An Illuminating Remodel

Rasmussen Mechanical Services in Council Bluffs, Iowa, purchased an old, rugged metal building adjacent to its other facilities, with the goal of bringing it back to life and creating a corporate campus. The owner desired a corporate office feel for the company, while allowing areas for the many types of meetings and workspaces for their employees, while also creating views to the outside and lots of natural light.

A cost-effective metal building remodel brings in natural light

By Marcy Marro

Rasmussen1 Top Honors July20 Ma

Lincoln, Neb.-based Ayars & Ayars Inc. and Archi+Etc. LLC, Omaha, Neb., were brought in to remodel 34,000 square feet of an existing 80,000-square-foot facility, which needed to include a variety of breakout areas, conference rooms, offices, training areas, workout room and restroom facilities spread throughout. The larger training area, kitchen and restrooms were secured from the rest of the office space for public use at night. In the main office area, the owner wanted an atrium feel with lots of natural light, that could house both open and closed office spaces, a recreation space, war room for estimating and central printing area.

Richard Hawks, AIA, NCARB, principal and managing partner at Archi+Etc., says the challenge was to bring in natural illumination while staying on a very tight budget. “We were trying to meet Iowa energy guidelines to get aid in financing,” he explains. “Also, the owner’s goal was to have most office workers use daylighting in lieu of fixtures for their space without having glare on their computer screens.”

The project features a variety of standard metal building systems components, including insulated metal panels (IMPs) from Metl-Span, Lewisville, Texas; MR-26 standing seam metal panels and skylight strips from Butler Manufacturing, Kansas City, Mo.; corrugated metal panels from Corrugated Metals Inc. (CMI), Belvidere, Ill.; simple aluminum storefront systems; light painted drywall; and polished concrete floors.

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To bring in natural light, Hawks says they used every exterior wall and roof they had access to. “We used the metal surfaces and light wall surfaces to bounce the diffused light around,” he explains. “Windows were lined up as offices moved back into the office area allowing for exterior vision and light transmission to continue into the space. The triple-layer skylights pretty much take out the ultraviolet (UV) rays, while diffusing the light over large areas in a uniform way.”

The skylights were added into the new standing seam metal roof system to bring daylight into the new office mezzanines, and both rec and meeting areas. A total remodel of 10,000 square feet of existing space added new storefronts to the north wall to bring natural light into all of the individual office areas, as well as the large, open office space.

To bring the building up to current energy codes, new architectural metal panels were added to the existing exterior walls where the remodel took place. By adding the skylights and storefront systems, Hawks says they were able to bring in 30 to 35 foot candles of light in most areas of the building without any light fixtures on during the day.

Additionally, the owner provided and installed a variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system using exposed metal ductwork where possible for energy savings and mechanical needs. And, to balance the natural light, while taking advantage of electricity savings and the Iowa Energy Credit program, the LED lighting system features total sensor control for all areas.

“The major challenge was dealing with an old rugged metal building that was in very poor shape and bring it up meet current code requirements,” says Hawks. Issues such as rusted out building columns were discovered when the existing materials were demolished. Overall, the project took seven months to complete.

Hawks says this project shows how you can take an old, rugged metal building and, by using standard manufactured items, create an energy-efficient interior, and modern-looking office space, that is full of natural light on a tight budget.