Trachte, Inc. Braun Road facility, Oregon, Wisconsin



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Something New in the Air: This Construction Company
Opts for Rooftop Equipment Room

Trachte rooftop building on truck Trachte rooftop building installation Trachte rooftop building interior
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Plant-site equipment buildings are normally situated firmly on a concrete pad on the ground. Sometimes that isn’t an option. When a paper mill in South Carolina needed to upgrade the pollution control system on the coal-fired boiler used to run a steam generator, the job required a penthouse-level control equipment room.

“The building had to be supported on angles braces off the side of the precipitator unit we were building,” said Lee, an electrical engineer for the mill’s Alabama construction company. “Since it was 105 feet in the air, the structure was more susceptible to wind damage than if it was sitting at grade. To meet the building codes, it had to be strong enough to withstand hurricanes at that height.”

A standard building design wouldn't meet the strength requirements. After investigating several options, the company went with one built by Trachte.
“The main reason we went with Trachte was because their control room was more robust than the normal buildings of this type,” said Lee. “They had stronger structural members and a better overall design as far as how they made a sandwich wall construction.”

Custom Control

The company has been engineering and constructing air pollution control equipment since 1988. Engineering, construction and operations are conducted out of its headquarters. It also has an engineering office in Baltimore. Over the past twenty years, the company has rebuilt and upgraded the performance of electrostatic precipitators (ESP) at hundreds of power generation, pulp and paper, petrochemical and steel plants. ESPs use an electrostatic charge to remove the particulates from a gas stream, such as the steam from a boiler or a smoke stack before those particulates reach the outside air. In addition to installing and maintaining ESPs from other manufacturers, it also designs and builds its own equipment.

“This job was a brand new ESP - the first one where we made all the internal parts, the external parts, we erected it and started it up,” said Lee. “It was a brand new unit from the ground up.”

To hold the control equipment for the ESP, they had Trachte make a custom building that would be strong enough to meet the building codes, the OSHA regulations and the customer’s unique requirements. It called for a 10’ x 40’ design that could be installed on brackets rather than a concrete pad.
“The supports under the building had to be matched up with the supports we had already installed at the plant,” he said. “The roof of the precipitator and the floor of the control room had to end up being at the same level so people could walk right into it without tripping.”

They also required that the control house exterior be painted to match the existing paint job, so Lee had to go there and get a piece of siding so that Trachte could match the shade of brown.

Then came interior requirements. The company wanted the control room to have an internal water-cooled air conditioner, rather than the typical external AC, so that no pollutants would enter the building through the AC. This entailed putting a dam and drains around the AC so that if there was ever a water leak, it wouldn’t short out the electrical equipment in the room. Booster pumps needed to be installed at ground level to bring the water up to the control room. Trachte also preinstalled all the electrical wiring and equipment.

“I had equipment shipped to them that they mounted on the walls, and they did all the wiring though a cable tray I had speced out,” said Lee. “When the device came out to the field, we just had to bring in the outside wiring and connect it up.”

Planning Pays Off

Lee said it took a good deal of back and forth between he and Trachte to finalize all the specifications and design.

“I liked the way they keep the customer informed on what they are doing,” he said. “They have one of the better packages in terms of detailing to the nth degree all that you are getting, the materials, how it is made, and how it is put together.

Once the unit was completed, Lee went to Trachte’s factory in Wisconsin to inspect it prior to shipping. It was then loaded on a lowboy trailer and driven to South Carolina for installation. Once there, a crane lifted it up through the fog and placed it on the support braces. All the planning and preparation paid off: It slipped right into place on the braces and was ready to hook up and put into action.

“The building came fully completed – internal lights, external lights, switches, fire extinguishers, even the exit signs and emergency lighting required by OSHA,” he said. “Once we got it on site, we didn’t need to mess with it, just put it in place and wire it up.”

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Airport equipment
and nav-aids shelter
Cellular/ microwave site
Critical UPS and
instrumentation facility
Electrical control house
Emergency and
proprietary radio shelter
Equipment penthouse
Fiber optic hub shelter
Gas and oil application
Generator enclosure
Ground water remediation
Instrument shelter
Maintenance and
Mechanical room
(core module)
Medical equipment rooms
Metering and
instrumentation facility
Oil and gas applications
Power distribution
and drop-in module
Pump enclosure
Remote monitoring station
Skid mounted portable labs
Substation control room
Switchgear and
motor control shelter
Transportable repair
and maintenance shelter
Wind farm applications
WWTP (FRP option)

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