The Pete V. Domenici Federal Courthouse is located in the central business district of Albuquerque, N.M. Constructed in 1998, the building is the workplace of more than 200 federal employees, including judges, U.S. Marshals, and workers in probation services. The courthouse is a promoter of the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Art-in-Architecture Program, which aims to enhance the civic meaning of federal architecture by showcasing American visual arts. Therefore, the building features many beautiful pieces of artwork by famous artists known around the region and throughout the nation. Unfortunately, the roof of this seven-story landmark had been leaking for several years, and water was dripping into the chambers of the federal judges, disrupting their work.

Due to budgetary restrictions, the GSA could not afford to remove the existing roof and replace it with an entirely new one. RoofCARE and Payne Consulting Inc. satisfied the need for a leak-free, maintainable roofing system through the strategic use of HydroStop’s PremiumCoat® Roof System. PremiumCoat is a fully adhered, reinforced acrylic elastomeric roof system. Every 15, 20 or 25 years, the top layers of PremiumCoat FinishCoat can be reapplied, creating a roof system that will last the life of the building. HydroStop products for this specific job not only fulfilled the requirement for a long-lasting roof, they also complied with the GSA’s commitment to sustainability, making PremiumCoat the perfect solution to this situation.

The existing courthouse roof was a 12-year-old modified cap sheet that had numerous leaks, most of which originated at pitch pans or resulted from ponding water near the roof drains. The hundreds of pitch pans on the roof encapsulate screen wall supports. To address them, the sheet metal caps were removed and a mix of BarrierGuard and HydroFiber was used to fill the void. This procedure not only made the pitch pans water tight — it created a cant for positive water flow. After the penetrations and details were addressed, the fluid-applied system allowed the crew to fully encapsulate the entire roof, details and base flashings in one seamless membrane.

Since the building was a federal courthouse, the security component of this job was an extremely important consideration. RoofCARE and Payne Consulting also had to coordinate work efforts around the court’s schedule. The crew of four to five men worked on the roof for five months, and the courts required 72-hour notice before any crew members could visit the roof. If court was in session on one side of the building, that side had limited to no access. Additionally, the roofing project was completed in conjunction with the renovation of three rooftop cooling towers, which further complicated the production process. The complexity of the specification, coordination with other trades, and accessibility to multiple roof levels made for an extremely challenging project.

Despite the challenges, the original roof section was finished well under budget, so the GSA was able to complete several additional roof sections as a change order. GSA Project Manager Paul Abernathy said, “We will never replace another roof without first considering this fluid-applied roof renovation option.”

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