While Intellisteel’s advanced process for manufacturing and assembly uses the FRAMECAD manufacturing equipment and software package to develop framing and panelling directly on-site in mobile factories, the planning is done well in advance. It begins when the architect completes their design for a project, and Intellisteel converts the plans into a steel frame design using FRAMECAD’s software suite. From there, Intellisteel looks at areas where they can add their expertise, like identifying how and where structural and non-structural steel can be.
Once Intellisteel’s design is confirmed, the real action and innovation happens on the job site. Utilizing the FRAMECAD manufacturing equipment and software package as a part of its process, Intellisteel works hand in hand with the general contractor and the framers to produce every structure from the foundations upward using their proprietary on-site mobile factories. They manufacture panels and trusses to be erected quickly and easily, allowing for instant flexibility to make changes – unlike pre-fabricated panels that are shipped in from off-site.
Intellisteel has recently completed Sage Park, a three storey, 110,000 square foot (10,219 m2), assisted living facility in Florida that features 104 assisted living units and 24 memory care residences. The project used a total of 1,081,000 lbs (490 T) of steel to make 1,735 load-bearing walls, 2,162 non-load bearing walls, 2,141 webbed floor trusses and 1,661 roof trusses, totalling 7,699 panels in under 14 weeks.
Sage Park had always been designed to use CFS (also called Light Gauge Steel) using Intellisteel’s precise methodology. The developers, Providence One Partners, were convinced of the benefits using Intellisteel’s method of construction after using them in the past, and once again they have been thrilled with the results. Additionally, Williams Co. was appointed as the general contractor due to their ability to work with Intellisteel’s methodology.
On-site, Intellisteel employed a team of 17 with significantly reduced skilled labor costs: machine operators, a forklift driver, framing assemblers, a design detailer, and an operations supervisor. All working under the Intellisteel tent, they created frames and trusses that were numbered to align with the assembly plan that Williams Co. and the framers had developed.
"We work hand in hand with the general contractor to make the process as simple as possible. We’ll look at how we can improve the schedule or to see if they have a typical path or pattern they prefer to use. Then, once it has all been decided upon, we’ll follow the plan, so they can build in any direction they prefer – whether to accelerate the project schedule or just to meet certain schedule milestones,” shared Stanley Adwell of Intellisteel."
In the case of Williams Co., we integrated with them in a seamless fashion. They hired a set of framers that had used Intellisteel’s on-site manufacturing methodology on a previous project, and in the end, there were very few changes to the job scope, and it was one of the cleanest job sites with hardly any waste. The flexibility is something that both the owners and the general contractors truly recognize as an advantage to them.
In the first assisted living facility project with Providence One Partners, Intellisteel worked ahead of both the framers and engineers, producing what sometimes felt like a “tsunami of metal framing”. This occurred due to waiting for framing designs to be completed by the engineer, and then producing panels and trusses faster than what the framers – or anyone else for that matter – was expecting. This time around, for the Sage Park project, everyone knew how to prepare ahead for the faster production and manufacturing speeds.
“On this project, we demanded that the engineer had at least 50% or more of the building completed before the foundations were poured, and it made a dramatic difference. We also had the framers come in early to train, so they understood how the layout needed to flow. By pre-laying every single panel, roof and webbed floor truss, they could essentially colour by numbers. It was that easy, and a real game changer for the project.” said Adwell.
Another unique aspect of Sage Park was the use of a one-inch concrete board to replace the typical pour and cure concrete floors that go over metal decking. Curing the concrete floors this way would have taken up to three additional days, but instead, Intellisteel sourced concrete board and manufactured CFS web joists to deliver a fire-rated and tested sub-assembly with Intertek certification. With the Intellisteel and FRAMECAD fire-rated assemblies and Intellisteel’s sound assemblies, they were able to provide an excellent, rigid core structure for Williams Co. to lay finishing material on top of that resulted in a significant reduction of the project schedule.
In fact, in all of the project manufacturing, assembly, and erection phases they were able to see significant time savings. The steel production for the entire project was finished in 13.5 weeks, and everything was erected and dried in only 16 weeks from the time the first panel was placed. Coincidently, a similar construction project was being built adjacent to Sage Park using wood framing, and the project had begun their several months before Sage Park. When the Sage Park development was completed, the wood framing project was still under construction – demonstrating the real time and cost savings that Providence One Partners achieved in selecting Intellisteel on this project.
When asked about why the owners chose Intellisteel’s methodology and the FRAMECAD solution, Adwell said, “The owners recognized that there was an advantage to our methodology in terms of speed, quality of material and precision. All in all, we could offer a better-quality construction at a better cost and reduce their financial exposure with a shorter project schedule. We also reduced the amount of waste and helped lessen the builders risk insurance. Really, every aspect is made smoother using the FRAMECAD solution and Intellisteel’s on-site mobile process, and we all look forward to working together in the future.”
As Intellisteel continues to grow and work on bigger projects, they are also working with FRAMECAD to further develop FRAMECAD software to provide specific and advanced functions needed to construct multi-storey buildings.
“Our engineers are working directly with FRAMECAD to continue to introduce new features to the software and make the design process even easier for the large-scale projects we work on here in the US. The software is always improving, and FRAMECAD works shoulder to shoulder with us to help our product improve too.”
For multi-level buildings, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that timber, concrete, and hot-rolled steel aren’t always the best options – especially when it comes to the top floor. That’s why so many developers are now looking for ways to save on time, labour, and costs during the construction process.
All 422 load-bearing wall panels for levels three through seven of this 7-story (five levels on two levels of podium) project was fabricated at Douglass Colony's headquarters in Commerce City using FRAMECAD and shipped directly to the jobsite where the building was erected in a total of 40 working days, including all wall panels, flooring systems, and detailing with concrete poured and cured.
Dynamic Steel Frame hold the honour of having constructed the largest light-gauge steel (LGS) three storey apartment building in Australia using the FRAMECAD System. Located in the inner-western suburb of Yarraville, Melbourne, this three-level residential building illustrates how LGS is changing today’s approach to construction
In the US, the framing industry is changing rapidly. Concrete contractors are becoming a rarity and timber continues to offer challenges due to inferior material and a lack of availability. These days, US construction companies are turning more and more to cold-formed steel (CFS), and FRAMECAD partner Intellisteel is revolutionizing how these steel framed structures are built.