Spring Training

TPO Membrane Hits Home Run at Camelback

by Michael Russo, contributing editor


From Western Roofing Sep/Oct ’09


Camelback Ranch, the new spring training home of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox in Glendale, Arizona, opened as scheduled in March. For the general contractor and building team, it felt like they had just won the World Series.

With less than a year to build, the time constraints for this job were as intense as the mid-summer Arizona sun. At one point, tensions between the non-roofing trades escalated into fisticuffs and security had to be called in, according to several sources familiar with the project.

Fortunately, the roofing contractor on the job was no rookie and managed to stay out of trouble when the benches emptied out. “It was a tough deadline, especially for the GC,” says roof consultant Dennis Barr, RRO, LEED AP, CSI and principal of Professional Roof Management, in Mesa, Arizona. “But the roofing contractor had no problems and was capable of staying well ahead of the game.”

It also helped that the roofing system specified – a tan, 60 mil TPO single ply – helped get the project in the dry quickly during the July-August “monsoon” season in Arizona.

Although several veteran players bid on the roofing work, Custom Roofing Company of Phoenix stood out as the strongest performer over the long haul. “The demands of this project schedule were ‘moving targets’ and priorities changed on a regular basis,” says William D. Hill, president of Custom Roofing. “Since it was design-build, large amounts of equipment were not installed at the time of the roofing. A tremendous amount of time was spent in daily meetings coordinating our activities with many other trades.”

Hill’s son Brett led the charge as superintendent of the three to six man roofing crews, using two robotic welders and five hand held units. The single-ply portion of the roof was 1,610 squares, with the overall roof surface measuring 2,367 squares. This included all metal roofing and canopies. In addition, the crews were required to work on multiple buildings on a daily basis.

“There’s really no quicker option than TPO single ply, and that’s what the architect specified,” says Alan Minker, CSI, CST, and Western Region Commercial Specialist for GAF Materials Corporation. “EverGuard® TPO was considered ‘or equal’ in the specification, and we turned out to be more cost effective than our competitors on this particular project.”

The roofing spec was straightforward, with the TPO membrane mechanically attached through two layers of 1.5” EnergyGuard(TM) polyiso insulation into a 22-ga. steel deck. However, there were more than 12 buildings to roof, including the stadium, a replica of the Los Angeles Dodgers major league arena in California, so the roofing team had to hustle.

In addition, there were drains and penetrations not shown on the roof plans, so Custom Roofing had to improvise and coordinate well with the other contractors on the job. “The other trades were working 24 hours, seven days a week, and it was hot,” Barr recalls. “Custom Roofing was very knowledgeable, had well-trained crews and really did an excellent job.”

It also helped that Barr, who started out as a journeyman roofer in 1976, had a positive relationship with GAF personnel going back 20 years. “Overall, we’ve had good experience with TPO. We have seen some material problems over the years, but not with the GAF product.”

“We could not have been happier with our partnership with GAF Corporation during this project,” adds Hill. “We would be remiss to not personally thank the local representative, Alan Minker and local GAF technical representative Jim Jangula for their help and expertise. They were instrumental in arranging all of the administrative and technical issues of a job of this proportion.”


Who’s on first?

In addition to the sweltering heat, the building team had the added pressure of frequent visits from the owners of both baseball clubs. There was also some good-natured competition revolving around which team’s facility would be completed first. “Naturally, both teams wanted to be the first one on base,” says Barr.

Project construction was started in April 2008 and completed in February 2009. The project sits on 140 acres.

“This could not have come at a more perfect time for Dodger fans, who have waited a long time to take part in the Spring Training experience,” said Dodger president Jamie McCourt during a visit to the facility.

White Sox senior vice president of Stadium Operations Terry Savarise was also pleased with the finished facility. “The team owners and the City of Glendale have really created something distinctive here,” he says.

Although the roofing contractor and consultant would have preferred working on a cooler, more reflective, white roofing membrane, the City of Glendale made an early decision to go with tan to blend in with the surrounding Arizona desert.

“TPO – and specifically single-ply membranes – are increasing about 25-30% yearly for us,” says Hill. “The most tangible benefits of these systems are the Energy Star® ratings, lack of constant maintenance, and the fact that ponding water (through structural or design deficiencies) do not compromise the products’ longevity or their warranties.”

Custom Roofing has been in business in the valley since 1953. The company was started by Burt Hill and is now run by his sons, Robert and William, with the family’s third generation is actively involved in the company.

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