Peter Papanikolaou of KJWW Engineering Consultants was pleased Metropolitan was ultimately brought in to contribute to the project and is satisfied with the end result.
“I was very familiar with the work Metropolitan had completed in regard to housed pumping stations, and was pleased to discover that they could engineer a sophisticated steam-based system like this,” said Papanikolaou. “It was comforting working with a local organization, which ultimately helped everyone involved with the project. Overall, I would describe Metropolitan as extremely professional and helpful during this entire venture.”