Company News

Ascension Columbia/St. Mary’s East Side Hospital – Peace Amid Major Roof Replacement

A roof system at Ascension Columbia/St. Mary’s Hospital on Milwaukee’s east side has been rebuilt by F.J.A. Christiansen, with crews successfully minimizing disruption to a very sensitive health care environment within.  By working closely with hospital management staff, FJAC was able to alleviate noise and fumes generally associated with disruptive roof removal and reconstruction activities.

The work was on a 35,000-square-foot area of the Women’s Medical Center at the hospital, which is undergoing a 37,000-square-foot addition for additional delivery rooms, a Caesarian section suite, and other space. It is one of several buildings across the hospital system’s Lake Drive campus.

“We had to be creative to accommodate the logistical requirements for the project,” said Brian Schaut, FJAC Senior Vice President. “We had minimal access and had less staging space than usual. And because the hospital remained operational during our work, we had to reduce noise and material fumes, and had to mitigate exhaust from vehicles and equipment.” Further, no vehicles or equipment with exhaust could be operated under building overhangs.

Along with those limitations, spring rains delayed access and required FJAC to cover a grassy area with 3-inch traffic bond to create a stable surface for trucks, noted Mark Hamm, FJAC Operations Manager who served as superintendent for the project. That material is now being removed, and the area restored to grass.

Among FJAC’s initiatives to meet job-site requirements was:

  • makeshift ductwork that extended away from the area, and with carbon filters to assure fresh air intake,
  • covers from other vents,
  • an upgrade from 2-stroke concrete cutting saws to lower-noise 4-stroke models,
  • snorkeling to keep exhaust from our onsite crane away from the building,
  • manual removal of parts of the existing roof system in the overhang areas,
  • use of low-fume materials, and
  • cold application to reduce fumes associated with hot systems.

“This was one of the most challenging projects we’ve ever had regarding access and work restrictions,” Schaut said. “But we overcame all the challenges – including preventing any leaks during several rainy stretches. The general contractor on the expansion project and hospital staff offered accolades on what we, particularly our Crew Manager Angel Torres and his entire crew, accomplished.”

In 1992, FJAC replaced a south section of the roof with their unique asphalt-based “Dri-Pac” system. That and other existing cold tar portions of the roof were completely removed down to the concrete vapor retarder.

Elements of the new roof system included the vapor retarder (with new and restored portions), tapered polyisocyanurate insulation, gypsum-based cover board, and a two-ply modified bitumen membrane system in the low-fuming cold adhesive.

Also leading this project along with Crew Manager Angel Torres was FJAC Safety Manager Larry Lopez.  The roof system was complemented by extensive sheet metal details to help ensure a watertight system, led by Sheet Metal Journeyman Mark Mytton.