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Julia Building Roof Replacement and Repair

  • Julia Building Roof Replacement and Repair

The Julia Building, part of the Delaware River and Bay Authority’s (DRBA) campus in New Castle, Delaware, was in need of repairs to its flat EPDM rubber roof and adjacent glazed skylight atrium roof. Due to age and thermal expansion, sealants were at life-end, and allowed for condensation penetration. Kleinfelder provided design and construction and observation services for the innovative repair.

Investigation of Alternatives

Glass atrium roofs are common in commercial buildings, providing enhancements such as natural light, lower utility costs if well insulated, and stunning aesthetics. However, these ornamental roofs require regular maintenance to repair damage and remove obstructions, especially cracked and flaking sealants, which can allow for water penetration.

Kleinfelder investigated multiple potential solutions, including the complete replacement of sealants, but ultimately chose to use a novel system using dense silicone extrusions and an overlay system. Complete replacement of the atrium roof was not viable due to cost and the need for the building to remain operational during the construction phase. The chosen overlay system utilized extruded silicone covers at the exterior pressure bars applied to the exterior to encapsulate the rafters, purlins, and perimeter frame rails. These overlay covers were fully adhered with silicone sealant with thicker, robust bond lines along the edges and splice joints at the intersections. The overlay system also accommodated thermal and live load movements and deflections.

Balancing Client Needs with Design and Safety

The project site needed to maintain a safe environment for those inside the building, while also providing a safe environment for those working on roof during construction. This was accomplished with a unique project-specific safety plan. The contractor, in collaboration with the designer of record, structural engineer, and client developed a ladder platform that conformed to the atrium structural configuration and distributed loads over the length of the roof. This working platform was also laminated with a protective material to help ensure the new overlay system was not damaged. This ladder platform eliminated any construction loads on the existing structural glass system. The project also required specially trained contractors to install the product and specially trained inspectors to observe construction.

Project Results

The roof replacement and repairs at the DRBA’s Julia Building allowed for continued operation, while providing a longer-lasting solution using an innovative approach. Visitors and staff will continue to enjoy the natural light provided by the atrium roof.

This project was honored by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Delaware Chapter with a Conceptor Award (2024).

Project Details

New Castle, DE
Delaware River and Bay Authority