Barrier One, the creator of a secret formula for an additive that keeps concrete from leaking moisture after it cures, is building a new headquarters in Winter Garden.
Predictably it will be made completely of concrete and also make use of a number of innovative new construction techniques, says Barrier One founder and CEO Richard Koon.
Barrier One, with 14 employees, is so successful that it has outgrown its rented space in Ocoee, just two miles from the Winter Garden Commerce Center where the company's new 15,000-square-foot headquarters and manufacturing plant will be built, Koon said.
Keeping moisture from leaking out of concrete creates a concrete slab that is less likely to cause flooring systems installed on top to fail as the water vapor inside the concrete leaks out over time, destroying the flooring, said Koon.
"It keeps water from coming out of the concrete forever," he said of his invention.
Koon has not patented the formula he devised because it would require the average person to be able to reproduce it. Instead, like Coca-Cola, he keeps the formula for the product secret.
The concrete additive has been used in the new sections of the Panama Canal. but commercial buildings, particularly for medical applications is the more typical use for the product, he said.
Since the additive hit the market about 10 years ago, it has been used successfully in 1,700 projects in North America, said Koon, who spent decades working in the commercial flooring field before he was challenged to come up with a solution by a client.
"I was doing that for decades when one of my clients (in health care) prodded me to do this.." he remembered. "He said, 'We are spending millions and millions fixing floors that failed because of moisture, why don't you fix it?' So I did."
Koon is using the construction of the company's headquarters and manufacturing facility as a test for a number of innovative concrete construction techniques, he said. There will be a concrete roof system seldom seen in Florida, but ideal for the climate. An insulated tank built into the building will be filled with water heated by solar power. The hot water keeps the temperature ideal for making the additive mix.
The walls will be sandwiches of precast insulated concrete panels that will be manufactured and then tilted up on the site. The "bread" of the sandwich is two, four-inch-thick concrete slabs. The filling is rigid insulation.
On one side of the building, where fill needs to be added to bring the driveway up to the height of the building, rather than creating a form and filling it with compacted dirt, Barrier One intends to use special cones inside the form and then pour a concrete slurry around the cones to better support the weight and save about $50,000 in construction costs, he said.
The entire process will be documented by four cameras set up in the four corners of the site. In addition, a documentary film crew will be filming the work.
The building has construction approval from the City of Winter Garden, but still needs to go through a pre-construction meeting with the Winter Garden building department.
Ground breaking is 45 to 60 days away and the build is expected to take four months after construction starts. "The deadline (for completion) is December, whoever the general contractor is," said Koon.