Fire Protection Safeguards Are a Key Focus of New Cold Storage Facility

Two years after a fire destroyed its old complex, Dick Cold Storage decided to build a new facility in Columbus, Ohio. Designed by Tippmann Innovation, the building offers the most up-to-date technology, as well as additional fire protection safeguards. Photo: Ryan Leasure

When the executive leadership at Dick Cold Storage decided to build a brand-new facility, the company made certain that the new structure would have increased fire protection — especially with its roofing system.

Dick Cold Storage opened a new facility in June, less than two years after a fire completely destroyed its previous facility in Columbus, Ohio. The new building, designed by Tippmann Innovation, offers the best equipment and most up-to-date technology for cold storage facilities. There are also additional fire protection safeguards, such as fire access doors, horns and strobes, additional pull stations at doors, linear heat detection in freezers and automatic smoke vents.

The roof of the building includes 18 BILCO automatic smoke vents that allow firefighters to bring a fire under control. The vents allow for the escape of smoke, heat, and gasses in a burning building. The Dick Cold Storage building where the 2016 fire occurred was not equipped with automatic smoke vent protection.

“Two of the biggest challenges we face in fighting any fire are heat and smoke,’’ says Steve Martin, Battalion Chief for the Columbus Fire Department. “The heat of the fire radiates on everything surrounding it, causing the flames to spread and causing rapid degradation of structural elements.”

A Ferocious Blaze

More than 400 firefighters battled the fire at Dick Cold Storage, which broke out at approximately 9 p.m. on a Friday. No one was hurt in the fire, but residents in the neighborhood evacuated the area for fear they would be exposed to chemicals used to refrigerate food in the warehouse. The cause of the fire was not determined.

“At that time, you just feel completely lost,’’ Don Dick, the company President, says about his thoughts as he watched the blaze roar through the building where his family had done business for nearly a century. “You have no idea what will happen to your business.”

The building is topped with a single-ply roofing system featuring 45-mil and 60-mil TPO. Photo: Ryan Leasure

Because the building lacked smoke vents, firefighters were stymied. Martin said the smoke impeded visibility, made it difficult to assess damage to the structure and find the origin of the fire. Even with tanks of fresh air on their backs, the brave Columbus firefighters could do little more than watch the blaze burn itself out. The fire was contained within 18 hours but had not been completely extinguished for days.

“Buildings that do not lend themselves to ventilation, such as cold storage buildings, are especially dangerous to firefighters. If there is no known life-safety issue, firefighters will retreat to a defensive position and fight the fire from outside the building instead of going inside,’’ Martin notes.

The fire at Dick Cold Storage would not have been prevented with smoke vents, but the devastating property loss could have been minimized. Firefighters may have been able to aggressively attack the blaze, but because of the lack of visibility and uncertainty of the structural damage within the building envelope, Martin and his crew had no other alternative other than to wait for the fire to die.

A Better Approach

Dick Cold Storage executives made sure to include smoke vents in its new building. Manufactured by The BILCO Company, the custom-made vents measure 7 feet by 18 feet and include a quad leaf design. Tippman worked with Spohn Associates to procure the vents. The size of a building, among other factors, determines the number and size of vents required for a building. The vented space must comply with fire codes.

The roof of the building is equipped with 18 BILCO automatic smoke vents that allow smoke, heat, and gasses to escape from a burning building. Photo: Ryan Leasure

Tippmann worked with Spohn Associates, The BILCO Company’s Indiana based sales representative, to determine the number of vents used for the new building.The vents include a Thermolatch II positive hold/release mechanism designed to ensure reliable operation when a fire occurs. It also automatically releases vent covers upon the melting of a 165°F (74°C) fusible link. Gas spring operators are designed to open the covers against snow and wind loads and include integral dampers to ensure that the covers open at a controlled rate of speed.

“Vents will allow for the removal of heat and smoke will potentially slow the spread of fire,’’ Martin says. “They will also permit firefighters to see and enter the building, to possibly extinguish the fire early, preventing the entire building from becoming a loss.”

Roofing Solutions for Cold Storage Buildings

Like the rest of the materials used in building a cold storage facility, architects need to choose roofing components carefully. The thermal properties and unique usage of cold storage buildings require extra attention to detail in choosing the construction materials.

One of the most critical is constructing vapor-tight and energy efficient roof systems. Tippmann used a single-ply roofing system with 45-mil and 60-mil TPO, which serve as excellent vapor barriers. Single-ply systems also minimize air leaks. Those leaks can lead to thermal loss and excess moisture.

Tippman also paid extra attention to the vapor barriers, which are used to prevent moisture from damaging the fabric of the building. It’s also incumbent on roofing contractors to choose the proper insulation to maximize energy efficiency.

When fire engulfed the facility, firefighters could do little more than watch the blaze burn itself out. The fire was contained within 18 hours was not completely extinguished for days. Photo: Walker Evans, Columbus Underground

Improperly installed or inefficient roofing materials could lead to disastrous consequences for cold storage buildings. Vapor leaks and excess moisture could create bacterial growth. Other side effects could include structural damage from ice buildup on walls and slabs, higher utility costs, safety issues for workers and equipment that may require more maintenance or not reach its expected lifespan.

Tippman Innovation served as the architect, general contractor and roofing contractor for the project. “Tippmann Innovation’s experience and reputation in cold storage building is well-known and respected,’’ Don Dick notes. “After touring one of Tippman’s newly-completed projects, we were very impressed with the company’s commitment to quality, design, and technology. We’re confident that our new facility will be at the cutting edge of cold storage innovation.”

State-of-the-Art Facility

The new facility for Dick Cold Storage incorporates the latest in cold storage technology. The ceilings are 50-feet clear, creating six million cubic square feet of storage space. There are 15,000 pallet positions and seven multi-temperature storage rooms.

Cold storage facilities are used for keeping food products and other perishables for distribution to supermarkets and other retail outlets that sell to consumers. Dick Cold Storage’s Columbus location serves customers in a 550-mile radius, covering a geographic area that reaches Wisconsin, Alabama and New York and a population of more than 138 million people.

The new facility includes LED lighting, frozen, cooler and dry storage, and the most energy-efficient refrigeration equipment. “We want to be able to move product extremely fast,’’ Don Dick says. “We’re very conscientious of food safety and storing product, so we try to do everything the right way.”

Dick Cold Storage made a huge financial investment in its new facility, and Tippmann Innovation paid tremendous attention to all of the construction materials, especially the roofing. With a new building that can better withstand the potential of a catastrophic total product and facility loss that can be caused by fire, the business heads into its second century with new goals and new vitality.

“When you have time to think, you realize you just gotta get up and running and get back to what you are doing,’’ Don Dick says. “You have to be as efficient as you can. We thought it was dead, but you can’t think that way. You have to think what we are going to do from this day forward.”

Fixed Railing System Provides Fall Protection Around Roof Hatches

The BILCO Co. has introduced its BIL-Guard 2.0, which, like its predecessor, is a fixed railing system that provides a permanent means of fall protection around roof-hatch openings.

The BILCO Co. has introduced its BIL-Guard 2.0, which, like its predecessor, is a fixed railing system that provides a permanent means of fall protection around roof-hatch openings.

The BILCO Co. has introduced its BIL-Guard 2.0, which, like its predecessor, is a fixed railing system that provides a permanent means of fall protection around roof-hatch openings. The new model boasts aluminum construction for increased strength and rigidity, a redesigned self-closing hinge and positive latching system, and stainless-steel hardware throughout. The product is available in mill-finish aluminum and with a safety-yellow powder-coat paint finish. Compliant with OSHA fall-protection standards, the BIL-Guard 2.0 features a mounting system that does not penetrate the roof membrane.

Safety Railing System Provides Fall Protection around Roof Hatch Openings

The BILCO Co. has introduced the BIL-Guard 2.0, the second generation of its safety railing system.

The BILCO Co. has introduced the BIL-Guard 2.0, the second generation of its safety railing system.

The BILCO Co. has introduced the BIL-Guard 2.0, the second generation of its safety railing system. The BIL-Guard 2.0, like its predecessor, is a fixed railing system that provides a permanent means of fall protection around roof hatch openings. The new and improved model will be available this summer and boasts aluminum construction for increased strength and rigidity, a redesigned self-closing hinge and positive latching system, and stainless steel hardware throughout. The product is available in mill finish aluminum and with a safety yellow powder-coat paint finish.

Also compliant with OSHA fall protection standards (29 CFR 1910.23), the BIL-Guard 2.0 features an innovative mounting system that does not penetrate the roofing membrane. The new system is easy to install and does not require special training or certification for proper installation. The design features quick-mount curb brackets for a fast, secure attachment and pivoting mounting sleeves with compression fittings to lock the railing system into place. The BIL-Guard 2.0 is also equipped with a standard self-closing gate to maintain continuous fall protection to ensure that OSHA compliance is preserved.

Roof Hatch Is Designed to Provide Energy Efficiency

The Bilco Co. has introduced a thermally broken roof hatch.

The Bilco Co. has introduced a thermally broken roof hatch.

The Bilco Co. has introduces a thermally broken roof hatch, an addition to its line of commercial specialty access products. This new product features a thermally broken frame and cover design to minimize heat transfer and the effects of condensation and to provide energy efficiency.

As a basic premise to energy loss, heat by nature wants to flow to a cooler space. During summer months, heat from the extremely hot roof exterior wants to radiate through the roof hatch into the cooler building interior. While standard roof-hatch insulation helps to reduce this heat gain, the metal construction of the roof hatch itself facilitates this temperature transfer, which can lead to increased utility costs and condensation issues on the underside of the roof hatch. In winter or colder months, this same energy transfer principle results in heat loss from inside the building and increased energy expenses, as well.

Bilco¹s new thermally broken roof hatch is designed with an element of low conductivity integrated between interior and exterior surfaces of the cover and frame to reduce temperature transfer. As an added benefit, these same thermally broken components dampen vibration for improved acoustic performance against outside noise. The product also features 3 square feet of polyisocyanurate insulation with an R-value of 18 in both the cover and curb for superior energy performance and a special cover gasket to minimize air leakage.

Thermally broken roof hatches are constructed of aluminum to attain high levels in recycled content and solar reflective index. The product will be offered in a number of standard single-leaf sizes and custom sizes can be specified. As with all Bilco’s roof hatches, the product features counter-balanced lift assistance for easy one-hand operation, an automatic hold-open arm, a heavy-duty slam latch with interior and exterior padlock hasps, and the innovative Bil-Clip flashing system for quick and easy installation on single-ply roofs.

Roof Hatches Available in a Powder Coat Finish

Bilco has made its roof hatches available with a factory-applied powder coat paint finish.

Bilco has made its roof hatches available with a factory-applied powder coat paint finish.

Bilco has made its roof hatches available with a factory-applied powder coat paint finish. The durable finish, which is available in four standard colors, as well as custom options, extends product service life. The powder coat eliminates the time and expense required for field painting. Bilco’s in-house process offers reduced cost and lead-time.

Free Catalog about Natural Ventilation Products

The Bilco Co., a manufacturer of specialty access products, has released its new 2014 Colt Natural Ventilation Products Catalog, detailing Colt’s line of natural ventilation and smoke and fire control products for the commercial markets. The catalog is available free of charge by calling (800) 366-6530, emailing commercial@bilco.com or downloading it.

Bilco partnered with Colt, a United Kingdom-based manufacturer of smoke and natural ventilation products, earlier this year and now serves as the company’s distributor of natural ventilation and smoke control products in North America. The Natural Ventilation Products Catalog features a user-friendly layout, complete with information on the benefits of and the products and options available.

Natural ventilation is becoming an increasingly important design strategy for commercial buildings, particularly in GREEN building design. With careful design, buildings can be cheaper to maintain and operate and the addition of fresh air and natural daylight creates a more pleasant and productive working environment for building occupants. Colt’s products provide an innovative and attractive solution for design professionals and building owners.

CSI Specifications Available for Colt Natural Ventilation Products

New Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) three-part specifications have been developed for Colt natural ventilation products and are currently available online, making it much easier for building design professionals to specify these new products.

CSI is an organization that keeps and changes the standardization of construction language as it pertains to building specifications. CSI provides structured guidelines for specification writing and its MasterFormat serves as the organizational structure for building products in the construction to help architects, engineers, owners, contractors, and manufacturers classify how products are typically used.

CSI 3-Part Specifications are available for Colt natural ventilation products and can be found and downloaded from the Download Center on the Bilco/Colt website.

Add a Glazed Natural Ventilator to the Roof

Colt Group</a>'s Firelight glazed natural ventilator

Colt Group’s Firelight glazed natural ventilator

Colt Group‘s Firelight glazed natural ventilator installs easily in a glass atrium or directly onto the roof of a building. This dual-purpose product provides buildings with day-to-day ventilation and smoke control to aid building evacuation in the event of a fire. Firelight is available in single- or double-leaf design and with control options for automated climate control in a building. This innovative product is now available from The Bilco Company in all North American markets.

Naturally ventilated buildings are generally less expensive to construct and maintain than those that are mechanically ventilated alone. They offer a lower environmental impact through reduced energy demand, which results in lower emissions of carbon dioxide and other combustion products. Further, the addition of fresh air and natural daylight creates a more pleasant, productive, and healthy working environment for building occupants.

Firelight glazed natural ventilators are designed for high aerodynamic, acoustic and thermal performance. The product provides ventilation for most kinds of industrial and commercial buildings and is particularly suited for installation into atriums and glazing systems.

The Firelight is available in several standard designs, each offering a unique appearance and performance to meet the design requirements of any building. Models are available in single or double-leaf construction that can be specified with a powder coat finish to complement or blend into any roof exterior. The product features a thermally broken design to minimize heat loss for reduced carbon emissions into the environment and maximum energy efficiency.

In addition to the standard manual operation, the Firelight can be specified for electric or pneumatic operation and set to open and close as required for proper mixed mode ventilation. With a small initial investment, these systems can provide a highly energy-efficient solution to maintain a good internal climate, low humidity levels and extremely low running and maintenance costs. In addition to climate control, the Firelight control options allow the product to be used as a smoke control system in an emergency situation. These systems save lives by providing smoke-free escape and access routes for building occupants and improving visibility to aid firefighting efforts. They also protect building contents from smoke damage and reduce the overall risk of damage to the building.

Firelight glazed natural ventilators are custom-fabricated to meet virtually any size or building ventilation requirements. Products feature aluminum construction and are available with a number of cover and finish options.

Automatic Smoke Vents Receive UL Approval

The Bilco Co.’s Type SV Single Leaf Automatic Smoke Vents, available with a metal cover or a domed polycarbonate cover for natural daylighting, have received UL 793, “Automatically Operated Roof Vents for Smoke and Heat”, approval. The vents are designed to open automatically in the event of a fire to remove smoke, heat and gases from a burning building. This improves IAQ and visibility inside the building to allow occupants to escape and firefighters to do their job.