Building knowledge and connections

Metl-Span insulated metal panels for wall, roof, part of award-winning county project

May 27, 2022

Like most projects, expectations were high for the Northampton Forensic Center building. Thanks in large part to the choice of insulated metal panels from Metl-Span, the project turned out to be an award winner and it was completed on time and on budget.

The Northampton Forensic Center in Nazareth, Pa., earned the 2021 Commercial Real Estate Development (CRED) Award from Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.

“As with most municipal buildings, the county wanted something that would be long lasting and cost effective,” says Glenn Lichtenwalner, AIA, NCARB, at W2A Architects of Allentown, Pa. “Their goals are our goals. The insulated metal panels installed quickly and they are aesthetically pleasing, as well as energy efficient. It was important to deliver the whole package and Metl-Span helped make that happen.”

The new 27,847-square-foot building contains autopsy rooms with viewing areas to accommodate medical students and law officers; a digital forensic lab; lockers to secure evidence; a five-bay garage; and offices for the coroner staff.

The roof is 26,700 square feet of Metl-Span’s CFR-42 panels, five inches thick with a 24-gauge exterior panel in Zinc Gray. More than 12,900 square feet of Metl-Span’s CF42 Striated wall panels were installed, in three colors: Smoke Gray, Zinc Gray and Sandstone. All interior panels were 26-gauge in Igloo White.

Insulated metal panels also were chosen so the building would closely resemble two other pre-engineered buildings on the grounds; a nursing home and the county’s 911 center, that hosts ambulances and fire engines.

The front façade of the building is brick, but the other three walls and roof are insulated metal panels. Lichtenwalner says the 42-inch roofing panels led to a design where the seams line up with the 42-inch wall panels, creating clean, crisp lines.

“The building was enclosed amazingly quick,” Lichtenwalner says. “The walls and the roofing fit together in a machine-like fashion. The county is happy with the building; we’re happy with the building.

“For the Chamber of Commerce to present local government an award says a lot about how successful the project was. Northampton County was a good steward with taxpayer money.”

The south-facing roof became a field for solar panels, provided by EIS Solar of Pittsburgh.

“It’s a pretty standard building, a typical job for us,” says Steve Chando, Vice President at CHM Contracting LLC of Reading, Pa. “It’s a great building, perfect for the county. The insulated metal panels are energy efficient, providing an R-30 with the roofing and an R-24 with the walls. It will serve the community for a long time.”

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