Cross-linked polyethylene pipe helps the new Wilshire Grand Center building in Los Angeles — the highest skyscraper west of the Mississippi River — stand tall.
Flexible PEX pipe from Uponor Corp. circulated through the concrete base of the new $1.35 billion, 73-story tower to cure the concrete in the 18-foot deep base of the tower.
The Wilshire Grand Center officially opened June 23. It houses 400,000 square feet of office space, restaurants and the 900-room InterContinental Hotel.
Uponor's PEX remains in the 18-foot-deep base having completed its mission in March 2014. The pipes and tubes are filled with grout.
Skokie, Ill.-based CTL Group, doing business as Construction Technology Laboratories, provided the theoretical thermodynamic expertise on how to cure such a mass concrete construction job.
For the project, "we looked at several different products" including Uponor PEX, said Bill Thomas, estimator and project manager in the piping division of Couts Heating and Cooling Inc. of Corona, Calif. Thomas retired in early 2016 but talked to Plastics News about the project in 2014.
Couts was the major design contributor on the PEX portion of the project for structural concrete supplier Conco Cos. in Fontana, Calif.
"We needed to get it through the rebar," Thomas said. "For testing, we took a 20-foot loop to run along the rebar. We found it was the most pliable to loop back, and then we connected it with nylon cable zip ties."