Converting a casino into a public safety administration building requires some imagination. More than 90,000 square-feet of insulated metal panels from Metl-Span assisted with the transition and helped the Detroit Public Safety Headquarters become the city’s first facility to achieve LEED-certified status.

The building, originally an office for the Internal Revenue Service, was left abandoned twice—once by the IRS and a second time by MGM Casino, which purchased the facility to be used as a temporary casino until its new building was completed. The City of Detroit purchased the building and began refurbishing in the spring of 2012. It now houses offices for the city’s police and fire administrative personnel, the Michigan State Police Metropolitan Forensic Laboratory, the city’s Building Authority office, Homeland Security office and Information Technology Services Group.

“Insulated metal panel was identified early in the design process as an ideal over-cladding product,” said Bill Ash, AIA, LEED AP and principal at SmithGroupJJR. “It allowed us to leave many existing exterior walls and wall framings in place and use a single product for air barrier, insulation and vapor barrier, all with the added benefit of a new, modernized and appealing skin. Cutting down on the number of involved trades decreased install time and enhanced collaboration with the design team. Metl-Span’s product was a great fit for a project with high aesthetic expectations, a demanding schedule and a tight budget.”

CEI Group LLC of Howell, Mich., was charged with the task of installing the Metl-Span insulated metal wall panels: almost 51,000 square-feet of horizontal 2-inch CFA panels in widths of 40, 36 and 32 inches and just more than 40,000 square-feet of vertical 2-inch CFA panels in widths of 36 and 24 inches. The horizontal panels were all custom Submarine Gray, while the vertical panels were manufactured in three colors, custom Key Largo, Tarryton and Sweet Nothings.

“It was a unique install because of the different size panels,” said Eric Reid, metal operations estimator and project manager for CEI Group. “We had to make sure we installed the right size and right color panel in the right spot. There are multiple areas where there are different size and different color panels. It looks great and it’s certainly good for us to put our name on a project like this.”

CEI Group has worked extensively with Metl-Span products, but Reid said this was by far the largest project his crew has worked on. Crew members were installing panels from a hoist lowered from the roof, while a separate hoist was bringing panels to the crews.

After the original building skin was removed, Metl-Span panels were installed on some existing framing, but some areas required additional framing. “Insulated metal panels were chosen because of their ease of installation, how quick it goes up,” Reid said. “It acts as an air and vapor barrier and is aesthetically pleasing.”