The Las Vegas office of glazing and curtain wall subcontractor Enclos drew a royal flush last year, tripling its revenue to $150 million from $50 million based on a trio of high-profile local projects.
In addition to the $2-billion, 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium, home to the National Football League’s newly relocated Raiders franchise, the firm concurrently lent its expertise to the $1-billion, 44-story Circa (18 Fremont), a hotel and casino in downtown Las Vegas. It also worked on the 70-story, 3,000-room Resorts World, a pair of adjoining towers marking the first phase of a multibillion-dollar gaming and hotel complex on the Vegas Strip. The stadium is complete, and the other two projects are expected to come online later this year.
While Resorts World called for 1.2 million sq ft of reflective, tinted-bronze glazing and red metal panels, Allegiant Stadium required Enclos crews to install about 410,000 sq ft of dark gray- and black-tinted glazing and protruding metal ribbons that zigzag across the facade. Circa called for 175,000 sq ft of dark, reflective glass and panels, all with a slight amber tint.
The projects collectively account for more than 1.77 million sq ft of unitized curtain wall. The Allegiant Stadium and Resorts World panels were produced by a 120,000-sq-ft Phoenix-area assembly plant that Eagan, Minn.-headquartered Enclos established in order to serve projects in the West and Southwest. The facility operates six production lines and, at optimum periods, employs up to 80 workers, says Joseph A. Welch, plant superintendent.
Recent activity marks a resurgence of sorts for the company’s Las Vegas operations, following a lull in local demand for the high-profile, signature projects that it and 14 other Enclos offices typically pursue. “We don’t simply provide pre-engineered, off-the-shelf solutions,” says Mike Coulter, vice president for operations with the firm’s Las Vegas office. “Instead, we’ve established a niche in providing a custom curtain wall solutions approach that removes the handcuffs from architects and invariably supports larger-scale, complex projects. This may contribute to why you see 10 office buildings rising simultaneously but only a few structures with more challenging facades.”
“Enclos brings a wealth of expertise to the table, whether mechanical or structural, to create the most efficient systems with respect to performance, cost and minimizing waste,” says Tom Richardson, senior project manager with the Henderson, Nev., office of general contractor McCarthy Building Cos., a longtime collaborator with the firm, most recently on the Circa and Allegiant Stadium projects. “They walk in the room with the whole project thought through, and you can see the lights go off in the architects’ eyes,” he says.
A Game Changer
During a regional boom cycle extending from 2006 to 2009, before the Great Recession, Enclos’ facades helped change the face of Las Vegas, with projects that included Trump International Hotel and Tower, Wynn and Encore Towers, MGM CityCenter, Aria Resort & Casino, Planet Hollywood Towers and Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
Enclos’ Vegas office maintains the skill set and resources to build big. Its crews have mastered the design, engineering, fabrication, assembly and erection of numerous custom systems. In the area of acoustics, Enclos has swapped out the more standard dual panes with an insulated space between them for two pairs of glazing, each of them laminated. That innovation helps block sound penetration on the south facade of Circa, where a swimming pool and event spaces are located.
To expedite construction of Resorts World, Enclos devised twin-span unitized curtain wall units measuring 21 ft tall and 6 ft wide, thus reducing the number of lifts by enclosing two floors at once, says Mike Padgett, executive vice president of field operations for all Enclos projects, including those in Las Vegas. “Resorts and casinos are all about schedule,” he says. “The sooner they open, the sooner they earn revenue.”
Glazing work at the steel-framed Allegiant Stadium involved collaboration among project architect MANICA Architecture, Kansas City, Mo., structural engineer Arup and Enclos’ kinetics division, which created six megapanels, each the size of a basketball court and weighing 58,000 lb. Four of the megapanels function as operable lanai doors at one end of the stadium that open to vistas of the Las Vegas strip, Coulter says.
The stadium’s 12-degree slope from bottom to top precluded standard rectilinear glazing, says Keith Robinson, director with MANICA. The architect collaborated with Enclos to reduce the number of custom panels from a budget-breaking 8,000 to roughly 2,400, chiefly by focusing on tolerances among members. “We worked with Enclos right up to fabrication,” Robinson says. “Its staff took what we aspired to accomplish and made it a reality.”
On Board Early
The firm, currently staffed with 65 office and field personnel in Las Vegas, frequently joins projects as early as the conceptual phase, providing design-assist services or serving as the curtain wall’s design-builder, with representatives from project management and field operations on hand. Early discussions not only focus on potential design solutions but also on their impact on installation and safety practices, says Padgett.
Based in the firm’s San Juan Capistrano, Calif.-based office, Padgett gets field reports from both a regional superintendent and a Las Vegas-based general superintendent, both of whom “touch all projects,” he says. Padgett travels to projects several times during their life cycle, from inception through completion.
From the outset, Enclos typically assigns a project executive, senior project manager and assistant project manager to collaborate with a client and its project team. The company supplies additional managerial resources if projects rise to the scope of Resorts World or Allegiant Stadium.
While project executives work on several projects concurrently, focusing on fulfillment of contractual obligations, “senior project managers are 100% dedicated to individual projects from start to finish,” Coulter says. Detailing is performed by designers and engineers in the firm’s Minneapolis, Montreal and St. Louis offices. Enclos engages in both virtual reality and 3D modeling to flesh out designs, with a modeler on hand in each branch office, including Las Vegas.
The Phoenix plant is charged with assembling prefabricated components that derive from a global supply chain to help optimize quality and price, regardless of a vendor’s location, Coulter says. The plant tracks units via QR code with an Enclos-created app, allowing workers to trim units quickly and prep them for the final installation sequence.
“We produced up to 72 curtain wall units a day during peak periods involving both Resorts World and the Raiders Stadium,” Welch says. “Most days we averaged 50 units per day.”
For purposes of quality control, a worker inspects glazing pieces at each production station before they proceed to the next, Coulter says, noting that iPads at stations capture images of glazing units under various stages of assembly and place them in a cloud-based server, allowing others to evaluate the product in real time. Crews also create performance mock-ups of installations and view Enclos-generated animation of processes and practices, Padgett says.
Jobsite safety is paramount. Enclos requires all crew members to have at least 10 hours of OSHA training and supervisors at least 30 hours, according to Padgett. The company’s site-specific safety training includes a job-hazard analysis for virtually every task.
The COVID-19 virus has created additional layers of complexity, with daily huddles to review health practices, from self-monitoring and social distancing to the correct method for wearing masks. Schedules among trades, curtain wall crews included, are staggered to reduce the number of employees taking hoists together to the upper floors.
However, the pandemic has had a broader impact. Many regional projects, some of which Enclos planned to bid on, “are on pause,” says Coulter. “That’s an expression we hear more and more these days. We still plan on submitting bids when conditions improve,” he says. “Meanwhile, we’re using the additional time to refine our proposal processes.”