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Builders’ Paradise

Construction materials supplier embeds business in design

Security Building Supplies May18 17
Photo courtesy of Con-Tech General Contractors Ltd.

Security Building Supplies’ facility in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, does more than provide retail, office and warehouse space; it helps tell the company’s story as a building materials supplier. The company has served the residential construction industry since 1968, when it first opened as a lumber yard. It is a much larger business today. Security Building Supplies sells wood decking, doors, hardware, tools and other products to contractors and the general public.

The new facility is designed to draw attention to its construction, rather than hide it. The project utilized a wide variety of building materials, many exposed with raw finishes. Its structure and massing is unique. The facility is constructed with two metal building systems: one highly customized system and another with more common details.

“It’s not what you’d expect when you go into a lumber yard; the whole building is a showpiece,” says Duane Shapka, sales and design manager at Saskatoon-based Con-Tech General Contractors Ltd., the design-builder for the project. “There is so much to look at, you have a hard time knowing what’s part of the store and what’s a display.”

Two in One

The building has a 32,700-square-foot footprint and is divided into two primary areas. For the largest part, Con-Tech constructed a 20,700-square-foot warehouse with Memphis, Tenn.-based Varco Pruden Buildings’ metal building system. The system has continuous beam frames. Columns were customized with a jack beam to maximize bay spacing. This made it possible to include drive-through bays without interfering with rack storage.

The second area is 12,000 square feet and houses the front entrance, showroom, offices and meeting rooms. Con-Tech built it with a highly customized metal building system from Varco Pruden Buildings. It has open web mainframes, open web joists, inset wall cavities, full-height windows and a long-span, 9,750-square-foot mezzanine. A bevy of raw finishes and modern details highlight its construction.


Photo courtesy of Con-Tech General Contractors Ltd.

Two Roofs, Two Walls

Two different roofs were used. The warehouse has a center ridge, standing seam roof with a 1/2:12 pitch and mid-span columns. The office/showroom has steel decking, insulation and a membrane roof. On the warehouse, Con-Tech installed 24,196 square feet of Varco Pruden Buildings’ 24-gauge Galvalume, 3-inch-high standing seam roof system with a natural finish.

Two different metal wall panels were used as well. On the warehouse, Con-Tech installed 11,578 square feet of Varco Pruden Buildings’ 26-gauge Vee Rib metal wall panels in Cool Zinc Grey. On the office/showroom, the design-builder installed 6,822 square feet of Oakville, Ontario, Canada-based Vicwest Building Products’ 12-inch-wide, AD300 smooth metal wall panels in Charcoal. On the entire facility, Con-Tech installed Varco Pruden Buildings’ 26-gauge gutters, downspouts and trims in Cool Ebony Black and Cool Zinc Grey.

In contrast to the dark gray metal panels, a band of reddish-brown wood veneer panels wrap around the office/showroom building and frame the front entrances. “Adding that band of brown, rich, wood tone between the windows really enhances the look of the building,” Shapka says.

Shapka says the exterior design is a blend of modern and industrial aesthetics. “The simple lines of the exterior are more of a modern look.”

The front entrances are further differentiated from the rest of the building with 2-foot overhangs. “We added a bit of an overhang and some 9-foot-tall, exposed gussets in the front that really are the industrial side of modern or contemporary,” Shapka says.

Offices and Showroom

Entering the building, full-height windows, supplied by Saskatoon-based TK Glassworks, flood the showroom with daylight. “The showroom is very bright, very open,” Shapka says. “It feels massive and airy because of the room size and quantity of windows.”

A wide variety of materials with minimal finishes were used to finish the interior, with a particular emphasis on wood accents. There are rustic, sand-blasted timbers, clear fir ceiling and bulkhead treatments, reclaimed brick, painted, exposed steel and polished concrete. The building materials are accented with modern millwork, furnishings and light fixtures.

The wood elements refer to owner’s lumber business and soften the brick, steel and concrete, Shapka says. “If you didn’t have that wood, it would be a pretty cold place; the timber really warms it up and balances the tones. It feels less rigid and industrial, and a little more like a cabin.”

Photo courtesy of Con-Tech General Contractors Ltd.

Highly Customized

The office/showroom features a long-span mezzanine with offices and meeting rooms. It is trimmed with steel mesh guardrails and has an open tread staircase.

“We were able to totally clear-span 50 feet of the mezzanine, so the owner has 100 percent flexibility on where to put displays or partitions beneath it,” Shapka says. “We used oversized columns and three massive beams for support.”

In addition to the mezzanine, the office/showroom area is customized with open web mainframes and open web joists at the roof. It looks industrial and has better acoustics than continuous beam frames, Shapka says. “Sound doesn’t reverberate too much in the showroom area because the open web mainframes and roof joists allow it to dissipate instead of bouncing off big solid frames at the roof.”

Another way the office/showroom’s metal building system was customized was its placement of exterior, un-tapered columns and portal frames where wall finishes ran into them at a consistent depth.

“We had to inset cross-bracing into the wall cavity in one location instead of outside the girts so it didn’t have a negative impact on a display wall,” Shapka says. “But in other locations, exposed steel was the goal.”

Clear Start

Shapka says the owner’s knowledge of construction impacted the project from the beginning. When Security Building Supplies released its request for proposal (RFP), it included numerous requirements, specifications and photographs of other projects for inspiration.

Many elements in the final design including the mezzanine and decorative wood cross-bracing were replicated from photographs with the RFP, Shapka says. “What they issued for the RFP was basically a framework of what they were looking for, the best case scenario of how the floor-plan needed to function, how big the office area and showroom had to be, and some basic elevations of what they envisioned the building could look like. It was great; they were really clear on what they were after. There’s nothing like having an owner that knows what they want, but allows you enough freedom to put your own spin on it.”