Orange Coast College Community Planetarium

  • Owner: Coast Community College District
  • Location: Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, Ca
  • Description: New 12,124 sq. ft. Planetarium Building on the Orange Coast College Campus (Includes 100 seat Planetarium Theater, an Exhibit Ares, and a 60 ft. tall Foucault Pendulum Tower.


Kern Steel fabricated and installed Structural steel framing (columns, beams, braces, girts etc.), extensive concrete embeds and AESS Steel Framing.

The project manager on this job stated that some of the challenges faced were in the detailing, layout and erection of the structural steel due to the extensive use of embeds located in curved concrete walls and in the planetarium dome itself.

The placement of these embeds and their connection plates was critical to making the steel structure assembly properly. KSF employed a survey crew to assist with the placement of the concrete embeds as well as locating the field welded connection clips at precisely the right elevations and angles.

The Foucault Pendulum tower is fabricated from tube steel ellipses, sloping columns, and 'V' braces. Due to the complexity of the tower, it was completely assembled in Kern Steel's fabrication shop to ensure everything fit correctly before disassembling it and shipping it out.



Exposed skylight braces were fabricated using "Castconnex" universal pin connectors on the ends to provide a unique architectural look at the 10 curved skylights just outside the main theater area.

Finally, AESS components were a critical part of this project since there are numerous steel columns, skylight braces, canopies, and exhibit hangars that are exposed in the final construction.

The planetarium is set to open in the fall of 2018.


Vandenberg Building 7000 Renovation

  • Owner: U.S. Air Force
  • Location: Vandenberg Air Force Base, Vandenberg, CA
  • Description: Renovation of existing 3-story building, 165,000 sq. ft. building to consolidate the Vandenberg AFB Space Command operations

Description: Renovation of existing 3-story building, 165,000 sq. ft. building to consolidate the Vandenberg AFB Space Command operations

Project includes fabrication and installation of the following items:
• Structural Steel Framing (columns, beams, braces, girts, etc.)
• Steel Joists
• Metal Deck
• Stairs
• Handrails & guardrails
• Aluminum ladders
• Concrete embeds
• Steel grating
• Mechanical equipment supports

This project contained some logistical challenges because it is on an active Air Force Base. Security is a concern and all personnel and deliveries must be checked and cleared before entering the base. There are certain times when crane operations were prohibited due to rocket launches from nearby launch pads.

Because the project is renovating an existing building all site conditions had to be verified and measured before any detailing, fabrication, or installation of structural steel and misc. metals could take place. Coordination with the general contractor and with other trades is critical because only certain areas of the building are available to be worked on due to demolition, lead abatement, or ongoing work by others.

While fabricating and erecting the steel numerous additions and revisions were required due to existing conditions that were not shown in the bid documents or anticipated. A couple of examples include:
• 2nd and 3rd floor concrete deck that was actually 7” thick as opposed to 5” thick as shown in the plans resulting in revisions to the supports and attachments of new stair flights.
• Mechanical penthouse steel that was rusted through requiring replacement of 90% of the steel framing as well as requiring additional new roof support beams below.
• Existing building columns that were as much as 2” out of plumb requiring new perimeter roof beams needing to be offset and field welded in lieu of bolted to allow for proper alignment.

West Valley College

West Valley College

Location: Saratoga, CA
Contractor: Kwan Wo Iron Works
Square Footage:
Tons: 437

Kern Steel fabricated and erected columns, beams, braces and AESS rolled tubing for West Valley College, the building is a student service center consisting of classrooms, conference rooms, offices, as well as several unisex bathrooms. This project took 6 months to complete. Some of the requirements included CVN testing, MTR’s and Welding procedures.


Customers Keep Returning to Kern Steel

With Steel costs on the rise and a tight building schedule, good communication was essential between Taylor Teter Partnership, Wallace and Smith, and Kern Steel Fabrication, Inc. Together they were able to lock in a design and order the steel early, which got them a much better price. The project these companies were working together on was the Kern School Federal Credit Union main office building in Bakersfield, CA.

Kern Steel was hired by General Contractor Wallace & Smith to work together with other subcontractors to get this project done. Justin Marino, Structural Engineer for Taylor Teter Partnership, recalls that Kern Steel was, “very good to work with and they were very well coordinated.” Before a building can be fabricated it must be designed. There was a lot of collaboration between the design team and Kern Steel before the final design was completed. This allowed for a very efficient and economical structural steel design that incorporated the fabricators best manufacturing practices with what the Engineer and Architect wanted and allowed for the project to be completed on schedule.

Project Superintendent for Wallace and Smith, Tom McCormack said, “We set some goals for Kern Steel on some dates and you guys were able to meet all those goals,” Kern Steel was able to come in on schedule and on Budget.

This wasn’t the first time that Kern Steel and Wallace & Smith have worked together. Wallace and Smith was so impressed with Kern Steel’s performance on a Chevron-Texaco project in Bakersfield that they came back to KSF for the Kern School Federal Credit Union Project. McCormack said, “When we have a job that requires quality and workman like attitudes we always go to Kern Steel on the big stuff.” Taylor Teter Partnership are also working with Kern Steel again, they are currently working with Kern Steel on Kingsburg Elementary School in Kingsburg, California. “It was a pleasure to work with Kern Steel and we would definitely work with them again,” said Marino.

“When we have a job that requires quality and workman like attitudes we always go to Kern Steel….” -Tom McCormack, Project Superintendent for Wallace & Smith

C-5 Empennage Stand

What is a C-5 Empennage Stand? The Empennage Stand is also known as a Tail Stand. This ground support equipment is used in inspecting and maintaining the C-5 aircraft. The Empennage Stand is a six level self-propelled stand, which provides full access to the tail cone, vertical and horizontal stabilizers.

The docking stand also allows complete access to the rear cargo door while mated to the C-5 there-by enabling the removal of the cargo door and loading ramp. The stand has specially designed mechanically actuated sliders. Time for docking and de-docking is minimized through both the mechanized sliders and the stands self-propelled capabilities. The overall design of the stand fits well with the Air Force’s emphasis on Lean Systems. Click Here To Read More About Lean Manufacturing.

StandKern Steel is currently finalizing the third C-5 Empennage Stand for the United States Air Force. Kern Steel was awarded this contract on August 22, 2005. Kern Steel was awarded a contract to provide for the design and production of this stand. This was a design build project. Kern Steel custom crafted this stand to the requirements and needs of the Air Force. They studied the base and worked with the Air Force to determine their specific needs. Kern Steel provided the Air Force with a comprehensive design and engineering.

Kern Steel was selected for this project through the Air Forces rigorous “Full Four Color” source selection process.

View an article from the Air Force’s AFOPO publication on this subject.

This selection resulted in Kern Steel being selected as the “Best Value” and most technically competent contractor. This is the second job that Kern Steel has done for the Air Force. The first was the repair of a C-5 Wing and Fuselage Dock for the Air Force at the Travis Air Force Base in California. Kern Steel was able to finish the job a full month ahead of schedule.  To find out more click on link below.

View video of stand erection

The C-5 aircraft is one of the largest aircrafts in the world. It can carry outsize and oversize cargo intercontinental ranges and can take off or land in relatively short distances. Ground crews can load and off load the C-5 simultaneously at the front and rear cargo openings. Other features of the C-5 are:

  • Able to take off fully loaded within 8,300 feet (2,530 meters) and land within 4,900 feet (1,493 meters).
  • High flotation landing gear with 28 wheels sharing the weight. Nose and aft doors that open the full width and height of the cargo compartment to permit faster and easier loading.
  • A “kneeling” landing gear system that permits lowering of the parked aircraft so the cargo floor is at truck-bed height or to facilitate vehicle loading and unloading.
  • Full width drive-on ramps at each end for loading double rows of vehicles.
  • A system that records and analyzes information and detects malfunctions in more than 800 test points.
  • The C-5 is similar in appearance to its smaller sister transport, the C-141 Starlifter, although the C-5 is much larger. Both aircraft have the distinctive high T-tail, 25-degree wing sweep, and four turbofan engines mounted on pylons beneath the wings.

Taken from

Smart Bead Could Fix Aging Pipelines


A small, new material can detect and repair corrosion in metal pipes. The “smart corrosion beads” are about half the thickness of a human hair.

A small, new material can detect and repair corrosion in metal pipes. The “smart corrosion beads” are about half the thickness of a human hair. They are able to detect corrosion on metal before it is visible. Once the corrosion is found, the beads release a special chemical that repairs the metal by essentially filling in the cracks created by the corrosion. Think of the applications!

Read more about the miracle beads here.

Special Steel Used in Projects

Special Steel Used in Projects

From Bid to Installation you can count on Kern Steel to get your project done right. General Contractor Hartigan/Foley did. Jerry Brown the superintendent for the project said, “The scheduling, erection and attention to detail and cleanliness of the sight were exactly what we needed.” Hartigan/Foley hired Kern Steel to do a project for the Patagonia Headquarters in Ventura, CA.

They came to Kern Steel needing a parking lot canopy that would hold solar panels. Patagonia Headquarters wanted a parking structure that would provide shade for employees to park under as well as produce electricity for the building. Patagonia also wanted corrosion resistant steel. This is a special type of steel that was developed to eliminate the need for painting, and has a rust like appearance. It is also known as Grade A588 cor-ten steel and is popularly used in outdoor sculptures and as exterior facades for its rustic antique appearance. Brown recalls, “This was a custom installation and had to be aesthetically pleasing and Kern Steel filled the bill very well.” Before this project Hartigan/Foley and Kern Steel worked together on the Lost Arrow Conference Building. Since successfully working with Hartigan/Foley on a number of projects, Kern Steel has been asked to bid some of Hartigan/Foley’s other projects.


“We wouldn’t hesitate to use Kern Steel again and would look forward to it.”  — Jerry Brown, Project Superintendent for Hartigan/Foley