Cashman Equipment – A Case for Consolidation
By: Curt Carlson, AIA, LEED AP, vice president, director of design, SHarchitecture
The entire Cashman Equipment complex is serviced by an underground geothermal system to reduce HVAC operating costs by as much as 45 percent.
Cashman Equipment was founded in 1931 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and is one of the highest-rated Caterpillar construction equipment dealers in North America. Starting as an equipment supplier for the construction of Hoover Dam, it has grown into one of the largest privately owned employers in Nevada, with over 700 employees.
In 2002, Cashman Equipment was notified that a planned expansion to the adjacent interstate, interchange access ramps and main collector street would take seven of their existing 23 acres. The highway expansion would essentially consume the facility’s frontage, equipment sales and display and main access to the property. In addition, the new road design would raise the current street level 25 feet above the existing grade to clear the neighboring railroad tracks. This would effectively bury all visibility to the site and relocate the main access to a minor street at the rear of the property. Faced with the ultimate decision to relocate the company, this initiated a chain of events that CEO and Chairman, MaryKaye Cashman turned into a series of opportunities for the growing company.
The equipment shop contains glass sectional overhead doors for increased natural light, and reflective concrete floors.
In 2002, the Las Vegas Valley, and most of Nevada, was in the midst of unprecedented growth, with some of the largest public, private and infrastructure projects in the United States. Cashman Equipment had outgrown its existing Southern Nevada facility with operations spread across three separate facilities. The anticipated relocation provided the opportunity to consolidate the Southern Nevada operations into one central location, upgrade and expand corporate offices, service shops, warehouse, sales and rental facilities – and build a sustainable facility. The next major hurdle was to find a piece of property that could handle their operations. With land prices at an all-time high, major existing parcels being re-zoned to residential, and the need for freeway and arterial access, finding 50+ (level) acres was no easy task. The City of Henderson stepped up with a solution that was almost too good to be true. The city owned a 65-acre parcel, masterplanned and zoned for industrial, located on a major arterial, with site access on three sides and about 1.5 miles from two major interstate access interchanges. While the city saw the benefits of being the new home to a major employer, it also had concerns about locating a major industrial operation at the front door to their city. Cashman Equipment had some concerns as well about relocating operations 25 miles south to the other side of Las Vegas. These concerns, however, were far outweighed by the overwhelming benefits of the property.
Natural light in 90 percent of occupied spaces, coupled with exterior louvers and interior shades controlled by automatic sun sensors, reduces lighting and HVAC costs.
Building the Team and Designing Success
Early in the property search and acquisition phase, Cashman Equipment assembled their project team to include as many key players as possible. The initial team included programming consultants from Caterpillar, the architect (SHarchitecture), and representatives from each business unit and operation unit at Cashman. Through a pre-qualification selection process, the team added the contractor – Burke and Associates – early in the planning process. The teams remained intact and in very close communication through the entire planning, design, construction, occupancy and post-occupancy process. The team started the planning process with a research mission that included visits to what were considered state-of-the-art Caterpillar facilities in the United States. From there, SHarchitecture immersed itself into the operations of Cashman Equipment, learning each division’s operations, business models, specialized requirements and personalities.
The success of the project was defined by operational efficiency, employee comfort, cost-effective construction and building operations, as well as sustainable features. The planning process studied a variety of single and multiple building layouts which ultimately produced a campus of seven buildings totaling almost 310,000 square feet of enclosed area. The first building houses corporate offices, sales, warehouse, large equipment and specialized service bays and training rooms. The subsequent buildings include: The Rental Store, EPG and Power Solutions, dyno and testing shop, welding and truck repair shop, security building and a combined central plant and equipment wash bays. The site plan takes advantage of the multiple access points by immediately separating traffic flows into public access and parking; warehouse and parts access; rental and small equipment access; and large equipment delivery. Main public buildings and public parking are located on the perimeter of the site, while equipment delivery, cleaning, testing, repair and storage are located in a secured zone in the central part of the campus -- out of visual sightlines from surrounding roads and properties. This also allowed the high number of truck and service bay doors to be located away from public view. The site was required to include a pedestrian/ bicycle trail and public art program at the front of the project to interconnect to the city-wide trail system. The welding shop collaborated with SHarchitecture and the city to design and produce their own sculpture, benches and traffic bollards from recycled Caterpillar parts to relate to the facility. To further enhance and improve visibility and down-play the site’s industrial look, Cashman buried existing high-tension transmission power lines under the trail system at the front of the property.
Open work stations in the administration area feature greenguard furniture with recycled fabrics.
Creating a Sense of Place While Enhancing Brand Identity
Caterpillar standards for corporate identity and signage were key elements that had to be included in all the buildings and had to satisfy Cashman Equipment and Caterpillar, while adhering to the City of Henderson’s requirements. The unwritten constraints were to provide a significant building for the gateway to the City of Henderson, create the new sustainability standard for Caterpillar facilities and be a place employees would be proud to be a part of. SHarchitecture designed a series of simple rectilinear buildings with a limited materials palette that maintained an individual identity of each building while relating to each other. Through collaboration with Burke and Associates and a series of value engineering exercises, it was determined that simple tilt-up construction would be used for all buildings to control construction cost and construction timelines. All of the buildings - ranging from one to three stories – are exposed tilt-up concrete accented with yellow metal panels to reinforce the brand identity of Caterpillar. The interiors of the building were standardized throughout so all employees’ spaces were equal – even shop areas. Enclosed offices are based on two sizes and furnished the same in all buildings, open work stations are designed in three sizes and again furnished the same. This design philosophy also allows for the expansion and contraction of internal departments without having to reconfigure or remodel spaces. The office areas are arranged with open work stations outboard – along windows – and enclosed offices arranged inboard with glass fronts facing windowed areas. The campus broke ground in July 2007 and Cashman Equipment completed move-in of the final building by January 2009.
The Cashman Rental Store is a retail rental facility designed to service the contractor and subcontractor construction-related business.
Benefiting From Sustainability
At the very beginning of the project, MaryKaye Cashman made a statement to be as sustainable as possible while providing a pleasant and productive work environment for all employees. The resultant building is a LEED Gold-certified project that far exceeded anyone’s expectations. The highlights of the sustainable attributes include:
- 80 percent (814 tons) recycled construction debris
- 40 percent locally manufactured materials
- Low-flow water fixtures and dual flush toilets
- Xeriscape with no turf and 30 species of native plants
- Ground-source geothermal HVAC with 359 wells 400 feet deep looped through the central plant and distributed to all buildings on campus
- High performance, low-e dual glazing
- Interior, remote sensor controlled shades and exterior sunshades
- CO2 sensors throughout
- Daylight and occupancy sensors on all lighting controls throughout
- Natural lighting in all occupied spaces
- GreenGuard certified furniture
- Low/no VOC content in all products throughout
- In addition, 20 percent of all project materials are post-consumer recycled products which include:
- Concrete with 15 percent fly ash
- Terrazzo tile floors with recycled glass aggregate
- Paving with 35 percent recycled asphalt
- Recycled carpet materials
- Recycled fabrics on workstations and seating
- 75 percent recycled structural steel
- Employee lockers made from recycled milk cartons
Even with sustainability as an overriding component, before being incorporated into the project, all of the development’s sustainable attributes went through a life-cycle cost analysis to determine their economic viability. As part of the sustainability analysis, SHarchitecture identified other financial opportunities afforded to sustainable projects. This included significant tax rebates from the state and rebates from local utility companies. Coupled with energy cost savings, this results in a payback period of no more than seven years for the systems and products selected. The success of the sustainability programs has been embraced and enhanced by the employees and include internal recycling programs, carpool programs and green cleaning products. Other employee amenities include a large, central cafeteria and kitchen area, remote employee breakrooms and patios, an employee library, locker rooms with showers, training rooms and bicycle and motorcycle parking. The feature most noticed by the employees is the abundant natural light and views from their individual work areas.
The former Cashman facility has been recycled as well. Still owned by Cashman, the building has been remodeled and leased to a construction company that does not require the yard space or frontage that was lost to the freeway expansion.