Wells Concrete celebrated its grand opening Aug. 27 with a tour of its 122,673 square feet of space that sits on 65.5 acres. The firm is at 2145 E. Crown Prince Blvd.
“We produce precast concrete. It’s like Legos. We make all the pieces in our plant and take it to the job site. It’s built into office buildings, parking garages, warehouse buildings, libraries, municipal buildings. The Adams County Justice Center is built with precast concrete. We did that project,” said Dan Parker, director of client services.
Brighton Mayor Greg Mills was on the tour.
“It’s exciting to bring jobs closer to Brighton and high-paying jobs and also high-impact jobs. It takes away from Adams County but both Adams and Weld County will benefit,” said Mills.
Wells Concrete is a Minnesota company that started in 1951. There are three operating plants in Minnesota.
“Rocky Mountain Prestress has been in business since 1958. In January of 2019, Wells acquired Rocky Mountain Prestress. Now we are all Wells Concrete,” said Parker.
Rocky Mountain Prestress sold the land in Denver.
“We had been talking about building a plant here and relocating. We researched sites and landed here in Brighton,” Parker said.
At the end of May, the new-look firm started producing the concrete at the new plant.
“We shut down our architectural plant this week, and all those people will be moving up here. We have a good backlog, and we are busy. Lots of labor position and all kinds of positions from mechanics and different types of operating positions,” said Parker. “We are very excited to be here in Brighton. The city was closing in around us where we were, and it’s a nice area and is close to highways, which is easy access.”
Parker said new means of construction mean faster construction times.
“The selling point is the schedule and speed to market. For the owners out there, you are getting a construction loan. You are not paying on loan as long and generate income soon,” Parker said.
“We can have a building done from six to eight months, once its cast is in place. It is built twice as fast as other construction,” said Bob Geils, Wells Concrete sales representative. “The concrete walls are very durable. The walls are created by a process of pouring concrete into a cast. The installation is added, then concrete. Then the prestressed installed wall panel is picked by a large automated crane, and is shipped off to the job site.”
“The concrete is durable. People in Louisiana right now, if you have a precast building, you would not have to worry about the hurricane. It would still be there after the hurricane,” said Parker. “Also, the precast panel is thermally efficient.”
The Wells facility has its own fabrication shop that makes all of the plates and contact pieces that are the wall panels.
“We do all the erection materials, jumper plates and embed plates that are welded together. It’s part of the erection material,” Parker said. “We do contract material connections for the foundations. We are given the contract plans and layouts. The plates are made and its cast into the foundation. The fab shop gets raw material plates and rebar. We fabricate, cut it and bend it, shear and punch it, then weld it.”
The engineering department creates the drawings. All of the pieces are designed for each project. Every piece is custom-made for that particular project. The design group designs the precast and all the connections.
“Everything comes out of our engineering department. We get loading information from the engineer of record that will tell us live loads, dead loads, wind loads and seismic loads. Then they give us the design, and we design all the building with all these plates that are cast into our product or into a foundation,” said Parker.
They use different colors of sand to add color to create the walls. Parker said the first double-tee or double beam concrete wall was formed in Colorado in 1955.
“We have flat wall panels and double. Drive down Interstate 70. Double-tee warehouses are everywhere,” said Parker.
City Councilman Mark Humbert also joined the mayor on the tour.
“Any time we can get more primary jobs here – a new business of building – Brighton is still about building. The city itself is actually growing. It the kind of thing we need,” Humbert said.
Photos: 1) The exterior of the new Wells Concrete plant in Brighton; 2) Brighton Mayor Greg Mills (left) and Acting City Manager Marv Falconburg (right) on the tour through the new Wells Concrete facility; 3) A Wells employee puts together rebar and other pieces that are installed in the precast wall panel, of which concrete is poured on top of; 4) The fabrication shop where connections for wall panels are welded together. Photos by Belen Ward