BERLIN — A Wallingford materials testing firm is moving to Berlin because a construction boom has it looking for more space and a more centralized location.
“Why we chose Berlin was because Berlin’s a central hub in the state and we have field inspectors that travel all the way to Stamford, down to Norwalk… all over the state of Connecticut,” said Shawn Chaudhary, director of strategy and business development at Tri State Materials Lab in Wallingford.
After residing at 160 S. Turnpike Road since around 2007, the lab will complete its move to 60 Woodlawn Road in Berlin in early 2019.
The reduced driving times will be especially beneficial when testing concrete, which requires taking a cylindrical cast of concrete and allowing it to cure before bringing it to the lab the following day.
Tri State Materials also tests structural steel and welding integrity, fireproofing, asphalt, masonry and soil. The company also uses more specialized methods like ground penetrating radar to check for underground electric wiring or piping before excavation.
Berlin Economic Development Director Chris Edge said construction-related firms in Berlin benefit from each other, especially those with different specialties.
“There’s a great ability to help each other grow and maybe even expand some of the things they’re doing,” he said. “I think it’s very complementary to what we have.”
Tri State Materials is purchasing the former site of Eastern Broach and renovating the facade and interior to fit its needs, potentially leaving space available for rent to other small businesses.
The company tests for many large construction projects at state schools and universities, such as the new Student Recreation Center at the University of Connecticut, and commercial projects like the expansion of a 500,000-square-foot Aldi distribution center in South Windsor.
Connecticut is the company’s largest market, but it also tests in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and even had a recent job in Canada.
The boom in business means Tri State Materials keeps busy through the normally quiet winter months, prompting the company to hire additional field inspectors and lab staff.
Chaudhary said the company needs more space for its samples and for staff to conduct tests in a timely manner.
“Outside the office, that’s perfect — we can hire as many field inspectors as we need to keep up with the demand,” Chaudhary said. “But inside the office, that’s where we’re starting to struggle.”
The new building’s layout will also isolate more office space away from the noise of concrete shattering during testing.