Contractor Overcomes Challenging Logistics to Re-Roof 16-Story Westin Savannah

The Westin Savannah site posed logistical challenges, as it is bordered by the Savannah River, a canal and the Savannah Convention Center. Photo: SOPREMA

Were you to visit Savannah, Georgia, the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa would be tough to miss. This landmark property, known for its 18-hole PGA golf course, secluded beach access and on-site spa, is the tallest building in the city at 16 stories. The aura of luxury surrounding the building was threatened, however, when Hurricane Matthew moved through the region, inundating the city with rainwater and causing the aging Westin Savannah roof to fail. With leaks resulting in the closure of a major portion of the hotel’s upper floor, it was clear the building owners would need to move quickly to restore a waterproof seal atop their building.

The job would not be easy. The Westin Savannah is surrounded by the Savannah River on one side, a canal on another and the Savannah Convention Center on a third. The only feasible area left to stage and load the roofing material onto a crane was the front parking loop and valet area — an area that would typically be avoided with any other roofing project. “We only had one spot where we could set up, and that was the biggest challenge,” says Larry Hoffman, the superintendent who oversaw the installation of the roof at the Westin Savannah on behalf of Whitco Roofing, the Westin’s chosen contractor. “We were very limited with regard to any mobility around that hotel, not to mention the fact that we had to get materials onto a roof that was 270 feet from the ground.” 

Envisioning an Approach

The Whitco Roofing team also had to deal with challenging application conditions, given that the roof had many penetrations due to the presence of air conditioning units, towers, exhaust vents, lighting, walkways, ladders, staircases and other equipment. Special care would have to be given to the installation of the flashing to ensure no opportunities for leak formation remained after the roofing job was done. Recognizing that the use of a liquid flashing material was the best bet to keep the roofing layer monolithic despite all the penetrations, the Whitco Roofing team set about selecting the right compatible materials for the job.

SOPREMA’s SENTINEL P150 60-mil PVC-based roofing membrane was selected for the projectbecause we wanted a durable roofing product that was compatible with a liquid flashing material for difficult base flashings encountered during this project,” explains Henri Brickey, director of business development for Whitco Roofing. “We recommended the SOPREMA PVC membrane for several reasons, the first of which is the superior chemical and UV resistance PVC offers over TPO. Since we also intended to wrap the large quantity of concrete and metal support column bases with SOPREMA’s ALSAN RS 230 Flash polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) liquid resin, we made sure the PVC membrane was compatible and that we could include those areas under the roof’s warranty.” 

The Installation Commences

The complex coordination required for a successful roofing installation began on the ground. One week’s worth of material was staged at a time, then a crane was brought in to upload materials to the roof on the same day trash was being downloaded from the old roof tear-off process. All debris had to be carefully bagged and secured with tarps to avoid pollution in the nearby Savannah River, and the delivery and removal of four dumpsters at a time had to be carefully coordinated so that no dumpster was left on the premises overnight, blocking entry to the building. “You had to be out of there by five o’clock with everything, and it had to be done in a particular sequence, further complicating matters,” explains Hoffman.

On the rooftop, existing asphalt-based roofing materials were stripped down to the concrete deck. SOPREMA SOPRA-ISO3.5-inch polyisocyanurate insulation was adhered using SOPREMA DUOTACK 365 foam adhesive to provide improved R-value to the building. Next, the PVC membrane was bonded onto the insulation, providing both a reliable waterproofing layer and a reflective white finish that would help diminish heat absorption compared to the older materials. The liquid resin coating was then applied to prevent water intrusion at all exposed concrete column bases — extending up and coating metal base plates — and at vertical flashing points where air handling units tied into the building’s walls. New tapered crickets were also installed between drains, improving the overall flow of water on the roof and reducing the opportunity for ponding water.

Safety and Communications Prioritized

Throughout the project, OSHA guidelines had to be followed carefully on the rooftop and on the ground to ensure both workers and bystanders entering and exiting the hotel were safe. Flagging and ground guides were used around the staging area, and strict adherence to timelines for deliveries and mobilizations were also critical to the safe execution of the project. The Whitco Roofing team worked closely with the hotel management throughout the process to prevent interference with hotel operations and to minimize risks to guests. 

The building now benefits from a superior roofing membrane that is Energy Star-compliant, upgraded insulation, a strong foam adhesive that helps resist uplift pressure during storms and a monolithic waterproofing layer thanks to the liquid flashing installed around all penetrations. “SOPREMA’s single-ply membranes have a reputation for strength and durability,” notes Brickey, “and especially with the inclusion of the liquid flashing system to deal with difficult flashing details, we were able to provide a long-lasting, warranted waterproofing solution for the Westin.”

In all, more than 14,000 square feet of roofing material was replaced over the course of roughly a month by a large team of installers. In part because the hotel staff was so pleased with the way the job was planned, managed and executed, Whitco Roofing was brought back to install a new roof on a lower section of the building as well. That project was recently completed, positioning the Westin Savannah to resist the elements while serving as a relaxing getaway for the foreseeable future.

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: Whitco Roofing, Atlanta, Georgia, www.whitcoroofing.com

MATERIALS

Roof Membrane: SENTINEL P150 PVC, SOPREMA, www.soprema.us

Insulation: SOPRA-ISO, SOPREMA

Adhesive: DUOTACK 365, SOPREMA

Liquid Flashing: ALSAN RS 230 Flash, SOPREMA

The New Parkland Hospital Is Already a Dallas Landmark

Parkland Memorial Hospital is located on a 64-acre health care campus in Dallas. The 2.1 million-square-foot complex includes an 862-bed, full-service acute-care facility. Photos: Aerial Photography Inc.

When it was time to replace the Parkland Memorial Hospital — a Dallas, Texas, landmark constructed in 1954 that served as a safety-net facility for Dallas County for over half a century, and which held notoriety as the location where President Kennedy was rushed after being shot in 1963 — everyone recognized they would be undertaking a high-profile project. This became even more apparent when the plans for a new Parkland hospital were unveiled: a 2.1-million-square-foot, 17-story, state-of-the-art, 862-bed, full-service acute-care facility located on a 64-acre health care campus in the Southwest Medical District. The $1.33 billion project resulted in one of the largest health care facilities ever constructed as a single project.

Because of the scale of the new Parkland hospital project and the fact it was being funded with public dollars, a conservative and careful approach to the planning was paramount. A planning and construction team was assembled to tackle the mammoth project, which included two architecture firms — HDR Inc. and Corgan Inc. — and four large contracting firms — Balfour Beatty, Austin Commercial, H.J. Russell & Company and Azteca — that formed a joint partnership called BARA for the job. A “collaborative project delivery” model was adopted to keep all the stakeholders on the same page, which included the designation of a central “co-location” office where members of various involved firms could meet, collaborate and concur on direction. Numerous consultants were brought in, and through a careful planning process over a period of two years, designs, material specifications and additional partners were analyzed and selected.

At a cost of $1.33 billion, Parkland Memorial Hospital is one of the largest health care facilities ever constructed as a single project. A two-ply SBS-modified bitumen roofing system was chosen for its durability and longevity. Photos: Aerial Photography Inc.

Early in the planning process, SOPREMA’s local sales partner, Conner-Legrand Inc., was brought into material specifications discussions with the architects and contractors planning the project. The planning team recognized the importance of finding the “best roof they could put in place” for this critical environment that was designed to last for decades. After numerous rounds of careful vetting, a final qualified roofing system was chosen that fit that criteria: a SOPREMA-manufactured, high-performance, two-ply, SBS-modified bitumen roofing system.

“Consistency and reliability in the marketplace don’t develop overnight, and in the case of a project like the new Parkland hospital, everyone accounts for that,” says Luke Legrand of Conner-Legrand Inc. “You’re dealing with the most discerning audience you can imagine, and while it takes time to make decisions, the final choice of materials speaks volumes. The decision-makers wanted one reputable manufacturer that could provide everything from the primer to the cap sheet and offered a strong warranty, and not every manufacturer has the horizontal and vertical breadth to provide that. In this case, however, the planning team found what they were looking for in SOPREMA.”

Raising the Roof

The new hospital featured flat rooftops at multiple levels that all needed to be made watertight for decades to come. The roofing system needed to be designed in a way that accounted for a helipad, consistent rooftop traffic, extensive rooftop equipment, lightwells and various utility platforms. A lot stood in the way of Anchor Roofing, the installer, but the meticulous planning for the project meant that all contingencies had been considered by the time application of the waterproofing system began.

After installing insulation, a vapor barrier and SOPRABOARD, the Anchor Roofing team started on the two-ply roofing application. They first put down a layer of SOPRALENE Flam 180 SBS-modified bitumen base-ply membrane to provide waterproofing protection for the building. The various other tradespeople who needed to work on the rooftop could then go about their business, and any necessary repairs were made to the waterproofing base layer before a SOPRASTAR Flam SBS-modified bitumen reflective cap ply layer was installed on top. The chosen cap layer was not only functionally strong and long-lasting, but also white and highly reflective, providing energy savings and ultimately contributing to the hospital’s achievement of LEED Gold status from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The two-ply SBS-modified bitumen roofing construction was also chosen because the waterproofing system can be easily refreshed 25–30 years down the road to extend the roof’s lifecycle without a full tear-off. The foundation of the system can stay intact while the top layer is rejuvenated, giving the option for an additional warranty and ensuring the building is protected against the elements for another 20–30 years. This not only helps the health system to save money in the long run and avoid contributing unnecessary waste to landfills, but also helps the hospital avoid disruption to operations in a sensitive environment where recovering patients must be protected from invasive construction processes.

A Dallas Landmark

Throughout the course of construction, 162 professional staff members and 1,400 on-site workers collaborated to construct the new Parkland hospital. It was officially dedicated in March 2015, and patients and staff had all moved in by August. The facility now averages more than 1 million patient visits per year, with roughly 30,000 people traveling through its doors each day. The roof has performed well, and all stakeholders in the project have felt confident that the right waterproofing system for the job was chosen. Given the careful planning, beautiful design and strong material choices that went into the project, it has already received a number of awards and is well positioned to remain a Dallas icon for decades to come.

TEAM

Architects: HDR Inc., Dallas, Texas, www.HDRinc.com, and Corgan Inc., Dallas, www.corgan.com
General Contractor: BARA, a joint venture partnership formed by Balfour Beatty, Austin Commercial, H.J. Russell & Company and Azteca
Roofing Contractor: Anchor Roofing, Fort Worth, Texas, www.anchor-roofs.com

MATERIALS

Modified Bitumen Base Ply: SOPRALENE Flam 180 SBS, SOPREMA, www.soprema.us
Modified Bitumen Cap Sheet: SOPRASTAR Flam SBS, SOPREMA
Cover Board: SOPRABOARD, SOPREMA

Book Showcases 100 Years of Wagner Roofing’s Craftsmanship

Commemorating 100 years since Wagner Roofing was founded in Otto Wagner’s basement, Chuck and Sheila Wagner have written Preserving Washington History: 100 Years of Wagner Artistry.

Commemorating 100 years since Wagner Roofing was founded in Otto Wagner’s basement, Chuck and Sheila Wagner have written Preserving Washington History: 100 Years of Wagner Artistry.

For a century, many of the metropolitan Washington, D.C., region’s most distinguished roofs have had one thing in common—the handiwork of Hyattsville, Md.-based Wagner Roofing. Commemorating 100 years since Wagner Roofing was founded in Otto Wagner’s basement, Chuck and Sheila Wagner have written Preserving Washington History: 100 Years of Wagner Artistry. Published by Hamilton Books and with a foreword by Knight Kiplinger, the book is available from Amazon.com, Rowman.com and select retailers.

Surveying Wagner Roofing’s project portfolio, Preserving Washington History: 100 Years of Wagner Artistry traces the firm’s evolution into capital region experts in historic preservation and installers of slate, architectural metal and copper roofing, as well as façade restorers. The book celebrates the firm’s heritage through photographs of iconic area buildings, often from rarely seen vantages.

Oak Hill Cemetery Renwick Chapel, circa 1850, is the only known example of James Renwick Jr.’s Gothic Revival ecclesiastical design in Washington, D.C. Wagner Roofing replaced the purple Vermont slate roof and the copper built-in gutter and downspouts.

Oak Hill Cemetery Renwick Chapel, circa 1850, is the only known example of James Renwick Jr.’s Gothic Revival ecclesiastical design in Washington, D.C. Wagner Roofing replaced the purple Vermont slate roof and the copper built-in gutter and downspouts.

Wagner Roofing’s touch has graced more than 500 sites, including the Washington National Cathedral, Smithsonian Castle, U.S. Naval Academy’s Mahan Hall, 6th & I Historic Synagogue, President Lincoln’s Cottage and the Old Post Office Pavilion. Throughout Wagner Roofing’s work is a commitment to quality, customer service and artisanship, an ethos shared by the three
generations of Wagners in the trade.

A copper cornice restoration was performed on the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall in 2013-14.

A copper cornice restoration was performed on the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall in 2013-14.

“I owe much to the family members who came before me,” writes Chuck Wagner in the book’s dedication. “They dedicated themselves to providing for their families and those who worked for them during difficult and trying times. It has been a challenge walking in the footsteps of such men, but they left a legacy of excellence in workmanship and service which continues today.”

PHOTOS: Wagner Roofing