Ski Lodge Raised from the Ashes

On Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012, the original Sundial Ski Lodge, constructed in 1995 at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Farmington, PA, was destroyed by fire.


Soon after, a design-build team was assembled, that included Martik Brothers General Contractor of Finleyville, PA, DRS Architects of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Design Services (Structural Engineer) of Morgantown, WV.  Key subcontractors in the effort included CEC (Steel Fabricator) of Morgantown, WV, and Vermont Timberworks of North Springfield, VT. )

The fire totally gutted the facility. By Dec. 2012, the replacement lodge was designed and constructed. As in any design-build project, the schedule was accelerated. In this case, the process was on steroids, particularly since timber frame components had to be fabricated, delivered and erected in less than a two month period.  The facility had to be ready for 2012 ski season.

Before:   Sundial_Ski_Lodge_Before_ReconstructionThe original sundial sculpture, which survived the blaze, stands at the entrance of the new facility as a reminder of the past and a gateway to the future.      
After:Sundial_Ski_Lordge_After_Reconstruction(Credit:  Roy Engelbrecht Photography)

The structure consisted of a combination of timber frame, structural steel and masonry. The immediate need was to get foundations and subsequently the structural framing in place. The design team turned to CEC for fabrication of the steel package.

The structural steel package consisted of approximately 100 TONS. The steel design documents were transmitted to CEC July 23. Steel shop drawings were completed and submitted to the E.O.R. (ADS) for review Aug. 10, 2012. ADS reviewed and approved the shop drawings Aug. 15, 2012.

Throughout the detailing process by CEC, there were nine design changes simply due to the fact that design was progressing at the same time. Close coordination of the design team and CEC through daily contact kept the detailing process on schedule.  Anchor bolts were delivered to the site July 30. Steel fabrication started Aug. 20, with the first steel delivery on-site Sept. 4. Fabrication and deliveries were completed Sept. 11.

All work was completed in REVIT. The structural model was then converted to an IFC file, which then was imported into CEC’s TEKLA detailing software. This process saved at least four weeks in the process over “old school” detailing methods.



Dec. 13, 2012:  View from second floor.  A 40′ floor to ceiling glass wall with a center fireplace and large timbers are the focal point. The staircase also makes a statement in the open space.  (Credit:  Nemacolin website)

DRS Architects said it typically takes up to two years to design and construct such a project. They credited the Sundial Lodge’s quick turnaround to having “the best people” in the business working on it.

ADS provides Structural and MEP facility engineering design services to architects, industrial and commercial contractors and owners. We understand that engineering is not a stand-alone function but a part of the design effort of the architect and other consultants. Our job doesn’t stop at the delivery of construction drawings. Understanding the construction process is as important. ADS is the link between the architects creativity and the efficient construction of the project.

To see more athletic and recreation facilities ADS has worked on, click here!

Thanks for reading,


Written by David Simpson, P.E., SECB, MBA, President, Principal Engineer

dave-simpson2David Simpson’s experience includes over 30 years in structural design and project management for industrial, commercial, institutional and nuclear/chemical facilities utilizing steel, concrete, masonry and wood. His accomplishments include design and construction administration of health care facilities, hotels, schools, shopping centers, aircraft hangars, numerous retail facilities and several forensic engineering assignments. He has professional registrations in D.C., Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. Simpson graduated from the West Virginia Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and an MBA from West Virginia University.