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Auto Tech Repair

Varco Pruden Buildings

Varco Pruden Builder™ EPOC Construction Inc., a Virginia-based commercial construction company, transformed a dated and weathered automobile repair shop into a top-notch facility for Auto Tech Repair in Newport News, Virginia. In this case, a better building emerged from the skeleton of an old one, proving that salvage can sometimes trump starting from scratch.

When asked to construct a building, most owners and contractors would rather start with a blank canvas than reinvent an existing structure.

Exceptions are Mark and Karen White, owners of Auto Tech Repair, a three-bay auto service shop on Warwick Boulevard in Newport News. Built in the 1960s, the shop was in desperate need of restoration.

The Whites enlisted EPOC Construction Inc., a construction company specializing in commercial metal building design, to renovate the repair shop, transform the exterior of the building and add two additional bays.

EPOC saw the project as an opportunity to refurbish a hidden town treasure.

In these straitened times, Varco Pruden’s retrofit approach offers a sensible alternative to the default response of tearing down and building bigger.

“There’s a sense of pride when you know you’ve saved something. You don’t have to start from scratch to create something of value,” said Randy Ahland, Manager of Varco Pruden Retrofit.

Additions to the structure were built by EPOC Construction using Varco Pruden’s Rigid Frame system, Panel Rib™ wall system in Cool Egyptian White, and SSR™ standing seam roof system in Galvalume. Stepped-width frames were used for angled rear walls and along rear bays, and wind beams were incorporated for the stud/parapet front façade.

Today many communities are focusing heavily on preservation and have a desire to revitalize buildings and sustain their existing character concurrently. More and more communities are willing to provide funding to make buildings more attractive and energy efficient.

This project was made possible by a city grant program for façade improvement. Auto Tech was eligible for matching funds of up to $60,000. The architectural appearance and materials for the repair shop required program approval.

“The original design was for structural steel, but when the project bid initially came in over budget, Varco Pruden’s pre-engineered metal building system (PEMB) alternative achieved significant savings,” said Ken Bingman, president of EPOC Construction Inc.

The PEMB system also provided design flexibility for the additional space and support needed to seamlessly blend the sub-structures for the new façade. Varco Pruden’s system successfully reduced overall building shell costs while maintaining the front façade requirements.

The metal building structure was used to provide a clear span frame and single slope roof. The single slope metal roof eliminated messy flashing details along the front/high-side eave and clean transition over the existing parapet endwall. Metal wall panels were a very economical solution for the rear endwall siding.

“Prior to the renovation project, we were a nondescript auto repair shop, like most others in our area. EPOC Construction was chosen to transform the exterior of my building and add two additional bays. When the original project bid came in over budget, EPOC Construction was able to provide value engineering suggestions and changes to meet our budget and still keep the size and look we wanted,” said Mark White, owner of Auto Tech Repair.

He added, “Since the new façade, Auto Tech now stands out on our busy highway. We have had several new customers tell us they previously passed by every day and never really noticed us. Since this makeover, our business has increased by at least one-third from our normal business volume. The entire building renovation has become the benchmark for other businesses looking to renovate, remodel or add on to their existing buildings.”

About Varco Pruden Buildings

VP Buildings logoVarco Pruden Buildings manufactures steel building systems for low-rise commercial and industrial applications. For more information, visit

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