Trachte, Inc. Braun Road facility, Oregon, Wisconsin



Trachte Prefabricated Buildings
design flexible steel buildings

Company Uses More Than 200 Trachte Buildings
to Lighten its Workload

trachte energy company building Trachte building for energy company
Click for larger photos.

For more than a century, this energy company and its predecessors have serviced customers in the Midwest. The firm now provides electricity to one million customers and natural gas to 400,000. It employs 5000 staff to generate 31 million megawatt hours of electricity, and manage 8500 miles of natural gas mains.

To ensure reliable service to its customers, the company uses around 200 Trachte buildings to house its distribution, telecommunications, natural gas and power generation equipment.

“The advantage of going with Trachte is that they prepackage everything together in their factory, so there is not a lot of work that we have to do to get up and running,” said John, a substation engineer. “The quality of their buildings is also very good: We haven’t had issues such as leaking as we have with buildings from other suppliers.”

Trachte works to build in the quality every step of the way. The 4” structural framework consists of galvanized steel with rather than self-framing panels. The ribbed exterior panels are made of Galvalume – steel coated with a 55% zinc-aluminum coating -- and are up to 35 times stronger than flat 16-gauge panels. The exterior panels and roofing are further protected with baked-on Kynar® 500 PVDF (Polyvinylidene Flouride) resin-based architectural supercoating with 30- and 40-year finish warranties. No shop-painted exterior panels or short-life siliconized polyester paint is used on the exterior.

Decades of Reliability

The company’s subsidiary began using Trachte buildings several decades ago. These first and second generation buildings were erected on site, and some had their exteriors updated in the 1980s. They ordered about 100 third-generation pre-built buildings from Trachte prior to merging with another company in the late ‘90s, and added another 80 since the merger.
John says that having this design makes his job much simpler. “Trachte installs the outlets, lights, HVAC and AC/DC panel boards in the factory,” says John. “Once they install it on the foundation, all we have to do is install the relay control panels and hook up the connections.”

In 2002, after the creation of a transmission-only company, they settled on a standard format for the equipment buildings at its electrical distribution substations.

“With the creation of the new company, they realized they no longer needed to buy larger substation control houses, providing extra space just in case they needed it later as they had done in the past,” says Trachte Regional Sales Manager, Trevor Rush. “Because the Trachte buildings are expandable, they worked with us on standard distribution control house design that would meet the majority of their requirements, but could expand later if needed.”

The standard design is built as a 20’ wide by 16’ deep building that can be shipped on a trailer as a single unit. Since Trachte always uses full trusses on the end walls, in this case the 20’ walls, those walls can easily be expanded without retrofitting the beam. That way, if the energy company later decides they need more room, an addition can be easily installed. Trachte also offers a variety of other options to meet specific needs. For example, the walls can be built to accomplish sound attenuation or bullet resistance. In addition to the usual steel panels, customers can order brick, split-face rock, stucco or aggregate panel exteriors when needed to improve the appearance, such as when a building is installed in a residential area. They can be built with oversized doors, windows, vents or openings. The interiors can come fully wired, and include lighting, firewalls, HVAC and fire suppression equipment.

“Trachte is easily approachable,” says John. “If you want to modify something or want to do something a little bit different, they are willing to respond to what you need.”

To keep out the elements, the roofs are positively sloped and made of Galvalume steel standing seam roofing panels. The sides have overlapping exterior panels rather than butted seams. To keep out the heat and cold, there is a 1” thermal blanket between the side panels and the frame to provide a thermal break, then there is 3-1/2” R14 high density insulation inside the walls, ceiling and floor. John says he has also noticed that the way Trachte designs its buildings’ walls does a better job at keeping the equipment safe and dry.

“Some others construct their wall panels as a solid piece that includes the interior walls and the structural support for the wall,” he says. “They don’t insulate as well as Trachte’s walls, and tend to leak more when it rains or snows.”

For a complete version of this case study, please e-mail us with "Lighten its Workload" in the subject line. Please include your name, company name and U.S. state of operation or country.


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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Trachte, Inc. 422 N. Burr Oak Avenue, Oregon, WI 53575 Phone 608-835-5707 Fax 608-835-3920 HR Fax 608-835-7565 E-mail Copyright © 2013 Trachte, Inc.