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Steel Erection Projects Win Awards

SEAA calls for entries for 2016 Projects of the Year

Steel Erectors Association of America (SEAA) announces the winners of its annual Project of the Year competition. Winners are selected by an independent panel of judges. Projects are recognized for their complexity, and companies are awarded the Project of the Year for overcoming challenges while maintaining safe work standards. Four steel erectors were recognized at SEAA’s 43rd Annual National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., for jobs that were topped out in 2015.

Award Company Project Photo Gallery
Class I Erection Contract up to $500,000 LPR Construction, Loveland, Colo. I-255 Florida Pedestrian Bridge, Aurora, Colo.
Class II Erection Contract $500,000 to $1 million Gabriel Steel Erectors Inc., Montgomery, N.Y. 625 West 57th St., Manhattan, N.Y.
Class III Erection Contract over $1 million to $2.5 million CSE Inc., Madison Heights, Va.


Liberty University Fine Arts School of Music, Lynchburg, Va.
Class IV Erection Contract over $2.5 million Bracken Construction Co. Inc., Jackson, Miss. University of Mississippi Basketball Arena, Oxford, Miss.


“Each year, I am amazed at the increasing complexity of steel erection projects SEAA members undertake,” said Project of the Year committee chairman Alan Sears. “These projects are representative of the unique challenges steel erection contractors must overcome. Teamwork with the fabricator, engineer, and detailers is often essential to creative, cost-effective completion of structural steel construction jobs,” he said.

SEAA is now taking nominations for projects topped out in 2016. Submissions must be received by Feb. 3, 2017. SEAA membership is a requirement. Projects are judged by a panel of experts with a broad range of experience and knowledge regarding structural design. Information regarding SEAA Project of the Year can be found here:

Class I Erection Contract up to $500,000: Pedestrian Bridge Project Faces Adversity Similar to an Action Movie Script

Erector: LPR Construction

Fabricator, Engineer and Detailer: Big R Bridge

GC: Kiewit

Contract Value: $308,000

Total Steel Erected: 126 tons 

unspecifiedBefore a 14 ft. x 192 ft. pedestrian bridge was successfully installed over I-225 in Aurora, Colo., the job faced a fire, a car crash, lightning storms and a ticking clock. The bridge connects the Florida RTD Station Platform and Medical Center of Aurora, part of a larger project to extend light rail service to Denver International Airport.

LPR Construction, the steel erection contractor, pre-assembled four sections of the bridge, weighing more than 195,000 pounds each, inside a highway clover leaf, nearly a mile from the construction location. During the pre-build phase someone set fire to equipment parked in the construction zone and later a speeding driver crashed through road barriers, hitting a bridge arch. No damage was found after thorough inspections and the bridge structure was turned over to General Contractor Kiewit.

The second phase, transporting and setting the bridge pieces took place over two nights while the Interstate shut-down to traffic. According to Peter Radice, Senior Project Manager, determining how to set the pieces on trailer dollies and backing the trailer into place required significant pre-planning. LPR worked with Apex Trucking to provide heavy hauling services. A 500-ton Liebherr all-terrain crane rented from RMS Crane was used to lift the bridge pieces. All sections were moved to the permanent location the first night with time to spare. The arches and main truss were scheduled to be set during the second night, but heavy rain and lightning delayed start time by more than three hours. “Lifting the main truss and putting camber back into the arches was the hardest part of the job,” said Radice.

Class II Erection Contract $500,000 to $1 million: Perfect Sequencing, Creative Ironworker Positioning Secret to Modern Day Pyramid Completion

Erector: Gabriel Steel Erectors Inc.

Fabricator: Orange County Ironworks LLC

Detailer: KVD Detailers

GC: Hunter Roberts

Total Steel Erected: 200 tons in Top of House (500 tons total)

unspecified-1Sister companies Orange County Ironworks and Gabriel Steel Erectors, based in Montgomery, N.Y., were privileged to play an integral role in the fabrication and steel erection of one of Manhattan’s newest residential high rises. Appearing on the skyline like a half pyramid, the VIA Building on West 57th Street, was recently named winner of the Best Tall Building Americas by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. The 34 story building houses more than 700 rental units and 45,000 sq. ft. of retail space. Lots of natural light and spectacular views are made possible by the unusual shape.

The shape presented challenges for the fabricator and erector team. “Most structures are built on a grid pattern. This building was X, Y, and Z coordinates. Each piece of steel had to be sequenced exactly, or it would negatively impact the placement of the next piece of steel,” said Matthew Messing, who is Senior VP of Operations for both Orange County Ironworks and Gabriel Steel Erectors. “We used a 3D erecting plan to pre-design every piece in order,” said Messing. The steel was lifted with a Favelle Favco M220D luffing tower crane. In addition, significant coordination was required with mechanical contractors during construction in order to interface the façade of the building with integral window washing and exterior building maintenance systems.

The biggest challenge came as the building reached its peak. Extending 10 more floors above the occupied space is the tip of the pyramid, which Messing refers to as the Top of the House. This portion of the job alone required 200 tons of steel. No floors existed in the all steel frame, so Gabriel Steel had to build temporary flooring in order to give Ironworkers access. Because space was so tight, Gabriel Steel used a unique aerial lift solution to position Ironworkers for connecting and bolting. The company rented a Teupen Leo23GT and Leo 18GT from United Rentals. The lift is ideal for setting up in as little space as possible, with variable position stabilizers, rotating basket, and articulating and telescoping boom.

“This project presented challenges on every level, from detailing to engineering to coordination, fabrication, trucking, logistics, and erecting,” said Messing. “It was the combined effort of a tremendous team of individuals working on all these aspects that led to the success of the project.”

Class III Erection Contract over $1 million to $2.5 million: Small Steel Sequences Provide Solution to Tight Job Site

Erector: CSE Inc.

Structural Engineer: Fox & Associates

Fabricator: Lynchburg Steel & Specialty

Detailer: Virtual Steel Technologies Inc.


Contract Value: $2.3 million

Total Steel Erected: 1,072 tons

unspecified-2A new School of Music for Liberty University’s Fine Arts department in Lynchburg, Va., was completed ahead of time and under budget due to close collaboration between CSE Inc., the steel erection contractor, and local steel fabricator, Lynchburg Steel & Specialty.

Two buildings housing a 1,600-seat auditorium and concert hall and four-story educational center with practice studios, the new School of Music is part of a larger $500 million campus rebuilding campaign. The job site was pinned in by train tracks on one side, adjacent structures, and a single access road on another side. For this reason, there was no room to stage iron for steel erection. “There was barely enough room to set up a crane,” said Ronnie Ranson, Vice President of Steel Erection. Instead, CSE worked with Lynchburg Steel to deliver small sequences of steel. “The ability to work with a local fabricator was the only way to cost-effectively accommodate the complicated steel schedule,” said Ranson. In addition, months of erection time was eliminated from the schedule by pre-fabricating the seating at Lynchburg’s shop, rather than erecting on site.

Two other interesting aspects of the project included the design of the roof connection and the practical use of catwalk frames. Designed for optimum acoustics, the concert hall roof is a semi-circle with a step down conical shape. Structural framing consisted of four 100 ft. long trusses weighing up to 20 tons each. Arranged in a spoke formation, the trusses were attached at a single connection point with more than 120 bolts. Lift plans for placing the trusses with a 350-ton Grove all-terrain crane and Manitowoc 888 crawler crane were designed using 3D Lift Plan.

In addition, limited floor access meant aerial work platforms could not be used to install hundreds of feet of catwalks, which house Audio/Visual equipment. Once again, CSE relied on the fabricator to prefabricate the catwalk frames so they could be lifted into place as complete units. Later other trades the catwalks in place of AWPs to install the A/V equipment.

Class IV Erection Contract over $2.5 million: Full Court Press Delivers Winning Strategy for Ole Miss Basketball Arena

Erector: Bracken Construction Co., Inc.

Structural Engineer: AECOM Design

Fabricator: Steel Service Corp.

Detailer: MMW Inc.

GC: B.L. Harbert International

Contract Value: $3.7 million

Total Steel Erected: 2,700 tons

unspecified-3The University of Mississippi broke ground on a new basketball arena, part of a larger university expansion project, in July 2014. Contractors were given just 16 months to complete The Pavilion, a multi-purpose facility with an arena that seats 9,500 people. In order to be ready for the 2016 basketball season, contractors had to maintain a full court press throughout construction. Bracken Construction, the steel erection contractor, did their part by completing steel and pre-cast erection in just 21 weeks.

The three-story arena’s structural steel frame features a barrel rolled steel truss roof system.

The curved roof, constructed of eight main trusses, supports a roof that covers the 230,000 sq. ft. arena. The main trusses each weighed 60 tons. With only one access road available to construction traffic and laydown space at a premium, steel erection contractor Bracken Construction devised an efficient method for truss construction.

Using the bowl of the stadium, which was only 90 feet wide, each truss was delivered to the site in pieces for field assembly. Once assembled in a vertical plane, the three truss sections were hung in place separately and connected in the air at each splice point. The two end sections were lifted into place using two 300-ton crawler cranes set up on each side of the arena bowl, and one 200-ton crawler inside the bowl to erect the center section. “It took some creative thinking to figure out how to erect the trusses to the proper elevation and set the camber,” said Ben Wadlington, CEO, who said this was the first time in the company’s 60-year history that it hung trusses in this way.

In all, Bracken placed 6,835 pieces of structural steel and 422 pieces of structural and architectural precast, finishing ahead of schedule, demonstrating their ability to manage the Xs and Os of the game plan.

About Steel Erectors Association of America

Founded in 1972, SEAA is the only national trade association representing the interests of steel erectors, fabricators, contractors, and related service providers. The association promotes safety, education and training programs for steel erector trades, including its Ironworker Craft Training curriculum. The association works in partnership with other steel construction, design, and steel product organizations to protect the interests of those who construct steel structures. Learn more at

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