Pedersen Power Products

New Productivity For An Aging Property

Four existing buildings of differing ages and eave heights, some with leaking roofs and little insulation, were united by employing a number of Butler® building systems and an MR-24® standing-seam roof system. This increased the company’s manufacturing space from 48,000 square feet to 65,000.

  • Design Tech

    Using software from Butler, the Builder easily could try myriad design options to find the best solution.

  • Updated Footprint

    Bringing several buildings under one roof helped the company increase its property value, add capacity and simplify production.

  • Cooler Manufacturing

    The new roof's high eave height helped control temperatures in the manufacturing areas.

Bringing Leaky, Outdated Buildings Under One Roof

Rebuild, Relocate or Re-Roof?

Pedersen Power Products faced leaking roofs, an inefficient layout, low eaves and no room for much-needed cranes. The question — what to do: Rebuild? Relocate?

Butler Builder® Steve Christensen of Estherville, Iowa, had a better, far less-expensive idea. He suggested they re-roof.

Pedersen moved to its location in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1974, and its plant had grown to include four major structures comprised of about 10 conventional and steel buildings. Three of these were 30-40 years old with screwed-down roofs that were leaking and had little insulation. Three others had built-up roofs in dire need of repair. Alleys about 40 feet wide ran between the structures.

“In Omaha, it gets to 102° in the summer and in the winter it gets to 40° below with 2 or 3 feet of snow. Often, we’d have to spend two or three hours to clear paths just so we could get from building to building. It was a real pain. We get rain here, too, and the roofs leaked. When it dried out, we would go up with a can of tar and try to plug the holes.”

Mike Niedzwiecki, Pedersen

 In business since 1948, Pedersen fabricates medium-voltage, metal-clad electrical switching gear and relay control panels used by municipalities and power companies.

“We build the equipment to make sure the lights in your house stay connected to all the public utilities. Essentially, we build the metal buildings you see at power substations. We have contracts all over the United States.”

Mike Niedzwiecki, Pedersen

Design Tech Helps Find Optimal Solution

Christensen’s company, Christensen Construction and Design Co., had built a couple of Butler® buildings for a Pedersen sister company in Sibley, Iowa. He was called in for ideas to improve the Omaha situation.

“What they wanted to do at first was to connect two of the structures to improve their material flow, but after spending the day there, it was obvious that they needed to have the entire complex under one roof. This would eliminate the myriad of roof heights, roof slopes and leaks — and, at the same time, eliminate the alleys to expand floor space and solve the need to transfer materials between buildings.”

Steve Christensen, Christensen Construction and Design Co.

Christensen went back to his computer and got to work.

“The Butler Advantage® NXT software system allows us to infinitely adjust eave heights and roof pitches.”

Steve Christensen, Christensen Construction and Design Co.

After entering extensive measurements and examining the options, he determined it was possible to fill in two of the gaps using the Widespan™ structural system and another using the Landmark™ 2000 structural system. The new eave heights would allow him to use a slope build-up re-roof system with an MR-24® standing seam roof system to create one large roof plane and one massive building.

Christensen’s plan gave Pedersen the flexibility to complete the conversion in phases, but the company’s executive committee wanted to proceed at once.

“We were very excited about what he proposed, and pretty much gave him a purchase order that day.”

Mike Niedzwiecki, Pedersen

The Landmark 2000 system was used to create a 40-foot bay to accommodate a crane that would run 235 feet through the renovated structure.

“The Landmark truss purlins were perfect, eliminating the need for interior columns in that area and keep the roof slope in the right direction.”

Steve Christensen, Christensen Construction and Design Co.

He used the Widespan system to connect a 35-foot by 60-foot gap between existing structures and help create the roof plane needed to unite the buildings. He used the system again in another 60-foot by 156-foot area between other existing structures, allowing a second internal crane to be installed. This also completely enclosed one of the old steel buildings, which was removed later to open up the space vertically and horizontally.

“The most important aspect of this project was not to interfere with their operations. By carefully dropping the new columns through the old roof and outside the parameters of the old walls, we never interrupted production while the new building was being built. The old building was removed over a weekend and production never missed a beat.”

Steve Christensen, Christensen Construction and Design Co.

Christensen used a 5-foot Butlerib® II fascia system to close the wall space between the old roofs and the new, higher roof planes.

“The following spring, we repainted the old wall panels to match the Butler® colors.”

Mike Niedzwiecki, Pedersen

More Savings

The gap between the old and new roof systems also served to lower energy costs.

“In addition to the new roof insulation, we now have an air space — a void of a foot to 5 feet — between the roofs. It’s been really helpful with the heating and cooling bills.”

Mike Niedzwiecki, Pedersen

He adds that the higher eave heights — from 15 to 22 feet — also help keep the manufacturing areas cooler.

The re-roofing project took only about two months at a cost of $570,000 — much less than rebuilding or relocating — and greatly increased the value of the property. The new roof design also gave Pedersen an option to add a 250- by 200-foot addition off the gable end on the only remaining available land.

Plus, Pedersen qualified for tax-increment financing from the city of Omaha — allowing the company to spread its tax liability over a number of years.

Room To Grow

By going from 48,000 square feet to 65,000, the company increased its manufacturing capacity.

“When Steve started this project, we had room for fewer than 30 people in manufacturing. Now we have 80. We were able to increase our volume from our previous annual average of $8 million to $9 million. This year, we’re projecting $26 million.”

Mike Niedzwiecki, Pedersen

Pedersen continued the renovation work at the rejuvenated plant, cleaning up and repainting inside and out. The employees love it and management is pretty pleased with it, too.

“Another building nearby that we’re using as our receiving area is probably about 20,000 square feet. It needs a new roof, and I know what we’ll be putting on it. We’ll do the same thing we did here — no doubt about it!”

Mike Niedzwiecki, Pedersen