Getting 150 doors installed at one location speaks rather strongly about the quality and reliability of your door provider. But that's the scorecard so far for Schweiss BiFold Liftstrap doors at Fort Carson, Colorado (Colorado Springs) where Mortenson Construction has an ongoing contract with the U.S. Army for the construction of special heated maintenance shops called TEMFs (Tactical Equipment Maintenance Facilities). These are structures big enough for Army tanks and other special military tactical vehicles.
Explained Chris Grundy, Mortenson engineer functioning as project manager on the Fort Carson contract, "In the past, these U.S. Army maintenance shops were using the traditional roller-shutter doors. During the design process of these new buildings we noticed the roller shutter doors created some issues like clashing with an overhead crane which is often a necessary component in view of the size and bulk of some of these Army tank and track vehicles. In plain language your overhead shutter door tends to get in the way of the running rail. Plus other factors were lighting and blast resistance issues. So the architects suggested a bifold door might best do the job and with no interior obstructions."
Bifold door delivers another bonus
Leo A. Daley, Minneapolis, was the architectural firm working with Mortenson Construction on the Fort Carson project. Grundy noted the bifold door delivers another bonus. When these 18' vertical by 24' wide bifolds are open you have about a 9' extension that provides some additional protection from the weather elements (sun and rain). Grundy and his Mortenson crew liked the bifold door concept.
"We started looking around for who makes bifold doors, especially doors as big as we needed for these maintenance shops. I'm not quite sure how we discovered Schweiss but we did. We worked with another company here in Colorado Springs that deals with translucent panels, skylights, etc. They have worked closely with Schweiss and gave us every assurance that Schweiss could build these doors exactly to the specs of the design team."
That meant special translucent paneling with enough strength to withstand the 'blast load' criteria that is part of the terrorist attack prevention now standard procedure at any military installation. Thus, the doors used at the base are much heavier and have bigger load requirements than a typical commercial installation.
Special windows were also installed in several of these bifolds. Mortenson worked closely with the Colorado Springs firm, Christofferson Power & Light, and a Schweiss tech representative to achieve everything needed in terms of lighting and translucency. Schweiss provided a mockup — in essence a small version of a bifold liftstrap door. Then they worked to determine that the panel sizes would fit properly on the door.
"They delivered the first doors and we've had very little issues in terms of getting the doors installed and functioning. It's been a very successful working relationship since Day 1." Since that first project in 2007, Mortenson has built more than a dozen of the TEMFs. It was on the 16th structure that the Schweiss door total reached 150.
Suffice it to say, Grundy is very satisfied with the engineering design of Schweiss doors and the delivery and reliability they have provided. "These are very solid, well-built doors. The design is simple as is the installation, which always helps in the construction business. When things are simple they often work better," he notes.
Grundy said he would definitely recommend Schweiss to anyone who asked. "Very definitely," he said. "We've now put up 150 of these things. What else is there to say?"
To see coverage of this project and others on the Schweiss Doors website, click here.