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Membrane Filtration Building, Riverside Park Water Reclamation Facility


When the City of Spokane, Wash., was planning for a major upgrade of its water treatment facility that would treat an average wastewater flow of 50 million gallons a day, it was important to choose construction materials that would stand the test of time. Insulated metal wall panels (IMPs) and standing seam roofing from MBCI were selected for the new Membrane Filtration Building at the Riverside Park Water Reclamation Facility to help the city with its $126 million project.

The upgrade is important to residents because it will increase the removal of phosphorus from the effluent to more than 99 percent. Phosphorus has been associated with the low oxygen levels and algae blooms in Lake Spokane that can harm aquatic life. The city was required to be in compliance with phosphorus standards by March 2021 and the overall upgrade will be completed by September 2021.

Geoff Kirsten, RA, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD&C of Jacobs in Corvallis, Ore., oversaw the architectural design and provided services during construction for the new Membrane Filtration Building and said the project was in the works for quite some time.

“An Aesthetic Master Plan (AMP) was developed in 2006 for the Spokane Riverside Park Water Reclamation Facility,” he said. “Among other things, it outlines general forms, colors and materials of use for the facility. This document has been used to guide the design of new and retrofit projects on the plant campus since its creation. The MBCI metal panels were used for the new Membrane Filtration Building, which houses an advanced microfiltration process critical to meeting wastewater quality standards.”

Insulated metal panels for the walls and metal roofing were specified for several reasons, including to complement the campus cladding approach established in the Aesthetic Master Plan.

“The insulated metal panels were also selected for compatibility with the pre-engineered metal building superstructure,” Kirsten said. “Last, the MBCI insulated metal panels offered the advantage of having the ribbed profile integral with the panel that matches the AMP. This allowed for a cost savings from the approach used on a previous project at the facility, which used a built-up cladding system that was much more labor intensive.”

Two MBCI insulated metal panel profiles were installed as wall panels on the water reclamation facility, 5-inch thick 7.2 Insul-Rib™ panels in Medium Bronze (14,250, square feet) and 2-inch thick Striated panels in Slate Gray (9,000 square feet) and Classic Green (9,500 square feet). All have a 22-gauge Galvalume exterior panel. The canopy roofing is MBCI’s BattenLok HS, a 12-inch wide mechanically field-seamed structural standing seam roofing system, also in Classic Green (3,000 square feet).

Kirsten said the wall colors were intended to allow the buildings of the campus to blend with the colors of the natural forest setting immediately adjacent to campus. “The building roof was sloped to the north so that views of the building from the Spokane River would show the shortest building wall and the receding sloped roof, with the goal for reducing the apparent mass of the building,” he noted.

Dan Halme, President of Halme Builders in Davenport, Wash., headed up the installation of metal panels on the project. He said this was one of the largest projects his firm has worked on, but despite several challenges, everything went well. Heavy emphasis was placed on safety and communication.

“There was a lot of equipment onsite, some had to be installed before any of the walls went up, so we had to work closely with others,” Halme said. “There were a couple of concrete mezzanines in the building that also had to be up before we could install the walls.”

Halme Builders handled the erection of the metal building framing, assembling framing on the ground outside the building and then craning it into place with a large boom. Halme also installed some IMP roofing, translucent wall panels and skylights, overhead doors and walk-through doors.

“So, we were in charge of making sure the building passed (ASTM 1827) the blower door test,” Halme said. “It’s an air filtration test and we passed with flying colors.”

Halme said the installation of wall IMPs probably took twice as long as a similar size project that didn’t have any of the obstacles that were in place here.

“IMPs are popular because they are a quick method of building erection,” Halme said. “On three sides of the building, we were able to use a vacuum lift and a crane to get the panels into place. On the north side, there is a lot of industrial equipment, so we couldn’t get closer to the building than 50 feet. We had to use a large crane with a boom to get panels into place.”

Halme Builders had recently achieved AC478 accreditation for metal building erectors. The Metal Building Contractors & Erectors Association (MBCEA) introduced the program in 2016 with the goal of recognizing metal building assemblers who are devoted to excellence. Achieving that accreditation provides proof that companies like Halme Builders have the experience and commitment to correctly assemble metal building systems.

“Going through the accreditation process gave us the confidence to know we could complete a project like this without any issues,” Halme commented. “There were a lot of things that could have gone wrong, but we were able to avoid all of them. We pulled off a successful project.”

The general contractor was Slayden, Stayton, Wash. The project's projected completion date was September 2021.

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