Waterproofing the Oregon Convention Center

Oct. 8, 2004
Below the people, lights, and action of any building is an essential component that protects the building from water intrusion and degradation. Though it may not be the most glamorous or highlighted element of construction, it sparks interest among project managers, architects, facility managers, and everyone in between: Waterproofing.  The Oregon Convention Center in Portland, OR, recently spent an approximate $116 million dollars on an expansion that nearly doubled its size from 500,000 square feet to 907,464 square feet. With this addition, the exhibit space went from 150,000 square feet to 255,000 square feet; from 28 meeting spaces to 50; and from one ballroom to two ballrooms. Although the unique features of the expansion have been highly publicized, many people tend to forget what lies beneath the extravagant ballrooms, meeting areas. and upscale amenities. “Waterproofing is the last line of defense from water intrusion,” said Bob Simmons, CSI-certified sales representative for Carlisle Coatings and Waterproofing. “Waterproofing is designed to form a water tight barrier from other construction components,” said Simmons.According to Building Services Corp., “Water damage is one of the biggest problems faced by the building industry today, second only to fire as a cause of building decay and deterioration.”With high annual rainfall in Portland, facility managers and architects involved with the construction carefully selected an integral product to waterproof the expanded parking decks and new mechanical rooms. “We conducted a performance specification rather than a propriety specification, so we had a variety of products to choose from,” said Libby Ramirez, project manager of the architectural firm Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership in Portland, OR. “The Carlisle product fit within the performance criteria,” continued Ramirez, who oversaw the construction and monitored design and budgets.  Carlisle Coatings and Waterproofing’s 5013 pedestrian traffic deck coating and the 5123 vehicular traffic deck system were used for the convention center’s parking deck and mechanical rooms. Based in Wylie, TX, the company specializes in above- and below-grade waterproofing. About 50,000 square feet of CCW-5013 was used in eight mechanical rooms, which housed boilers and HVAC systems located above the convention center’s main floors. “The CCW deck and vehicular coatings worked great with each of these applications,” said Ron Newton, vice president chief of operations for Snyder Roofing of Oregon LLC.It was especially crucial to ensure the watertightness of the eight mechanical rooms located above the ballroom. “We did our homework,” said general contractor and construction manager Dave Garske of Hoffman Construction in Portland, OR. “We made sure that the coating system was compatible with other curing components; sometimes dissimilar curing compounds will prevent proper adhesion.”  The CCW-5013 Deck Coating System, a one-part polyurethane base coat and a one-part aliphatic polyurethane top coat, worked well for this project. The system prevents water from entering occupied space below, protecting the surface from damage by water and salt. The end result is an attractive, slip-resistant walking surface. The top coat is available in nine fade-resistant colors. Its versatile properties allow applications on balconies, plaza decks, terraces, and other areas subject to pedestrian foot traffic.Prior to applying the CCW-5013 system, the floors of the eight mechanical rooms, ranging from 1,000 to 30,000 square feet, were shot-blasted and the loose concrete exposing cracks were removed with a steel shot bead. All cracks 1/16-inch wide were detailed with fabric membranes. The cracks were ground with a dye grinder and then caulked and detailed with CCW-501 detail coat and CCW-201sealant. This application was dried for 24 hours prior to applying the 557 primer and 501 base coat. Silica sand was then installed and coated with CCW-503 top coat.Once the system was applied, multiple pipes in the mechanical rooms became a concern.  If the pipes burst, convention center officials wanted to be sure that the water would not reach the ballroom and administration offices. To ensure watertightness, sheet metal collars were installed around pipe openings and penetrations and then sealed with the CCW product. “This was a big deal because the convention center wanted to make sure that if a pipe leaked, water would not be an issue,” said Garske.In addition to the 5013 used in the mechanical rooms, approximately 17,000 square feet of CCW-5123 was used to waterproof the convention center’s parking entrances. “We use CCW’s traffic coating system for 75 percent of our construction jobs,” said Newton, an 18-year veteran to the industry, who has diversified from roofing to waterproofing. The CCW-5123 Deck Coating System is a liquid-applied, abrasion-resistant waterproofing system suitable for surfaces subject to vehicular and heavy pedestrian traffic.  In addition to heavy pedestrian traffic areas, the product is also ideal to use against pipes and curbs. “It’s a very clean coating,” said Simmons. “The waterproofing membrane is aesthetically pleasing and very durable.” It consists of three polyurethane components, each designed to provide specific, long-lasting properties that together form a system with optimum performance. The coat is available in stone gray, colonial gray, beige, and desert tan colors. Attractive as well as functional, this two-level below-grade parking deck provides 800 protected parking spaces and spans 16,000 square feet. “We had to shut down the parking structure to arrange for construction,” said Newton. “It is always a challenge to do work on a large commercial project, but scheduling construction and working with other trades are things that you experience with any commercial job, no matter the magnitude.” The mechanical rooms and parking entrance utilized 1,500 gallons of 501 base coat; 170 gallons of CCW-502; 725 gallons of CCW-503; 285 gallons of CCW-557; 60 gallons of 501T detail; and 252 tubes of 201 sealant.“We had no problems with the product,” said Bob Spier, director of operations for the Oregon Convention Center. As part of the design team, Spier was involved with the quality control of the convention center.  Waterproofing is just one of the many elements that allow a structure to remain functional for years to come. “No one wants to deal with a failed waterproofing system,” said Garske. “It’s something you need to get right the first time.”

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