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Boeing 787 Dreamliner Final Assembly Plant


Nearly 300,000 sq. ft. of Metl-Span panels clad the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner Final Assembly Plant in North Charleston, SC. The facility includes 1.2 million sq. ft. of usable space for the manufacture of the 787. The 787 is the first commercial airliner made substantially with lightweight carbon composites, which promises to cut fuel costs for airlines.

The 3” Metl-Span CF42 Mesa insulated wall panels were finished in Boeing Blue and Polar White.

The building footprint measures 614 feet wide by 1,037 feet long and encloses the equivalent of 12 football fields. The 150 acre site required extensive remediation including the removal of 3.1 million cubic yards of inert material and replacing it with an engineered sand fill. The building contains 18,000 tons of structural steel including columns measuring 86 ft. to the bottom of the trusses and 114 ft. to the peak of the roof. Eleven roof trusses have a 464 ft. clear span and a total span length of 614 ft. The trusses support numerous plane-assembly cranes, each weighing more than 50 tons.

Installation of the Metl-Span panels was done by MR&D, Raleigh, NC. “Metl-Span was selected for this job because of the requirement for FM 4881 compliance,” according to Dane Vertefay, president and managing member of MR&D. “In essence, 4881 doubles the code wind load which is already significant because of the coastal environment. FM 4881 basically requires that the metal panels have a lot of back fastening to meet the high loads.”

The entire exterior of the structure was substantially enclosed in approximately 4 ½ months. “We have an excellent relationship with Metl-Span,” Vertefay said. “The most difficult part of the job was that the structural steel had to be erected to a tolerance of – 0.0” and + 1/8” in order to back fasten the Metl-Span panels. The girts were major structural steel I-beams turned sideways for the wind load and had to be straightened to take the camber out so they could be aligned properly. The quality of the steel and the erection by Buckner Steel was outstanding. The design/build team was one of the best groups of people in the country to work for. They helped us all have a successful project and deliver an outstanding building to Boeing. I look forward to our next opportunity to work together. ”

The design/build team was comprised of BE&K Building Group, Greenville, SC; Turner Construction Company, Charlotte, NC; and BRPH Companies, Melbourne, FL.

Aerial photograph by


About Metl-Span

Metl-Span-logoMetl-Span, a Nucor company, manufactures insulated metal wall and roof systems for projects ranging from architectural to cold-storage. To learn more, visit

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