Cooling Tower Basin Design, Fabrication and Installation
Metal Fabrication & Installation Contractor 717-207-8985


Cooling Tower Basin Design, Fabrication and Installation
Cooling Tower Basin Design, Fabrication and Installation

PROJECT:  Cooling Tower Basin
PROJECT TYPE:  Design, Fabrication and Installation of a stainless steel basin
PROJECT LOCATION:  Penn State University



Earlier this year, a GSM Industrial customer was awarded a cooling tower project for Penn State University.  The West Campus Chiller Building required a custom-fabricated, stainless steel 3,000 sq. ft. basin for a new cooling tower.  This GSM customer tasked us with the design, fabrication, and installation of the basin which required careful collaboration between our design, shop, and field departments to execute a successful project.



After receiving our customer’s structural drawings and a site visit to PSU West Campus, GSM was able to provide detailed fabrication and installation drawings.  The drawings included details on pre-fabricated basin sections such as the floor and walls, outlet sump drains, overflow pipes, additional steel supports, and a catwalk to span the new cooling towers.


After the design services were completed, it was time to move on to fabricating the basin floor and wall sections, supports, catwalk, and other miscellaneous items.  The fabrication and weldments were completed in the shop with a constant focus on ease of installation so that GSM Industrial would be able to meet the required deliverables.  While the majority of the welding was done in the field, any of the welds that were completed in the shop, during the fabrication process, needed to be leak-free to meet our customer’s needs.


The final stage of the project required GSM Industrial to install the cooling tower basin and all of the associated components. This process required Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding of over 1,000 linear feet.  Because all of the welds had to be leak-free, GSM utilized backing strips to facilitate complete joint penetration.


Like most installation projects, GSM Industrial had a number of challenges to overcome with this project.

The project was completed during the peak of the summer heat on a roof with no overhead protection. In addition to the extreme heat, the field crew was exposed to humidity and rain. The heat and humidity also affect metals and make the stainless sheets more prone to warpage.

Getting the basin up to the cooling tower required the use of a crane.  While this normally wouldn’t be a challenge, this particular building had a high parapet wall around the roofline that made it impossible to visually communicate with the crane operator.  All communications were done blindly with the use of a radio.

In addition to the weather and lack of crane visibility, GSM Industrial faced yet another challenge; there was no laydown area for pre-fabricated items coming from the shop.  As a result, the GSM team had to coordinate very specific truck delivery times.


Although GSM was faced with multiple challenges, our team’s experience and flexibility allowed GSM to tackle all of the challenges head-on and see the project through to completion.  We performed the work flawlessly, completed the project ahead of schedule and all deliverables were not only met but exceeded.

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