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Alberta Plywood

Robertson Building Systems

Sometimes complex problems demand complex solutions. And so it was at the Alberta Plywood plant in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Operating 24-hour a day, 363-days a year, it produces more than 250 million sq. ft. of 3/8”-thick plywood sheets annually.

Officials there wanted to replace a 16,000 sq. ft. wood-framed building housing the company’s critically important lay-up line, where plywood is assembled, pressed and cut to size. The old building lacked adequate heat and dust control, proper lighting and the desired interior layout flexibility. The problem was how to build a new building on the same spot without adversely affecting the daily production cycle. The solution was to put up a new larger pre-engineered metal building right over the top of the old and then once complete, tear-down the existing structure within.

It was an idea easily conceived but its successful completion would require meticulous execution—both in the manufacture of the building system and in its subsequent erection. Fortunately, one of the key players in the endeavor was MCG Joint Ventures, an authorized builder of pre-engineered metal building systems by Robertson Building Systems, one of North America’s leading building systems manufacturers.

Six months of planning preceded the construction of the new 28,000 sq. ft. Robertson metal building system. It was designed to the requirements of the National Building Code of Canada (1995 Edition), the Alberta Building Code (1997 Edition), and other rigorous standards.

Among the fully integrated product systems utilized as part of the new building package was a 22-gauge Robertson SSR standing-seam metal roof system. It carries a UL-90 Wind Uplift rating and Factory Mutual approval as a Class 1 roof panel. The field-insulated wall assemblies consist of 6”-thick, 3/4-lb.-density faced fiberglass batt insulation between 26-gauge exterior metal wall panels and 29-gauge, factory white liner panels.

As expected, the metal building framing system was manufactured to the project’s exact specifications. And it’s a good thing. At some points, new columns placed between existing joists had only 3” of space on either side. And in one instance the gap between a new column face and an existing wall was a mere ¼”. Where set through the process equipment, column bases carry down to 20’-deep horizontal beams. Poor site conditions required 30’ concrete pilings at other points, in addition to the normal column footings and foundation construction.

One aspect made easier by the building-over-a-building approach was that construction crews were able to work off the flat roof of the old building to install the fire-sprinkler system, the new air exchangers and the energy-efficient 400W metal halide lighting.

Ground was broken for the project in May 2006 and was completed in October of that year. The demolition of the original building afterward took place during a holiday shutdown a short period of time later.

About Robertson Building Systems

Robertson Building Systems logoPart of Cornerstone Building Brands, Robertson Building Systems is a leading Canadian manufacturer of engineered metal building systems and is supported by a network of manufacturing facilities throughout North America. For more information, visit

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