Rudolph Libbe Builds U.S. COEXCELL HQ in Maumee

Tue January 07, 2020 - Midwest Edition #1
Irwin Rapoport – CEG Correspondent

The placement of the underground utilities — gas, electric, communications, storm, sewer and water lines —started on July 17 and was completed on Oct. 22.
The placement of the underground utilities — gas, electric, communications, storm, sewer and water lines —started on July 17 and was completed on Oct. 22.
The placement of the underground utilities — gas, electric, communications, storm, sewer and water lines —started on July 17 and was completed on Oct. 22. The amounts for the materials that were removed — earth and roc — and the new materials being brought in — concrete, steel and metal panels — are still being finalized. The earth work operations included several Komatsu excavators and a variety of loaders and dump trucks. Steel erection for the building began on July 22 and was completed in November.


Rudolph Libbe Inc., of the Rudolph Libbe Group, has made solid progress on the construction of the multi-million dollar, 82,500-sq. ft. combined headquarters, manufacturing facility and warehouse building for U.S. COEXCELL in Maumee, Ohio.

The work started last May and will be completed in early 2020. Rudolph Libbe is design/build contractor and its crews are self-performing the site work, concrete, masonry and carpentry. GEM Inc., also of the Rudolph Libbe Group, is performing the steel erection for the Varco-Pruden pre-engineered metal building, as well as the installation of the plumbing, HVAC, and electrical systems.

U.S. COEXCELL designs and manufactures specialty blow-molded drums and packing systems, and the new building will more than double the company's manufacturing space. The building, designed by Poggemeyer Design Group in Bowling Green, Ohio, will include Varco-Pruden insulated metal panels, a 10-ton bridge crane and an isolated air-conditioned and dust-free manufacturing space.

The pre-engineered metal building with a production bay and "clean room" type area was designed to be easily expanded. The design also ensures that manufactured products can be rapidly transferred to the warehouse section and then to the loading docks.

"There is an auxiliary equipment area adjacent to the production bay with conveyors serving as the go between for the process," said Holly Henn, Rudolph Libbe's project manager. "The warehouse is for product storage, and there is a small office area tucked into the warehouse area for employees. Poggemeyer Design Group and Rudolph Libbe Group have worked closely to develop a construction-friendly design and installation with flexibility for any necessary revisions. Poor soil quality has required more excavation, larger spoil piles, landscaping mounds and premium backfill as necessary."

In terms of road construction, crews will be building a parking lot, a fire access road and a truck loading dock and staging area.

The complex, close to the Anthony Wayne Trail, is being built on 10 acres of forested property.

"The congested site required careful coordination of material delivery and staging," said Henn. "As many trees were saved as possible. Every project is different, but we research and plan every one thoroughly and try to anticipate every challenge. In nearly 65 years of business, we have a great deal of experience in dealing with weather, soil conditions and other challenges."

The earth work and site prep operations began on May 20. The owner subcontracted the tree removal to a tree clearing company.

"It was strip and pile, with larger piles required due to poor soil conditions," said Henn. "GPS was used on the dozer. A drone was used for elevations and a propeller was used for cut estimates. Excavated materials were stockpiled on site for removal later. Poor soil conditions always present a challenge, but we have the experience, knowledge and technology to manage those issues."

The foundation was installed between June 18 and July 12.

"The foundation consisted of footers, grade beams and column footers," said Henn. "We placed the footers first, then placed grade beams and piers to connect the footers, making one structural unit. On one line of foundations, poor soil quality required us to excavate more soil than anticipated and pour slightly deeper footers and grade beams, but we're always prepared for that type of challenge. The foundation work went very smoothly overall."

The placement of the underground utilities — gas, electric, communications, storm, sewer and water lines — started on July 17 and was completed on Oct. 22.

"The storm system was installed first because designed elevations had to be maintained for the water to travel to the designed elevation outputs," said Henn. "Then the sewer system was installed, followed by the other utilities."

The placement of a retention pond, as well as additional site work, lasted from May 22 to Aug. 5.

"Trees were removed to create the retention pond, which has a capacity of 7,930 cubic yards and averages nine feet deep with three deeper sediment pools located in the bottom," said Henn. "We used an excavator to dig the pond down, a dozer to shape the pond banks and planted grass seed to stabilize the banks."

Steel erection for the building began on July 22 and completed in November.

"Steel erection started from the auxiliary/crane bay on the east side of the building and we worked our way west to the warehouse area," said Andy Moya, GEM Inc.'s project manager of steel erection. "We started Varco-Pruden wall panels at the end of August and were complete in October. The Metl Span panels were unloaded and staged around the building until it was time to install. We installed a ceiling liner panel first to help with the roof being fully covered. The Varco-Pruden standing seam roof was installed afterward."

Underground plumbing was completed in August.

"Work started in mid-September on the above-ground plumbing and gas systems, which are being installed in stages to maximize efficiency and stay on or ahead of the schedule," said Paul Anderson, GEM Inc. project manager of the mechanical work. "Completion will coincide with completion of the building in mid-February."

Anderson noted that GEM Inc. laser-scanned the existing facility and before construction began, Rudolph Libbe Group's Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) department generated a full 3D model of the building to precisely locate plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems.

In addition to Henn, Moya and Anderson, the team includes Christian Simpson, preconstruction services; Ron Kuzma, pre-engineered building coordinator; Dennis Costell, superintendent; and Brad Delventhal, business development, all of Rudolph Libbe Inc.; and Brian Ferree, GEM Inc. electrical project manager.

"We hold weekly subcontractor meetings with regular updates to the construction schedule," said Henn.

Peak days have approximately 25 workers on-site, including those from various local and regional subcontractors.

The amounts for the materials that were removed — earth and rock — and the new materials being brought in — concrete, steel and metal panels — are still being finalized.

Rudolph Libbe is using a Cat D5G XL dozer with a Trimble GPS system for site grading and laser system for grading floors; a Komatsu PC238 excavator with a 24-in. and 48-in. ditching bucket (rented from Columbus Equipment Co.); a John Deere 410 SJ backhoe with forks (Rudolph Libbe-owned); a 6x20 trench box; and an 8x10 manhole box; a 7-cu. yd. stone box; and a 6x24 trench box with 36-in. spreaders (rented from Protec Equipment) for underground utility installation.

They also are renting a PC88 mini-excavator with a 24-in. ditching bucket from Columbus Equipment; a 2,000-gal. water truck from Hertz; a 66-in. smooth drum roller from Southeastern Equipment; a 9K JLG 943 telehandler from Skyworks Equipment; and a Bobcat T590 multi-terrain loader with forks from Bobcat of Toledo.

For the steel erection, GEM used a 75-ton Grove RT crane with 60-ft. JLG manlifts.

"We have two field mechanics who we dispatch if a repair is needed — one for small equipment such as generators and power trowels and one for heavy equipment," said Kevin Burtchin, sitework superintendent of Rudolph Libbe Inc. "Based on the work to be performed, I work with the superintendents to schedule the correct equipment for the task. I handle all renting of equipment and assignment of Rudolph Libbe-owned equipment."

The field mechanics visit the site via fully equipped maintenance trucks.

"Earlier in the project, when we were moving more dirt, we fueled equipment directly from the fuel truck on a daily basis," said Burtchin. "Currently, we fuel out of onsite tanks that are filled approximately twice a week."

As noted, Rudolph Libbe has rented some equipment from local dealerships.

"I have occasionally used them to perform regular service work," said Burtchin, "The key to a good working relationship is open communication. I need to be direct with them on exactly what type of equipment I need and what application I'm using it for, and they need to be clear on equipment availability, timeliness of delivery and stand behind the equipment for service to minimize downtime.

"Our dealers enjoy working with us because we rely heavily on rental equipment, as well as our owned equipment and it allows them to keep a diverse fleet of equipment in northwest Ohio available for rentals. I always expect these dealers to stand behind their equipment and repair it in a timely manner or swap it out for a similar piece to keep the project moving forward."

The earth work operations included several Komatsu excavators and a variety of loaders and dump trucks. A Bobcat T590 compact track loader was used for installing silt fence, grading stone for concrete pours and moving formwork material. A Komatsu WA320 loader with an underground utility crew was employed to move pipe and bedding stone, and remove spoil material. A John Deere 410SJ backhoe helped to install downspout connections and move bedding stone and dump trucks were used to haul in all bedding stone and pavement subbase and all spoils on-site to a stockpile.

"We perform repairs as quickly as possible," said Burtchin. "If repairs are required on rental equipment, we contact the vendor and schedule a field service mechanic to make repairs on site. If repairs are necessary on Rudolph Libbe-owned equipment, our field service mechanic is dispatched to the job site. If a major repair is required, we may swap out the machine for similar equipment while repairs are made in Rudolph Libbe's shop or one of the vendor's shops. Because our jobs are on such tight schedules, we have no margin for downtime. Minimizing the time required for these repairs is the key to maintaining the schedule and profitability of the job."

Rudolph Libbe purchases and rents its Cat equipment from Columbus Equipment and John Deere equipment from Protec Equipment.

Henn is satisfied with the progress that the crews have made.

"Rudolph Libbe, GEM, and all the subcontractors are working well together," she said. "It's a great team with strong collaboration and communication." CEG