CASE STUDY OVERVIEW
At the beginning of 2020, TEMA Roofing was awarded the opportunity to complete a full commercial roof replacement project for the City of Youngstown. The job site was the widely recognized 20 Federal Building, located in the heart of Youngstown, OH, and required advanced roofing safety measures and expertise with commercial roof replacement in winter months.
This project was part of a traditional commercial roofing bid process, where the City accepted bids from a variety of architectural firms. Strollo Architects, the firm that was awarded the project, then worked to put together specifications and drawings for local commercial roofing companies to bid on. TEMA Roofing Services was ultimately awarded the bid from Strollo Architects and immediately got to work.
TEMA executed the contract, started the project initiation process – which included internal account management, numerous site visits, the ordering of materials from the manufacturer, and the ordering of site equipment – and quickly moved into the project planning phase.
Despite being awarded the project bid during northeast Ohio’s uncertain winter months, TEMA Roofing was able to complete the entire commercial re-roof between January and February of 2020.
Decades of experience and a dependable, professional crew ensured that TEMA was able to deliver exceptional service and quality despite several challenges: a job site that required roof replacement during winter months, the need for experience in high-safety commercial roofing projects, and the ability to quickly and effectively address roofing failure that was resulting in numerous physical plant issues.
Years of unrelenting water infiltration had created a situation where the City of Youngstown could no longer put off the downtown Federal Building’s need for roof replacement. As a result, the City put out a request for proposal (RFP) in search of an architectural firm and commercial roofing contractor who could complete the project as quickly as possible.
The process took the city into the winter months, which can often present a challenge for novice roofing companies, and needed to be completed with the utmost regard to advanced commercial roofing safety measures.
Commercial Roofing Failure and Its Impact
Unfortunately, the Federal Building’s roof was in extremely poor condition and had reached the point where a full tear-off and re-roof was necessary. The existing roofing system had an even older, second roof underneath, so TEMA Roofing needed to remove both systems in order to provide a solution that addressed all issues at hand.
20 Federal Place’s roof failure was the cause of numerous physical plant issues. While roofing failure can sometimes be addressed with simple repairs, this particular roof’s condition was so compromised that repair was not an option.
Complete commercial re-roofs should be considered when multiple concerns are present:
- Repair expenses become constant and excessive
- Damage is compromising the building’s structural integrity
- Damage is occurring to the building’s contents
- The roof has exceeded its useful service life
The Federal Building’s roof had a host of major issues: corners were failing, splits and blistering were present in the built-up roof (BUR) membrane, and several areas of wall flashing and curb were in disrepair. Combined, these sources of water infiltration were resulting in leaks throughout the building.
Since the water infiltration had been occurring for years, there was a large amount of damage to the ceiling, ceiling tiles and walls throughout the building.
Commercial Roofing RFP Process for Government Entities
While RFPs are often the norm for government entities and public education, the process is not typically the most efficient option. In recent years, many qualifying organizations have opted to utilize a cooperative purchasing program to streamline the design-bid-build process and significantly reduce project timelines.
While all projects and scenarios are different, a typical RFP can span a considerable length of time. A normal RFP request can take 6 to 8 months to complete, where, by comparison, cooperative purchasing (from partners like The Interlocal Purchasing System (TIPS) and OMNIA Partners) can reduce this timeframe by 5 to 7 months.
Needless to say, the RFP process for government buildings can be daunting, and roofing is no exception.
In the City of Youngstown’s case, the commissioners released a bid request to architectural firms, asking them to produce drawings and specifications for roof replacement. This information laid the foundation for the technical portion of the RFP documents.
Strollo Architects was awarded the project and used their drawings and specifications to send the RFP to various roofing contractors. Commercial roofing companies, in return, then worked to price the removal and replacement of the Federal Building’s roof system elements.
TEMA Roofing won the bid and quickly got to work on contract execution, pre-construction project initiation (which included site visits, material/equipment ordering, etc.), project planning, product delivery and (eventually) installation.
The complete re-roof of Youngstown’s 20 Federal Place was no easy task. Essentially, the job presented with two major problems: a need to immediately replace the failing roof system and the ability to complete a re-roof during winter months (all while adhering to the highest safety measures, due to the complicated location of the building).
Physical Plant Issues Due to Faulty Roofing
Moisture inside the existing roof system was to the point of failure, and for years, water entered through the roof, resulting in leaks throughout the building.
Despite its majestic, well-maintained exterior, the building’s physical plant was endlessly addressing issues that stemmed solely from the poor condition of the roof.
A Quick Look at 20 Federal Place
Originally built in 1926 by the Strouss-Hirshberg Co., Strouss’ (now known as 20 Federal Place) was the heart of Youngstown, amid a bustling downtown atmosphere that drew people from all over the Mahoning Valley.
Today, the building is home to multiple businesses and government offices, and still draws attention for its architectural components that rival the Macy’s flagship store in New York City.
Unfortunately, the roof had long ago outlived its life expectancy. Though not uncommon, the building’s existing roof covered a second roofing system that had also exceeded its useful life cycle. Roof issues were beyond repair, and removal and replacement of both roofs needed to be done in order to address roof corners that were failing, splits and blistering present in the built-up roof (BUR) membrane, and several areas of wall flashing and curb that were in disrepair.
What is a Built-Up Roofing (BUR) Membrane?
BUR roofing membranes are comprised of several layers (typically 3 to 5), with the first layer fastened to the structure and the remaining layers alternating between fabric and asphalt membranes. This system is commonly referred to as “tar and gravel” roofing. While there are no seams between layers or fasteners, which are often weak points within a roofing system, there are some pitfalls to this type of roof.
Built-Up Roofing is one of the oldest and most common types of commercial roofing and can last decades when installed properly. However, this type of system does make it difficult to detect issues (due to the roof coating) and tends to pool water, leading to leaks when not drained properly. BUR systems are also extremely heavy, adding extra weight to the building structure.
Roof Replacement During Winter Months
Unbeknownst to many, commercial roof replacement can happen during winter months, even in places with unpredictable weather conditions, like northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania.
Extensive knowledge of the roofing materials and equipment is imperative, as is having the manpower available to take advantage of the best, most mild days of the winter season.
In this particular case, the RFP process had taken the project well into the winter months, but roofing issues could not wait and needed to be addressed without delay.
Both problems, the immediate need for roof replacement and finding a commercial roofing company that was capable of working through winter conditions, were compounded by the project’s need for extreme safety measures due to the location and height of the Federal Building. The roofline was nearly 100 feet in the air, and the building itself was situated in the heart of downtown Youngstown, with pedestrian and vehicle traffic in close proximity.
TEMA Roofing Services provided solutions to every problem that 20 Federal Place and Strollo Architects faced in completing the full winter re-roof of the downtown location.
Instituting a Time-Tested Commercial Roofing Process
With decades of experience under their belt, TEMA went to work immediately upon being awarded the bid, executing the contract and starting the project initiation process (inclusive of internal account management, additional site visits, the ordering of materials, obtaining material delivery dates and ordering site equipment).
Once those phases were complete, the team then moved into the project planning phase. Submittals (product data information and technical product data sheets) were put together and then given to the architect to get permits in place.
Pre-construction meetings were a vital part of this project, as were daily safety meetings (aka “toolbox talks”) to ensure the seamless completion of this difficult project. The re-roof utilized a 60 mil, fully adhered EPDM rubber roof system that came with a 20-year warranty.
(Note: In commercial roofing RFPs, the architectural firm specs out the material and assembly type of the roof system before obtaining bids so that all roofing contractors deliver a bid within the scope of the project.)
What is Fully Adhered EPDM?
EPDM is basically a synthetic rubber roof made of ethylene and propylene. It comes in large sheets and roofers have a few options for attaching it. They can glue the material down, attach it mechanically, or hold it in place with a heavy ballast material like gravel.
EPDM rubber roofing can last up to 40 years, is flexible enough to adapt to structural movement, and is lightweight and resistant to UV and hail damage. Also referred to as single-ply membrane roofing, EPDM roof systems are known to be cost-effective and reliable, with a proven track record of over 60 years of usage within the industry.
Once the roof was installed, sheet metal was delivered to the worksite and installed, as well. The metal was used for the protective edges of the building (also known as a coping cap), three walls and one raw edge that required metal wall panels.
Upon completion, TEMA then scheduled an inspection with the materials manufacturer in order to activate the manufacturer’s warranty for the customer. The warranty was then delivered and the project was officially completed by TEMA within the course of just one month.
High-Safety Commercial Roofing During Winter Months
This particular project presented the need for high-safety roofing measures, due to the location and height of the building. On the City’s behalf, it was imperative for Strollo to work with a commercial roofing company that had experience, knowledge and an unwavering drive to achieve maximum roof safety standards.
TEMA Roofing Services worked diligently to fully comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations for commercial roofing safety practices. The safety aspects of this project were extremely important because workers were actively replacing a roof system that was 100 feet in the air (with pedestrian and vehicle traffic below).
OSHA Commercial Roofing Guidelines
OSHA guidelines for the roofing industry are set forth to keep workers and bystanders safe during various phases of construction. In regard to OSHA commercial roofing safety regulations, there are both mandates and guidelines offered for safe practices within the roofing industry.
Guidelines are inclusive of multiple aspects. Below is a shortlist of examples:
- Fall Protection and Fall Protection Training
Includes information on fall protection equipment to be used and training programs for workers who might be exposed to a fall hazard.
- Surface Safety and Weather Monitoring
Notes that roof surfaces should be inspected for slip hazards, like snow and ice, and weather conditions should be monitored by the employer
- Location of Materials and Building Integrity
States that work-related materials should not be kept less than 6 feet from the roof’s edge and that the building should have enough structural integrity to safely support workers
- Fall Protection and Fall Protection Training
Unique measures, like implementing a shoot for safe debris disposal and using a crane to raise and lower equipment/materials to the roof, were utilized. Proper roof edge flag lines and ground coordination were also of the utmost importance.
Additionally, TEMA Roofing Services coordinated efforts with the Youngstown Police Department for road shut-down, as needed, and city officials were regularly on-site to help mark-off areas from pedestrian traffic.
In the case of 20 Federal Place, TEMA Roofing Services completed the project in the heart of what is typically the coldest, snowiest stretch of the winter season in northeast Ohio – January and February. While many competitors are often unable to do so, TEMA relies on their knowledge, experience and union workforce to complete jobs 12 months out of the year.
After winning the initial RFP bid through Strollo Architects, TEMA was able to immediately get to work implementing extensive roof safety measures (inline with OSHA safety guidelines for high-rise commercial roofing), ultimately completing the project within one month’s time.
The lightweight, flexible EPDM rubber roofing that was used to replace the previous Built-Up Roofing (BUR) system offers the City decades-worth of reliable coverage and a 20-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Generations of experience and TEMA’s dependable, professional crew ensured that The City of Youngstown received the exceptional service and quality they were looking for. Physical plant issues were corrected despite cold weather, thanks to TEMA Roofing’s ability to perform roof replacement tasks during winter months. And, TEMA’s experience in high-safety commercial roofing projects resulted in a seamlessly coordinated safety effort that kept workers, tennants, government officials and pedestrians safe.
Location: Youngstown, OH
Date: Jan 23rd – Feb 25, 2020
Roof Material: Built-Up Roof (BUR) System
New Roofing Material: 60 EPDM Rubber Roof System
Coverage: 12,000 sq. ft.
Solution: Full tear-off and re-roof during cold winter months. The existing BUR system was past its life expectancy, and job safety was of the utmost importance due to the location and height of the building.