Project Profiles: Historic Preservation

CATHEDRAL OF ST. PAUL, BIRMINGHAM, ALA.

Team

ROOFING CONTRACTOR: Midland Engineering Co., South
Bend, Ind.
ARCHITECT: ArchitectureWorks LLP, Birmingham
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Hoar Construction LLC, Birmingham,
MASONRY CONTRACTOR: Ziolkowski Construction Inc., South Bend

The cathedral’s intricate slate tile patterns incorporated three slate colors and square and deep bevel cut tiles.

The cathedral’s intricate slate tile patterns incorporated three slate colors and square and deep bevel cut tiles.

Roof Materials

The Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham required the cathedral’s new roof system be a historically accurate reproduction of the original in materials, design and craftsmanship. The cathedral’s intricate slate tile patterns incorporated three slate colors and square and deep bevel cut tiles. Six large slate crosses and multiple accent patterns, barely visible on the faded original roof, required exacting measurements prior to tear-off and a high level of precision to recreate and maintain over such a large field and on octagonal steeples.

Because of metal thinning brought on by their advanced age, every copper architectural and functional feature in the existing roof system had to be carefully removed and shipped to Midland Engineering’s South Bend facility to be historically replicated in its metal shop. This included seven ornate crosses (up to 17-feet tall), finials, turret caps and more. There were more than four dozen components, for which no original prints existed, as well as over 500 feet each of custom copper cornices and radius gutters with matching straps. More than 20,000 square feet of 16- and 20-ounce copper was utilized for fabrication of architectural elements and flashing.

Midland Engineering was asked to make improvements to the original roof system to improve attic ventilation while maintaining the Gothic Revival period look. To accomplish this, the crew integrated bronze screen (invisible from the ground) into the original copper cornice and eave design to provide improved cold air intake while new louvered copper dormers replaced the original painted roof ventilator.

An updated lightning protection system was incorporated into the new roof design, hidden within many of the new copper crosses and other architectural elements. The system was fabricated in Midland Engineering’s shop to maintain the Gothic Revival look.

The metal shop also clad 10 previously painted windows and mullions in copper, effectively eliminating frequent and costly maintenance. These windows, reachable only by crane at considerable expense, formerly required painting and other maintenance every five to seven years.

About 6,500 square feet of lead-coated copper, which patinas to a limestone color, was utilized to cap all limestone exposed to weather, reducing ongoing maintenance of limestone joints.

Extensive termite damage to structural framing required repair prior to installation of the new roofing system. Upon removal of the original slate roof and completion of the structural repairs, the new roof was dried-in and installation of the new slate roof began. The historically accurate replacements of the original copper architectural features were installed according to schedule.

SLATE SUPPLIER: North Country Slate
COPPER SUPPLIER: Hussey Copper

Roof Report

The Cathedral of St. Paul is the centerpiece of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Birmingham. Completed in 1893 at a cost of $90,000, the cathedral is widely considered to be a handsome example of the American Neo-Gothic variant of the Gothic Revival style. The cathedral measures 96-feet wide by 140-feet long and encompasses more than 60,000 square feet. It features twin octagonal steeples, rising 183-feet high.

Work schedules on this project were a challenge. The contract required parishioner and clergy access to the church must be maintained 24 hours a day, seven days a week, throughout the eight-month duration of the project. Further, because of the noise inherent in roof construction, work schedules had to be planned around regular church services and events and rescheduled several times a month for funerals and other unscheduled events.

“We could not have been more pleased with the work accomplished by the team from Midland Engineering,” says Very Rev. Kevin M. Bazzel, V.G., J.C.L., rector of the Cathedral of St. Paul. “It is a marvel to us to be able to see the church in its original glory, and all of this thanks to Midland!”

The National Roofing Contractors Association, Rosemont, Ill., awarded Midland Engineering the prestigious Gold Circle Award in 2016. Midland was recognized in the Outstanding Workmanship—Steep-slope Category.

Photo: Rob Culpepper

Pages: 1 2 3 4

Vivint Solar Inc. and Renovate America Collaborate to Offer Rooftop Solar to More Homeowners

Vivint Solar Inc. and Renovate America are collaborating to expand access to rooftop solar for homeowners. By offering Renovate America’s HERO program as its PACE financing option, Vivint Solar is enabling more homeowners to purchase solar systems and lower their utility bills.

Under this business agreement, homeowners will be able to use HERO financing to purchase Vivint Solar systems and pay for them over time through their local property taxes. Payments are made at a fixed interest rate for terms of five to 20 years, and the interest on the payments may be tax deductible. Since it is expected that the system will stay with the home and provide utility savings into the future, any remaining balance on the assessment may be able to transfer to a new homeowner at the time of sale.

The announcement of this relationship comes at the same time as the Federal Housing Administration’s recently issued federal policy guidance that endorses PACE financing.

“We are excited to work together with Renovate America to provide this solar financing product that will make solar available to a range of consumers, including those who either do not have the upfront capital for a solar energy system or for whom traditional loans, Power Purchase Agreements or Solar System Lease Agreements are not viable options,” said Vivint Solar Executive Vice President of Capital Markets, Thomas Plagemann. “We are pleased with the new FHA guidelines that open the door to wider acceptance of the PACE financing product throughout the United States.”

Since its launch at the end of 2011, HERO, which stands for Home Energy Renovation Opportunity, has financed more than $1.5 billion of improvements such as solar, energy-saving roofing, windows, and doors, more efficient HVAC systems, and building insulation. About a quarter of the home energy improvement projects – around 19,000 – have been rooftop solar installations.

“More than 67,000 homeowners have invested in the efficiency of their homes,” said Greg Memo, executive vice president of business development and product strategy at Renovate America. “Vivint Solar and Renovate America are able to provide more families the ability to go solar and lower their utility bills.”

Vivint Solar is rolling out the HERO Program throughout California, and both companies are working with state and local governments to expand this product offering nationwide.

AAMA Releases Document Clarifying Weathering Requirements for Solar Reflective Finishes

The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) releases a document describing the test procedures and performance requirements for pigmented organic coatings applied to aluminum, fiber reinforced thermoset or wood and cellulosic composite profiles for windows, doors, wall panels, skylights, sloped glazing and similar products. The update is a clarification to the requirements for outdoor or accelerated weathering testing. The document Voluntary Specification, Performance Requirements and Test Procedures for Solar Reflective Finishes was originally released in 2013.

“Advances in coatings technologies for architectural products have provided the opportunity to expand the use of solar reflective coatings,” says Manny Mayer, architectural products manager at Tiger Drylac. “Selecting high-performance coatings with these solar reflective attributes can positively impact the energy efficiency associated with all exterior coated building components. The primary purpose for utilizing coatings with solar reflective properties is to keep the coated surfaces cooler than they would be with standard coatings.”

This specification is a supplement to the existing specifications (AAMA 613, 614, 615, 623, 624, 625, 653, 2603, 2604 and 2605) and does not in any way supersede the performance requirements contained in those documents, particularly the weathering requirements.

AAMA 643-16, as well as other AAMA documents, may be purchased from AAMA’s online store.

ABC Supply Acquires Assets of Team Wholesale

Building products distributor ABC Supply Co. Inc. has acquired the assets of Team Wholesale Inc., a supplier of siding and windows located at 2900 Highland Dr. in Hudsonville, Mich. Susan Zmudzinski will continue in her current role as branch manager.

“Team Wholesale has built a great reputation among contractors in the SW Grand Rapids area,” says Jim Welch, vice president of ABC Supply’s Midwest Region. “Customers will continue working with the same experienced associates at this location who have a breadth of knowledge with regard to siding and windows.”

ABC Supply operates one other branch in Grand Rapids, Mich., located at 2601 Division Ave. S.