By Jesse Weaver, Jun 13 2017 12:45AM
Hello! In this post I’ll discuss the first phase of an exciting new project for us, the new Gillman Home Center store in Eaton, OH. We’re happy to be the ones working on this job for a couple of reasons. Since Carter Lumber closed down their store in Eaton several years ago, the only place homeowners and contractors could purchase building materials locally was the Ace Hardware store. They’ve been great to have around, but it’s a small store with limited stock, so most people have been traveling to Richmond or Dayton for their building needs. Gillman Home Center will be a larger home improvement store with a lumberyard, rental equipment, tools, appliances, lighting, etc. It’s not as large as a Lowes or Menards, but it’ll be perfect for the local contractors, and we’re glad to see it coming in to Preble County!
The other reason we’re happy to be the electricians working this job is that it’s the largest project we’ve been a part of to date. And we get to wire it from the ground up! Much of our commercial work has been remodels or tenant build outs, where we come into an existing building and change or replace some of the wiring, or add new wiring, depending on the owner’s needs. It can be challenging to work with existing wiring and figure out what is safe, what equipment it powers, is it an appropriate wiring method for the situation? But this work is all new, and we can install it correctly, cost-effectively, and neatly, straight from the beginning!
So this past week we installed the underslab conduits. This building is a metal frame building, built on a concrete slab. There is no crawlspace underneath the floor, and most of the ceiling will be open to the girders 16’ - 18’ above the floor. There are free-standing counters throughout the sales floor, and the cleanest, most economical way to install conduit for the power and communications wiring is in the floor, before concrete is poured.
To do this correctly requires an accurate layout of the store and locations for power and data outlets. We also needed to know exactly what those outlets were for in order to appropriately size the conduit. We discussed with the owner what his electrical needs were and where the conduit stubups should be located. A metal rebar stake was hammered into the ground at each location, far enough that it would be covered by the concrete. Each stubup was tied to those stakes to ensure that it didn’t shift while concrete was poured. Inside the utility room area, underneath what would be the electrical panels, we hammered two stakes with a piece of strut in between them. All of our conduit runs turned up there and were strapped to the strut, keeping them in place and neatly spaced apart.
Sand was used as the underlayment for the concrete, and although we weren’t required to do so, we scratched our conduit runs into the sand so the concrete floor would have it’s full thickness. We’ve been a part of a remodel project in the past where the concrete slab was cut out to expose the plumbing pipes, and the electrical conduits had been installed in the slab. They were cleanly cut in half, beyond repair, and it was a major effort to reroute those circuits. To avoid that future possibility for this building, we installed our conduits deep enough that it wouldn’t be damaged by the use of a normal concrete saw.
Our work was inspected by the city electrical inspector the next day, who commented that everything looked great and he could tell that “this ain’t your first rodeo!” Concrete was then poured after that, and now that it’s set and finished, the building is ready to be built. We may install conduit outside for the parking lot lights before then, otherwise, we won’t be back until the walls and roof are in place. This project is well under way, and we’re starting to see it take shape! I’ll keep you updated the next time we get back in there. Thanks for reading!