Mahaffey’s client, a national production company, stepped in to help oversee the final phases of a large corporate event in California. The production company received an initial concept design and was afforded just two months of planning before the actual date of the event. Having worked with Mahaffey before, the production company contacted Mahaffey to see if it was possible to construction a roughly 45,000 square foot structure with multiple engineering and site challenges.
Mahaffey’s client only had about two months to make this project a reality. Given the large footprint, the client had to develop a plan that utilized existing structures in a manner that would
meet their end user’s overall vision for the project. In order to do this, there was a couple of weeks of back and forth development to ensure that the final product meet the end user’s vision and also was feasible from an actual production standpoint. After this process was completed, we were only a little over a week from beginning actual install. At this time, a site inspection was conducted and several issues were noted with the site. Multiple trees were in the footprint of the structure. Additionally, the parking lot had a slope deviation of over 6’.
As a tech powerhouse was preparing to announce its latest innovation, we were installing approximately 20,000 sq. ft. of structure to cover it. From the first day, we assumed the role of a partner and worked diligently with all members of their team to ensure a successful event. The client requested a large and tall structure for a product unveiling, which housed a large screen with theatre style seating for 250 executives. There were multiple product display areas, partitioned rooms and audio/visual centers. The client specifically requested 5m sides along with a custom 132’ black gable. We worked meticulously with the event producer and staff to develop strategies to enhance the aesthetics of the structure and create a unique appearance that would complement the branding of our customer’s client. We then worked with their creative team to develop a solution to ensure brand signage would seamlessly integrate into our structure, making the final installation a bit easier to manage. Also before install, we worked in conjunction with our customer to develop solutions for permitting, turf protection, entrance walkways and light rigging. We created a custom HVAC wall on site after determining the system that was sent would not be visually pleasing for the event. The client also requested a custom gable end in black, which had to be constructed so that no aluminum framing would be exposed.
There were multiple problems with no margin for error here as the final order was only finalized a couple of days before our team mobilized. First challenge was providing a structure with sufficient width and height to meet the needs of the end user. This required a 164’ wide structure with 17’ side height. This is a very unique structure. The structure also had to be installed over multiple trees that were in the parking lot. The structure had to undergo a special engineering run to ensure that it met the rigging requirements of the event. The floor had to be raised approximately 6’ in order to meet the slope of the lot. Additionally, the floor had to be designed to support scissor lifts so that rigging could be hung. Install time period was just under two weeks.
How Mahaffey Helped
Mahaffey had worked with the California Production Company in the past. With little production time being afforded to them, the nationwide Production Company called on Mahaffey to assist.
- Project Specificiations: We were contacted in the spring of 2013 to install a 132’ x 150’ clearspan structure on 17’ sides to house one of the largest technology unveilings of the century. The structure was fully enclosed with white fabric tops and sidewall, with one 132’ gable end in all black. We installed raised flooring with carpet and an engineered concrete ballast system. Six double doors with exit signs and a metal halide lighting package were also included. The event took place outside of Seattle, Washington.
- Solutions Provided: The following product solutions and services were provided for this project within a 72-hour complete mobilization timeline: 164’ x 278’ Structure: 6’ raised floor to accommodate forklift traffic
- Resources Required: A total of (2) install teams (1- structure and 1-flooring). These had to be large and skilled teams in order to meet the time line of the project.
The structure was set to be installed on an artificial soccer field that required turf protection. The field is located on top of a parking garage. The structure could not be secured with concrete anchors or stakes, but rather concrete ballasts. With engineers and IFAI’s tent ballasting study, we determined the necessary weight to secure it. The parking deck had a maximum PSF load rating that was less than the weight of the stacked ballasts. We successfully coordinated with our engineering team and the parking deck’s designer to develop a solution that required the custom fabrication of 6’ x 6’ steel plates. The plates were designed and manufactured in a matter of days to ensure that the materials would arrive in time to meet the install timeline. Logistics of getting materials to the site posed quite the challenge. Because of the sensitive grounds, we were asked to hand carry all materials in. 240 trips were made from the off-load area to the site (1000 ft) for the weights alone. Furthermore, the access road was not wide enough to get a forklift in and out plus the truck. So a great deal of maneuvering was involved. 10,000 sq. ft. of carpet padding was also installed at the last minute, for a softer feel and more professional look. AV, staging, risers, etc. were all installed prior to this, with the padding installed last to keep it from being ruined with foot and equipment traffic. This is the complete opposite of how we normally operate, so we had to cut around everything.
Mahaffey’s client was able to step in and provide the end user with a feasible structure solution that also met the end user’s initial vision for the event. All of this was accomplished in just two months from initial contact to actual event date.
We quickly worked to meet the unique challenges raised by the size of the structure in combination with the weight restrictions of the site. From working to develop challenging ballast solutions, custom gables and signage to building multiple plywood roads, solving carpet issues and offering equipment and additional labor outside our scope of work, we successfully met the challenges of our customer. The customer was extremely happy with the work we provided, and has already been in touch for us to cover another event later this year. Furthermore, the unpredictable weather of the Pacific Northwest was somewhat difficult to work around, but we worked smart and were able to overcome all obstacles.
When it comes to creating a successful event, Mahaffey's experienced partners and project managers knows that if you are committed to the success of the event, just about anything can be accomplished, no matter the limited planning time.
Production Company is a valued client of Mahaffey and we are happy to be a part of their team. We are willing to go the extra mile to ensure that their end users have memorable events that exceed their initial expectations.
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IFAI Award Winning Project
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