One Arlington Parking Structure

Western Specialty Contractors – Chicago Concrete Restoration Branch recently repaired and protected a leaking concrete slab covering the parking garage at One Arlington in Arlington Heights, IL using a UV-stable urethane waterproofing membrane system.

Western's crews were able to prevent the deteriorated slab from further abuse, and protect the parking garage from damaging water infiltration and environmental exposures. The fluid-applied waterproofing system used is resistant to standing water, ultra violet fading, acid rain and chemical pollutants.

Renovated and opened in 2014, One Arlington is a luxury apartment complex located adjacent to the Arlington International Racecourse. When originally constructed, the underground parking garage roof, which also serves as the building's main driveway, was left exposed to the elements and not covered by a concrete topping slab, which is traditionally specified.

Years of punishing weather conditions had caused the 32,000-square-foot slab to crack severely, causing water to infiltrate into the enclosed parking structure below.

Western Specialty Contractors was contracted by Stoneleigh Companies to repair the concrete slab. The owner also hired a consultant to make recommendations for protecting the slab from future damage, and to address the excessive amount of leaking into the structure.

“It was determined that the issues would be addressed by systematically sealing the slab cracks and applying a urethane waterproofing membrane system to the entire surface,” said Chicago Concrete Restoration Branch Manager Steve Genovese. “Additionally, supplemental floor drains were added in multiple locations throughout the area to alleviate ponding issues.”

The repairs were performed in phases to maintain access into and out of the building at all times. The project was completed with a new line striping layout to maximize all of the available space. Western was able to complete the project on schedule and under budget.



Millennium Lakeside Garage at Maggie Daley Park

Open park space within urban environments is vital to the development and general well-being of the surrounding communities. As the population in these areas continues to grow and become more dense, the need for dedicated park space also becomes more imperative. Modern park designs require out of the box thinking and a creative approach.

Chicago-based Western Specialty Contractors recently completed a mammoth project to restore and waterproof a 750,000-square-foot concrete parking garage (equivalent to 12 football fields) located underneath the newly designated, 20-acre Maggie Daley Park in Downtown Chicago. Western served as the prime contractor on the garage project.

Formerly known as Daley Bicentennial Plaza, Maggie Daley Park is part of a larger network of adjacent parks including Millennium Park to the west and Grant Park to the south. It is bordered on the east by Lake Michigan and Lake Shore Drive. Together these interconnected garages comprise the largest parking facility in the country.

Named after Chicago's beloved former First Lady Maggie Daley who died of breast cancer in 2011, the iconic Maggie Daley Park was designed to breathe life back into the downtown area. A portion of the park, including a play garden and ice-skating ribbon that can accommodate 700 skaters at one time, was opened to the public in December 2014. Additional work on the park is scheduled to be completed in Spring 2015.

The $60 million project was divided into three phases – removal of the existing park by James McHugh Construction Company; waterproofing and repairs to the concrete parking structure by Western Specialty Contractors and American Hydrotech; and re-installation of the park and construction of its new features by Walsh Construction.

The concrete parking structure, originally constructed and waterproofed in the 1970s, had become compromised from years of wear and tear and ground water infiltration. Essentially a giant green roof, ensuring proper waterproofing of the large parking structure was key to maintaining the structural integrity of the garage beneath the park. The scope of the parking garage project included structural repairs to the existing concrete roof slab, full removal and re-installation of a new waterproofing system and major drainage improvements. The project was full of challenges along the way related to logistics, coordination with other contractors, a tight schedule, public relations, location of the project, and the sheer size of the job-site. In order to help with job-site logistics, security and contractor coordination, high definition cameras installed high above the park were used on a daily basis to coordinate daily activities, work locations, material staging locations, as well as job site safety and security.

The project began with Desman Associates, a Chicago-based engineering firm, researching solutions to resolve the parking garage's major drainage issues. While the parking garage sloped naturally from north to south, pooling water had become a problem in specific areas due to the lack of drains throughout the massive garage roof. This problem was solved by the installation of numerous new drains and a composite drainage mat system.

After the existing park (Daley Bicentennial Plaza) was completely demolished and removed from the site, work began on preparing the 750,000-square-foot surface for application of the new waterproofing system. The entire surface of the concrete roof was power washed and then shot-blasted to achieve the proper surface profile required by the waterproofing manufacturer. Next, installation of the waterproofing system began.

The waterproofing system, manufactured by American Hydrotech, consisted of seven layers, which all serve an important function in the overall operation of the system. The initial step of applying the system included spraying the concrete deck with primer. The next phase required melting 40-pound, rubberized asphalt bricks to a liquid state by heating them to 400 degrees in a kettle. The rubberized asphalt would then be poured out onto the concrete, while it was still hot and in its liquid state. Workers then spread the rubberized asphalt out to evenly coat the area. In total, this project required over 1.3 million pounds of rubberized asphalt applied by multiple crews consisting of 40 workers per day.

Constant measurements were taken during the process to confirm that the material was not being spread too heavy or too thin along the deck. After the first layer of rubberized asphalt was spread out, workers rolled reinforcing felt fabric onto the layer of melted rubber, while still in its liquid state. Another layer of melted rubber would then be poured and spread out over the area. The next step required workers to roll out sheets of heavy-duty, rubberized asphalt protection board, which was specially made to prevent tree roots from puncturing the waterproofing.

The final layers of the system included a drainage mat, filter fabric and approximately 400,000 cubic feet of gravel overburden. In order to help speed up the project, Western worked directly with the manufacturer to have special, extra large rolls of drainage mat made for the project. Standard rolls of drainage mat are 4’x75’ (300 SF), but American Hydrotech manufactured job-specific rolls that were 7’x150’ (1,050 SF). This helped to keep the project on schedule. Installing the layer of gravel overburden was completed by Walsh, although a large amount of coordination was required between Walsh and Western to accomplish the task.

At the same time that waterproofing work was being completed on the topside of the garage roof, structural repairs were being performed on the underside of the roof slab. Coordination between crews on the topside and underside of the slab was a daily challenge for the management team. Use of cell phones was not an option due to very limited reception inside the garage. In order to overcome this obstacle, Western’s management team was headquartered inside the garage for the duration of the work.

Another obstacle Western encountered during this work was poor ventilation. This problem was solved by using high-powered vacuum fans to circulate air throughout the work locations. Since a large portion of the garage was closed during this work, every day represented a loss of possible revenue to the owner. Therefore, there was no room for extensions in the schedule. 24/7 monitoring of the garages was also required during this work due to high volumes of pedestrian traffic in the area.

The work inside the garage consisted of 3,000 square feet of overhead concrete replacement, and the detachment of two pedestrian access tunnels from the garage. Due to the excessive loads placed on the roof slab by the park above, the concrete slab was poured with additional reinforcing steel. This made removal of delaminated concrete more difficult. All 3,000 square feet of the concrete was removed using hand-held jack-hammers. After removal, all exposed rebar was sandblasted and coated. When prep work was complete, concrete was re-applied using a dry-mix, shotcrete method.

To ensure that there were no breaches in the waterproofing system after it had been installed, International Leak Detection (ILD) was hired to use its sophisticated Electric Field Vector Mapping (EFVM) technology to locate even the smallest leak in the roofing membrane.

The garage restoration work took a total of 33,554 hours to complete, with about 45 workers on the job per day.


The Columbian

Constructed in 2008, The Columbian is a 47-story residential skyscraper on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. The floors of the building’s seven-level parking structure were beginning to crack and the concrete was deteriorating as a result of Chicago’s harsh winters.

The Columbian’s condominium associated hired Western Specialty Contractors to repair the parking structure’s damage within an extremely tight schedule of just four weeks.

In order to meet the demands of the fast-track schedule, the engineer on the project, Thornton Tomasetti, specified that Western crews use rapid curing repair materials to complete the job. A two-part urethane sealant was used to repair other deteriorated concrete. A four-step, two-component rapid curing urethane traffic membrane system was also applied to the entire garage structure to expedite the schedule.

In addition to the application of new line striping, parking stall identification numbers were also applied to the floors and walls at each of the 232 parking stalls.

Western was able to successfully complete the project on schedule and under budget.


Columbus Plaza Condominium

The Habitat Company, owners of the Columbus Plaza Condominium wanted to upgrade the appearance of the building’s main plaza entrance. Desman Associates were contacted to develop a restoration and waterproofing specification. Once it was finalized, Western’s Chicago branch was selected to complete the work.

The Condo’s main entrance is located above occupied retail space. Noise restrictions had to be followed because of the building tenants and nearby hotel. Since the plaza serves as the main entrance to the building, a tight working schedule had to be followed and constant communication with the property management was critical.

The project consisted of the removal of the existing concrete topping, crushed stone fill, and buried membrane system. A new buried waterproofing system was applied and then protected with an exposed aggregate decorative concrete topping. New precast concrete planter copings were also installed on the adjacent planter box. Plumbing repairs were performed to the existing drainage system.


University of Notre Dame Football Stadium

As the college football season was fast approaching, Western was contacted to provide a new traffic coating system in all the concourses, concession stands, bathrooms, and pedestrian ramps around the stadium.

The project called for a fast track schedule which included cleaning, preparing, and recoating 270,000 square feet of traffic coating membrane. The project had to be completed in just six weeks to have the stadium ready for opening day.

Western accomplished this task with experience, professional craftsmanship, and by working with the stadium operations staff to meet the schedule.

River City Plaza

The plaza was constructed in the late 70’s and was in great need of restoration. The project consisted of:

  • The removal of existing topping slab and hot applied waterproofing membrane (18,000 SF.)
  • Removal of a 2,000 SF precast planter (soil removal and precast planter walls.)
  • Installation of new hot applied waterproofing system and five inch topping slab (18,000 SF.)
  • New 1,200 SF precast planter with extensive landscaping design.
  • New overhead can lights, custom made wall sconces, and decorative lighted bollards.
  • New barrier cable system.
  • Installation of new dual drains throughout the new plaza.

Painting of all existing plaza columns and EIFS. Challenges:

  • Entire plaza is located over commercial space, including a 24-hour gym.
  • The number one priority during demo was keeping all occupied spaces leak free.
  • The entire plaza was tented to keep the wet weather out.
  • The entire topping slab concrete was pumped in place because of plaza access restrictions.
  • All of the newly installed hot applied waterproofing was water tested by using the Electronic Field Vector Mapping (EFVM) to test to ensure a watertight system.