Tag Archives: modular building

Working around an Obstruction with Modular Wall Panels

Modular building with existing building column in the way

Looking to expand your modular office, but that I-beam is in the way of the wall panels?

One of the greatest advantages of using modular wall panels for your in-plant offices is their ability to easily change and grow as your needs change.  Back in 2010, we provided a customer with a 20’x12’ modular in-plant office with an internal wall, splitting the space into two separate offices.  A few years later they decided to rearrange the wall panels, taking out the dividing wall and creating one large office space.  Earlier this year, the customer contacted us again looking to further expand upon the room, adding an additional 16’ to the system.  This is an easy modification to make.  Typically you would just disassemble the end 12’ wall, add four new 4’ modular wall panels to each of the 20’ long walls, and then close it back off with the existing 12’ end.   But this extension offered a little twist that I thought we could talk about today.  There was an I-beam right where the wall panels would go through.

Using angle and an internal steel stud to tie a modular wall panel to  an I-beam

Conceptual sketch showing how the wall panels would be secured to the I-beam

If the wall panels fall between the flanges, the most cost effective method would be to terminate the wall on both sides of the webbing and secure it to the I-beam using some 1”x6” angle and an internal stud.  This is not the cleanest method though, as the I-beam appears to cut through the wall and typically leaves a gap in the grid ceiling inside the I-beam.

conceptual model of using modular wall panels to box around an obstruction

Conceptual sketch showing how the wall panels can could be used to box out the I-beam

In this particular case the flange of the I-beam lined up with the outer sheet of gyp-board, creating an obstruction.   Because of this we simply boxed around the I-beam with wall panels, closing it off.  While this method requires a bit more in the way of materials, it allows for a very clean and uniform appearance.

modular wall panels boxing out an obstruction

The view from inside the finished modular office extension.

Standing Desks – How to Make the Transition Stick

Standing desks be great for your health and productivity

Standing desks be great for your health and productivity

Over the past couple of years, in the matting department, we’ve been noticing a new trend:  standing desks. The first time I had a customer inquire about mats for the standing desks they were switching to, my mind was boggled. I believe the line running through my mind was, “But chairs are so comfortable”. Sure enough though, they were ditching their chairs in favor of a more upright position. And they sure weren’t the only ones. A fairly sizable chunk of our anti-fatigue matting sales over the past two years have been simple 2’x3’ mats for standing desks.

Intrigued, I looked into the benefits. A simple Google search pulled up a lot of information. A lot of the lists of benefits seem to stem off of each other, and a lot of the studies are done using far too small of pools to prove logical thinking, but the gist of it is: standing desks can help you live longer (via reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and fighting weight gain/obesity) and improve productivity (via improving energy levels).

There are a lot of negatives that go along with standing for long periods of time though, such as fatigue and pain in your feet, legs and back, bad blood circulation and varicose veins. The best way to counter these negatives is by sitting, but if you use a standing desk, using an anti-fatigue mat can help reduce these symptoms. You can find many different models for different applications on FloorMat-Store.com, but for a general office type setting, you can’t really go wrong with a Tile Top mat; it is durable, inexpensive and has a simple design. If you can make the transition more comfortable, chances are less initial push-back will happen and the change will stick around long enough to reap the benefits.

By: Jared (www.floormat-store.com)

Mezzanine Supported Modular Office

Mezzanine with modular office above

Mezzanine supported modular office with a two-wall modular building below

Whether you’re running out of room on the plant floor or need to oversee production, mezzanines are commonly employed to support and elevate modular buildings.  Recently we received some great photos back on a project we completed last month for a mezzanine supported modular office that I thought you might like to see.  The customer was located right here in Northeast Ohio.  They were putting in a new line on the plant floor and needed to tear down some offices they had in order to make room.   There wasn’t enough space to relocate the offices elsewhere on the plant floor, so they decided to utilize some of their unused overhead space.

Side view of mezzanine and modular office.

A 9’ high mezzanine supported modular office with an 8’ high modular wall system below.

When thinking on putting in a mezzanine supported modular building, it’s important to consider just how much space is available.  Remember that with typical column spans in low seismic areas, you’ll probably lose 1’3” to 1’5” for the mezzanine itself.  If you plan on having people move through the area you will need to maintain a minimum of 7’ for clearance.  The modular building panels are typically 8’ or 9’ tall, and unless you are planning on supporting them by the structure above, you will probably want about a foot more in order to install the roof deck to the panels which helps form the membrane that holds the system together.   In this particular case the customer’s mezzanine had a clearance height of 8’7” with a 9’10” top of deck.  This provided us enough room to install a modular office above (9’ tall panels, 9’3-1/8” overall height, 8’6” clearance height) and an 8’ high (8’3-1/8” overall with a 7’6” clear ceiling height) modular wall system below.

inside modular building

Four wall modular office above the mezzanine with customer provided/ installed floor covering

While designing these mezzanine supported modular offices, we’re often asked if we can utilize the adjacent existing walls.  While this is commonly done on the main floor of a facility, unfortunately we cannot do this up on top of the mezzanine deck.   There will always be some movement and vibrations on top of an elevated structure and because of this the structure would need to be a four wall system and not tie into the adjacent walls.  In this particular care, we put in a four wall system above the mezzanine deck as well as a two wall system below the deck to create an enclosed pass way between the production floor, the front offices beyond the cinder block wall, and the production floor entrance way to the outside.

inside view of two wall modular wall system

Two wall modular wall system below the mezzanine

It took our installers 6 work days to unload and install (both mechanical and electrical) the 24’x10’ mezzanine, the 24’x10’ 4-wall modular office above, and the 9’x22’9” two wall modular wall system below, and we had yet another very happy customer.

Removable Access Panel in a Modular Building Equipment Enclosure

cmm room equipment enclosure

New CMM room with removable panel above the door

A very common application for modular buildings is as an equipment enclosure.  The customer is trying to cordon off an area on their production floor to encapsulate a certain process.   Sometimes they are trying to isolate the sound it produces.  Sometimes they are trying to isolate it from a dusty environment.  A lot of these machines, such as CMM machines, won’t fit through a 6’8” or 7’ high doorway.  Once the equipment is in place it usually stays there for many years, but customers often want the ability to get it in and out of the room on rare occasions should the need arise without having to disassemble a good chunk of the building.  For a doorway that will only be used once in a blue moon, it’s rarely cost effective to order a custom swing door, or put in an additional canister style door for equipment access.  A much more cost effective method that we’ve found is to put in a removable access panel.

Removable panel on a modular building

Removable panel above a 6′ x 8′ doorway

Recently, we provided a customer with a modular building to use as an equipment enclosure for their new CMM equipment.  On a day to day basis, a 6’ wide x 6’8” high double door would be more than sufficient for them, but they wanted to be able to occasionally pass something larger through the doorway.   If they were going to pass taller materials through the door way more regularly we could have ordered in a special 8’ high double door, but because they only needed once in a blue moon access we were able save them several hundred dollars in material by putting in a removable panel section above their doorway.  

removable panel drawing

Adding a removable panel is a fairly simple thing to do.  The panels were cut in the factory to accommodate a 6’ wide x 8’ high opening.  We took an additional panel section to cover the gap above the 6’ x 6’8” door and framed it in using the channel for the door frame and some additional “h” cap trim pieces we normally use along the top of the panels.  We also installed “h” cap to the building panels at the opening above the door and fastened the removable panel to the opening.  This sealed off the seams between the panels.  Now when the customer needs that little bit of extra space, all they need to do is remove the screws connecting the panel to the building, allowing them to fit their larger equipment through.

 

 

 

Visiting an Old Mezzanine Supported Modular Office

mezzainine supported modular office from 1997

After almost 20 years of service this modular office is holding up great

Occasionally, I’m asked about how well our modular offices hold up over the years if they are designed so that they can be reconfigured in the future as your needs change.  Surely, after general wear and tear they will want to just order a new building anyway, no?   Well, I recently had the opportunity to visit an old customer of ours.  Over the years, we’ve provided them with a number of mezzanines, catwalks, and modular offices.  Several of the modular offices have been disassembled, modified, and reinstalled in different locations.  While there, I got an opportunity to look at this old tank platform mezzanine and A-wall 300 modular office we provided them with back in 1997.  The steel decking has started to bend up a little at the seam in a couple areas, but after almost twenty years of service the mezzanine and modular office were in excellent condition.  If the customer wanted to, it would still be a simple task to disassemble the modular office and put it up again in a new location, possibly with a few modifications.  The components are all still compatible with what we provide today.  The only design change is that the I-splines used to connect the panels in the A-wall 300 modular building system are now typically painted to match the panels as opposed to the same color as the framing on the windows and doors.  So yes, these modular buildings are built to last.

 

Putting a Window and a Through the Wall Air Conditioner in the Same Panel of a Modular Building

Non progressive modular building system with a through the wall HVAC

The existing modular building with a through the wall HVAC, before modifications.

 

Modular building systems are designed to be relatively easy to modify should the need arise.  This past summer we put in this 10′ by 11′ odd shaped modular building to serve as a control booth at a steel plant here in Ohio.  All the panels had a window in them, aside from a small panel on the end which held a through the wall heat/cool air conditioner. After everything was installed, the workers who operate the control booth determined that they wanted to add a window to that panel as well, and move the air conditioner above the window.  Unfortunately, modular wall panels are not generally designed to support a through the wall air conditioner when placed above a window.   We could, however, modify it to put the air conditioner below the window.

non progressive modular wall system dissassembly

Removing the modular building wall panel to make the modifications

Depending on the modular building system used, there are a couple of different ways to go about making the modifications.  In this particular case, with it being a non-progressive modular building system with steel skinned panels, we reused the existing materials, and made the modification directly to the panel.  We shipped the customer a new custom width window to fit inside the narrow panel, and some new trim for the framed HVAC opening as the customer decided to put in a heavier duty air conditioner while we were doing the modifications.  All the other components were reused from the existing.

Modular wall system with window and HVAC in the same panel

After the modifications the wall panel now has a new window and HVAC below

 

The modifications were fairly quick and easy.  When the installers arrived, they disassembled that section of the building to remove the panel in question.  They then cut the modular building panel to fit the new window and air conditioner.  Afterwards, it was simply a case of putting it back together.  All said and done, it took two guys about half a day to complete the modifications.