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Western Specialty Contractors

Western Specialty Contractors Completes Restoration/Waterproofing of Museum Roof Beneath St. Louis’ Historic Gateway Arch

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Western Specialty Contractors – St. Louis Branch recently completed a project to restore and waterproof the roof of the Museum of Westward Expansion located beneath the iconic Gateway Arch on the St. Louis Riverfront. The work is part of a multi-phase project, spearheaded by non-profit organization CityArchRiver Foundation, to expand and renovate the underground museum, plus renovate the grounds surrounding the Arch.

Work on the 100,000-square-foot existing museum roof started by removing 16-18 inches of sod and sandy soil, 10-28 inches of Elastizell engineered fill and the existing waterproof membrane down to the structure deck using a bulldozer and air scrapers.

Once the roof was exposed, Western crews went to work identifying and repairing leaks in the existing museum lid that had been present for many years, as the existing waterproofing had exceeded its lifespan. Several methods were used to evaluate the condition of the concrete roof, which included a chain-drag sounding survey for the structural concrete deck, along with visually identifying delamination and cracks.

Western crews then installed a 2-ply Laurenco modified bitumen sheet waterproofing covered with WR Meadows PC2 protection board. An electronic leak detection system followed by a permanent leak detection grid system were installed over the protection board. Crews then installed a layer of 1-1/2 60 psi Dow extruded polystyrene with an additional layer of WR Meadows PC2 protection board and a J-Drain 780 drainage mat.

The next phase of the project involved waterproofing the 42,000 SF horizontal lid and 37,000 SF vertical walls of the museum addition. Western’s scope of work included installing 2-ply Laurenco modified bitumen sheet waterproofing covered with WR Meadows PC2 protection board, and installing an electronic leak detection system, along with two layers of 1-1/2 60 psi Dow extruded polystyrene. A layer of 1.5″ 60 psi Dow extruded polystyrene was installed on the vertical walls and a J-Drain 780 drainage mat on both the horizontal and vertical walls.

Additional waterproofing of the north and south museum entrances (approx. 13,800 SF), which included approximately 5,000 SF of deck around each Arch leg, was also completed.

The museum was largely operational during construction and a lot of the time Western crews were working over occupied space. Western sequenced the removal of existing roofing material so that they could remove, clean and install new roofing material daily to keep the museum dry during construction.

Testing was a daily requirement during the waterproofing installation. Western was required to complete a pull test every 500 SF and take moisture readings every 100 SF. Daily observation reports had to be completed during the waterproofing application, with all testing results and location tests documented along with weather conditions. Additionally, Western crews took 50 photos daily to document the testing and work area.

Construction on the Arch grounds began in August 2013, while renovations to the museum and visitor center began in April 2015. The improved underground Museum of Westward Expansion is expected to be finished by summer 2018.

Family-owned and operated for over 100 years, Western Specialty Contractors is the nation’s largest specialty contractor in masonry and concrete restoration, waterproofing and specialty roofing. 

Western Specialty Contractors Branches in Florida, Texas and Georgia Serve as Staging Locations for Gulf Coast Disaster Recovery Services

in Companies/News

Losing a structure or building to an unforeseen natural disaster, such as flooding or the recent hurricanes in Florida and Texas, can be devastating to the owner and its tenants.

The decision to move forward with repairs may not come quickly, but when it does, facility managers and owners should work with a specialty contractor experienced in disaster recovery to get the job done correctly and efficiently.  Western Specialty Contractors’ branch offices in Atlanta, GA; Houston and San Antonio, TX and Orlando, FL have been helping companies recover from natural disasters on the Gulf Coast for over 50 years.

“Bringing a building or structure back to life in the case of a natural disaster takes a certain level of experience and skill,” said Chester Scott, Branch Manager of Western’s Atlanta, GA branch. “Special skills are needed to properly assess the damage, develop a recovery plan and initiate the restoration or take steps to mitigate further loss.”

Disaster recovery services provided by Western Specialty Contractors include:

  • Building exterior stabilization
  • Emergency building enclosure
  • Roofing repair and replacement
  • Window boarding, repair and replacement
  • Interior demolition
  • General clean up
  • Masonry and concrete repair
  • Historic restoration

When Hurricane Katrina, one of the five deadliest and costliest hurricanes in the history of the United States, struck the Gulf Coast in 2005, Western Specialty Contractors was there to help.

South Shore Harbour Marina features one of the largest boat slips near the New Orleans Lakefront Airport overlooking Lake Pontchartrain. Hurricane Katrina left the covered slips unusable and virtually unrecognizable. Western crews worked to remove any remaining damaged panels and purlins and completely replaced the outer skin of the slips (approximately 30,000 square feet) with interlocking Berridge Zee-Lock panels. Western also replaced the guard house that overlooked the harbor with a new modular version and made renovations to the public restroom and oil containment facilities, which all suffered severe wind and flood damage during the hurricane.

That same year, Western Specialty Contractors came to the rescue of Florida-based Ardaman & Associates after they noticed some leaking windows in their building, resulting from the recent hurricane activity.

Western crews came out and surveyed the building before making a recommendation to re-seal all of the glass-to-glass, metal-to-glass and metal-to-concrete window joints throughout the entire building. The result was a watertight building and a happy owner.

For more information about Western Specialty Contractors’ disaster recovery services, visit westernspecialtycontractors.com.

Family-owned and operated for more than 100 years, Western Specialty Contractors is the nation’s largest specialty contractor in masonry and concrete restoration, waterproofing and specialty roofing. 

 

Western Specialty Contractors to Participate in New York City’s Annual Create + Construct Symposium

in Companies/News

Western Specialty Contractors, along with a diverse group of architectural, engineering and construction experts, will participate in the third annual Create + Construct symposium on Sept. 19 in New York City. The symposium is sponsored by Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc. (SGH), a national engineering firm that designs, investigates and rehabilitates structures and building enclosures.

According to a press release on the event, the New York City Mayor’s Office reports that 90 percent of the city’s one million structures will still be in use in 2050. Building permits for construction on existing buildings have doubled in value over the last five years from $4.5 billion in 2011 to more than $9 billion in 2016, according to the New York Buildings Congress. In the wake of this shift, Create + Construct will serve as a forum for AEC practitioners to discuss how to transform these structures and build a stronger New York City through adaptive reuse and rehabilitation.

An American Institute of Architects (AIA) – accredited educational event, the full-day symposium will feature five sessions, including a panel discussion on the challenges of updating existing structures.

Michael Radigan

Michael Radigan, Senior Operations Manager of Western Specialty Contractors’ Facades Division, will participate in Session 4: Extend + Enhance. This session will also include speakers from Page Ayres Cowley Architecture and Simpson Gumpertz & Heger. Radigan’s contribution to the program will include specifics of the $70 million recladding and enhancement of 215 East 68th Street, a high-end apartment building on NYC’s Upper East Side. The terra cotta rainscreen recladding installed by Western is one of the largest of its kind in the nation and provides enhanced energy efficiency, aesthetics and overall performance of the building.

Radigan specializes in overseeing large-scale, complex facade restoration and recladding projects. He has more than 35 years of construction experience in NYC, having worked on such high-profile projects as the Empire State Building, Tweed Courthouse, Woolworth Building, One Madison, 11 Waverly Place and Guardian Life Building.

The symposium will include a keynote presentation by Annabelle Selldorf of Selldorf Architects on architecture and design trends affecting adaptive reuse projects, and a panel discussion on the current and future state of this critical market sector moderated by Guy Geier, AIA New York President-Elect and FXFOWLE Managing Partner.

Final registration for the event closes on Sept. 12, 2017. The symposium will take place at the Rubin Museum of Art, 150 W 17thStreet, New York, NY. The event will begin with registration at 8 a.m. and conclude with a reception at 5 p.m. For more information about the symposium, visit www.sgh.com/create-construct.

Family-owned and operated for over 100 years, Western Specialty Contractors is the nation’s largest specialty contractor in masonry and concrete restoration, waterproofing and specialty roofing.

Western Specialty Contractors Takes Extra Care to Protect Vegetation While Re-Roofing Research Facility at Historic Missouri Botanical Garden

in Companies/News

Western Specialty Contractors – St. Louis Roofing Branch faced a multitude of unique challenges recently when it replaced the roof on the John S. Lehmann Building located in the center of the Missouri Botanical Garden, one of the oldest botanical institutions in the United States and a National Historic Landmark.

Founded in 1859 by philanthropist Henry Shaw, the 79-acre Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, MO features Shaw’s original 1850 estate home, the oldest continually operated greenhouse west of the Mississippi River, the largest Japanese garden in North America, the Climatron geodesic dome conservatory, a children’s garden and pioneer village, and a rose garden, among other features.

Not open to the public, the John S. Lehmann Building, opened in 1972, houses the garden’s executive staff and important research programs, historical herbarium samples and a scientific and archival library. The St. Louis Roofing Branch was contracted to remove two existing asphalt roofs on the building and replace them with a fully-adhered, 80 mil TPO membrane roofing system. There was no room for error in the execution of this project.

Accessing the building through the botanical garden was a major concern. A 15-ton truck crane and half of the roofing material had to be hauled 700 feet via a walking trail to the building. Significant precautions were taken to protect the garden’s plant life along the trail from damage by the equipment and compaction of the soil. Western crews worked with garden officials to evaluate which trees along the route would need to be trimmed in order to make room for the materials.

“The crane and each forklift load of material had to be carefully escorted to make sure our material handling equipment stayed on the walking path and did not bump into any overhead branches,” said former St. Louis Roofing Branch Manager Keegan Tune, who is now Branch Manager of Western’s new Kansas City Roofing Branch. “The elevated level of skill in workmanship and communication exercised by our field crews made this project a success in all aspects.”

Another challenge that Western crew’s faced on the project was maintaining a tight schedule. Phase one of the project had to be completed before any decorative lighting for the garden’s annual “Garden Glow” event could be installed around the building.

“In order to shorten the critical path of the schedule, we had to fast track the submittal process and start immediate procurement of the materials. After the material was in place, it was a matter of providing sufficient labor and overtime until the deadline was met,” said Tune.

To protect the building’s valuable contents during the construction process, Western crews worked with the plumbing and ceiling contractors to install new internal overflow drains and piping to safely convey storm water from the roof to the retaining area. An architectural sheet metal company was also used to match the existing custom metal edging profile of the drainage system.

Western completed the project on time and within budget with zero change orders due to the accuracy of the specifications and drawings.

“At the end of the day, it is very rewarding to have taken part in helping preserve plants and science for the future generations to enjoy,” said Tune.

Family-owned and operated for more than 100 years, Western Specialty Contractors is the nation’s largest specialty contractor in masonry and concrete restoration, waterproofing and specialty roofing. 

Western Specialty Contractors Makes Environmental Preservation a Daily Corporate Commitment

in Companies/News

Celebrating the natural environment and raising awareness for environmental issues worldwide is the goal behind World Environment Day on June 5. For Western Specialty Contractors, the country’s largest masonry and concrete restoration specialty contractor, environmental preservation is a job site priority and a daily corporate commitment.

“We are committed to the protection of the environment and we work to ensure that our services do not result in the generation or release of materials that could impact the environment,” said Western Specialty Contractors Safety Director Eric Olson. “It is our goal to reduce the environmental impacts of our services and to operate in an environmentally responsible manner.”

Western’s environmental policy applies to all aspects of its operation, including its corporate office. As Safety Director, Olson is responsible for ensuring that the policy is communicated and implemented by all employees, who have accepted a responsibility to participate in environmental education awareness programs, recognize and reduce or eliminate environmental exposures, abide by the objectives of the policy and comply with all federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations.

Western Specialty Contractors’ management also works to ensure that resources are available to its employees that enable them to achieve Western’s environmental objectives which include:

  • Continually examining the environmental impact of all activities on job site-specific plans.
  • Conducting performance evaluations during job site safety and environmental audits performed by field safety managers, insurance loss control representatives and industrial hygienist consultants.
  • Purchasing and using products and raw materials that are not hazardous to the environment and seeking to reduce the emission of any volatile organic compounds and other elements that are harmful to the environment.
  • Emphasizing environmental programs and providing necessary training to employees at scheduled events throughout the year.

Western also works with owners, designers and general contractors on projects to select the lowest VOC-emitting products available that meet the product quality requirements and lower the overall footprint of the company.

“We survey hazardous and waste materials stored at each job site and establish goals to control any waste materials. When we do encounter waste materials, we create a waste disposal plan with a reputable hazardous disposal company,” said Olson. “Our research also continues in evaluating state-of-the-art equipment for controlling dust and fumes on job sites, plus evaluating the miles per gallon of our fleet vehicles and setting an annual benchmark.”

Family-owned and operated for more than 100 years, Western Specialty Contractors is the nation’s largest specialty contractor in masonry and concrete restoration, waterproofing and specialty roofing. 

Western Specialty Contractors Plans for Its Future Through Robust College Recruitment, Hands-On Internship Program

in Companies/News

 College students with a background in construction management are in high demand by contractors.

To expose college students to careers in specialty contracting and begin developing qualified employees to fill its management positions long-term, Western Specialty Contractors, the nation’s largest specialty contractor in masonry and concrete restoration, waterproofing and roofing, recruits candidates from leading construction management colleges and universities across the country for its comprehensive, hands-on internship program.

“We believe the growth of our workforce depends on a strong internship program. If the intern enjoys their internship experience, then there is a good chance they will be receptive to long-term career opportunities within Western,” said Maria Traina, Director of Human Resources at Western Specialty Contractors.

Visits to colleges and universities are typically made by a combination of senior human resources staff and Western’s branch managers who offer students a first-hand perspective into the specialty field of restoration construction and preventative waterproofing. Those students who take part in Western’s internship program have the opportunity to gain much more than traditional work experience.

“With various levels of opportunities and an individual approach, our interns are exposed to everything from sales and project management to work in the field,” said Tom Brooks, Western Senior Vice President of Operations. “Those who become part of the Western team can look forward to great promotion opportunities. Of the 64% we hire from the program, the average number of years they spend with Western before getting promoted to a management position is just five.”

Over 85% of Western’s managers have been promoted from within the company. Initiative and hard work are rewarded with competitive salaries, excellent benefits including a 401K match, and tuition reimbursement, as well as advancement opportunities.

“With 100 years of experience, and in a constant state of growth, Western hasn’t lost sight of its roots as a hard-working, family-operated business striving to exceed expectations,” said Western Specialty Contractors President Jeff Kelley. “That is why we have been able to attract, hire and most importantly keep some of the best talent in the industry. You come aboard with Western, I can tell you we have a very good training program and a good career pathing process where you start at this level and you want to be at a higher level, here are the things you have to do to get there. We know what it takes to be successful and to be profitable, all you have to do is be willing to do it.”

Josh Woolard, a former intern at Western’s Chicago Branch, was hired by Western and is currently working as a Project Manager at Western’s Springfield, IL Branch. For Woolard, the hands-on experience he received while an intern was the most beneficial.

“I didn’t want to be with a general contractor. I liked the specialized contracting. I got to look at a set of plans and figure out exactly what was going to need to happen and the best way to get it done, pleasing the customer and also helping Western. I got to go on-site. It was really interesting,” said Woolard.

For Teddy Williams, gaining a well-rounded perspective of the construction business through his internship at Western helped him to determine his career path. Williams currently works in Western’s Dallas, TX Branch as an Assistant Business Development Manager.

“They really teach you the ins and the outs of the business,” said Williams. “Western is going to make sure you learn everything you want to in all aspects of the business.”

For more information about Western’s college recruiting and internship programs and current job openings, visit www.westernspecialtycontractors.com/careers/.

Family-owned and operated for more than 100 years, Western Specialty Contractors is the nation’s largest specialty contractor in masonry and concrete restoration, waterproofing and specialty roofing. 

Western Specialty Contractors Receives ICRI-Chicago Chapter Award of Excellence for Outstanding Concrete Repair Project

in Companies/News

Unforeseen sub-structure work and continued operation of garage posed challenges

Western Specialty Contractors – Chicago Concrete Restoration Branch was recently honored with a “2016 Award of Excellence” for Outstanding Concrete Repair Project from the International Concrete Restoration Institute (ICRI) Chicago Chapter for restoration of the aging Hilton Orrington Evanston Hotel parking garage.

Constructed in the mid-1920s, the Hilton Orrington Parking Garage is a stand-alone parking structure located adjacent to the Hilton Orrington Hotel in Evanston, IL. Its interior concrete had degraded due to the corrosive action of chlorides, such as salt, and natural life-cycle deterioration to the point where falling concrete was posing a safety hazard to visitors.

The original scope of work included renovating the interior of the four-deck garage; demolition and replacement of deteriorated concrete ramps, columns and beams; as well as ancillary HVAC, electrical and fire alarm work necessary to bring the facility up to current codes.

James McHugh Construction Co. acted as the general contractor on the $3.3 million project, in tandem with design engineer CTL Group and key repair contractor Western Specialty Contractors – Chicago Concrete Restoration branch.

The restoration team faced several unforeseen challenges on the project due to the garage’s advanced age and deterioration. Further complicating the project, the hotel owner also requested that the garage not be shut down for extended periods of time during the restoration, plus the garage’s first floor was occupied by several small businesses, so construction noise, dust and disruption also had to be kept to a minimum.

“Despite the need for repairs, the continued operation of this parking garage was determined to be key to the successful operation of the adjacent hotel. Therefore, the garage could not be shut down for extended periods of time, and could not go off-line for materials to be removed and replaced,” said Steve Genovese, Western Chicago Concrete Branch Manager. “Occupant safety was also a top consideration since construction activities could dislodge concrete spalls above the ceilings in the occupied spaces. Plus, the owner only allowed ‘noisy’ repairs to be performed three days a week.”

As a result of multiple generations of previous, un-engineered repairs to the structure, additional un-foreseen restoration of the steel sub-structure was required, further complicating the project.

Excavated openings revealed unattached amalgams of various types, sizes and arrangements of reinforcing steel in each opening. This required repair excavations to grow significantly in order to uncover sound reinforcement and concrete, said Genovese.

Western Specialty Contractors worked closely with the general contractor and engineer to coordinate excavations with repair evaluations since each opening required custom engineering to address the uncovered conditions.

“The repair locations were quite large, resulting in on average close to 20 yards of concrete material, or two truckloads, for each patch,” said Genovese. “On average, eight workers were onsite for the duration of the project, mainly because only certain sections of the garage were allowed to be repaired at a time. The deck is four levels, with the first two levels still needing availability for parking, and where most of the repairs were found.”

The restoration team was able to devise some creative solutions to keep the project running smoothly, such as eliminating a portion of the topside and underside repairs to a true full-depth repair, along with phasing. The aging, cast-in-place 8″ to 10″ concrete slabs circumvented doubling the project schedule even though the repair quantities doubled.

Despite the challenges, only three months were added to the original six-month schedule due to collaboration by the entire project team.

“The project posed substantial obstacles including technical, emission control and personnel safety. Changes to concrete and steel conditions drove quantity increases during the work, requiring close and timely coordination with the design engineer,” said Steve Bush, Superintendent, James McHugh Construction Co. “The stacked configuration of the parking ramp mandated stringent safety precautions during demolition and repair. Work was completed without injury to staff or reportable emissions from the garage.”

Family-owned and operated for 100 years, Western Specialty Contractors is the nation’s largest specialty contractor in masonry and concrete restoration, waterproofing and specialty roofing. 

Employees at Western Specialty Contractors Raise $33,319.80 for the United Way

in Companies

western-specialty-logo western-specialty-united-wayEmployees at Western Specialty Contractors raised $33,319.80 for the United Way of Greater St. Louis through its annual fundraising campaign held Oct. 10-14, 2016. Employees participated in a variety of work-based activities to raise money for the organization dedicated to making communities stronger, healthier and better places for everyone. Over the past 20 years, Western Specialty Contractors has donated more than $500,000.00 to the organization.

Western employees pictured from left: Melondi Brown, Carol Rheinheimer and Jessica Gitto.

Family-owned and operated for 100 years, Western Specialty Contractors is the nation’s largest specialty contractor in masonry and concrete restoration, waterproofing and specialty roofing.

 

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