Copper Dome Crowns Hancock Welcome Center at Liberty University

Hancock Welcome Center at Liberty University features a standing seam metal roof with a copper-clad dome in the center. Photo: NB Handy

When the Hancock Welcome Center at Liberty University was built, it was an ambitious new construction project with a very tight schedule. The three-story, 32,000-square-foot structure was designed and built by Glass & Associates of Lynchburg, Virginia. The Jeffersonian-style building features a standing seam metal roof with a copper-clad dome at the center. Finding a roofing contractor that could execute both systems on time was crucial.

Troy Brown, vice president and general manager of Craftsman Roofing in Lynchburg, Virginia, knew his company would be up to the challenge. At the time, the company was known as WA Lynch Roofing; the name was changed to Craftsman Roofing when it was purchased by its current president, Mitch Reaves.

Craftsman Roofing tackles all types of commercial roofing projects, including slate, metal, tile, and low-slope membrane systems, as well as some high-end residential work. According to Brown, the team at Craftsman thrives on unique, one-of-a kind projects, including new construction and restoration projects at churches and schools, so the company was uniquely suited for the challenges of the Hancock Welcome Center.

To meet the demanding schedule, crews worked on both roof systems at the same time, beginning the installation of the main standing seam roof while the dome was constructed on the ground. The standing seam roof system was manufactured from Sentriclad 24-gauge Galvalume in Dark Bronze, while the dome was comprised of 16-ounce copper flat-lock panels.

The Main Roof

According to Brown, the key to meeting the demanding schedule was the decision to erect scaffolding around the entire structure. Brown consulted with Darryl Glass, president of Glass & Associates, and they determined a fully scaffolded system would be the best way to ensure the safety of crews and speed the installation.

The eight-sided dome was completed on the ground and lifted into place after the flat-seam copper panels were installed. Photo: Craftsman Roofing

“The scaffolding was one of the big clinchers on this project,” Brown says. “Glass & Associates scaffolded the whole thing, and it allowed us to go much faster and work more efficiently on the roof.”

Coils of Sentriclad were supplied by NB Handy, and the snap-lock panels were roll-formed at the site. “We fabricated the panels on the ground and we had a lift bring them up to the scaffolding,” Brown says. “There was an extra bay where panels could be stacked. Each day, all of our material and gang box, drills and everything were right there, ready to go, so every morning we could just rock and roll.”

In addition to the scaffolding, the safety plan mandated that roofing crews on the sloped sections were tied off with safety harnesses. They worked strategically to get the roof system installed as efficiently as possible. “The roof is kind of a mirror image, both front and back,” Brown explains. “We worked from the outside edges to the inside, working on the front and back at the same time. Then all the gable ends started coming together so that where we ended was right at the dome.”

Crews left a narrow pathway around the dome so that portion of the project could be completed without damaging the panels. “The easy part was the roof,” notes Brown. “The hard part was the dome.”

The Dome

After a platform and the steel framing for the dome were erected on the ground, a separate crew installed the copper panels before the dome was lifted to the roof. The curving, eight-sided dome was covered with copper flat-lock panels. “There were transverse seams all the way up through it,” notes Brown. “You basically have an octagon, so at every corner you had to make sure you were at the same elevation all the way around. You had to get that right, and the framing guys had to have it right before we could even go to work.”

Photo: NB Handy

The interlocking flat-lock panels were custom fabricated from 16-ounce copper, as were the ridge caps. Work began on one side and continued on the exact opposite side, shifting from one side to the other until all eight sections were completed. “We shingled up to the top through the radius on each section, and those had to intersect left and right of each other, so that everything matched perfectly,” Brown recalls.

The dome was then lifted into place. “There is a hole at the top for the skylight, and they ran slings right down through it and lifted it with a crane,” Brown says. “They picked the entire copper bell up, hung it in the air, and Darryl Glass had a crew that would cut all of the steel out without burning the copper. We then dropped it into place, so we had to be on point with our flashing kits so everything would work out.”

Brown credits excellent planning and communication with the general contractor for the successful outcome. He commends Darryl Glass and his superintendent, Benny Tomlinson, for their expert use of scaffolding on the project, which aided roofing crews, as well as masons, painters and window installers. “They were really good with figuring out things scaffolding-wise, allowing us to have access with safety so we could move quickly and efficiently around the building,” Brown says. “We were committed to getting it done — to getting in, getting out, and getting out of the way so that other trades could get to work.”

Crews also installed an S-5! ColorGard snow retention system. The project was completed on schedule, and Craftsman Roofing is proud to have it in the company’s portfolio of successful projects. “We’re known in the area for doing a lot of standing seam, and we’re known for our ability to get things done,” Brown says. “We are also able to work with a team of general contractors, and they respect us for having a force that can get in there, solve issues that come up, and help get the project in on time with top-quality workmanship. We have changed names, but I’ve been with the company for 27 years, and we’ve demonstrated the same quality all of that time.”

TEAM

Architect and General Contractor: Glass & Associates, Lynchburg, Virginia, https://www.glass-associates.com

Roofing Contractor: Craftsman Roofing, Lynchburg, Virginia, www.craftsmanroofingva.com

Distributor: NB Handy, Lynchburg, Virginia, www.nbhandy.com

MATERIALS

Metal Roof System: Sentriclad 24-gauge Dark Bronze, Sentrigard, www.sentrigard.com

Copper Dome: 16-ounce copper flat-lock panels 

Snow Retention System: ColorGard Snow Rail, S-5!, www.s-5.com

Liberty University Taps Experienced Team for Indoor Practice Facility

Liberty University

Photo: Leah Seavers. Copyright Liberty University

While he was a student in the 1970s at Liberty Baptist College in Lynchburg, Va., Craig McCarty took a job with a roofing company to help him pay his way through school. One of his business courses required students to set up a model business, so McCarty set up a fictional roofing company.

When a recession forced his boss to close down the company where he worked, McCarty turned his classroom project into reality. He got his contractor’s license and formed his own roofing business at the age of 20. More than 40 years later, he is installing roofs on the same campus he once took classes for a college now known as Liberty University.

McCarty is the president of McCarty Roofing, headquartered in Lynchburg, Va. This year the company installed the standing seam metal roof on Liberty University’s new indoor football practice facility, the fourth building the company has worked on at the school. McCarty has always been fascinated by metal roofs, and he estimates that 70 percent of the company’s business comes from the metal segment of the market. “It’s our passion, and we’re really good at it,” he says.

Liberty University’s new indoor practice facility encloses an entire regulation football field.

Liberty University’s new indoor practice facility encloses an entire regulation football field. The structural metal roof system is made of panels that run the entire width of the building.

He’s found a great place to ply his trade in Liberty University, which has made roofs manufactured by Fabral Metal Wall and Roof Systems into something of a signature architectural style. Other Fabral roofs at the university include those on Williams Stadium, Hancock Welcome Center, Jerry Falwell Library, and the LaHaye Recreation and Fitness Center.

According to Jerry Wandel, Fabral’s Mid-Atlantic territory manager, based in Richmond, Va., Fabral and distributor NB Handy in Lynchburg have partnered to provide architectural metal enclosure systems for 13 buildings on the campus since 2010.

The new practice facility encloses an entire regulation football field, and the design for the structural metal system on the vaulted barrel roof called for panels—many as long as 240 feet—that would run the entire width of the building.

Fabral’s Stand’N Seam 24-gauge panels in Dark Bronze were specified for the project. According to Wandel, the product features a unique stainless-steel clip design and double lock-seamed side joints that allow panels to expand and contract throughout their entire length. The system had been installed successfully on indoor practice facilities at other colleges, including Georgia Tech, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and Virginia Military Institute.

“When you run a panel that long, clearly one of the biggest concerns is expansion and contraction,” Wandel says. “Our Stand’N Seam product just lends itself to a project that has 240-foot panels. This one was right in our wheelhouse.”

Riding the Curve

The first task for McCarty Roofing was drying in the metal deck. Crews installed two layers of 2 ½ inch polysio and covered the insulation with Blueskin, a self-adhering underlayment manufactured by Henry.

The metal panels were fabricated on the site. Fabral supplied the roll former and brought in Ray Berryhill to operate the equipment. “Ray has done all of these jobs for us,” notes Wandel. “We want to make sure the contractor is in position to have a quality installation. Ray has so much knowledge about these jobs. He was the perfect person to execute this one.”

The panels were fabricated on the site.

The panels were fabricated on the site. The roll former was lifted into place at the edge of the roof by crane, and panels were rolled directly onto the roof and stacked for installation.

A crane was used to lift the roll former into place at the edge of the roof. “We were able to set the front two feet of the roll former in the built-in steel gutter, and then drop the back end of the machine down to the proper angle so we could roll the panels right onto the roof,” McCarty explains. “About every 15 or 20 feet up the roof we would stack some insulation, so the panel would float across the roof. Once it hit the top and went down the other side, it could just ride the roof down.”

The original plan was to install the panels as they came off the roll former, but McCarty decided it would be more efficient to run all of the panels, stack them on the roof, and install them once all of the panels were fabricated. “We had a large crane on site that was costing us money, and we had the people from Fabral there,” he recalls. “I went to the construction manager and said, ‘It’s going to make a lot more sense if we get all of the panels for the project up on the roof as quickly as possible.’”

The 4,000-pound metal coils typically supplied enough material for 8-10 panels, so Berryhill would run 8-10 panels at a time as crews from McCarty Roofing stacked them. When the roll former was lowered to the ground to load another coil, workers would strap the panels into place, figure out how much area the panels would cover, and set up again another 20 feet or so down the roof to receive the next batch. “We had a series of 15 or 20 straps for each bundle of panels,” says McCarty. “We had to be careful, but with eight people, you could pick up the panel and gently set it down.”

After the roll forming crew was done, the panels were pulled off of the stacks and installed. “It was a pretty extreme radius, but the panels just laid down on the roof perfectly,” McCarty recalls. “The design worked out really well.”

Liberty University

Photo: Joel Coleman. Copyright Liberty University

The built-in gutter gave crews a good location to set the bottom edge of the panels. “At the eaves, the roof pitch was very steep—maybe 12:12—and it was almost flat at the top,” notes McCarty. “We had to be tied off 100 percent of the time. We used retractables, but the safety equipment still limited our movement. It was pretty difficult for the guys working the first 30 or 40 feet.”

The roof featured large skylights, which made the metal panel layout critical. The design also featured upper and lower sections that stepped down around large windows, which made for some tricky details. “At the gable ends, we had to make the cuts at an angle,” McCarty notes. “We cut the panels in place with drill shears and hand turned them with tongs to lock then onto a cleat.”

The schedule was tight, and weather was also a concern. “It was in the dead of winter,” McCarty recalls. “We started laying panels in January. Fortunately, we had a mild winter, but at times it was like a wind tunnel. You’re not going to pick up a 240-foot panel in 35 mile-an-hour winds, so there were days we just weren’t able to work.”

The project was wrapped up at the end of May, and McCarty credits the decision to stack the panels as one of the keys to meeting the deadline. “It was the right call,” he says. “The time we saved made up for the lost days due to the weather and helped us complete the job on time.”

TEAM

Architect: VMDO Architects, Charlottesville, Va., VMDO.com
Construction Manager: CMA Inc., Lynchburg, Va., CMAinc.us
Roofing Contractor: McCarty Roofing Inc., Lynchburg, Va., McCartyroofing.net
Distributor: NB Handy Co., Lynchburg, Va., NBhandy.com
Metal Roof System Manufacturer: Fabral Metal Wall and Roof Systems, Fabral.com