By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW MAGAZINE
Engineered Steel Products (ESP) – a Negwer Family company – is celebrating 20 years in business.
The exclusively cold-formed steel truss prefabrication provider began in 2003. Vice President of Marketing and Product Development Pete Wilhelms says two decades ago Negwer saw the need to launch a sister firm that could serve the commercial construction needs of clients building projects with non-combustible requirements.
“We founded ESP as the construction market needed more non-combustible options,” said Wilhelms. “We decided then to partner with Mitek, a St. Louis-based manufacturer known for making truss connector plates that are common to the wood truss industry.”
Over time, says Negwer Engineered Sales Director Karl Klostermann, the products evolved to larger profiles of cold-formed trusses that could accommodate higher loads and longer spans.
“Today, we’re much more involved with architects and engineers earlier on in the project,” he said, “assisting with the initial design of mechanical, electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems while assuring structurally that the client gets what it needs.”
An example of ESP’s work can be found at the Magic House in Kirkwood. ESP worked in tandem with structural engineer Alper Audi early on the expansion through BIM technology to meet the 50,000-square-foot facility’s non-combustible project requirement. “There’s a high strength-to-weight ratio for trusses,” Wilhelms said. “Working on this project demanded extra effort in the pre-design phase.” Installation of the 586 scissors trusses that frame the roof of this Victorian-inspired, architectural gem took only two weeks.
Washington University in St. Louis had a project to renovate one of its lecture halls; this is another example of ESP’s work. The firm accomplished the university’s project goal of changing the hall’s radius to make wider seating. ESP custom built the steel trusses to fit the existing space.
ESP General Manager James Curtright says the firm’s prefabricated trusses are delivered to the jobsite for quick installation, complete with layouts and prefabricated materials. Designs range from typical, flat roofs to complex, distinctive rooflines. ESP offers laser-projected truss designs to ensure quality control while enhancing shorter delivery cycles for awarded projects.
Cold-formed steel trusses contribute to achieving a UL (Underwriters Laboratories) fire-rated assembly, yet another advantage of the product that ESP is celebrating 20 years in the making.
“Commercial construction continues to demand an increasing degree of planning and project complexity continues to evolve,” said Wilhelms. “One of the things that ESP has done very well is to consistently provide a comprehensive roof system that is ready to install the moment it reaches the jobsite.”