MIG Construction Services LLC

MIG Construction Services LLC is a west Tennessee steel fabrication company that is certified by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) and is a minority business enterprise. Since entering the industrial, commercial and medical construction markets in 2007, MIG Construction Services led by CEO Andre Gist has successfully completed projects ranging from large miscellaneous to heavy structural ones.

As an AISC-certified fabricator, MIG strives to provide steel fabrication solutions to the construction industry. On each project, MIG strives to become an integrated player in the success of a project by anticipating problems and coordinating solutions for the good of the entire project.

Fabricating steel for construction projects is a multifaceted activity that can involve multiple suppliers. In the case of a unique elliptical, tapered tower that will punctuate the Talley Student Center at North Carolina State University, complex roll-forming and machining of the steel that will encircle the tower required subcontracting those functions to specialists. 

These specialists then returned the components to MIG Construction Services for assembly. After assembly in layers, one inside the other, the components are taken apart and match-marked for shipping to the applicator of the sophisticated paint finish, then shipped to a storage yard until final shipment to the construction site for installation.

The 115-foot-tall tower, measuring roughly 40 feet in diameter at its base, will be a hollow framework encircled with steel, similar to the stripes on a barber pole. It wraps around an elevator, through an opening in the roof of the student center and intersects with walkways in the building. Then it extends upward, where it is joined by a vertical pipe rising 35 feet above the structure, making it nearly 150 feet tall. On that pipe hangs a structure to support signage or an LED screen to show pictures or messages to the students, all resembling the mast and sail on a boat.

Not an Exact Science

Detailer Anatomic Iron builds each roll-formed part in a model and then sends the drawings to Paramount Roll Forming in Santa Fe Springs, Calif. “Looking at our drawings you would see twisted tubes all the way down the side of the tower,” MIG Operations Manager Richard Gast explains. “Each tube has plus or minus dimensions down the sides to tell the CNC programer at Paramount what distance off the X and Y axis he has to use to develop that CNC program for each tube.” Once these CNC programs are completed, Paramount uses heat induction bending to create the conical shapes in the tubes and plates.

Although MIG Constructions Services roll-forms smaller components, such as hand rails and pipe, some operations like the complex roll forming for the Talley Student Center project must be subcontracted. “It is pretty normal in our industry to sub out work” Gast notes. “Most shops cannot do it all. Good vendors are a necessity in our business.”

Even with the use of building information modeling software by the architect Duda Payne and Anatomic Iron’s detailing software, it can be difficult to produce all the roll-formed pieces with 100-percent accuracy. “So far, the rolling has been good,” Gast declares. “I think we’ve had a relatively small percentage of pieces needing tweeking. Roll forming is not an exact science, so we know we’re going to have some minor issues for some parts. We mitigate those issues as much as possible by heating the parts and fitting them into place. Our fabricators are some the best I’ve seen in my 30-plus years in steel fabrication.”

Section by Section

The parts are shipped from the roll former in California to MIG Construction Services’ 45,000-square-foot shop in Lexington, Tenn. “They do a very good job of rolling for us, but the freight becomes a big expense,” Gast concedes. At MIG’s plant, each layer is assembled with heights varying from 8 feet to 19 feet, 6 inches to make up each full layer.

“Each layer is built within itself after the previous layer is removed,” Gast explains. “So we’ll build the full layer to the top, transfer all the connection points down to the floor, take that first layer apart and start building the next layer so everything matches up. It’s quite a project. From here, we take it apart into shippable sizes, match-mark each piece and send it to Georgia to be sandblasted and apply the three-coat urethane finish. From there, it ships to North Carolina.”

The only painting MIG does at its facility is a standard shop coat primer and some finish painting. “My attitude has always been if it can be drawn, we can fabricate it,” Gast says. “We do all types of structural and miscellaneous iron and love to do fabrication that other fabricators can’t or won’t do.” 

Many of MIG Construction Services’ projects are in Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi and Alabama. Occasional projects are in Georgia, and the company is seeking more work in North Carolina. “MIG’s strength is the group of people that we have working here,” Gast emphasizes. “We have a great team here. We’re trying to build that team to be one of the best in the region, and hopefully beyond it in the near future. I honestly believe that anybody that experiences MIG will walk away with a good experience on their project.”

The tower at the Talley Student Center might bring MIG Construction Services more projects and can be seen on YouTube. “It’s great showpiece,” Gast points out. “The Talley project is a structural steel job, but it is a different type of structural steel job, because it is more of an art piece than a structural steel piece. Those are different markets that we can look at. We hope that people will look at Talley and say, ‘I want the company that fabricated that iron on my job.’”

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