In 2016, Erwin Hymer Group North America (EHGNA), acquired Roadtrek—North America’s leading manufacturer of class B motorhomes. Roadtrek is one of EHGNA’s four brands and offers 10 models and innovative products including the EcoTrek Lithium power module system and VoltStart auto-start system. Roadtrek manufactured 30,000 units in 2017.
Over the past year, Roadtrek repurposed the former Blackberry manufacturing plant in Cambridge. The new location is home to Erwin Hymer’s North American head office which includes office space, research and development, engineering, RV trailer assembly and some parts manufacturing, with plans to build both A & C class buses and trailers.
Roadtrek and Arcadian Projects began their journey together four years ago when Arcadian recommended a cost-effective approach to a lighting retrofit project at Roadtrek’s Shirley Drive location in Kitchener. While LED pricing was not as attractive at the time, there were significant rebates with the Save ON Energy program for T5 lighting products. Well-versed in government incentive programs, Arcadian secured a lighting incentive rebate from the City of Kitchener that meant Roadtrek only needed to pay for labour on the project. Roadtrek was pleased with Arcadian’s proposal that guaranteed payback in less than a year.
Over the last few years, Arcadian has worked with Roadtrek on various indoor and outdoor lighting projects, electrical work and equipment installations at their two Kitchener locations.
When Erwin Hymer Group North America acquired Roadtrek, Arcadian Projects was first in line to provide construction services on the former BlackBerry manufacturing facility. EHGNA appreciated Arcadian Project’s responsiveness, competitive pricing, and positive working relationship with Roadtrek. Arcadian was contracted to repurpose the building, utilizing the Arcadian Lighting Systems, Industrial, and Energy Management divisions.
Repurposing the building was an interesting project as it had previously housed BlackBerry’s manufacturing and R&D facilities. Multiple security turnstile checkpoints and thousands of square feet of climate controlled testing and laboratory space, necessitated extensive demolition. In total, Arcadian demoed 58,000 square feet upstairs and 20,000 square feet downstairs—including all electrical systems and HVAC systems not required in the new building.
To meet Roadtrek’s manufacturing, assembly, R&D and office requirements, the building design needed interior and exterior modifications. Outside, new parking lots were constructed to accommodate employees and finished product. The interior was outfitted with a new, high-efficiency LED lighting system and modifications were made to the HVAC and electrical systems. Construction alterations provided larger locker rooms for males and females and a more functional cafeteria.
Arcadian handled the entire application and rebate process, for a new LED lighting system, under the Energy+ incentive program. The new lighting system will not only deliver valuable energy savings, but the 16’6” high zone-sensor lights will also provide employees with a brighter workspace, helping to increase employee productivity and well-being.
As with most building repurposing projects, there were a few bumps in the road. The original building design was for B-Class trailers with non-combustible parts, i.e., engines. Due to overwhelming demand, the new facility also needed to accommodate B-Class RV Vans, which altered the building purpose and permit type required. New permit applications, including engineered drawings for combustible applications and all repurposing changes, had to be submitted.
The project schedule was tight. Construction began in January of 2017 and completion was scheduled for June when production was to start. Despite the challenges, the facility was running by July thanks to effective collaboration and compromise between Roadtrek and Arcadian Projects! Creative workarounds kept the project moving while waiting for appropriate permits.
FUTURE AND ON-GOING WORK
Though the facility is operational, Roadtrek has big plans for the future. Erwin Hymer Group prioritizes investing in their employees and intends to construct an onsite gym and daycare. They are also planning an expansion to accommodate commercial trailers and A & C class vehicles. Currently, Arcadian is executing building modifications for electrical and mechanical systems, and is hoping to implement more green building processes and efficiency upgrades.