Foam-Control EPS Geofoam Solves High Altitude Construction Challenges

📅   Mon November 20, 2017 - West Edition #24
CEG


Project leaders GSBS Architecture and Layton Construction solved soil stability challenges at 11,000 ft. using ACH Foam Technologies’ Foam-Control geofoam.
Project leaders GSBS Architecture and Layton Construction solved soil stability challenges at 11,000 ft. using ACH Foam Technologies’ Foam-Control geofoam.

Decades in the making, The Summit is a new 23,000-sq. ft. glass-enclosed guest services center perched on the highest peak at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort in Utah. Through thoughtful design and construction, project leaders GSBS Architecture and Layton Construction solved soil stability challenges at 11,000 ft. using ACH Foam Technologies' Foam-Control geofoam.

Heavy materials and equipment had to be carefully hauled up the mountain on winding maintenance roads, while manpower was transported on the resort's cable tram. The tram climbs 1.6 mi. and 2,900 vertical ft. to arrive at the anchor structure on top of the mountain. Site excavation for The Summit uncovered the tram structure's vulnerable CMU block foundation. Lightweight Foam-Control geofoam provided a quick and easy protective structural barrier for the foundation.

“We didn't want any additional loading in the form of settlement to be added to the tram's foundation walls as the result of the new building,” said Tang Yang, principal with GSBS Architecture. “We developed a structural barrier between the foundations by filling the void with EPS geofoam blocks from ACH Foam Technologies. EPS geofoam is a lightweight material with high compressive strengths and predictable performance.”

While architects and engineers take comfort in ACH Foam Technologies' Foam-Control geofoam's performance, builders like Layton often find it to be particularly well-suited to difficult circumstances where a lightweight structural fill is needed.

“ACH Foam developed shop drawings for the geofoam block configuration,” said Cooper Darling, Layton Construction assistant project manager. “Once the geofoam was on the top, it was surprisingly easy to work with.”

Darling also remarked that the blocks were moved into place by hand with just two laborers. His team used a hot wire cutter to customize blocks as needed. Once the Foam-Control geofoam was put in place it was covered with 4 in. of free draining gravel and a concrete patio slab.

High atop Hidden Peak, The Summit is welcoming guests year-round. Four hundred seats of cafeteria-style dining, service areas, ski patrol offices, and a large wraparound deck allow visitors to enjoy views of the Wasatch Range and Mineral Basin below from both inside and out.

“Special considerations require special products,” said Yang. “This was a special project for all of us for many reasons and ACH Foam Technologies played a part in realizing this dream.”