Recently Constructed Chicago-area Cabaret with Allied Steel Buildings Holds Back Flood Waters

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Design and workmanship save steel structure from flooding as neighboring buildings see extensive damage.

Chicago-area Club Opening

Club Opening

The Allied steel building held, and that’s incredible given the damage to the other buildings in the area.

When the Addison Creek water came rushing over its banks in April due to record-breaking rain in the Chicago area, many residents and businesses scrambled. So too did the owners of a nightclub and cabaret in Stone Park that had just completed construction and opened earlier in the year. They began calling the man who designed the building, Jim Ohle, an architect with decades of experience.

“I was getting hour-by-hour calls about what to do about different problems,” he said. “But the building held. The Allied steel building held, and that’s incredible given the damage to the other buildings in the area.”

When designing the 18,000-square-foot cavernous club filled with start-of-the-art technology and electronics, Ohle called Allied Steel Buildings even though he had never worked on a steel building before. He chose Allied Steel Buildings because of its reputation for quality and customer service. And he wasn't disappointed.

Ohle praised the company for working with him on design-engineering the building, taking into consideration the floodplain. The cabaret is on the banks of a river that’s prone to flooding.

The company provided Ohle with a not just weather-tight roofing and wall systems, but also incorporated a sealed enclosure at the base to keep water out, said Darren Sperling, director of major accounts at Allied Steel Buildings. The company used excellent quality materials for the job, he said.

“But it also has to be installed correctly,” Sperling said.

As three-and-half feet of water flooded other buildings, the club remained dry.

“I can’t help but to say to myself that Allied had a lot with that,” Ohle said.

Wind-driven rain pelted the building’s roof and wall systems. The rising and rushing water put additional pressure on the structure. The architect said that the care that Allied Steel Buildings took with the connection between the steel and the concrete helped keep the flood waters out.

It was during the design stage that Ohle instructed the company to take into account how the steel structure would respond to flooding. He praised the company’s responsiveness and its customer service.

“They listened to me, not just one of them — but all of them,” Ohle said about his contacts with Allied Steel Buildings. “Whoever I spoke with knew about the project, which is unusual in many organizations. They seem to have a set of core values to take every project seriously. They took mine seriously, and they didn't even know me.”

Ohle has designed buildings throughout the country. Each area presents a set of design challenges, whether it’s earthquakes on the West Coast or hurricanes in Florida. So he must take that into account. Still, he didn't expect to have such serious flooding in Stone Park so soon after the project was done. That type of flooding may happen again in another 40 years, he said.

As the rain fell and the Des Plaines waters crested over its banks, Ohle’s main job was talking to the clubs owners and contractors, keeping them calm. The building was under “unbelievable” pressure from water on all sides, he said. But it held.

“These guys did a good job,” Ohle said. And, that has him thinking: “I just about want to become a metal building architect,” he said.

Jim Ohle can be reached at 708-218-8274.

About Allied
Allied Steel Buildings is a leading supplier of pre-engineered steel buildings and prefabricated metal buildings systems. At Allied Steel Buildings, we offer exceptional prefab metal structures with outstanding customer service, committed to assisting you through each step of the building process. Our projects have been completed around the world, with a concentration in the Americas and the Caribbean. For assistance from our Project Managers, including design services and expert tips call 877-997-8335.

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Andrea Simon
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