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November 16, 2012

CASACOM

The VersaCore sandwich panels will serve as the exterior envelope of a theatre in Guelph, Ont. There will be 33,750 square feet of panels installed.

Guelph’s Cineplex Galaxy cinema to feature precast concrete wall panels

In what could be the forerunner for opening production facilities in Canada and hiring local construction workers, a Minneapolis-based precast concrete wall panel manufacturer is installing almost 33,750 square feet of its panels at a new Cineplex Galaxy movie theatre in Guelph, Ont.

Covered in a steel finish, the non-load-bearing 10-inch-thick VersaCore+Green wall panels will serve as the exterior envelope for the theatre which is scheduled for opening this December. Traugott Building Contractors, the general contractor, recommended the system to the owner.

“We selected Fabcon Precast as they deliver panels quickly and at a competitive cost,” says Pat LaCivita, vice-president of construction. The panels meet the theatre’s requirements for sound and fire containment, while also emulating Cineplex’s “unique brand identity.”

While Fabcon also manufactures load-bearing panels, use of those panels wasn’t feasible because the design process was too far advanced on the project, says Fabcon senior vice-president Jim Houtman.

“We would have preferred that as it would have saved the owner money.”

Comprised of approximately 58-per-cent recycled content, the VersaCore+Green panels deliver premium thermal efficiency, structural integrity and design flexibility. Unlike most panels systems, they can be dressed with a number of standard and custom finish options, says Houtman.

With three manufacturing plants in the United States, the company can produce wall panels up to 60 feet long and with a mix of R-values and thickness to suit client requirements. Its distribution network ensures fairly quick delivery to the owner or the contractor. But the period from when it receives an order to delivery can take seven to eight weeks.

“We use the architectural and engineering drawing to produce our own shop drawings and then we send those drawings to the architect and engineer for approval. Then we have to create production- run drawings.”

In the United States, the company prefers to use its own erection crews. With this project, however, it sent a small supervisory staff and hired local labour, says Houtman.

Fabcon has been a material supplier for other projects in this country. But the Guelph cinema marks a major push into the Canadian construction marketplace and the long term plan is to build a manufacturing plant or plants in this country, says Houtman.

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