The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, October 24, 2014

Long reach, nice work at U-M’s Granger Lab renovation

By Marty Mulcahy, Editor

Erected in 1958, the George Granger Brown Memorial Laboratories building on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor is getting renovated, big time.

The university is spending some $47 million to upgrade the 220,000-square-foot building. The project will upgrade the entire building’s fire detection, alarm and emergency power systems. According to U-M, throughout the majority of the building, there will be a “deep infrastructural renewal” and updating of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, electrical, plumbing, roofing, windows, and interior finishes. The renovation will also create about

25,000 square feet of state-of-the-art academic and instructional spaces.

Located on the north side of the campus, the GG Brown building houses the Department of Mechanical Engineering, which has evolved to include emerging research areas such as bio-systems, energy systems, and nano-systems.

The project has recently gotten underway, and will proceed in phases to work in conjunction with the university’s academic schedule. Granger Construction is acting as construction manager on the job.

“The job has been outstanding, Granger and the University of Michigan have made a tremendous joint effort implementing the safety policy to make sure this is a safe job for the trades,” said Russ Padalino, project superintendent for Ventcon. “It has really been phenomenal working with them.”

Working in a tight site, Ventcon had to bring in a 900-ton Erickson crane – one of the largest mobile cranes in the business – to lift various air handling units onto the three-story building’s roof. The weight of the units wasn’t the issue, Padalino said, it was all about the reach of the crane. They needed the crane to set picks as far as 270 feet at the farthest point.  He said it took two-and-a-half days to set up the crane, two days to use it to make the picks, and another two-and-a-half days to demobilize it. “Couldn’t be happier, everything worked out great,” Paladino said.

THE HEAVIEST PICK of air handling units at the Granger Lab renovation project at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor amounted to 30,000 lbs. But the most important reason to bring in the huge mobile crane was for its 270-foot reach to the far reaches of the roof of the building. A Local 324 operator flawlessly maneuvered the air handlers. The transportation and set up of the crane required 18 semi-trucks and another helper crane.

THE SET UP OF THE 900-ton Erickson Crane.

A MULTI-TRADE group of Hardhats stand in front of a pick that awaits a lift at the Granger Brown Lab renovation project at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

MEMBERS OF SHEET METAL WORKERS Local 80 stand behind their banner, on the job for Ventcon at the GG Brown Lab renovation project on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor.