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May 5, 2023


Photo by Cooper Howard
Western Partitions installed 123 prefabricated panels ranging from 15 to 41 feet in height

Technical Services Building

Location: Vancouver

Contractor: Western Partitions

Architect: Opsis Architecture, Interiors & Planning

Team: Northwest Carpenters Union; Laborers International Union of North America; International Union of Painters and Allied Trades; Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ International Association; CWallA; GTS Interior Supply; L&W Supply; Service Partners; Spears Construction Supply; Georgia-Pacific; Grabber Construction Products; Hilti; Scafco Steel Stud Co.; Simpson Strong-Tie

The Technical Services Building was built for a Pacific Northwest utility provider. The building will house laboratories, office space and workstation modules. Western Partitions took on the challenge of installing the exterior facade. The building is three stories high with 31,800 square feet of exterior facade.

Western Partitions utilized an engineered prefabricated and pre-clad rainscreen system for the exterior of the building. The panelized exterior wall assembly included all framing, sheathing, weather barrier, thermal insulation, and cladding. The 123 prefabricated panels ranged from 15 to 41 feet in height. This was the first panelized building Western Partitions has completed that has both Swisspearl fiber-cement panels and metal panels on a prefabricated panel.

The metal panel installation required a precise installation due to the angled and directional cladding sections that give further dimension and depth to the cladding’s appearance. To ensure success in the build and installation phases, the preconstruction phase and coordination between the Western Partitions team and general contractor Mortenson and architect Opsis were critical for this building’s success.

By utilizing an off-site prefabrication facility, Western Partitions was able to install the cladding system in a controlled environment. This allowed the crew to install effectively, efficiently and accurately with a thorough quality-control process before panels were transported to the jobsite.

The delivery of the panels from the prefabrication facility to the worksite presented an additional challenge due to the angled/directional metal panels. Typically, panels are loaded and stacked on top of each other for transit. But, due to the angles on each panel, the team realized it was very difficult to get enough support to stack and ship without any worry of potential damage to the cladding. To avoid possible damage, the team shipped one panel at time to the jobsite. This required a full-time driver for the month of install. But, by doing this, they needed less material to support the panels and ensured nothing could damage the cladding in transit.

The panels were flown in by crane and set in place with zero injuries or damage.

This building is the first prefabricated panel building on the customer’s campus. Overall, this project was a great success for Western Partitions as it was able to complete the enclosure of the building in 30 days, delivering a precision built and robust, thermally efficient outsulation system and weather-tight enclosure for the project.

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