A new addition to the Cleveland skyline is now accepting tenants, who will work in comfort provided by a leading local contractor. The Ernst & Young Tower, located on the Flats East Bank, is a 19-story, 660,000 sq.ft. office tower that provides what is perhaps the most impressive view of Lake Erie, downtown Cleveland and surrounding suburbs. The building also represents another step in the ongoing rebuilding of Cleveland’s Flats area.

Coleman-Spohn Corporation of Cleveland installed the mechanical systems for Ernst & Young Tower. The firm was founded in 1911 as Spohn Corporation, and became Coleman-Spohn in 1994, with the merger of ColeJon Corporation and Spohn Corporation. Lonnie Coleman is president; David Kause is vice president; and Olivia Germany is chief financial officer.

Coleman-Spohn’s many local clients include The Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Browns Stadium (now First Energy Stadium), University Hospitals, and the 57-story Key Tower.

Project manager Scott Cejka (pronounced chay-ka) has been with Coleman-Spohn for 13 years. He says two main ingredients helped him see this project through to a successful finish: prayer and planning. A devout Christian, Cejka prayed each day as he travelled to the site, for the safety of the crew and the success of the project. “I believe my faith has a lot to do with my success,” he says.

The “planning” part required the successful engineering of some of the commercial HVAC industry’s most popular brands. The mechanical systems in place at Ernst & Young Tower include two York 500-ton chillers, six Air Enterprise air handlers, each with a rated capacity of 92,500 CFM; Systecon pumps; Thermal Solution boilers; ABB variable frequency drives to control the pump assembles; and an Evapco cooling tower with two 500-ton cells.

One year was required to plan the layout of the building’s mechanical systems, and one year to install. Building Information Modeling (BIM) with Revit was used in the architectural design stage. Coleman-Spohn prefabricated all hangers, piping systems, and restroom plumbing at its facility in Cleveland, which is located a short three miles from the jobsite.

“We had a limited budget, but were expected to deliver a high quality product, therefore it was important to prefabricate as much as we could off-site and bring it onsite,” Cejka explains. “We used spool drawings as roadmaps for our pipefitters and plumbers to assemble the prefabricated materials. The time saved through prefabrication is tremendous. It can vary with the logistics of each project, but labor and the time to install can be reduced by half in some cases when parts are brought in ready-to-install.”

The 30-man crew was comprised of Coleman-Spohn employees, pipefitters from Cleveland Local 120, and plumbers representing Cleveland Local 55.

“I’m proud of our men. The quality of work they do can be seen in an end result like this. This is why we do the large projects in Cleveland,” Cejka says.

Cejka and Coleman-Spohn were brought in at the very start of this Design/Assist project. Thorson Baker & Associates of Richfield, OH was the engineer of record. As the design progressed, Cejka worked with Coleman-Spohn engineer Karl Mews in advising the team from general contractor Gilbane Building Co. on a variety of mechanical issues.

“Based on my experience, I was there to advise on what could be tweaked, added to or eliminated from the design to improve the entire project,” Cejka says. “We of course had to stay within the budget, yet still deliver the quality product the owner expected to see. Our team had many discussions to explore what we could do to refine the project. My role was to function as someone with project experience and pricing knowledge, to help keep the design in line with the budget.”

Once the job got rolling, Cejka juggled various prefabrication details, manpower assignments, troubleshooting, and discussions with labor teams.

He says this project strengthened his appreciation for prefabrication in today’s construction world. “It really saved the day,” he says. “I learned even more about the importance of a team.  Everyone has to be excited about the project and work an honest day to get the job done. That’s critical. Between that and the fabrication process, I don’t think there’s anything more important in today’s environment.”