Lawrence Township Fire Station
Before: The Lawrence Township Fire Station was originally a brick-and-block structure that needed renovation to house a new fire engine.
After: Post-frame building technology transformed the old building into a larger, more modern facility.
Lawrence Township, MI needed to retrofit their old brick and block fire station to house a new fire engine. “Winter was rapidly approaching,” recalled builder Glen Thomsen.
Thomsen considered using block and steel. But, given the cold weather and the longer building processes of both, the project would have taken an estimated six to eight weeks longer than with post frame.
“It would have been impossible to secure masons on such short notice to complete the addition with block. Post frame was the only type of structure that could be erected within the short amount of time given for completion,” he noted.
“With the extended fabrication and construction time and the higher costs of labor and materials for steel or block and brick construction,” Thomsen continued, “we estimated that the post-frame structure would cost almost half as much as either of those other alternatives.”
With the help of an architect, the existing fire station and the new addition were seamlessly merged into one structure that was more attractive than the original block and brick structure. They extended the trusses from the new structure to make it look like one new building, incidentally solving their recurring problems with leakage from the flat roof on the original structure.
Not only did the new post-frame structure eliminate a leaky roof, it also allowed the builders to attain the required R-value, “…which we surpassed,” said Thomsen, “with a final rating of 30. The best R-value we could have achieved using block would have been a 4.”
The project was a success. The community was thrilled with the improved appearance, competitive cost and improved energy efficiency of the building.
“We could have selected any of a number of construction techniques for the project, but post frame made by far the most sense.” Thomsen concluded, “We couldn’t have done it as economically and quickly with any other type of permanent construction.”