Mountain Roof

Collaborative Effort For Summit Building in Squamish, British Columbia

by Derek Fee, manager of corporate communications, IKO Industries


Few jobsites offer vistas like the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, British Columbia. Working 2,903’ above Howe Sound, roofing contractors enjoyed stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the water below while they worked on the summit building. Completed in May 2014, the Sea to Sky Gondola and its incredible views attract adventure-seeking visitors to Squamish from around the world, providing year-round access to trails and other recreation activities.

The gondola’s summit building was designed to be as much an attraction as the nearby trails and panoramic views. Its exposed-beam construction and large windows provide a breathtaking backdrop for dining, events, and even the occasional wedding. Picturesque as the location is, it was equally demanding for contractors to construct the building. “We knew it was going to be a real challenge to get products up there in the winter to install the roof,” recalled James Hyndman, co-founder of Garibaldi Roofing Co. Ltd., Squamish. According to Hyndman, building at that time of year made everything a little harder.

From the start of the project, Garibaldi faced a huge challenge of accessing the site where the summit building was to be constructed. “The only access was an old forest service road,” said Hyndman. The road was narrow, steep, and in poor condition, making it treacherous for trucks delivering materials. “They had to constantly utilize heavy equipment to tow up the trucks.”

The late fall/early winter time frame made the job even more difficult, as snow sometimes made the roads impassable. “I can remember the general contractor having to run to the local auto supply store and clean out the tire chains from the shelves,” Hyndman said.

The summit building was designed as an 8,999 sq.ft. multipurpose facility. Perched on the edge of the mountain, the building features a self-serve dining area and a large deck with outdoor seating. The building’s roof reflected the scale of the structure and had to withstand heavy snow and high winds, and maintain its good looks over time.

The project’s schedule dictated that the roof needed to be installed in winter, a time of year that’s less than ideal at any altitude. The building’s remote location and difficult access, along with the project’s tight budget constraints, compounded the challenges. To overcome those challenges and complete the job, Hyndman and Garibaldi relied on IKO® Industries and their local supplier, RoofMart.

The summit building project had to take many needs into account. “We had to find a balance of cost and durability,” Hyndman said. “The roof also had to go down quickly, saving labor costs while protecting the building during construction and long after that.”

For the roof, Garibaldi used IKO’s Fast-N-Stick™ 180-Base mechanically attached base sheet. “It goes down quickly, which helped us ensure the roof was installed properly,” said Hyndman. He added that the quick installation also helped them prevent the roof structure below from getting wet during installation.

Other IKO products included on the summit building roof include Armourbond™ Flash and Torchflex™ Welded Cap Sheet. The Torchflex product was especially important for the summit building, which not only endures snow and wind, but also high ultraviolet exposure.

In the time since the roof was installed, the products have proven to be the right choice. The building has been through four winters of heavy snow loads. “It’s been trouble-free,” said Hyndman. As many challenges as the Sea to Sky project had, Hyndman was happy that IKO and RoofMart were in his corner. As the company that had to traverse dangerous roads to deliver the product, RoofMart was especially accommodating.

“All the contractors knew that when it was their day to have materials delivered, it was going to be a long day,” Hyndman remembered. “RoofMart was on board. They’ve always been there to address our supply needs.”

For selecting the right products for the project and conditions, Hyndman was grateful for IKO’s technical support. “It’s good to know that help or advice is only ever a phone call away,” he said. “We can call a technical representative or even get site visits if we need it.”

Today, the Sea to Sky Gondola has been operating for more than four years, serving as one of Squamish’s main attractions. Despite the challenges of the project, Hyndman is proud of his and Garibaldi’s association with it. The mountain trails above Squamish are some of the most awe-inspiring in the world, and the gondola makes it possible for more people to enjoy them.

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