The challenges of coating one of the largest roofs in Alaska were many and varied. The location just north of Kenai in Nikiski, directly on the bluff above Cook Inlet, makes it a very high profile job. As work on this initial 1,575 square job began, another building of 543 squares was added to the project.
Initial contact was with DeWayne “Sonny” Meese of UNOCAL who determined the parameters of the job. Further discussion with Rocky Doty, Maintenance Engineer for Alaska Nitrogen products, made the project a reality. Securing the services of Dunkin & Bush Inc., a large painting and coatings contractor with a sixty plus year history of business in the Pacific Northwest & Alaska, made the project come together.
Before actual work could commence, safety issues had to be addressed. Twenty ton concrete anchors were placed around the perimeter and safety lines laid across the peak. Workmen could then fasten their safety harness to this line. A wooden 2″ x 4″ was attached along the eave to allow friction-free movement of the lines and hoses, eliminating possible chaffing. Through different phases of the job other systems were employed. Scaffolding was erected to the eave and securely tied off. This was the main access to the very large, 30 foot eave and approximately 105 foot ridge, roof system. The pitch is eight in twelve. The building is 640 feet long by 210 feet wide. On occasion, man lifts and a crane with an aerial basket were used.
Once the scope and specifications of the job were established, the pertinent challenges had to be addressed. Timing is critical as the application window historically is May 15 to September 15, and even that is a bit optimistic. Weather is frequently foggy, misty, rainy and windy with prevailing breezes off Cook Inlet. Inland’s rapid drying characteristics are a definite plus with Alaskan weather. Inland products also have high tensile strength and elongation, allowing them to accommodate not only the movement of the building from the temperature extremes, but also from the nearly daily earthquake tremors common to this area.
Dunkin & Bush arranged shipping of Inland products through Seattle based Lynden Transport, which serves all of Alaska. From the shipping department at Inland’s Adel, Iowa plant, Lynden made a fast pick up and delivery to Dunkin & Bush facilities in Nikiski.
This being an initial project for Dunkin & Bush, on site training and inspection was initiated. Henry Haney, Dunkin & Bush’s Alaskan manager of operations and his crew, have extensive experience with the challenges of weather and timing presented in this climate. Spring temperatures hover in the high 30’s to low 40’s and roofs achieve acceptable temperatures of 70 to mid 90’s by 10:00 A. M. All dew and mist has generally disappeared by then. The contractor was well prepared with drum heaters as needed. Dunkin & Bush technicians kept a constant vigil on ambient air temperatures, roof temperatures and humidity to assure a consistent quality of application.
The huge warehouse facility is for storage, prior to shipment, of processed urea chemical fertilizer. It is imperative that the product stays dry, as moisture makes it solidify into clumps, which renders the product unusable. As there is no way to dispose of damaged product, it must be reprocessed at a greater expense than producing it new. A two coat system was used with all seams, fasteners and penetrations addressed with Inland’s RC-2200
Rubber Seam Compound. For re-enforcement, Inland RPM polyester mesh was used on all horizontal and vertical seams and assured the integrity of the completed project. The entire roof was then coated with RC-2000 Rubber Roof Coating. Two field coats were applied at the rate of one gallon per-square per-coat.
Actual work began mid-May of 2000 and was completed August 2000. Many times projects like this have unforeseen residual benefits. The efforts of Inland’s sales and technical departments brought Dunkin & Bush, the contractor, and Alaska Nitrogen Products, a division of UNOCAL, together on this very successful project. This has resulted in Dunkin & Bush becoming the prime painting and coatings contractor for this 200 acre facility. Kenai operations have since been sold to Agrium Chemicals, based in Calgary, Alberta and the maintenance program is ongoing. Several smaller projects specifying Inland products are on tap for 2001.
Incidentally, shortly after the job completion, the area was hit with 16 consecutive days of hard driving rains. UNOCAL said this period was the first time in many years that this 30-year-old metal roof suffered no leaks. As a result of their product not suffering any damage, UNOCAL estimates the entire cost of this job will be recovered in production savings in 12 to 18 months.