Creative problem-solving saved big dollars for sawmill project


L&F architects, engineers knows their stuff and backed by research

Luckett & Farley recently had the privilege to design a sawmill facility for one of our long-standing clients. During its design, we faced a challenge from the state fire marshal’s office (the authority having jurisdiction) regarding the building occupancy classification. The fire marshal had seen some horrible conditions in other sawmills and was strongly leaning towards classifying this building as H-1 (High Hazard) occupancy rather than F-1 (Factory). This could have been a very expensive proposition because of all the explosion-proof electrical devices on all the machinery and explosion-proof lighting required for H-1 occupancy.

So, the lead architect from Luckett & Farley met with the fire marshal to review the operations of the sawmill in detail. He discussed with the fire marshal that the logs are kept wet on site (50%-75% moisture content) and, when cut, the resulting saw dust and shavings (over 50% moisture content) are less combustible.  The plant also has a dust collection system with inlets throughout the facility, but it wasn’t a perfect solution. Cleanup was required several times daily to help prevent accidental ignition.  The fire marshal wanted more proof of the moisture content in the saw dust, especially the saw dust that had escaped the dust collection system and dried over a period of time. He also wanted further detail on the owner’s plan for standing dust prevention, as required by NFPA 664.

Happy to oblige, Luckett & Farley worked with an independent testing agency to obtain samples of the saw dust from the owner’s other sawmill with similar operations. The samples were collected from the floor (1) in the morning after about one hour of operations, (2) early afternoon and (3) end of the day. The moisture content was measured and charted to show the saw dust did maintain significantly high moisture content throughout the day’s operations and remained less susceptible to ignition and combustion.

Luckett & Farley also worked with the owner to prepare a comprehensive package to the fire marshal to demonstrate compliance with the building code, including NFPA 664 containing the following:

  1. Building design minimizing any surfaces for dust collection, which included providing interior metal liner panels on the exterior walls, special profile light fixtures to reduce dust collection, no duct work for heating and ventilation, minimum conduits, etc.
  2. A Building design that included an automatic sprinkler system and fire extinguishers as required by NFPA .
  3. Dust collection system information.
  4. A Detailed daily cleaning program for the removal of the saw dust from the plant floor periodically during the day, end of each day and total plant cleaning quarterly.
  5. Moisture content test results and charts showing the high moisture content in the saw dust.

Upon final review of the documents provided to the fire marshal’s office, they approved the plant for construction based upon our proposed F-1 classification.

It’s a strong example of smart design through creative problem-solving, and it happens every day at Luckett & Farley. Our knowledgeable staff can play a critical role for owners in the code review process, saving time, money, and most of all…worry.  This project is an example of how a proactive approach early in the design phase was able to save the client up front and maintenance costs by avoiding a stringent hazardous occupancy type.  Had this discussion taken place at the permitting stage, the project would have suffered delays and Luckett & Farley may have been unable to address the AHJ’s concerns in a timely fashion to avoid the hazardous occupancy.


About The Author

Atul Mashruwala, PE, SECB, LEED AP

Atul Mashruwala, PE, SECB, LEED AP

Atul has been part of Luckett & Farley family for 32 years and counting. He has worn various hats at Luckett & Farley to do whatever it takes. He has been a senior project manager for industrial projects for over 25 years. He was the manger of structural engineering for 26 years before handing over that responsibility to a leader of next generation. He has been our Quality Manager for last 12 years.

Related Posts

Satellite Offices: A Win for Employees, Clients and Businesses

Two Luckett & Farley Satellite Employee-Owners Share Pros and Cons

Companies worldwide are leveraging technology to connect their employees and clients in ways never imagined. Geography is no longer a limitation to accessing the best talent and ideas to deliver a project. Though Luckett & Farley has been based in Louisville, KY for over 160 years, we have employee-owners working all over the country. Our […]

Tax Credit for Kentucky Distilleries, Time to Invest in Facilities

Global Bourbon Boom Creates Demand for Authentic Kentucky Products and Experiences

There’s big news in the world of Kentucky bourbon this week. Distillers with operations in the bluegrass state will receive a tax credit for their aging barrels, thanks to the passage of House Bill 445. With more than five million barrels and growing in Kentucky barrel warehouses (more than the number of residents in the entire […]

SoBro Louisville Vision is Taking Shape

Emerging as a Socially Responsible District

The SoBro Louisville (South of Broadway) is taking deliberate steps to brand itself as a district focused on social responsibility. During its first meeting of 2014, SoBro stakeholders and outside individuals with interests in community development, contributed ideas for a shared vision of SoBro. Many of the elements discussed shared a common theme traced back […]

Radiant Orchid – The Pantone Color of the Year 2014

Happy New Year!  We are excited to kick off 2014 with a fresh color of the year, and lucky for us, it’s in the Materialuscious family. Radiant Orchid is expected to reenergize almost any color palette in 2014, and pairing it with last year’s Emerald green is a stunning combination for any client on the […]

Nucleus “LaunchIt” Program Gives Luckett & Farley Tools for Entrepreneurial Success

A lean approach to successfully launching new ideas

Successful people, no matter their role on the corporate ladder,  behave/think like entrepreneurs. Though it’s easy to be blinded by projects and  thankless work tasks, the truth is: we all have the ability to bring tremendous value back to our companies by developing  new approaches, ideas, & service offerings. That mindset is what will make existing companies survive, […]

The Livable Office

NY Report: Get a glimpse of the future workspace

Do you remember everyone striving for work/life balance? Well, whether we like it or not, it seems our world has shifted more towards a work/life blend. I’ve noticed this shift firsthand while visiting numerous showrooms. The products are a nod toward what’s being called – “the Livable Office.” A workspace that feels more like a […]

Master the Craft of Impression-Making: Part 2

Tips for Client Service from our Director of First Impressions

In part 1 of this series, I explained how being the Director of First Impressions carries a lot of responsibility. It’s more than simply answering phones, greeting guests and assisting our administration department.  My role is client service. Here are some more of my client service tips for the craft of “Impression-Making.” Smile, Even if […]

Master the Craft of Impression-Making: Part 1

Tips for Client Service from our Director of First Impressions

Being the Director of First Impressions carries a lot of responsibility. It’s more than simply answering phones, greeting guests and assisting our administration department.  My role is client service. Here are some of my client service tips for the craft of “Impression-Making.” Be an Active Listener Two ears and one mouth – use them in […]

Prev 0123 Next