Pinkard Self Performs Unique Design Features
On the Moorhead Recreation Center project, BRS’s impressive rope wall was thoroughly mocked up in miniature during design.
During bidding, the feature was so unique only one subcontractor was willing to “throw a number at it” — to the tune of $20,000.
Convinced that the number was excessive, Pinkard decided to self-perform the work. After all, we would just be running a length of rope through a series of eyelets, pulling the rope tight, and we’d be done. We set aside one person to do the work in one day.
When it came time to construct the 70-foot-long art piece, the installation procedures determined during the mock-up phase didn’t work: the rope wouldn’t slide through the eyelets, and tensioning the rope to the required specifications caused stainless steel eyelet bolts to strip and shoot out at an alarming velocity entirely.
Senior PM Derek Stathis: “This installation was incredibly complicated. We had different colored climbing ropes looped up and down within a steel frame, with the loops interconnecting to form a colorful waterfall pattern. But you can’t just weave it all simultaneously and tighten it. You have to put it through a top, loop it in the middle of the frame with another section of rope coming up from the bottom,
then pull it to the top; then use the come-along to tighten it; clamp it off, then do another loop. You can’t pull more than one at a time because the eyelets are too small to let the rope slide freely. Our field engineer did it a little bit, and he got blisters. We did this for 1,000 feet of rope.”
Ultimately, this one-person job required two carpenters two full weeks to complete, and it required several field modifications including the addition of carabiners to help the rope slide and a rope safety system to eliminate the risk of the eyelet bolts blowing out.
The completed rope wall is stunning and the recreation center's crown jewel.