With air-barrier certification, IWR Building Systems encloses the exterior of a children’s hospital.
IWR Building Systems, St. Louis, a specialty contractor focusing on building enclosure systems, served as the exclusive contractor for the entire exterior of the city’s new Shriners Hospitals for Children at 4400 Clayton Ave. The company is certified by the Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA), Walpole, MA.
“This project was a great opportunity to provide our clients the unique service of being a complete enclosure solution,” said Todd Staley, general manager of IWR. “As opposed to exterior contractors who only take responsibility for one aspect of the project, we are offering our clients the option to rely on one contractor to manage the installation of the entire building exterior.”
The 90,000-sq.-ft. facility with the latest amenities for patients and their families replaced a 50-yr.-old building. Located on 3 3/4 acres, the project is the third Shriners Hospitals for Children facility in St. Louis since 1924.
Features include 12 inpatient beds, three surgical suites, 18 clinic examination rooms, nine rooms for outpatient family housing, an interactive and educational activity area, space for a clinical research center for metabolic bone diseases, space for collaborative research with scientists, and more room for same-day surgery patients.
The building exterior consists of 3,600 rotated square ACM metal panels that required precise craftsmanship to install due to the intricate geometric details of the building surface. A high level of difficulty was presented by the reveals on the panels flowing around the building and some walls being out-of-plane and off radius.
Universe Corp., Bridgeton, MO, custom fabricated the 0.04-mm ACM panels with a fire-retardant core supplied by ALPOLIC-Mitsubishi Plastics Composites America Inc., Chesapeake, VA. The panel system was engineered with a pressure-equalized rain screen design that allows a drainage cavity behind the panels.
Having a weather-resistant barrier installed by an ABAA-certified contractor reassures the building owner that the enclosure will provide an adequately insulated seal against the elements.
The geometric details of the project, including rounded building edges and a rotated-square metal-panel façade, have resulted in a more complex exterior than any building in St. Louis. The unique design required the panels to be assembled with a challenging gasketed track rather than caulked joints and the same gasketed joint rather than bull nose on the corners.
During installation, one panel placed slightly out of alignment would cause spacing and alignment issues with subsequent panels, causing the entire façade to fail. In addition to the rounded edges of the building, the out-of-plane and off-radius walls had to be included in the overall design and compensated for when installing the panels.
Strenuous pre-planning, including a laser scan of the entire exterior, was necessary to accurately map the location of each panel before installation.
One area of the building that presented a significant challenge for IWR installers was the dramatically angled window on the southeast corner. After a laser scan of the building once the studs were in place, data were sent to Universe Corp. for the panels and mounting rails to be precisely fabricated. This strategy proved significantly effective on the angular southeast corner, which required the panels to be folded in half rather than cut to achieve the specified look.
“On the Shriners Hospitals for Children project, IWR Building Systems had the responsibility of providing virtually the entire exterior building enclosure. The complex building skin of this project required a single source to successfully integrate the several exterior systems,” said George Crow of building-enclosure consultant Heitmann & Associates Inc., Chesterfield, MO.
“IWR’s precise layout and installation of these panels created an exquisite appearance. Not only did IWR produce an aesthetically pleasing building exterior, but due to their attention to the interface details of the various systems, a total building enclosure was provided that will successfully manage water infiltration.”
The building exterior is composed of various components from several manufacturers that work in conjunction to create a functional whole. The systems offer moisture resistance, thermal insulation, fire retardation, and efficient water drainage.
The various materials of the exterior needed to complement one another to deliver the desired and reliable results. By taking responsibility for the entire exterior, IWR employees were able to effectively manage the process and achieve an efficient installation in terms of time and construction costs.
With this project, the company is introducing a new business model to the Midwest by taking responsibility for contracting an entire building enclosure rather than using a traditional segmented approach. Opposed to multiple contractors, who must individually visit the construction site to provide their services, this new method creates a simpler, more inclusive solution for the client while providing a sole point of contact for every service being performed on the project.
To coordinate and manage the entire building enclosure, IWR staff held daily meetings, created carefully planned schedules, and outfitted employees in the field with iPads capable of streaming live meeting feeds and important project updates. The goal throughout the process was to keep everyone on the team up to date on the latest information to avoid any errors. The outcome was an exquisitely constructed building enclosure that will successfully manage water infiltration.