NMAPC takes part in "topping out" ceremony at new V&M Star facility

 The NMAPC joined the Iron Workers and signatory contractor Kvaerner NAC to celebrate the completion of a massive new structure at the V&M Star facility in Youngstown, Ohio on September 29.

The 110-ft. tall building, with 23 acres under roof, was built in just 120 workable days and is part of the company's $650 million V&M Two expansion project. It was designated as a "yellow card" project, meaning all work was completed under the terms of the NMA by union labor. Kvaerner relied on the skill of more than 90 ironworkers from 13 different locals around the country to erect the building.

The "topping out" ceremony - a tradition dating back centuries - involved placing an evergreen tree at the top of the new V&M building while the last beam was fitted into place by ironworkers. The tree symbolizes continued growth and good luck. Banners recognizing the NMAPC, Kvaerner and the Iron Workers were also hung from the top of the building.

Once the interior is completed, the building will house V&M Star's new state-of-the-art seamless hot rolling pipe mill that will provide pipe for the transmission of natural gas, much of it coming from the large Marcellus and Utica shale deposits in the surrounding states. The scale of the building is truly massive: it stretches five-eighths of a mile in length and is a full quarter-mile wide. Forty-two million pounds of structural steel were used in its construction, along with one million square feet of roof sheeting and 360,000 square feet of siding. The building also contains:

  • 400 truss assemblies weighing 90,000 lbs. each
  • 290 columns weighing 41,000 lbs. each
  • 155 girder assemblies weighing 63,000 lbs. each
  • More than 17,000 lineal feet of handrail
  • 330,000 bolts installed

"It's a really good day for a contractor when we can celebrate a success like we have here," said Kvaerner NAC's Bob Hoover at the ceremony. Hoover, who also serves as NMAPC Management Co-chair, praised the skill and professionalism of the union workers.

"It takes a lot of people to make a project successful," added Walter Wise, General President of the Iron Workers. "It takes everybody working together as one team, with one united goal in mind - and that is to produce the best product, the best facility out there with the best safety record, on time and under budget. That's what everyone worked together to do, and what we continue to do on this project."

Steve Lindauer, NMAPC Impartial Secretary and CEO, also spoke at the ceremony, and used a football analogy to explain the importance of the tripartite relationship. "It's a team effort," he said. "We have our owner, V&M. I look at Kvaerner NAC as the coach, and the subcontractors as the assistant coaches. And last but certainly not least, we have the players - the 14 unions that are signatory to the NMA. Today we're clearly focusing on one group of players in particular - the Iron Workers, who are ready to put the ball in the end zone, so to speak, when it comes to the construction of this building. But once the structure is closed up, it will be time for our other signatory crafts and contractors to step up and shine as they build out the internals of the building so that product can begin to be manufactured. That will make it a win-win for all of us."

Lindauer added, "It really boils down to everyone working together in a tripartite fashion. That's our foundation: the owner, contractor and labor working together. The results - well, take a look around," he said, gesturing to the enormous structure. "They speak for themselves."

September 20, 2011