homepage home
subscribe to Southwest Contractor magazine subscribe
newsletters free e-newsletter
industry jobs industry jobs
Dodge Data & Analytics
Southwest Contractor Logo
Order Your RISK FREE Subscription

Air Base Tries Radon Solution

Text size: A A

Southern Nevada’s Nellis Air Force Base is trimming construction costs of a new child development center by nearly 4% by using a unique aerated plastic-riser foundation system.

Air Base Tries Radon Solution
Graphic: Courtesy USAF
----- Advertising -----

Cobblestone Construction, Las Vegas, broke ground on the $7.2-million design-build project in August 2010 and later discovered that the six-acre site along the northwest edge of the base was contaminated with radon.

The 26,000-sq-ft block building consequently required a gas ventilation system, which typically comprises a vapor barrier consisting of a membrane of washed rocks and liquid as well as perforated pipe and fans. Wright Engineers, Las Vegas, proposed a cost-effective alternative called Cupolex, which saved $10.97 per sq ft, or $285,000 in materials.

There is also a savings in labor, eliminated by an installation learning curve, says Tony Mateus, Cobblestone project superintendent.

Invented and manufactured by Italian-based Pontarolo Engineering S.p.a., the standard Cupolex unit is a 22-in.-sq recycled plastic dome. A configuration of voids creates natural convection, which eliminates the need for fans, gravel and pipe without compromising structural strength.

“It’s the same principal as the dome,” explains Wright Engineers CEO Brent Wright. The 28-ft-tall single-level building uses 6,800 Cupolex units laid out in a grid across the foundation footprint.

“Workers toss the lightweight risers like Frisbees and then snap them together,” says Wright Engineers President Daniel Bartlett. Using Cupolex instead of a traditional slab-on-grade foundation saved 77 cu yd of concrete (20%) and 2,000 lbs of reinforcing steel (20%).

The system replaces reinforcing steel with wire mesh, eliminates 21 electric fans and reduces subgrade-gravel needs by 90 truckloads, or about 925 cu yd.

Although widely used in Europe, Cupolex is fairly new to the U.S.

The product required testing and review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before gaining project approval.

“This is the product of the future,” Wright says. The project, meanwhile, is on time, under budget and scheduled to open in August 2011.

----- Advertising -----
Dodge Reports

Below is a brief listing of Projects Bidding in the South West. Click on any project to get Dodge Report, Plans and Specifications.

Click Here to See More Projects in the South West

Blog: From multiple ENR Southwest Bloggers
Our new blog delivers the latest project and people news, opinions and insights from the jobsite to the boardroom from the editors.
Reader Photos
Photos from Southwest Contractor Photo Showcase
Dodge Lead Center
Search for local construction projects OR CALL 877-234-4246 and get a FREE Lead Now!
Search by Project Type & State

----- Advertising -----
 Reader Comments:

Sign in to Comment

To write a comment about this story, please sign in. If this is your first time commenting on this site, you will be required to fill out a brief registration form. Your public username will be the beginning of the email address that you enter into the form (everything before the @ symbol). Other than that, none of the information that you enter will be publically displayed.

We welcome comments from all points of view. Off-topic or abusive comments, however, will be removed at the editors’ discretion.