Western Specialty Contractors Completes Complex Parking Garage Reconfiguration Project at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, IL

Western Specialty Contractors – Springfield, Illinois Branch (formerly named Western Waterproofing Company) completed a six-month project in October to reconfigure the 7-level parking garage at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, IL. Updates were needed to the post-tension parking garage to improve its parking experience and traffic flow.

The general contractor on the project, P.J. Hoerr of Peoria, IL, contracted with Western Specialty Contractors to apply caulking, water repellents and a traffic-bearing membrane to the parking decks. Over the course of the six-month project, Western sealed a total of 191,500 square feet of bare concrete with a penetrating water repellent, applied 100,000 square feet of waterproof urethane traffic coating, and removed nearly 40,000 lineal feet of traffic markings.

Hospital officials allowed for a certain number of parking spaces to be closed during each phase of the work, with the garage remaining in full-use throughout the project. P.J. Hoerr worked closely with hospital officials to coordinate a phasing plan that included a total of 14 separate work phases as the project progressed throughout the garage. The general contractor used barricading and temporary signage to direct traffic around the phased closures.

Originally, portions of the parking decks had been coated with a urethane traffic coating, while other portions were left bare. At the exposed concrete surfaces, Western's workers removed existing traffic markings and striping by utilizing a combination of shot-blasting and hand-grinding. After the existing markings were removed, Western crews sealed the exposed concrete surfaces with a 100% silane, clear penetrating water repellent to reduce the infiltration of hazardous salts, de-icers and other harmful chemicals. At surfaces already coated with a urethane traffic coating, Western crews shot-blasted the existing traffic markings and installed a new top coat to cover the old markings.

The staircase and drive lanes between the parking stalls, which exhibited bare concrete areas and a worn coating system due to consistent traffic, were also shot-blasted and re-coated by Western crews to further protect and waterproof the structure.

P.J. Hoerr crews completed the project by applying new traffic markings and garage signage, among other finishing work.

Be Aware of the 6 DON’TS When Selecting a Contractor

Don’t think of contractors as commodities. Merriam-Webster defines a commodity as a good or service whose wide availability typically diminishes the importance of factors other than price. Choosing contractors solely based on price significantly increases the chance of problems developing during the project and long after the project is complete. It is very important to examine all of the different qualities of a contractor so you can choose the one that will provide the most value to you and your company.

Don’t assume all contractors have the same level of expertise and qualifications. Do you have a process to gauge the level of expertise and qualifications of the contractors that you are considering? Some contractors are more capable of fixing your problems than others, and hiring the wrong one may lead to further issues rather than a solution. You might incur more expensive repair costs in the future because the contractor did not adequately fix the problem or their repair did not last as long as you expected. Your tenants might complain about disruption because the contractor is not experienced in working in certain buildings. Research your potential contractors’ expertise and qualifications by asking them questions and checking their company’s website. What buildings that are similar to yours have they worked on? What problems that are similar to yours have they solved? What do their customers say about them? Can they solve all of your building’s problems or will you have to hire multiple contractors? Ask them for the names and numbers of their past clients, and then talk to those persons about their experiences with the contractor. There are many ways to determine a contractor’s expertise and qualifications, and doing so can save you a lot of money, time and headaches.

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Don’t accept reactive communication plans. How, when, and why will your contractor communicate with you? What information will they provide you with and when will they give it to you over the course of the project? Do they have a plan? Will you have to track them down when you need something? Is the project on schedule? How is tenant disruption being kept to a minimum? You need to have all the information about the project at your fingertips so you can effectively communicate with your colleagues and tenants. You shouldn’t have to call the contractor for answers; you should already be in the know.

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Don’t treat all possible solutions the same. When you receive proposals from multiple contractors, they are not identical solutions. There are factors like price, tenant affects, safety, materials, and schedule to consider. Make sure you understand these and how they impact you and your company. One proposal may be more expensive than another, but the quality of the work might help you avoid future repair costs. It is important to be aware that value comes from many areas, not just price. Work with your contractor to understand the differences in your options so you can make the best decision for you and your company.