InSPIRE Rock, an indoor climbing and team building center, recently opened its new cutting-edge facility in Cypress, Texas, with approximately 24,000 square feet of rock-climbing space and up to 63-foot-high walls, making it home to one of the tallest rock walls in the state. The finished space includes beginner-specific areas, youth programs, competition-style bouldering, and even a cafe.
To construct the facility’s exterior, as well as the 2nd floor interior framing, the project’s general contractor, Butch Dupuis, called upon the experts at Guthrie Buildings, Inc., a family-owned Texas business established in 1985 that primarily serves the Houston area and southeast Texas. Guthrie has partnered exclusively with MBCI for its metal building products over the past 15+ years.
Nathan Guthrie, co-owner and Vice President of Guthrie Buildings, shares a bit of the history, noting “My dad and my uncle are the ones who started the firm. They had a relationship with Bruce Green [current Vice President of Sales]. The reason we’ve never gone anywhere else is because of MBCI’s level of commitment to each project. They stand behind their product and will cover any problem that may arise. Not only that, but we have a streamlined way of operating with MBCI. We’ve worked together for so long, they know what we’re trying to do…and if they don’t, they ask the right questions. It’s an effortless process of getting our orders filled.”
Guthrie Buildings’ reputation for providing top-quality, affordable metal building construction and their longstanding partnership with MBCI, not to mention individualized customer attention, made them an obvious choice to tackle the job.
Nathan explains that the customer was originally looking for a company to turnkey the facility but decided instead to go with Butch Dupuis to act as a general contractor. Guthrie Buildings has been geared toward putting up barn-style buildings and gyms for a long time, but the scope of this project was unusual even for the seasoned firm. Guthrie says, “When he approached us about this one, there was a pretty hefty second floor involved; we had to incorporate all the loads, the weight and movement of the rock wall itself. This was going to be untraveled territory—even for us. But, we were excited to try something new and to get involved with a different level of engineering that we hadn’t dealt with before. So, that was really our motivation to give a competitive cost and open up our doors to new business. And, given our relationship with the MBCI team, we were confident we could get the job done right.”
Among the building owners’ motivating factors for creating this space is that rock climbing has been somewhat of an exclusive activity for certain people and the goal here is to try to open that up to anyone and everyone so that any average person could walk in and give rock climbing a try.
To completely satisfy Guthrie Buildings’ charge, they had to assess and determine which metal panels to use in order to achieve the required aesthetic—the biggest factor—as well as the unusual performance needs for the job.
Another challenge was the timing and keeping all the moving pieces in order, given the divergent roles of the players and the complicated coordination with the other work being done, i.e., architect, climbing wall designers, etc. The Guthrie team had to “play tag” over the course of many months, changing drawings, as dimensions and final loads evolved, so that everything, ultimately, would fit together in perfect harmony.
Guthrie Buildings worked closely with the owners to determine the final aesthetic of the building and to meet the specific performance criteria. According to Nathan, MBCI has provided at least 99 percent of the building materials for structures located on that property, which all have a certain look—generally a stone facade with an R-panel in the same color, i.e., ash gray walls. Here, the customer wanted to incorporate a stone and storefront glass appearance. Given Guthrie’s relationship with MBCI and its access to MBCI’s expertise and input, the team was able to determine—and easily facilitate—the best metal panel fit for the project. Nathan notes, “MBCI is more than just our vendor for sheet metal and cold formed steel; we’ve developed a partnership because of how well we work together.”
The Guthrie team used MBCI’s 26-gauge PBR panel on the wall and a 24-gauge Ultra-Dek® standing seam panel on the roof. The reason they wanted to work with the R panels was that the insulation used was a blanket-style insulation system and, as Nathan explains, “We’ve run into problems in the past when you use that thick of an insulation in the walls, and you don’t use R panel, you might get ‘oil canning,’ where you see the panel bowing out in the middle. We were confident that by choosing R panel for this—we had 30-foot-long panels—we wouldn’t be running into that issue.”
Further, regarding the R-panel, Guthrie Buildings assessed and explained the pros and cons to the customer, leading to the choice of the MBCI PBR panel. Nathan adds, “One of the big factors of the R-panel is how easy it is for their erectors to work with, so putting up the building can be streamlined. We were also at a location where we’ve put up probably 10 buildings that MBCI provided all the sheet metal on; those buildings were R-panel so that dictated what this building was going to be. That community wants to have the same look on all their buildings. We chose the 26-gauge versus 24, 22 or 29, because we had to have our girt spacing at 5 feet. From an engineering standpoint, 26-gauge can sustain 5-foot girt spacing—and it’s the most economical panel.”
As Nathan notes, the aesthetics were really the biggest factor, as the customer was happy with how the rest of the property looked. Beyond more aesthetics, the Ultra-Dek® was specifically chosen for the roof, he says, due to price and the fact that it is a snap-together panel where you do not need to have a seamer to seal it together so it is easier on the erection process. He says, “It is a little bit more economical, like a BattenLok® panel, but you still get the long life of having a standing seam roof. The fasteners are hidden vs. a screw down roof so that you don’t have screws rusting or backing out and having to deal with leaks five or 10 years down the road.”
Having exclusively used MBCI panels for the past 15+ years, the Guthrie Buildings team felt confident they chose the right solutions for the project. From their piece of the building process, this building was exclusively MBCI (with the small exception of the metal pan for the deck on the second floor).
Now that the space is open for business, the building owner is ecstatic about the metal panels and the project as a whole. Not only does the facility provide the desired look and feel, but everyone on the team walked away confident that the building will be able to serve the consumer with a safe, fun and inviting space for adventure. “A lot of work went into this detailed project, not the least of which is the exquisite look of the panels, and we’re thrilled that the owners are so excited about having the facility open,” Nathan shares. Billed as “the most inspiring climbing community in Texas,” no doubt the project is a success, as Guthrie Buildings has already been approached about putting up another InSPIRE gym in another Texas city. That is certainly a good sign for both Guthrie Buildings and MBCI.