Cornell University Restoration Project Puts Team to the Test

Photo: Cornell University

Originally built in 1868, Morrill Hall was the first newly constructed building on Cornell University’s campus in Ithaca, New York. It is one of three structures built using Ithaca bluestone that are collectively known as “Stone Row.”

Buildings don’t last forever. Some need to be renovated every 150 years or so, and Morrill Hall is no exception. This year Cornell University and Charles F. Evans Company, Inc. completed an ambitious and extensive structural renovation project designed to restore the building to its former glory.

The scope of work included replacing the entire roof system at Morrill Hall, including the slate on the mansards and the standing seam metal on the main roof — a total of 3,780 square feet in all. Additional work included rebuilding and waterproofing the built-in gutters, replacing all 27 fourth-floor windows, repairing the ornamental wood cornice, and repointing the stone chimneys.

Morrill Hall was originally built in 1868. It was constructed from Ithaca bluestone. Photo: Charles F. Evans Company, Inc.

The installation challenges were daunting, but so were the environmental concerns posed by the existing materials, which included asbestos and lead. It would take a talented team of design and construction professionals to make it happen. Companies formulating and executing the overall plan included architect Bell & Spina, the construction team at Cornell University, and Charles F. Evans Company, Inc., which served as both the construction manager and roof system installer on this project.

Members of parent company Evans Roofing Company Inc. and Charles F. Evans Company, Inc., who shared their insights on the project with Roofing magazine included Bob Pringle, vice president at Evans Roofing Company; Don Sewalt, construction manager at Charles F. Evans Company; and Dan Nowak, corporate risk manager at Evans Roofing Company. They cited the teamwork of everyone involved on the project as the key to overcoming its many challenges. “The success story for this project was the working partnership we developed with all of the stakeholders,” says Pringle.

Environmental Concerns

Before restoration work could begin, known hazardous materials had to be removed. “There were multiple environmental issues on this job, including asbestos, lead in the metal and lead in the piping of the window glazing,” notes Pringle. “We had to abate all of these areas prior to even tearing off the existing roof.”

Ventilators were custom fabricated in Charles F. Evans Company, Inc.’s sheet metal shop. Crews also installed permanent anchor points pre-engineered by Thaler Industries. Photo: Charles F. Evans Company, Inc.

The company is licensed and all personnel certified in both asbestos and lead abatement for the construction industry. “We are licensed and certified in New York State to remove roofing, which is a significant benefit for our client in reducing costs,” Pringle says. “New York State has very stringent standards, which Charles F. Evans Company, Inc. goes above and beyond for their abatement practices.”

Care had to be taken to ensure no faculty members, students or pedestrians inside or outside the building would be exposed to contaminants or debris. Proper barricades and signage were used to keep everyone away from the abatement areas during the removal process.

Due to the lead time required for the abatement process and the windows, work began at the mansards. W.L. Kline was called in as a subcontractor to rebuild the cornice, remove and install the windows, and handle finished carpentry on the window frames.

The radiused roofs over the dormer windows were field fabricated. Photo: Charles F. Evans Company, Inc.

As the slate was being removed, roofing crews began the process of removing and rebuilding the gutters. The existing gutter system had to be removed according to the abatement standards, as it was constructed of lead-coated copper and lined with a built-up system containing asbestos in the felt. After the original structural sills were replaced, the gutter was rebuilt and topped with Kemperol 2K PUR, a membrane-reinforced, liquid-applied waterproofing system manufactured by Kemper System.

The next step was replacing the curved dormer roofs. “As we installed plywood on the mansard, we also removed the radiused roofs over the dormer windows,” says Sewalt. “We were field fabricating all of the sheet metal, which was a Freedom Gray flat seam. Everything was covered with ice and water shield. We used Polystick MTS, and then covered that with 30-pound felt from CertainTeed before all the radiused roofs were hand soldered in place.”

Installing the Roof Systems

As crews continued on the mansard sections, others began to tackle the main roof. On the mansard, crews installed North Country Unfading Black roofing slate supplied by New England Slate Company. The slate was custom cut to a hexagon shape to match the originals. The slates were all hand nailed in place. Some of the slate had to be hand cut to fit precisely around the curved dormer roofs. Making sure the courses lined up perfectly where they met up at the top of the dormers was critical. “It was meticulous work,” Sewalt says.

The building was fully scaffolded at the eaves. All scaffolded surfaces are fully planked and included a guardrail system and debris netting. Photo: Charles F. Evans Company, Inc.

Where the mansard roof meets the upper roof, attention to detail was crucial. “We shop fabricated our own cornice metal and counter-flashed the top course of slate,” says Sewalt. “We tied in to the eave of the Terne-coated stainless on the upper roof.”

Metal for the upper roof was purchased from Roofinox in coils, and the stainless-steel panels were fabricated in Charles F. Evans Company’s sheet metal shop. After the old roof was removed, new three-quarter-inch plywood was installed over the top of the existing random rough-cut deck boards. Crews then applied Polystick MTS self-adhered underlayment and rosin paper before installing the double-lock metal panels.

The original Ithaca bluestone chimneys were repointed by R.E. Kelley, the masonry restoration subcontractor, and new shop-fabricated step flashings were installed. Charles F. Evans Company also fabricated the large ventilators. “The louvered ventilators were very detailed,” Sewalt points out. “They were all custom fabricated in our sheet metal shop.”

One of the last phases of the roofing portion of the project was the installation of low-slope roofs on two lower-level areas that covered mechanical rooms. “We installed a two-ply modified bitumen system by Soprema,” Sewalt says. “We used Sopralene 180 sanded as a base, and Sopralene 180 FR GR White as the cap.”

The Safety Plan

The height, age and nature of the work posed numerous safety concerns, according to Pringle, but experience on other similar projects helped the company structure a detailed safety, health and environmental plan for Morrill Hall. “Charles F. Evans Company, Inc. is a VPP Mobile Workforce STAR contractor, the only union roofing company in the United States to have this prestigious status,” notes Pringle. “We had to make sure all of our employees were safe, as well as students, faculty, and the members of the public.”

The black roofing slate supplied by New England Slate Company was custom cut to a hexagon shape to match the original. Photo: Charles F. Evans Company, Inc.

A scaffolding system was central to the safety plan. “We had this one fully scaffolded,” notes Nowak. “We try to do this on all of projects if we can. We do it for safety, of course, but secondly it makes it a little bit easier for our crews. Going up a scaffolded stair tower sure beats a ladder any day for safety, and all scaffolded surfaces are fully planked with a guardrail system and debris netting. This way, it protects everyone occupying it and staging our materials and tools are allowed with the proper load ratings. It makes it so much easier to look at the work right in front of them and do the work in a safe manner.”

On the upper roof, workers were tied off 100 percent of the time. As part of the project, crews also installed permanent anchor points pre-engineered by Thaler Industries.

“Cornell has always been on the forefront with safety, not only for the public, the students and the faculty, but their maintenance crews as well,” Nowak says. “We are seeing a lot more permanent fall protection being installed on campus buildings, which is a great thing.”

The safety plan had to also protect people entering the building, as it was in use for much of the installation process. “We had to have proper barricades, signage, and of course entryway protection,” Nowak says. “We basically created a tunnel system with overhead protection so people could access the building.”

Landmark Renovation

Roofing work began in June 2018 and was completed in December 2018, so inclement weather was another big challenge, but the project was completed on time with zero safety incidents. According to Pringle, one key to meeting the deadline was the company’s ability to handle the abatement work itself, which optimized efficiency. “Everybody on that rooftop was certified for abatement, so we could tear and go and keep moving without calling in a subcontractor,” Pringle states. “It’s critical that we can do this work ourselves.”

Pringle and Sewalt commended everyone who worked on the project, including Jim Wilson, roofing superintendent; Brian Babcock, sheet metal superintendent; Brett Sewalt, slate foreman; and Brent Spencer, sheet metal foreman. The roofing crew included Brian Sewalt, Nate Uram, Cal Uram, and Bill Jordan. The sheet metal crew included Sam Morich, Neal Brown, Matt Denson, Bob Corwin, Tony Hoskins, and Jeff Worsfol.

To rebuild the historic landmark with the products of today, bring it up to code, and maintain the original look, is a tremendous accomplishment. “This was a collaborative effort between Charles F. Evans Company, Inc., Cornell University, and Bell & Spina,” Pringle says. “What we leave behind is our craftsmanship. Our client, Cornell University, once again depended on us to deliver another landmark renovation for them. Morrill Hall will continue to dominate ‘Stone Row,’ offering students and faculty a place to learn for years to come.”

TEAM

Owner/Representative: Cornell University (Patrick Conrad), Ithaca, New York, www.cornell.edu

Architect: Bell & Spina, Syracuse, New York, www.bellandspina.com

Construction Manager and Roofing Contractor: Charles F. Evans Company, Inc., Elmira, New York, www.evansroofingcompany.com

Window Contractor: W.L. Kline Inc., Binghamton, New York

Masonry Contractor: R.E. Kelley, Bowmansville, New York, www.rekelley.com

MATERIALS

Slate: North Country Unfading Black Roofing Slate, New England Slate Company, www.newenglandslate.com

Metal Roof Panels: Terne-Coated Stainless Steel, Roofinox, www.roofinox.com

Underlayment: Polystick MTS, Polyglass U.S.A., Inc., https://polyglass.us

Felt: Roofers’ Select 30-pound Felt, CertainTeed, www.certainteed.com

Flat-Seam Dormer Roofs: Revere Freedom Grey copper, Revere Copper, www.reverecopper.com

Modified Bitumen Roof: Sopralene 180 and Sopralene 180 FR GR, Soprema, www.soprema.com

Gutter Lining: Kemperol 2K PUR, Kemper System, www.kemper-system.com

Multi-Purpose Joint Sealant Adheres to Damp Surfaces

Kemper System GreatSealKemper System America Inc. offers GreatSeal PE-150, a high-performance, single-component, multi-purpose joint sealant designed for long-lasting weathertight seals. According to the manufacturer, it is ideal for sealing joints in roofing, walls and masonry, as well as gaps around penetrations, flashings, windows and doors.

Based on a polyether sealant, GreatSeal PE-150 contains no solvents and very low VOCs. The multi-purpose indoor/outdoor sealant exhibits excellent weathering properties with a service range of 200oF to minus 40oF (93oC to minus 40oC), movement capability of +/- 25 percent, and zero shrinkage.

According to the company, the product adheres even on damp surfaces. It can be applied in cold weather, and in most cases, without a primer. It bonds aggressively to most building materials, including wood, vinyl, glass, fiberglass, foam insulation, asphalt, modified bitumen, EPDM, PVC, PIB rubber, and Kynar coatings, as well as painted, galvanized and anodized metals.

GreatSeal PE-150 is part of a family of construction sealants from Kemper System. The GreatSeal brand also includes GreatSeal LF-500 Liquid Flashing compatible with Roof Guardian elastomer-based roofing products, and GreatSeal LT-100 polyether Liquid Tape compatible with Wall Guardian FW-100A, a liquid-applied fibered acrylic air barrier. All three brands are in the STS Coatings line, acquired by Kemper System America in 2016.

For more information, visit www.kempersystem.net.

Kemper System Names West Coast Regional Sales Manager

Kemper System America Inc. has named Lynn Walters as the company’s West Coast Regional Sales Manager. In the role, Walters will have responsibility for expanding sales and educating architects, consultants and contractors across the region about the company’s range of barrier solutions for the building envelope.

Based in the San Francisco area, he joins the company from STS Coatings Inc., acquired by Kemper System last year, and he brings more than two decades of sales and marketing experience to his new role.

Walters currently serves on the board of directors of the Reflective Insulation Manufacturers Association (RIMA), and as committee chair for the Strategic Alliance for the Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA). He is also a member of the Cool Roof Rating Council, RCI Inc. and ASTM International.

At STS Coatings, Walters served nine years as National Sales Manager, and also as Product Manager representing HeatBloc-ULTA radiant heat barrier. Previously, he spent 12 years as West Coast Sales Manager for the OEM Building Products Division of BASF.

Medical Research Facility Showcases Eco-Social Construction

Kemper System Belfer Medical Research Building

The rooftop on the Belfer Medical Research Building not only houses HVAC equipment but serves as a rainwater detention system. The reinforced membrane waterproofing system by Kemper System was applied to the roof deck before the pavers were put in place on a pedestal system.

The Belfer Medical Research Building on the campus of New York’s Weill Cornell Medical College was designed to be a 19-story model of eco-social construction. Designed by Todd Schliemann of Ennead Architects, the building showcases a number of sustainability features, including a storm water detention system on the roof.

Built for a cost of more than $630 million, the tower includes 13 stories of research laboratories. The tower has three roof levels at the 17th, 18th and 19th floors. The rainwater detention system, known as a “blue roof,” not only helps regulate storm water discharge, but it feeds a water fountain and irrigates planters on the second-floor terrace.

In general, rainwater detention systems can either collect water in holding tanks and then meter it to the public sewer system, or retain it on a waterproofed roof expanse. The blue roof on the Belfer Research Building uses the latter strategy. It complies with New York City requirements and can hold up to 3 inches of water.

Roof Materials

Proper waterproofing on the project is essential. The solvent-free and odor-free KEMPEROL 2K-PUR cold, liquid-applied membrane system was used for waterproofing the blue roof. It was also used on the terrace and fountains on the lower level. The reinforced membrane system is designed for long service life and backed by an extended-wear warranty.

Eagle One Roofing Contractors Inc. of Astoria, N.Y., a certified applicator of the Kemper System, applied the waterproofing system. The two-part resin system is designed to fully adhere to the substrate, and is fully reinforced with fleece. The resulting membrane is completely seamless and unaffected by ponding water and ice. According to the manufacturer, it resists exposure to UV light, chemicals, oils and solvents. It is impervious to bio-deterioration and is both root- and rot-resistant, so it is also ideal for green roofs and landscaped areas.

Roof Report

The supporting structure below the roof was designed to carry the water load, with an allowance for heavy snow or ice buildup. The roof deck is concrete slab and includes a layer of rigid insulation below the waterproofing membrane for added energy efficiency. The gravity-fed drainage system was carefully sized to control the speed of drainage without the use of pumps, sometimes required for rainwater detention systems that use holding tanks. On the roof sections, the waterproofing sections were topped with concrete pavers on a pedestal system.

Construction at the Weill Cornell Medical College, both interior renovations and new construction, is designed to meet a minimum LEED Silver status. This project was designed to achieve Gold certification, the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.

This illustration shows the assembly used for the blue roof on this project. The cold, liquid-applied reinforced membrane system was topped by concrete pavers. Image: Kemper System America Inc.

This illustration shows the assembly used for the blue roof on this project. The cold, liquid-applied reinforced membrane system was topped by concrete pavers. Image: Kemper System America Inc.

On the south side of the building, Ennead created a double-skinned, fritted glass curtain wall with openings and sun-shading devices that absorb the sun’s heat before it gets trapped inside, which would require the HVAC system to pump out more cold air. Continuous ribbon windows flood the building with natural light, and energy-efficient HVAC, lighting controls and water-conservation systems save on power and resources. The building’s green infrastructure is expected to shrink Weill Cornell’s energy bill for it by about 30 percent and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 26 percent compared to a building complying with the minimum requirements set by typical industry guidelines and standards.

The building includes a high-tech, multi-zoned HVAC control system to manage the indoor environment within different spaces. Biomedical laboratories, for example, generally require special air filtration systems supported by high-volume air circulation. Each of the laboratory levels includes four fume vents to the outside, except for the chemistry laboratory on the top floor, which uses 40 vents. In addition to thermostats and humidity sensors, indoor spaces utilize occupancy sensors to assist in regulating the ambient indoor environment and lighting to improve energy efficiency.

Photo: Kemper System America Inc.

TEAM

ARCHITECTS
Todd Schliemann, Ennead Architects, LLC, New York
William Cunningham, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York

ROOFING CONTRACTOR
Eagle One Roofing Contractors, Inc., Astoria, N.Y.

ROOF AND WATERPROOFING SYSTEM MANUFACTURER:
Kemper System America Inc., West Seneca, N.Y.

Kemper System America Moves Office to the Top Floor of Heights Plaza in New Jersey

Kemper System America Inc. moved its New York metro sales office from Closter, N.J. to the top floor of Heights Plaza at 777 Terrace Ave., Hasbrouck Heights, N.J. 07604. The 200,000-square-foot office building gives ready access to major highways and transportation hubs and offers views of the Manhattan skyline.

“This is an ideal location for us to support our customers across the New York metropolitan region who include commercial architects, building owners and real estate management companies,” says Richard Doornink, president and managing director of Kemper System America, based in West Seneca, N.Y.

The company’s liquid-membrane waterproofing systems protect many iconic structures in the region, including the Empire State Building and the World Trade Center. Newer products span highly reflective ‘Cool Roof’ systems that help manage building energy from the top, and reinforced systems that add another layer of protection for indoor tiled areas.

Project Profiles: Health Care

MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL, BOSTON

TEAM

Roofing contractor: Chapman Waterproofing Co., Boston
Architect/engineer: Cambridge Seven Associates Inc., Cambridge, Mass.
Membrane and waterproofing manufacturer: Kemper System America Inc.

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, features a Kemperol waterproofing and roofing membrane for its green roof.

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, features a Kemperol waterproofing and roofing membrane for its green roof.

ROOF MATERIALS

The Kempertec EP-Primer was used to prepare the substrate surfaces for membrane installation and served as a temporary waterproofing system, allowing the project to be exposed to the harsh New England winter while it was completed in phased stages.

The owners chose the Kemperol waterproofing and roofing membrane, a two-component with catalyst, high-performance, seamless and self-terminating cold-fluid-applied reinforced unsaturated polyester system. The monolithic edge-to-edge rot- and root-resistant Kemper membrane is engineered to resist degradation from UV exposure and heat intensity and is resistant to most common chemicals.

ROOF REPORT

Founded in 1811, Massachusetts General Hospital is the third oldest general hospital in the U.S. and the oldest and largest in New England. The 900-bed medical center offers sophisticated diagnostic and therapeutic care in virtually every specialty and subspecialty of medicine and surgery. When MGH’s owners envisioned constructing a new 9,000-square-foot green roof above the MGH cancer wing, they had two chief concerns: safety and long-term durability.

The landscaped roof design includes four different gardens with extensive shrubbery, trees and grass designed to provide cancer patients with a haven for relaxation and meditation to aid in the healing process.

A key challenge concerning the hospital’s green roof was its hundreds of penetrations, spaced inches apart, for a sprinkler system to irrigate the landscaped roof. A leak-detection system was installed across the entire square footage of the project to detect water before it seeps into the interior of the building. The leak-detection system confirms the project’s seal-tight success. Upon completion, Kemper System provided a 20-year, no-dollar-limit warranty.

PHOTO: KEMPER SYSTEM AMERICA INC.

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The KEMPEROL Roofpatch Provides 50 Years of Waterproofing Technology in a Quick Kit

KEMPEROL Roofpatch is a ready-to-use patch kit from Kemper System America Inc., West Seneca, N.Y.

KEMPEROL Roofpatch is a ready-to-use patch kit from Kemper System America Inc., West Seneca, N.Y.

KEMPEROL Roofpatch is a ready-to-use patch kit from Kemper System America Inc., West Seneca, N.Y. Kemper System invented cold, liquid-applied, reinforced waterproofing technology more than 50 years ago, and the Roofpatch kit offers the company’s technology as a quick solution to reliably stop leaks and cover cracks and damaged areas.

“The product itself is a cold, liquid-applied membrane system,” says Gino Soroker, brand and business development manager for Kemper System America. “Typically our product comes as a container of liquid and a roll of fleece, and you need a contractor to put the two together. Here you get the two already married.”

The kit’s flat aluminum packaging includes rubber gloves and a reinforcement fleece pre-saturated in a single-component, solvent-free and odor-free KEMPEROL 1K-SF waterproofing resin. The reinforced membrane is pre-cut to approximately 10 by 18 inches; a single patch can handle most repairs. Patches also can be overlapped to cover larger areas.

The reinforced membrane is pre-cut to approximately 10 by 18 inches; a single patch can handle most repairs.

The reinforced membrane is pre-cut to approximately 10 by 18 inches; a single patch can handle most repairs.

The multipurpose patch adheres tightly without a primer to bitumen sheets, PVC roofing, concrete, wood and metal. The resin is rainproof in 60 minutes and can be walked on after 12 hours.

Soroker says the kit is ideal for roof consultants and roofing contractors, as well as building owners and property managers, seeking an immediate repair on a roof. “If a building superintendent or roofing contractor gets called up on the roof because a tenant reports a leak and he sees an overlap or a crack, he can rip open this aluminum pouch and slap on the roof patch right there and then,” he says. “If a specifier or consultant needs to cut open the roof to find out what’s happening beneath it,
he can put the piece he cut out back in, place this patch right over it and seal up the hole he just opened.”

The kit’s flat aluminum packaging includes rubber gloves and a reinforcement fleece pre-saturated in a single-component, solvent-free and odor-free KEMPEROL 1K-SF waterproofing resin.

The kit’s flat aluminum packaging includes rubber gloves and a reinforcement fleece pre-saturated in a single-component, solvent-free and odor-free KEMPEROL 1K-SF waterproofing resin.

Developed in Germany, the UV-stable Roofpatch was introduced in the U.S. a year and a half ago. It currently is available nationwide through select distributors of building products. It also can be purchased via Kemper System America’s online store, which can be accessed through its website.

Learn more
Visit KemperSystem.net.
Call (800) 541-5455.
Watch the Roofpatch demonstration video.

The inaugural “Roofers’ Choice” was determined by the product that received the most reader inquiries from the January/February issue’s “Materials & Gadgets” section.

PHOTOS: Kemper System America Inc.