Sanimax took the opportunity to install larger storage tanks, as well as a better floor drainage system following a devastating fire that nearly shut down their operations.
As any business owner knows, the enemies of structures are many: fire, water, wind, pests and age. But, one of the worst is fire.
Our client, Sanimax, discovered that on September 11, 2014. That’s when employees of the Deforest, Wisconsin company returned to the plant to find firefighters still on-site. It had been a long night and fire crews from several municipalities were still tending to a major electrical fire that tore through the building that housed the majority of the company’s grease recycling operations.
The fire ignited near a light fixture in the building’s ceiling and quickly engulfed the entire roof structure. The fire burned hot enough to melt parts of the roof and the structural steel of the building. Unfortunately, this building housed the bulk of the recycling tanks and the heart of the operations for Sanimax, which collects and refines cooking oil and grease at the plant.
While our crews were well aware the plant had suffered a major fire—it was big news across Wisconsin—our company didn’t become involved until Sanimax received a call from its insurer, FM Global. Friede had worked with FM Global a year before, after a fire damaged the Seats Inc. plant in Richland Center. That project’s positive outcome led FM Global to recommend us to Sanimax, and soon an initial meeting on-site was arranged.
Attacking the fire damage required a priorities list.
First up? A clean-up to accommodate at least partial operation of the plant. Temporary repairs to the roof structure—prior to winter when the added weight of snow could be dangerous—would also be necessary. Since the damaged building was attached to another building that housed the main intake area for the grease and oil recycling, it was also determined that some repairs to that building would be necessary. The fire had damaged the ceiling of that building and the connecting wall between the structures.
While our crews helped with the clean-up, the Sanimax project team considered improvements that might be undertaken during reconstruction. The installation of a fire sprinkler system would be needed. The plant would also benefit from larger storage tanks. The need for a better floor drainage system was another recommended improvement, though it would require the complete removal and replacement of the floor.
The project scope grew as more information became available about the extent of the fire damage. Ultimately, it became clear that an entirely new structure would be needed to replace the fire-damaged building.
Friede and Sanimax worked closely with the architects and engineers at Ramaker & Associates, as well as Butler Manufacturing, to engineer and design a new structure. In the span of just a few months, plans for the rebuild were in place. The construction would be phased-in, so Sanimax could keep some of its operations going throughout the building process.
Unfortunately, projects like this are never easy. The fire insurance claim needed to be finalized. There were meetings with city officials to secure approval for a non-conforming use within an industrially zoned property. There was a demolition phase, followed by preparation of 36 massive tanks to be installed into the new structure. Then in December of 2015, construction was completed, allowing Sanimax to resume full operations—just 15 months after the devastating fire.
Communication was key
Friede & Associates and Sanimax developed a great working relationship. And, we worked closely with FM Global, which relied on our project team to not only document what had existed at the plant prior to the fire, but also what improvements were necessary due to building code changes since the original facility was first constructed. FM Global also relied on us to accurately track expenses—both those covered by the insurer as well as upgrade costs requested by Sanimax.
Fires are devastating. But we are glad we could help Sanimax recover from the trauma and help minimize the impact on the company while we worked to get them up and running again.
We are also proud that Friede & Associates was awarded a 2016 Gold Award from Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) of Wisconsin in its “Projects of Distinction in the Restoration/Renovation” category for the Sanimax project. The award is given for overall project distinctiveness, execution of design, craftsmanship, coordination, budgeting, safety, difficulty and unusual challenges.
In addition, Friede & Associates received the 2018 BUILD Award for Excellence in Fire Restoration Services.
If you have a project that might be a little (or a lot) challenging, give us a call. After all, anybody can build a box, but at Friede & Associates, We Do Weird Well!™
When you select Friede & Associates, you are buying more than our quality-assured construction services. You also get the performance and reliability of some of the top suppliers and subcontractors in the area. While other contractors may be cutting quality to remain competitive on price, Friede is forging relationships with members of the project team to bring you the best value and highest quality for your investment.