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Temporary structures triumph over Mother Nature

Project Briefs | December 1, 2011 | By:

Temporary structures withstand rain, an earthquake, a hurricane and more rain at The Barclays.

The top 125 golfers in the FedExCup standings teed up at the Plainfield Country Club in Edison, N.J., for The Barclays Championship on Aug. 25, 2011, with Dustin Johnson claiming the trophy three days later.

For Proteus On-Demand Facilities, Austell, Ga., the event may have seemed more like a boxing match, with Proteus structures and installers standing in triumph after a four-round pummeling of extreme weather and natural disasters.

Round 1: Rainy installation

In a preview of what was to come, the Proteus team and scaffolding provider T&B Equipment Co. Inc. endured 13 inches of rain during the 13-day installation of a “city in the sky”: a VIP hospitality suite and six other temporary structures and walkways built on 30-plus feet of scaffolding.

The hospitality suite, a 30-by-50-meter Delta Vista temporary structure on the course’s 18th hole, provided both climate-controlled space and open-air canopy seating. Installation of the elevated interlocking plate floor system required extreme precision. A 500-ton crane and a 200-ton crane simultaneously raised the tensioned roof system, engineered to minimize wind disturbance, on top of the scaffolding and the 20-foot sidewalls. An entire day was spent raising the roof system using vertical tandem lifting at 10-inch intervals.

The facade of the hospitality suite featured horizontal panoramic glass panels so that VIP guests could follow the excitement on the final hole, and flat screens throughout the pavilion provided live action from the rest of the course. Additional structures were installed for The Golf Academy, The Golf Channel, VIP registration, The Barclays executive office, kitchen holding and a kitchen prep tent.

Round 2: Earthquake

Two days before the start of the tournament, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck the U.S. East Coast. With the earthquake’s epicenter about 300 miles from the event, the structure withstood moderate tremors and aftershocks.

“The earthquake was quite a surprise to us,” Proteus site manager Dale Boyes says. “Fortunately, the movements of the structures were within normal tolerances of their flexibility and no additional steps had to be taken following the earthquake.”

Round 3: Hurricane Irene

Now it was time for Mother Nature to throw off the gloves. With wind speeds between 74 and 95 mph, Category 1 Hurricane Irene hit New Jersey in the middle of the tournament.

“When we knew Hurricane Irene was imminent, we doubled the amount of anchors, additionally strapped roof covers down, secured foot plates under the scaffolding and removed all loose objects such as plants, pallets, catering supplies, etc., so that nothing blew into the structure,” Boyes says. “To reduce wind pressure, the skirting around the scaffolding was removed so that the wind could blow through.”

The PGA TOUR moved up tee times and ultimately shortened the tournament from 72 to 54 holes.

“Our team worked hard throughout the storm to secure the integrity of the Proteus structures,” Boyes says. “Keeping all structures enclosed and assuring no doors blew open or wall panels blew out was very important so that the high winds did not get into the tent and push it upward.”

Round 4: Tropical Storm Lee

With the tournament over, and the hurricane passed, the structure team deserved an easy takedown. Tropical Storm Lee had other ideas, sending another 8 inches of rain during the nine-day dismantle.

Theo den Bieman, Proteus CEO, says that while it was unfortunate that the tournament had to be cut short, the company was pleased that, when play was going on, fans were able to take shelter and enjoy the event in Proteus structures.

“We hope for better weather next year as we are excited to start preliminary planning for the VIP Hospitality structure for The Barclays in 2012 at Bethpage Black,” den Bieman says.

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