Tuesday | 25 March, 2014 | 1:22 pm

Location key for Gerdau

By Corinna Petry

Above: Ironworkers employed by Gerdau Long Steel North America fabrication plants in southern California install and fasten reinforcing steel bars together to form a “mat” through which more than 21,000 yards of concrete were poured to create a foundation for the Wilshire Grand Center in Los Angeles.

Steelmaker fabricates rebar for decks of 73-story Wilshire Grand Center

March 2014 - Gerdau Long Steel North America has been capitalizing on its 2010 acquisition of Tamco Steel recently, particularly as the mill, in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., allows it to be the “green” supplier of reinforcing steel to the biggest high-rise development in Los Angeles in many years.

It doesn’t hurt that Gerdau also has five rebar fabrication facilities in the Golden State.

Gerdau won a bid to melt, roll and fabricate 24,000 tons of rebar for the Wilshire Grand Center which, at a planned 1,100 feet, will be the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River. The tower is set to open in 2017 featuring offices, a hotel and restaurants, convention facilities and shopping center.

Gerdau installed more than 3,500 tons of steel for the project’s foundation in mid-February. 

MM-0324-webex-gerdau-image1An additional 20,000 tons will be delivered to the site and installed over the next two years, confirms Dave Coker, regional sales manager for Gerdau covering the Los Angeles and San Diego markets.

Gerdau started working with the general contractor and design team about a year before construction began. “There were three other competitive bids along with ours,” Coker says. He declines to disclose the value of the contract. 

This isn’t the largest project Gerdau has ever supplied - it built a floating bridge over water near Seattle that used more steel - but it is among the sexiest, along with the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

One of the key challenges for the Grand Wilshire Center project, says Coker, “is logistics because downtown L.A. is so congested. Other issues are design of the project while they are building. They (developers and the contractor) are still working with the design with the city of Los Angeles planning department.” Nonetheless, he says, the mill and fab shops supplying the bar have perfected the timing. “Without that (Rancho Cucamonga) mill, it would be hard.” 

The location was key for qualifying the steel as a green product. he notes.

As Bing Dastrup, vice president of Gerdau Reinforcing Steel West, explains, “Our involvement on this project contributes to (the developers’) goal to achieve a LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. 

“As a steel producer in California with two locations within 60 miles of the construction site, we contribute to a regional materials credit,” he says. 

“The intent of this credit is to increase demand for building materials and products that are manufactured in the region. This also reduces the environmental impacts resulting from transportation of the materials.”

Certification is also secured by sourcing from a mill that recycles scrap, Dastrup says.

“The strength for Gerdau is having a mill in Southern California, which keeps us on schedule at the pace we’re on right now,” Coker says.

Gerdau made its first delivery to the project site in mid-November. An 18-foot-deep pit was dug and over a six-week period, Gerdau ironworkers participated in a complex installation of 7 million pounds of its reinforcing steel.

The “grand pour” of concrete began Feb. 17. Workers laid down more than 21,200 cubic yards of concrete over the course of 20 hours, setting a Guinness World Record for the largest continuous foundation pour, Gerdau and local press reported.

“We are pleased to be selected as a supplier for this impressive project,” Pete Diggs, vice president of reinforcing steel for the North American long steel business division of Gerdau, says. “This is another landmark project for Gerdau and demonstrates that we are well-positioned to serve the West Coast market.” MM


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