Water is one of the most powerful forces in nature: patiently sculpting the splendor of the Grand Canyon over millennia instantly wiping out entire villages as a tsunami rushes inland; throwing massive clouds of water into the sky as it thunders over the mighty Victoria Fallsorsilently eroding the earth drip by drip.

AutoZone’s Terrell distribution center faced its own challenges with the erosive power of water. Whether it was hundreds of gallons of morning dew collecting and pouring off a fourteen-acre roof daily, or heavy rainfalls for days on end, water and the hundreds of 18-wheelers arriving and departing at the terminal each day, after eleven years their parking lot resembled the bombed-outstreets of Beirut.

A multi-million-dollar repaving project was planned but the concern was how to prevent a repeat of the problem. Underground drainage was a part of that solution but moving the water from the roof to the underground system was the next challenge. An engineer designed a system that would funnel water from the existing downspouts using 18”HDPE pipes located halfway up the building walls and divert them to the underground connectors.

Titan Contractors had completed the new TPO roof the previous year and was asked to bid the new project. Using the materials specified by the engineer, the price tag was over $1,500,000. Autozone decided to cancel the project because of the unexpected expense.

At Titan, we put on our thinking hats and came up with a value-engineered alternative that accomplished the same objective but at a quarter of the cost.

Halfway up the building walls, a custom fabricated metal trough made of 18-gauge steel and 24” in width replaced the more expensive HDPE pipes. Over 900 specially-designed metal brackets anchored the trough to the walls every 24” providing enough strength to support the weight of two men standing in a ten-foot section of the trough to simulate the water produced by a one-hundred-year event rainstorm. Existing gutters were cut back and diverted to the trough, and the trough was connected to the underground HDPE connectors at twelve strategic locations around the perimeter of the building.

Today, the parking lot and driveways are desert dry each morning despite the hundreds of gallons of morning dew that come off the roof, and the gutter / trough solution has moved even the heaviest of rainstorms efficiently into the underground drainage system, helping to preserve Autozone’s investment into their new parking lot.

They say that if the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail. At Titan Contractors, we pride ourselves on looking at the problem from the perspective of our customers and then finding the right tool and the right solution.

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