City of Mason Municipal Aquatic Center in Mason, OH
Summary: In the fall of 2019, the City of Mason began demolition of an outdoor pool in order to make way for the construction of a new state-of-the-art aquatic center with both indoor and outdoor amenities, and an addition to follow, that would serve as a premier amenity for City of Mason residents. The new center features a heated leisure pool, an enclosed 50-meter pool, a community room, a catering area and covered entrance that welcomes guests. Like other projects where our products are used, ArmorWall wasn’t specified in the original design. For this project, a traditional building enclosure system had been planned, but, a cost-benefit analysis performed once construction began revealed that a less expensive system was needed. This is where ArmorWall Vapor Permeable (VP) Structural Insulated Sheathing™ came in. When assessing ArmorWall, the project team determined that the slightly higher up-front costs of the ArmorWall product would yield $11,000 in total project savings through a faster installation time and less labor on the job, and an overall increase of 6 – 9% energy efficiency.
Building Type: Municipal building, new construction
Need: A building enclosure system that could meet continuous insulation requirements while offering a certified fire rating that would allow for a building expansion to be added on at a future time.
Architect: Champlin Architecture
General Contractor: Conger Construction
Installer: Valley Interior Systems
Story: In the fall of 2019, the City of Mason began demolition of an outdoor pool in order to make way for the construction of a new state-of-the-art aquatic center with both indoor and outdoor amenities, and an addition to follow, that would serve as a premier amenity for City of Mason residents. The new center features a heated leisure pool, an enclosed 50-meter pool, a community room, a catering area and covered entrance that welcomes guests.
The center’s building enclosure system was originally planned with traditional budget-friendly component materials including metal studs, gypsum sheathing, a layer of continuous insulation and an exterior veneer. Project teams often use this type of traditional layered system to keep costs down and meet minimum code standards. As construction began, the building enclosure installer – Terry Diltz of Valley Interior Systems, an experienced building scientist – suggested the project team take a look at ArmorWall, which he had been introduced to by Aaron Spencer of REPS of Ohio, the local Sales Representative. Together, Terry Diltz and Aaron Spencer brought the ArmorWall opportunity to the general contractor Conger Construction, who then presented it to the project architect, Chris Sample of Champlin Architecture, to consider it for the job.
“Architects that are unfamiliar with a product like ArmorWall may initially believe that a product like it can’t be cost-effective on a smaller project like this one,” said Mr. Sample.
Flipping the specification to ArmorWall allowed the project team to eliminate the fluid applied vapor barrier and provide the thermal rating needed to meet code. ArmorWall’s ability to combine multiple materials into one sheathing system allowed the project team to reduce time and costs in many areas throughout the construction process.
Installation of the ArmorWall system went “really fast”, according to installer Terry Diltz. “With a 30 – 35% labor shortage occurring during construction, eliminating trips around the building to perform the installation absolutely saved us time and trouble,” he said.
Using ArmorWall removed the need for gypsum sheathing and fluid applied barriers to be installed. After fastening the panels to the studs in a first pass, Mr. Diltz’s team only needed to caulk and seal joints and fastener heads to complete the install.
“We picked up several days as a result of the faster and easier install, even with less labor on the job. And my crew liked the ArmorWall product because they could cut and install it with regular tools, it was easy,” he said.
General contractors also like ArmorWall for the benefits it provides through the installation process and on the project’s overall schedule and budget. The faster installation time and less labor on the job site save both time and money, and having fewer inspections is a nice benefit as well.
“The bulk of material went up very very easily,” said Mike Heinlen, Superintendent with Conger Construction, the project’s General Contractor.
For projects like this one, general contractors may see benefits to using alternative building envelope products to OSB and weather barrier wraps, which provide far less insulation value than a product like ArmorWall. These products are also more easily damaged by equipment and trades on the job site and can deteriorate when exposed to sunlight, rain and other weather conditions over time. For short or longer projects where weather may be an issue, a more durable product like ArmorWall adds extra protection and helps interior work begin sooner.
“Having the fire rated material pre-installed is great because you don’t have to go back and touch it again. From my experience with exterior sheathings, they are too easily damaged,” said Mr. Heinlen.
With the ArmorWall system in place, the remaining exterior cladding installation process went easily. The laminate cladding installation was quick as it was able to be attached exactly where it was best to do so, as the ArmorWall system offers near-perfect flexibility in attachment points for fastening cladding to the panel itself, as opposed to needing to locate studs.
“ArmorWall was a nice application for the brick as well because we could tie-in securely with brick ties and didn’t have to worry about finding a stud,” said Mr. Heinlen. “Without any hesitation ArmorWall has become my favorite building enclosure product for its durability once installed. That Magnesium Oxide coating is harder than heck, it’s such a different product,” he said.
Though on the smaller side of building envelope projects with just 11,000 square feet, the installer reported a savings of $11,000 due to the faster installation time and lower labor costs, a huge win for the municipal project’s budget.
“An innovative product like ArmorWall may cost a little more per square foot than others in some, but not all, situations,” said Bill Spencer of REPS of Ohio.
Despite all of these benefits and cost savings, the greatest may be realized in how ArmorWall was used in sections of the building’s exterior walls that required a fire rating assembly. And why was that needed? Thinking ahead, the City of Mason and project team used ArmorWall in this section so that a planned building expansion could be constructed close to it in the future. Without this fire-rated section, which is made available thanks to the Magnesium Oxide coating found in ArmorWall, many additional costs would be incurred later on, such as having to add fire sprinklers to the new building or intensive fire proofing between the two buildings. With ArmorWall, the needed fire rating was already included!
One last and significant benefit to the ArmorWall installation won’t be realized until the building begins welcoming local residents. The architect had planned for the building to be 2% more energy efficient than code required, a nice add-on to help save the City utility costs for many years to come. But, when the industry-leading insulation value of ArmorWall was added to the project, the energy model showed a 6 – 7% improvement from the traditional system originally planned resulting in an 8 – 9% energy savings compared to code! With a wealth of glass used throughout the building, saving energy through the building envelope system became a huge benefit. These additional energy savings can be used by the City to cover operating costs, host special events and much more.