Project Highlight: Commercial Office Construction, Warehouse and Distribution Center for Subaru Distributors Corp.

Subaru Distribution Center Project

Building on a steep hillside is never an easy task. Particularly when construction includes a steel building that’s 151,847 square-feet. But erecting a stable hillside structure is just one of the solutions that Hance Construction provided while serving as a subcontractor during a two-phase project.

Hance was engaged by Phelps Construction Group as a design-build partner to renovate and build multiple facilities for Subaru Distributors Corp. Hance effectively provided structural design support and material erected services for Subaru’s automotive parts distribution center, executive office building and warehouse facility.

Jeffrey Rainforth, President of Phelps Construction says this of Hance,

“We’ve worked together on a number of projects. Based on our time together, we have been able to find unique, cost-effective ways to build industrial warehouse spaces using a hybrid approach. They’re very passionate about their work and we always work very well together.”

Design Build Approach

Hance was involved early on in the construction process and helped to develop the most cost-effective overall approach for these complex builds. Coordinating directly with the design team of architects and engineers at Bilow Garrett Group Architects andPlanners, Hance provided clear and consistent communication to ensure they did their part to hit project deadlines for completion.

Involved from the get-go, Hance understood budget requirements, structural limitations, design parameters and material needs. Able to foresee potential difficulties, Hance set and maintained accurate budgets for the structural portion early on. They were able to assist the team by balancing good design with value-added, cost-saving solutions.

Complex Hillside Construction

Phase one of the Subaru project focused on a 129,347-sf distribution facility and two 11,250-sf mezzanines for small parts space, totaling 151,847 sf.

The distribution facility was located on a very tight, steeply sloped site. Expansion of the building required 25 different base plate elevations and a massive retaining/foundation wall. The foundation wall varied in height and carried many of the structure’s exterior columns. Several of the mezzanine beams connected to the retaining/foundation wall while others connected to columns sitting on the stepped retaining/foundation wall.

Solving for the added complexities of hillside construction required exact coordination and precise design. Projects with such tight tolerances are typically shied away from by other contractors but one that Hance embraced.

Expanding Steel Structures

Phase two of the Subaru project included structural steel demolition and reinforcement to the existing warehouse and office structure. The final building had a 55,924-sf first floor and 16,652-sf second floor.  

Hance removed a 32’-6” x 40’ section of an existing mezzanine to add on a two-story atrium. Crews opened the existing roof structure to add a new hipped roof structural steel support, weighing 25,000 pounds, for an impressive aluminum and glass skylight.

Everyday warehouse activities were going on during construction requiring electric powered lifts and welders be placed outside. Due to tight tolerances both in structural design and working space, the support structure was fabricated and assembled in Hegins, Pennsylvania, then disassembled and shipped to Subaru in Orangeburg, NY. The structure was then reassembled and fully welded on the ground then lifted by crane to the roof.

Metal Roofing Solutions

Both phase one and phase two builds required unique roofing solutions.

The office mezzanine, required light gauge roof framing and architectural standing seam metal roof. These types of roofing systems are specifically engineered to offer precision performance and are durable, flexible, and virtually maintenance-free. Minimizing future roofing maintenance expenses.

In addition to restrictions on building height, Hance was challenged with meeting client expectations within the limits of the current design. That included installing a required ESFR sprinkler system that didn’t interfere with the owner’s racking system and roof draining systems. Hance also fitted the roof with structural supports to ensure the weight would be properly dispersed to support the newly installed solar panels.

Hance’s structural engineers also developed a system for the stair tower roofs which enabled the team to achieve the architect’s aesthetic requirements while flashing into the raked finish of the pre-cast concrete wall panels. This achieved a smooth transition surface for roof flashings on the pre-cast concrete wall panels.

Unexpected Interruptions

Subaru’s phase two project faced many unexpected hurdles.

It was halted due to COVID-19 concerns. Shut down in March and restarted in May, timelines were greatly impacted. But in spite of the challenges, the project was still fulfilled on schedule and met budget expectations.

How? Hance got creative when it came to coordinating construction details. Delays to the project start resulted in erection taking place during an extremely rainy period. To accommodate the tight and muddy site conditions, Hance received steel shipments staged in five different batches.

Additionally, old structure columns and beams were out of plumb and no longer level and not in locations that matched requirements of new drawings. Existing concrete floors and mezzanine were out of level and required a number of adjustments by field staff to keep the project moving and on-track.

Hance was Made for Complex Construction

Phelps Construction Group engaged Hance on these projects because Hance’s team is capable of solving complex construction issues that other builders shy away from. Embracing challenges and collaborating to find affordable, effective and attractive solutions for clients is the Hance way.

If you need help navigating complex construction, reach out to Hance today!