PITTSBURGH, PA — As the start of the 2001 football season approached, Pittsburgh fans were looking forward to welcoming the Steelers and University of Pitts-burgh Panthers to the new $285 million, 65,000-seat Heinz Field. As they prepared for afternoons of hard-nosed football, they could look forward to drinking, eating, and socializing in restaurants and luxury suites.

But these creature comforts wouldn’t be possible without the stadium’s more than 219,000 sq ft of insulated air-handling ductwork, enough to cover nearly five football fields, and 70,000 lineal ft — or more than 13 miles — of insulated hot, cold, and drain water piping.

The piping and ductwork serve nearly every part of the stadium but the main seating area, including 129 private suites, two three-story club lounges, restaurants, an indoor theater, and the mechanical equipment room. They also serve 343 lavatories, 520 water closets, and 344 urinals.

Implementing the $2 million contract for mechanical insulation normally could have taken up to 24 months, said Vince Calderone, project manager for Allegheny Insulation, Pittsburgh, which installed the insulation for the piping and much of the ductwork. But this job had to be completed in 18 months to meet the deadline set by the Steelers’ organization.

To ensure the necessary teamwork to stay on schedule, three Pittsburgh contractors formed a joint venture, SBS (the initials standing for the first letters in the name of each organization). The contractors and their respective roles were Sauer Inc., for above-ground plumbing; Bryan Mechanical, Inc., for underground piping and plumbing and above-ground hvac piping; and SSM Industries, Inc., for sheet metal work and ductwork.


“The pace was difficult,” acknowledged Jim Manion, site manager for SBS and project manager for Sauer. “It seemed like everybody was right up each other’s back.

“The only way to avoid conflict and chaos was to coordinate, coordinate, coordinate,” he said. “When we [the three SBS parties] were doing our drawings, we used the architectural and structural documents to coordinate with the sprinkler and electrical contractors’ group. As the job went on, we also had to coordinate our installations with those for steel, masonry, and concrete; the guys putting up the curtain wall; and the painters.

“These guys have worked together on different jobs,” Manion said. “Everybody knows there’s a lot of work that has to be done in a short period of time. The understanding is, ‘Let’s work together.’”

Another challenge faced by SBS and by Allegheny Insulation in getting the job done quickly as well as safely, was installing and insulating chilled and hot water piping in the 40-ft ceiling of the stadium’s Great Hall. This retail-entertainment area hosts special events such as banquets and may house a Steelers’ Hall of Fame. The use of scissor and boom lifts made it possible for the workers to reach this level. All necessary precautions, such as “tying off” the workers, were taken to ensure safety.

No Time For Delays

“This project is on an accelerated schedule,” said David Hoover, Allegheny Insulation president, as the deadline approached. “We must be complete prior to the opening of the stadium.

“We will meet that milestone thanks to considerable effort by our project team — Matt Mavilla, our project foreman, Ken Berg-man, our general superintendent, and Vince Calderone, our project manager. Matt did an exemplary job of coordinating manpower, material, and equipment requirements with Ken and Vince.”

Allegheny Insulation installed Owens Corning SSL II® Fiberglas® pipe insulation to optimize system performance and save energy on domestic water, chilled water, heating hot water, and condensate drain piping.

The insulation’s factory-applied Doublesure® (trademark of Morgan Adhesives) double-pressure-sensitive adhesive closure, provided positive mechanical and vapor sealing of the longitudinal seam of the insulation’s smooth, reinforced, wrinkle-resistant, all-service vapor-retarder jacket. Two-part butt strip seals completed the fast, neat, and effective long-term closure. Not having to use staples and mastic helped increase productivity.

The fiber glass air-handling system improves indoor air quality while conserving heating and cooling, preventing condensation and reducing noise. Allegheny Insulation installed two types of insulation on supply, outside, and return air ductwork: Fiberglas® All-Service Type 75 Duct Wrap on concealed ducts, and Fiberglas® Type 705 insulation board for improved performance around exposed ducts.

SSM Industries fabricated and installed the stadium’s remaining hvac ductwork and terminal boxes, which required control of noise expected primarily from the stadium’s fans (the air-blowing, not the cheering, kind).

The sheet metal specialists put in supply ductwork downstream of variable air volume terminals and fan-powered boxes; return air ductwork for four major terminal units, and supply and return air ductwork for fancoil units serving the stadium’s 120 luxury suites, said Bob Lang, SSM project manager.

On its sheet metal coil line in its plant only about a mile from the stadium, SSM automatically installed 69,026 sq ft of Aeroflex Plus® acoustical duct liner onto the inside surface of the ductworks. “The only manual operation in assembly was gluing and pinning the liner to the fittings between duct segments,” said Lang.

This factory assembly saved the extra step of having to install the liner on the jobsite. The liner improves energy efficiency and reduces noise transmission with the benefits of an acrylic-coated airstream.

Construction of the recently completed Heinz Field began in June 1999. Looking past the natural grass playing surface, fans can enjoy a stunning view of the riverfront and downtown Pittsburgh through the horseshoe stadium’s open south end.

For more information, please visit www.owenscorning.com (website).

Publication date: 10/22/2001