Strong, High-Speed Wall System In Line With Seabee Museum

Befitting the style of U.S. Navy SeaBees who are all about speed and efficiency, observes Museum Director Lara Godbille walls of a new 39,000-sq.-ft.

Befitting the style of U.S. Navy SeaBees Û who are all about speed and efficiency, observes Museum Director Lara Godbille Û walls of a new 39,000-sq.-ft. SeaBee Museum in Port Hueneme, Calif., were erected in less than eight working days. Design/build contractor RQ Construction of Carlsbad, Calif., was able to meet an accelerated timetable, despite rain delays, by using an Ecolite system to erect 137 panels comprising 24,000 sq. ft. of building walls.

Ecolite Concrete USA, Inc. is the developer and licensor of a prefabricated wall system consisting of cold-formed steel-stud framing partially embedded in a shell of proprietary lightweight concrete to produce panel units readily deployed in fast-track building projects. The load-bearing walls weigh approximately 17 lb. per square foot, about one-quarter of the weight of conventional concrete cladding panels, Ecolite representatives assert.

The speed of construction achieved for the SeaBee Museum was the result of prefabrication, preparation and lean production of the wall panels in our licensee’s [Ecolite Las Vegas LLC] Moreno Valley plant, affirms Ecolite Concrete USA Founder and Chairman Brian Smith. Using only a fork-lift and hand tools, a team of three or four workers typically can erect a 10-ft. _ 25-ft. section of wall in as little as 10 minutes.

Besides speed of construction and structural integrity, the Ecolite wall-panel system offers ÎgreenÌ construction benefits. While the product is not certified under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system Û LEED credit requirements cover performance of materials in aggregate, not that of individual products or brands Û Ecolite walls can contribute to LEED certification. Pre- and post-consumer recycled content up to 25 percent places the panels among today’s most environmentally responsible building products, Ecolite officials emphasize.

Funding for the museum was provided by the U.S. Navy’s [Civil Engineer Corps] CEC/SeaBee Historical Foundation to honor the history and contributions of Navy Construction Battalions, especially the We Build, We Fight legacy of SeaBees who have built runways and bridges and defended those facilities under siege. Accordingly, the texture, reveals and detailing of Ecolite panels for the project were designed by RQ Construction to recall various aspects of the SeaBees’ heritage, providing a durable and appealing solution to carry the museum’s mission into the future.

Panel surfaces emulate the look of navy pontoons, the 5-ft. _ 5-ft. _ 7-ft. metal boxes used for rapid construction of causeways and other vital structures. Metal wall panels and vertical-to-horizontal edge transitions recall the corrugated metal of Quonset huts used by the Navy during World War II.

The SeaBee Museum, as well as the recently completed Temporary Lodging Facility at Camp Pendleton, demonstrates the architectural range of the Ecolite product, adds Smith. Û