Tall Tale

Twenty-Story Office Building is Reroofed in Irvine, California

by Heidi J. Ellsworth, RoofersCoffeeShop.com Partner


In the middle of Irvine, California, live two identical 20-story office towers. One of the towers was reroofed in 2016, and in 2018 it was time for the second tower to get a new roof. Mesa Roofing from Anaheim, California, won the bid for the project and was ready to tackle the challenges of a 20-story building reroof in the middle of a very busy metropolitan area.

Wayne Wells, president of Mesa Roofing, personally supervised every step of this challenging reroof. “Projects like this, that require precise coordination, are nerve-racking,” Wells noted. “However, we have worked with Western Colloid for many years and we know we can count on them. With this 220 square project, we knew we could rely on them to work with us every step of the way and they came through for us without fail.

“There were definitely challenges,” continued Wells. “We had to determine the exact course of action, but luckily we had the identical building that was reroofed in 2016, which provided a roadmap for the project. The unique specifications developed for this roof and its twin roof from 2016 used Western Colloid’s Fluid Applied Reinforced Roofing (FARR) system, which helped make this project a success.”

The teams also had to figure out how the new material weight distribution would work, along with the coordination of roof loading with limited access to the site, as well as overall detailed logistics for a safe and quality installation. Due to the challenges, a complete roof removal was not an option. The tear-off consisted of removing the rock but leaving the existing membrane in place. Complete tear-off would have added hundreds of thousands of dollars to this project and would have exposed the roof deck, making floors below vulnerable.

Once the tear-off was completed, Wells’ team worked on the challenge of loading the FARR system to the roof. Generally, for a single to three-story building, pumping the coatings on the roof is ideal. On taller projects, Mesa Roofing typically uses a fire hose to surround the spray hoses. This ensures that as the coating products are being pumped to the roof, those lines are encased in the fire hose to prevent damage to the building’s exterior if there are breaks in any of the lines. However, for this project, it became clear that they would need to use a crane due to the weight of the hoses, limited access, and a very restrictive timeline.

At the same time, the Mesa Roofing team was also working with the building owner who was concerned about structural damage from the installation of this roof. As with any roof, the materials needed to be dispersed to avoid having all the weight in one place, which can cause a roof to collapse. Mesa Roofing brought in a structural engineer consultant to determine the correct areas to stage the materials and the tear-off materials.

After consultation, the Mesa crew decided to windrow the rock, so the weight was distributed over the I-beams. “We also loaded the totes half full to lessen the weight of the materials,” stated Wells. “The staging of materials was kept on the perimeter of the building. Between the windrowing and perimeter staging, the roof was very secure.”

One of the largest challenges of the project was access. “There was only one point of access for the crane. We took all of the materials in by dolly over a 1-3/4” plywood path from the loading point to the crane,” Wells explained. “This was done by adhering to the use of the perimeter path created by the structural engineer, which I personally supervised. We were all extremely aware of the safety of the building, occupants, and our crew.”

The project was also surrounded by hotels, a parking structure, and tenants and guests who could not be disturbed. The installation and all daytime roof work during the workweek had to follow strict sound control guidelines and the crane could only operate late Friday night through Sunday afternoon. Mesa had a security team to close streets and shut down the parking structure and the owner helped set up cones to block off the work areas.

“There was a singular access point for the crane to reach the roof,” noted Wells. “Each crane delivery took up new material while also taking down the gravel from the roof. There was a lot of coordination of crane set-up and delivery, in addition to removal of rock and materials. With all of these moving parts, we had to be very exact in the logistical coordination.”

Despite the challenges, this project was successfully completed by the end of October 2018. The unique specifications for this roof, as well as its twin building done in 2016, now offer the building owner a 20-year warranty that can be extended for the life of the roof. The FARR system used Western Colloid #298 emulsion, polyester, and #720 ElastaHyde Acrylic.

Greg Hlavaty, president of Western Colloid stated, “We were very proud to be a part of this project. It was nice to be able to accommodate Mesa Roofing and participate in the planning and execution for this hugely successful project. The FARR system offers the building owner and the contractor the flexibility to install a quality product while saving considerable money.”

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