Expert Crew Is Called in for Copper Roof Restoration Project

The dome on the Bradford County Courthouse was restored with copper panels during the first phase of a $3 million renovation project. Photos: Charles F. Evans Roofing Company Inc.

The octagonal dome atop the Bradford County Courthouse has been a fixture on the Towanda, Pennsylvania, skyline for more than 120 years. It now shines brightly after being restored with copper panels as part of a $3 million renovation project.

Built in the Classical and Renaissance revival styles in 1898, the four-story courthouse was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1987. The dome’s original roof tiles were recently replaced as part of the project, which also included the complete restoration of the structure’s main roof.

The Charles F. Evans Company Inc., the union division of Evans Roofing Company Inc., headquartered in Elmira, New York, has a long history of successfully tackling projects with historical significance. C&D Waterproofing Corp., the general contractor on the project, reached out to the firm for support assessing the roofing portion of the project. The two companies teamed up on the project, with C&D Waterproofing handling the masonry restoration work and Charles F. Evans Company installing the roof systems.

The roofing work consisted of two phases. Phase One, which began in April of 2016, involved replacing the deteriorated terracotta tiles on the dome with soldered flat seam copper panels. Phase Two, which began in April of 2017, involved installing batten seam copper roofing on main structure and new copper flashings, gutters and downspouts.

Safety First

Construction Manager Bill Burge of Charles F. Evans Company was thrilled to be part of this historic project. Before

Originally completed in 1898, the courthouse was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1987. The building’s main roof was removed and replaced with a copper batten seam roof after work on the dome was completed. Photos: Charles F. Evans Roofing Company Inc.

concentrating on the installation details, he knew the company would focus on the top priority. “Safety is number one,” says Burge. “Safety comes before profits. Safety comes before everything. We always want to make sure we have the right safety plan going into the job, and throughout the job, we are maintaining that plan and working that plan. We want our guys to go home to their families at the end of the day, so that’s key for us.”

Burge worked as a union carpenter for 10 years before joining the company more than seven years ago. He found he had an affinity for sheet metal work. “The craftsmanship and quality goes hand in hand with carpentry,” Burge says. “Everything starts with the carpentry. You have to have your base perfect; otherwise, everything from there on out doesn’t work. Sheet metal is a finished product, typically, especially in our business, so things have to be done right. Things have to be done to the highest standard of quality, because that’s what people see.”

The dome was designed to be a showpiece, and Field Superintendent Brian Babcock and his crew of qualified union sheet metal mechanics knew they would be held to an exacting standard. “The key to this project and every project is our talented mechanics in the field,” Burge says. “Charles F. Evans Company is nothing without this talent—they deserve all of the credit.”

Around the Dome

Phase One began with the removal of the tiles on the dome. “The ceramic tile was laid over open steel purlins,” Burge notes.

Charles F. Evans Roofing Company handled the roofing portion of the project, while C&D Waterproofing Corp. served as the general contractor and performed masonry restoration work. Photos: Charles F. Evans Roofing Company Inc.

“There was open framing with quarter-inch steel angle for the purlins, and each piece if tile was wired on. The removal process was fairly simple. You could actually lift up the bottom of the tile and snap it off.”

The removal work had to be done in sections and dried in every night. “One of the hardest things about this process was we had to install two layers of half-inch plywood over the steel purlins and anchor those down,” says Burge.

The plywood was attached to vertical two-by-fours, which were screwed into the purlins. The plywood was covered with one layer of Warrior 30-pound felt paper, Meadows Red Rosin Paper, and Grace Ultra High Temp underlayment in gutter areas.

The built-in gutter at the base of the dome was torn out and re-framed. The new gutter was wider and deeper according to the recommendation of Levine & Company Inc., the architect on the project. “We did everything to specification as Levine & Company drew it,” says Burge.

Once the cladding was completed on the gutter, the copper panels of the dome were installed. The 20-inch panels were made of 20-ounce, cold rolled copper, supplied by Revere Copper Products. Both the panels and cladding were fabricated in Charles F. Evans Company’s fabrication shop. The copper panels clip to each other and have a hem on four sides that clips

Custom flashing pieces were fabricated and installed where the copper roof panels met the base of the dome. Photos: Charles F. Evans Roofing Company Inc.

to the adjacent panel fastened to the deck. At the top of each panel, a hook clips off to the plywood, and the hook is covered by the panel directly above it.

Burge points out that the octagonal structure of the dome helped speed up the installation of the copper panels. “There are eight hips on the dome,” he notes. “Every section of the dome is like a piece of pie, basically, so we were able to start the panels in various locations. We didn’t have to start at one end and go around the dome. We could move around.”

Repairing the statue on the top of the dome was also part of the scope of work. “We soldered copper patches on any damage the statue had,” Burge says. “C&D Waterproofing completely cleaned and buffed the statue and applied a copper coating.”

Across the Roof

After the work on the dome was completed, work began on the main roof. The existing roof was removed down to the existing steel deck. The lower roof also had a built-in, copper-clad gutter that had to be removed and reconstructed. After

Scaffolding systems were constructed for both phases of the project. Shown here is part of the system installed around the lower roof, which featured planks and guardrails at the eave and rake edges. Photos: Charles F. Evans Roofing Company Inc.

the gutter was completed, work on the main roof began. “After we completely cleaned the metal decking, we had to install a layer of Grace Ultra High Temp underlayment,” Burge recalls. “We then installed two-by-four wood sleepers, 2 feet on center.”

Crews installed 1.5 inches of polyiso insulation between the two-by-fours, followed by another 1.5-inch layer of polyiso. Pieces of 5/8-inch plywood were then screwed down to the sleepers. The plywood received 30-pound felt, and the battens were installed 20 inches on center. The seams were completed using a custom-designed mechanical seamer manufactured by Roll Former Corp.

Installation of the 12,000 square feet of copper panels went smoothly, but where panels met the dome, details were tricky. “Everything is pitched, and the dome has eight different sections sitting right in the center of the structure,” Burge explains. “A lot of time and energy went into fabricating and installing custom flashing pieces at the base of the dome.”

The Safety Plan

A scaffolding system was the key to the safety plan for both phases of the project. “For Phase One, we had to remove a portion of the roofing system and put down some plywood on top of the existing roofing in order to build a scaffold to access the dome,” Burge says.

This photo shows the main roof before restoration work began. Photos: Charles F. Evans Roofing Company Inc.

Scaffolding was constructed to the eave edge of the copper dome, allowing the gutter to be removed. Ladders were used to access the dome and personal fall arrest systems were attached into HitchClips from Safety Anchor Fall Equipment, LLC, which served as individual anchor points. “We continued that process as we went up, using ladder jacks,” says Burge. “We continued with that plan, and never deviated.”

After Phase One was completed, the scaffolding was removed, and another scaffolding system was installed around the entire lower roof. Phase Two required planks and pre-engineered guardrails at the eave and rake edges. “Part of process of installing this roof included installing new safety anchors at various locations, and as we finished up, we were able to use those anchors as tie-off points,” Burge points out.

Phase Two is scheduled for completion in early November, and Burge has high praise for everyone involved with the project. “Levine & Co. Inc. is the architecture firm on the project,” he says. “We didn’t deter from any details developed. They drove this thing. We have worked with them on a great many projects in the past, and we have a great comfort level with them.”

Copper panels, cladding and details were fabricated in Charles F. Evans Company’s metal shop. Photos: Charles F. Evans Roofing Company Inc.

The masonry and roofing work had to be well coordinated. “C&D Masonry & Waterproofing progressed ahead of us with items that we needed to be done, and then came back behind us to mortar all of the counter flashings back into the dome,” Burge says. “They were right there with us every step of the way.”

Finding the right combination of workers for this project was crucial, according to Burge. “We had one of our best crews on this project for a reason,” he says. “This project was led by Brian Babcock of Sheet Metal Local 112, and he was essential in putting this whole thing together. He’s been with Charles F. Evans Company for 20 years, and his leadership and focus is the reason this project is going to be successful.”

Ornate sheet metal work is rare these days, but the art is not lost at Charles F. Evans Company. “We’ve been doing this work for 60-plus years,” Burge says. “This knowledge and this workmanship has been handed down generation after generation. We wouldn’t have taken on this project if we didn’t have the confidence in our employees that we do.”

Historic restoration projects are becoming an increasingly bigger chunk of the company’s portfolio, notes Burge. “We do a lot of work with older universities and businesses that have these types of buildings,” he says. “A lot of buildings need this type of work, and it’s a trade not everyone else has. This is a craft that takes years to master. We harness that, we build from within, and we bring in young guys and teach them how to do it the right way. We have a great mix of people ages 23 up to 60, and it’s learned, it’s taught, and it’s preached.”

Burge is hopeful the new roof will last at least as long as its predecessor. “This is the one thing that makes Charles F. Evans Company special to me: the fact that what we do from an architectural sheet metal standpoint, from a slate, copper, tile roof standpoint—these roofs will last 100, 150 years, and it is artwork,” he says. “The fact that you’re a part of something that’s been around since the turn of the last century—to me it doesn’t get any better than that.”

TEAM

Architect: Levine & Company Inc., Ardmore, Pennsylvania, Levineco.net
Construction Manager: C&D Waterproofing Corp., Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, CDwaterproofingcorp.com
Roofing Contractor: Charles F. Evans Roofing Co. Inc., Elmira, New York, Evans-roofing.com

MATERIALS

Copper Supplier: Revere Copper Products, Reverecopper.com
Synthetic Underlayment: Grace Ultra High Temp, GCP Applied Technologies, GCPat.com
Mechanical Seamer: Roll Former Corp., Rollformercorp.com
Anchor Points: HitchClip, Safety Anchor Fall Equipment, LLC, Hitchclip.com

Restoring the Saskatchewan Legislative Dome Is a Labor of Love

The Saskatchewan Legislative Building in Regina was originally completed in 1912. The structure had undergone deterioration due to poor drainage around the dome, and a restoration project was initiated to repair the masonry and restore the copper dome. Photos: Ministry of Central Services, Government of Saskatchewan

“At the end of the day, why do we go to cities?” asks Philip Hoad. “We go to cities to look at their beautiful old buildings. We don’t generally go to look at their skyscrapers. It’s the old building that gets our minds and hearts working. When you go to a city and look at these old buildings intermingled with new buildings—that’s what gives a city life.”

Hoad is with Empire Restoration Inc., headquartered in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada. He’s been restoring historic buildings for some 30 years, and when he found out about the project to renovate the dome on the Saskatchewan Legislative Building, he knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “The architect put out a pre-qualification across Canada, and four firms were successful. We were one of them,” he remembers. “Then we ended up securing the tender bid. I’ll never forget it because I did the tender estimate just after a hernia operation in my dressing gown. It was really a project I won’t forget.”

The building was originally constructed in Regina, Saskatchewan, between 1908 and 1912, and it serves as the seat of government for the province and houses the legislative assembly. Designed by architects Edward and William Sutherland Maxwell of Montreal in a mix of English Renaissance and French Beaux-Arts styles, the building features ornate stone elements and unique decorative copper finishes that accent its iconic copper-clad dome. It is designated as a National Historic Site of Canada and a Provincial Heritage Property, and is subject to strict regulations regarding materials and methods of repair.

Work on the dome was carried out in a fully enclosed and heated temporary structure that allowed crews to continue throughout the winter months. Photos: Ministry of Central Services, Government of Saskatchewan

The structure has undergone some restoration work over the past 100 years, but in 2013, planning began for a conservation project designed to repair and restore the tower. The reasons for the project were twofold, according to Hoad. “First of all, the copper panels were blowing off, and somebody had re-secured them with face screws back in the ’60s or ’70s. But more importantly, the water was coming off the dome and damaging the stone below it. The dome was originally never designed with gutters, and then they later put gutters on, and these failed. So those were the two things that drove the project in the first place.”

Hoad knew the project would be challenging, but it he was confident that his company had the experience and passion to handle it. “These projects come along, for most of us, once in a lifetime,” he notes. “It’s the scale and the detail and the level of commitment that you need to restore an old building that sets us apart from, say, new construction. It’s not cookie-cutter. Everything is different, and you never know what you’re getting into—although with our experience, we’ve done so many old buildings we sort of know what we’re going to run into. All of the people who work for us love to work on these old buildings. It’s very satisfying at the end of it.”

The goals of the project were perfectly aligned with Hoad’s business philosophy. “When I start with an old building, I don’t want to change it,” he says. “It might look a little newer, but I want it to be the same as when we found it. I don’t want it to stand out as a brand-new building. We just want it to last another 100 years and to know that we’ve helped preserve it for future generations.”

The ornamental copper elements were restored and reset over the new copper panels. Photos: Ministry of Central Services, Government of Saskatchewan

Repairing the Substructure

Work on the dome was more complicated than initially thought. During the pre-construction condition survey and assessment, additional problems were discovered by the conservation architect, Spencer R. Higgins of Toronto. “Once the architect had done all his work and surveyed the building, they also realized the original woodwork was not quite up to snuff,” Hoad explains. “Basically, much of the original wood framing was made up of old pallets. It was quite remarkable. So structurally, we had to re-frame the hips, which we call the ribs. We completely removed the old pallet framing and re-framed it. We also tried to straighten the slight twist in dome, but it wasn’t easy to do since it was a poured concrete structure underneath.”

New ribs were constructed out of Douglas fir plywood using a CNC machine from 3-D architectural drawings to create templates. It was also necessary to remove and replace approximately 40 percent of deteriorated wood deck on the concrete dome, with both the interior and exterior surfaces of the concrete being repaired by the general contractor on the project, PCL Construction Management of Regina. “Re-framing the ribs was quite a challenge,” notes Hoad. “Once the concrete deck was repaired, we screwed new Douglas fir roof boards into the repaired concrete dome, added an air vapor barrier, Roxul insulation, wood nailers and an additional layer of Douglas fir roof boards, with housewrap and asphalt saturated roofing felt as the underlayment system for all the new copper roofing and cladding that would follow.”

Internally drained stainless-steel gutters were installed at the base of the dome. The gutters were lined with sheet lead. Photos: Ministry of Central Services, Government of Saskatchewan

After the masonry restoration was completed by RJW-Gem Campbell Stonemasons of Ottawa, Empire Restoration installed new gutters at the base of the dome. According to the architect’s design, heavy stainless-steel plate gutters were formed and then lined with sheet lead. Projecting stone cornice ledges were also covered in sheet lead.

Restoring the Copper Dome

The existing 16-ounce copper panels were all removed, and they were replaced with new 20-ounce panels recreated to match the original sizes and profiles. More than 20,000 square feet of copper panels were custom fabricated and installed. Great care was taken to carefully remove and restore decorative elements, including the copper garlands.

Decorative elements that could be saved were installed on new brass armatures. The dome is topped by a cupola and lantern, which were carefully restored. “The mantel on the very top, we didn’t strip that off,” Hoad notes. “We just replaced and repaired selective components, so that’s why you have a mix of old and new.”

Logistics at the job site were well coordinated. “Access was quite remarkable because PCL had erected a steel frame onto which we erected scaffolding, so the dome was right there in front of us,” Hoad notes.

Cornice sections were restored, and extensive sheet lead flashings were installed over stone cornices and ledges. Photos: Ministry of Central Services, Government of Saskatchewan

When working on the dome itself, crew members had to be tied off with personal fall arrest systems, as it was possible to slip through gaps between the scaffold decks and the dome roof surface. Weather was not an issue, as the steel frame structure was totally enclosed with a heavy-duty insulated tarp system. “We had our own ventilation system, we had a heating system, we had electricity up there, we had pneumatic power—we basically had everything up there. PCL had it well set up for the various trades. There was a large crane on site to hoist all our materials up.”

Hoad cites the sheer size of the project as one of his greatest concerns. “The biggest challenge was just the scale of the project, being able to produce the amount of work necessary and get the job done in the prescribed time,” he says. “It was a lot of the same thing, albeit with some very complicated detailing. We had multiple skill sets on the site dealing with multiple materials and details.”

The project has won numerous awards, including a 2017 North American Copper in Architecture Award from the Copper Development Association. Hoad is proud of his company’s role in the project but relieved it is completed. “During it, I was at times tearing my hair out,” he recalls. “It was a very high-pressure project that lasted a long time. It was three or four days a week of constant men, materials, equipment, meetings, details, changes, extras, credits. From start to finish, it was two years of my life.”

The cupola and lantern at the top of the dome were repaired in situ. Photos: Ministry of Central Services, Government of Saskatchewan

Despite the pressure, Hoad found the work extremely satisfying. “What we are doing is permanent and built to last for future generations,” he says. “We’re using natural, traditional building materials of stone, wood, copper and other noble metals. That’s what drives me to love the industry and my job—because it’s permanent, sustainable and it’s for future generations.”

After all, it’s often the roof and flashings that play one of the most critical roles in fighting the elements of weather, notes Hoad. “Roofing and sheet metal deficiencies is where much of building damage and deterioration starts,” he says. “You can repair a masonry wall, but if you don’t stop it getting saturated, it’ll just deteriorate again in another few years. Regina was a good example of that. We’ve now provided great protection to these beautiful stone elements, allowing them to last another 100 years.”

TEAM

Conservation Architect: Spencer R. Higgins, Architect Incorporated, Toronto, Ontario, Higginsarchitect.com
General Contractor: PCL Construction Management, Regina, Saskatchewan, PCL.com
Sheet Metal Contractor: Empire Restoration Inc., Scarborough, Ontario, EmpireRestoration.com
Masonry Contractor: RJW-Gem Campbell Stonemasons Inc., Ottawa, Ontario, RJWgem.com

MATERIALS

Copper: 20-ounce copper sheet metal
Wood Framing: Douglas fir
Insulation: Rockwool Rigid Insulation, Roxul, Roxul.com

The BTI-Greensburg John Deere Dealership Installs Tornado-Resistant Daylighting Systems and Other Sustainable Materials

On the night of May 4, 2007, brothers Kelly and Mike Estes saw their BTI-Greensburg John Deere Dealership obliterated by an EF5 tornado nearly 2-miles wide (according to the Enhanced Fujita Scale, which rates the strength of tornados by the damage caused; view the scale on page 3). Astoundingly, 95 percent of their town—Greensburg, Kan.—was also destroyed that day. The tornado did much more than rip roofs off buildings and toss things around; it turned the entire community into what looked like kindling.

Rarely do communities get hit by an EF5 tornado, which can come about when air masses collide. Sometimes warm, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico rises above drier air from the Southwest deserts in the U.S. This can create unstable conditions resulting in thunderstorms and worse. A strong collision of air masses creates a strong storm. Additionally, wind patterns and the jet stream can magnify the storm, resulting in what people refer to as “the perfect storm”.

After being completely destroyed by an EF5 tornado, the BTI-Greensburg John Deere Dealership has been rebuilt in Greensburg, Kan., in a better, greener way.

After being completely destroyed by an EF5 tornado, the BTI-Greensburg John Deere Dealership has been rebuilt in Greensburg, Kan., in a better, greener way.

Despite the large-scale losses incurred by the entire town, 100 customers and friends of the Estes family showed up the morning of May 5 to help them salvage what remained of their business. Shortly after the tornado disaster, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius stated her wish that Greensburg become the “the greenest city in the state”.

As part of their commitment to their community, Kelly, Mike and their family decided to rebuild their business in a better, greener way. They wanted the new 28,000-square-foot prefabricated metal building to be the world’s greenest farm-machinery facility; attain a LEED Platinum rating from the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council; and use the least energy possible. One of the most important considerations was using building materials that could withstand future tornados.

DAYLIGHTING

To help achieve LEED Platinum and outlast any future high-velocity winds, they incorporated 12 Daylighting Systems in their retail area’s roof to showcase their merchandise; reduce lighting energy costs; and flood the area with natural light, a benefit for customers and employees.

The Daylighting Systems capture light through a dome on the roof and channel it down through a highly reflective tube. This tubing is more efficient than a traditional drywall skylight shaft, which can lose over half of the potential light. The tubing fits between rafters and installs with no structural modification. At the ceiling level, a diffuser that resembles a recessed light fixture spreads the light evenly throughout the room.

The dome is made from high-quality acrylic resin that is specifically formulated for increased impact strength, chemical- and weather-resistance, and high clarity (a polycarbonate inner dome is used for high-velocity hurricane zones). Domes are engineered to deflect midday heat and maximize low-angle light capture. The tubing is made from puncture-proof aluminum sheet coated with the highly reflective material for maximum light transfer. The units (independently tested by Architectural Testing in Fresno, Calif.) comply with various building codes including the 2009 International Building Code and 2010 Florida Building Code, including high-velocity hurricane zones.

“When our power went out one time for four hours, we were able to keep the shop open and operating due to daylight strategies, which includes the Daylighting Systems,” notes Mike Estes. “We didn’t anticipate this benefit but we’re really happy to have this bonus.”
PHOTO: SOLATUBE INTERNATIONAL INC.

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