Crain Construction Brings Solutions to the Climbing Wall Challenge

Crain Construction Brings Solutions to the Climbing Wall Challenge

During its 81 years in business, Crain Construction Inc. has built a variety of industrial, commercial and mixed-use projects, but building an indoor rock climbing facility with a 52-foot-vertical climbing wall presented a special set of challenges.

Climb Nashville owners hired Crain Construction to build a high-end climbing destination. The goal was to get maximum climbing wall space inside the new, 16,885-square-foot facility on Charlotte Avenue in Nashville.

Crain Construction was challenged with engineering the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems around 20,000 square feet of climbing terrain before the climbing wall locations and profiles were 100 percent determined. Varying elevations of the climbing walls made it difficult to accommodate ductwork. The project design disciplines weren’t integrated into a single 3-D model. This required close coordination with the Crain Construction project team, Climb Nashville owners, the company making the climbing walls and the mechanical engineer.

“We were sent the basic layout for the climb walls and had to use that to determine where there was adequate space for the ducts,” said Andrew Moore, Crain Construction project manager. “Once we determined where the ducts would go, we would get approval from the owner and then check with the mechanical engineer to make sure the ducts would perform in those locations. It was definitely tight and opposite the normal process.”

Before construction on the building pad and site grading could begin, Crain Construction’s project team had to make site improvements on the difficult 150-foot-deep, vacant and rocky lot located on the side of a hill next to an open-traffic alley. A large retaining wall was installed in front next to the sidewalk along the heavily traveled Charlotte Avenue. Additionally, the front of the site was elevated by 12 feet and the rear of the property was lowered by 11 feet to accommodate the building pad and parking lot.

According to Moore, the cold, wet and windy winter weather also threw a few curve balls as the team was erecting and skinning the 52-foot tall building. So, they devised a plan to clad the building that would allow them to work with the wind and avoid the safety hazards of working on frosty roof panels.

“We continually monitored the weather forecasts for wind and frost and picked a side of the building to work where weather wouldn’t hinder us,” Moore explained. “If you lift a 40-foot metal wall panel with a crane in the wind, it becomes a kite. And, frost made roof panels slippery so we had to keep them covered or wash off the frost prior to working.”

Completed in 10 months, the new Climb Nashville flagship is a top-notch athletic facility serving more than 1,000 members with a 52-foot tall climbing gym, restrooms, showers yoga/fitness, classrooms and office space. It also has an elevator, two separate HVAC systems and high-output lighting systems with daylighting controls to work with a sky-light system.

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Mid-Tennessee Chapter recognized Crain Construction’s exceptional work on the Climb Nashville project. ABC awarded the general contractor its highest honors, based on the project’s uniqueness, innovative effective personnel management programs, quality control, scheduling, value engineering, challenges overcome, safety and other criteria.

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