Any building that adds to a city’s skyline is sure to be noticed - and the Florida Hospital tower in Orlando, Fla., is no exception. It’s not just the 18-story building’s height that draws attention, but also the architectural detail in the stainless-steel cornice circling the tower. Including the cornice, this comprehensive job encompassed a multi-section and multi-level roof totaling 150,075 square feet. The roof created a scope of work that posed both safety and logistical concerns - leaving no room for error.
The project was completed by Hartford South, a family-owned company specializing in low-slope commercial roofing applications. Since 1984, Hartford South has installed more than 60 million square feet of product and completed numerous high-profile jobs in Central Florida.
The Florida Hospital comprised seven roof levels, beginning at the first-floor entryway and ending with the final level atop the 18th floor.
As Hartford progressed on each of the seven levels, they had to remain conscious of surrounding tradesmen. To ensure that the other contractors could continue to work on the lower levels, Hartford installed a temporary roof membrane, knowing that the final permanent roof couldn’t be completed until the exterior building construction was finalized. This membrane allowed other trades to complete all interior work, while exterior contractors installed windows, painted and completed other exterior finishes.
The job began with a lightweight insulating concrete poured over the steel deck as the roofing substrate. From there, a fiberglass base sheet was nailed to the insulating substrate to meet wind uplift requirements. At higher elevations, this requires a significant increase in fastening due to increased negative pressures and greater wind uplift. The Hartford team used more than 250,000 fasteners to achieve the engineer-specified uplift, and all areas of the roof received a two-ply modified bitumen roof assembly. The top ply (or cap sheet) was finished with a white, granular surface to ensure minimal algae growth, as well as reflective material to reduce energy consumption.
A demanding aspect of this job - and with most medical facility projects - was the fact that numerous projections penetrated the finished roof system. The projections included mechanical curbs for air handlers and condensers; rails for chilled water lines; davits to tie off to for exterior service work - as well as electrical penetrations to power the mechanical units and plumbing penetrations for each individual sanitary riser and exhaust pipe. The projections required additional coordination and attention, as the vast majority of roof leaks occur at perimeter walls or roof penetrations.
Architecturally, one of the most arduous tasks was installing the cornice - one of the “finishing touches” of the roof. The 24-gauge stainless steel, 18-inch face cornice was fabricated by Hartford South in its state-of-the-art sheet metal shop. A total of 22,400 square feet of stainless steel was used to construct the flush-seam and flat-panel cornice, which features soldered transitions for long-term, water-tight integrity.
“This project was challenging, both administratively and logistically,” said Jay Rintelmann, president of Hartford South, LLC. “We had to share the single access points on each level with all the different contractors assigned to the job, collectively utilize one roofing crane and adhere to strict guidelines to ensure the safety of the work crews.”
Safety is paramount in the roofing industry, and this job, like all others, adhered to strict guidelines. The height of the Florida Hospital tower, combined with high winds, created a precarious working environment. Even the harnesses required to anchor workers to the building added to the project’s difficultly.
“The outside perimeter edge was the most difficult to traverse, and there were only two safety anchor points for the harnesses. Following the weight restrictions, we were allowed to harness two workers per anchor, which meant that only four people could work simultaneously,” said Kevin Lindley, director of safety for Hartford South. “This slowed our progress considerably.”
“Our biggest concern was the safety and well-being of each one of Hartford South’s field employees,” Rintelmann added. “To protect them, we formed a site-specific safety program with instructions on what should be done in emergency situations.”
To help ensure that all crew members abided by the guidelines imposed by the owner, architect and construction manager, Hartford South implemented daily “toolbox talks” to provide any job-specific updates, gave in-depth safety orientations for all crew members and had safety monitors on-site at all times.
Finishing the Job
The Florida Hospital tower was a challenge; multiple levels, temporary roofs, extensive projections and penetrations, safety guidelines and architectural sheet-metal design all contributed to the overall difficulty. But when all was said and done, Hartford South completed the $1.25 million project over a span of 28 months comprising 12,960 man hours.
For more information about Hartford South, visit www.hartfordsouth.com.
SIDEBAR: Preventive Maintenance Checklistby Jay Rintleman
Proper maintenance is critical to extending the life span of one of a building’s most expensive - and most overlooked - assets: Factors like age, combined with the effects of elements like wind and water and general wear and tear, can wreak havoc. However, taking preventive measures now - before there is an active leak - can help.
Many variables and issues can cause damage and lower the roof’s performance. Check for these common problems affecting low-slope commercial roofs:
• Debris from wind and storms can clog drains and gutters. Drains should be checked and cleaned every six months to one year to ensure proper flow of water.
• Older roof systems, and sometimes systems where insulation was not installed correctly, have the propensity to pond water. Ponding can occur anywhere on the roof deck, causing stress that could eventually cause premature failure of the membrane.
• Check all flashings. Identify roof membrane problems at vertical surfaces including walls and curbs. Look for holes in the membrane, open laps, hail damage or membrane slippage.
• Inspect the condition of the roof at locations where vent pipes, soil pipes, heater flues, electric conduits or gas lines pass through. These penetrations and pitch pans are often the first areas to fail, but their lifespan can be extended with proper maintenance.
In addition, building owners should request that any individuals accessing the roof use walking pads when performing maintenance or repair services. The pads create a buffer between the tools and equipment that contractors use, preventing the puncturing of the roof membrane.
Jay Rintelmann is president of Hartford South, LLC.