Lehmann Building at Missouri Botanical Gardens

A variety of challenges had to be overcome to successfully complete the replacement of the roof on the Lehmann Building. The Lehmann Building is a National Historic Landmark and the nation's oldest botanical garden in continuous operation. It is situated in the middle of the Missouri Botanical Gardens and houses executive staff and historical herbarium samples, some of which are centuries old and extinct. Consequently, there was no room for error in the execution of this project.

The scope of work specified the removal of the two existing asphalt roofs and installation of a new, fully adhered 80 mil TPO membrane roofing system. To further protect the highly sensitive building contents of the Lehmann Building, new internal overflow drains and piping were installed. Coordination of this work with the plumbing and ceiling contractor was paramount in keeping the building occupants content. The project also utilized an architectural sheet metal company to match the existing custom metal edging profile.

The first challenge Western crews faced on the project was maintaining the tight schedule. Phase one of the project had to be completed before the decorative lighting for the annual “Garden Glow” could be installed in certain areas. In order to shorten the critical path of the schedule, Western had to fast track the submittal process and start immediate procurement of the materials. After the material was in place it was a matter of providing sufficient labor and overtime until the deadline was met.

Access was another major concern. A 15-ton truck crane and half of the roofing material had to be hauled 700 feet through a walking trail. Significant precautions needed to be taken to protect the plant life in the garden from damage by the equipment and compaction of the soil. Western worked with Missouri Botanical Gardens to evaluate which trees needed to be trimmed to make room for the material. The crane and each forklift load of material had to be carefully escorted to make sure our material handling equipment stayed on the walking path and did not bump into overhead branches.

This was a very challenging project for everyone on the Western team. The elevated level of skill in workmanship and communication exercised by our field crews made this project a success in all aspects. The project was completed on time and within budget with zero change orders due to the accuracy of the specifications and drawings.

At the end of the day, it is very rewarding to have taken part in helping preserve plants and science for the future generations to enjoy.


Webster University “Green Roof”

Western Helps Webster University Grow “Green”

The home campus of global educator Webster University is in picturesque Webster Groves in suburban St. Louis. Encompassed in the university’s worldview and course offerings is a strong sense of environmental awareness. Which made this past April’s Sustainability Conference held in the new East Academic Hall a milestone occasion.

This LEED Silver Candidate structure is three stories and 92,000 square feet of learning opportunities. And on its roof is still another: the lushly vegetated system installed by Western’s St. Louis branch.

The overall roof design called for two green sectors and a third traditional surface. Each of the green areas received a base layer of fully adhered TPO membrane, to which some 1,600 vegetation trays—each 24-by-24 inches—were secured. The remaining roof system included fully-adhered TPO membrane adhered to tapered insulation.

Dealing with live material added to the complexity, confirms project manager Thom Belgeri. “The vegetation trays had to be ordered months in advance, and we had to coordinate our work with that of multiple trades. It was definitely challenging.”

To meet the University’s tight deadlines and aesthetic expectations, Western representatives took part in regular owner’s meetings with the general contractor and architects.

“Our client was most pleased with the results,” Belgeri notes. “And we’re very excited to have contributed to such a high-profile example of sustainability.”

A total of 1,600 vegetation trays, each two-foot square, were secured to the two green sectors to create the lushly landscaped roof. Fully adhered TPO membrane was applied to the entire roof, with tapered insulation affixed to the non-green sector.

1133 Washington Avenue Apartments (Days Inn)

The three branches of Western Specialty Contractors of Saint Louis; Masonry Restoration, Concrete Restoration, and Roofing were involved in a unique project to roof and restore the old Days Inn Hotel in the Downtown area. The building was constructed in the early 1960s. It had experienced several decades of exposure to the elements and heavy use. For a number of years, the building was vacant and neglected.

Over the past 20 years, the Saint Louis Downtown area has undergone extensive revitalization. Many of the older buildings have been converted into residential living spaces. Such is the case with the Days Inn. Plans were formulated to convert it into a new apartment/condo building. Klitzing Welsh Associates was selected as the architect and EM Harris, the general contractor. As mentioned, the three Western Waterproofing branches were chosen for roofing, facade, and concrete restoration.

One of the first items to be addressed was the replacement of the old built up roofing system on the main roof and third floor elevation. The canopy roofs on the first floor also had to be addressed. Once the old roof assembly was removed, new insulation board was installed. A white Carlisle fully adhered 60 mil TPO roofing membrane was chosen for the replacement system. The white sheet will aid in future energy savings because of its reflectability. The first floor canopy roofs were covered with the same system. A total of 14,500 square feet of new roofing was installed.

Facade Restoration
The building’s exterior facade was in need of an extensive face lift. Western’s masonry restoration branch had several major items to address. Three swing stages were utilized to accomplish most of those tasks. Included in the masonry restoration were the following items:

  • 16,400 square feet of pointing and cleaning, followed by priming and the application of two coats of elastomeric coating.
  • Damaged concrete floor sills and columns were patched. All exposed concrete surfaces were then primed and coated, not just those areas that were repaired.
  • A minimal amount of new brick and block work was completed. (Closing in doors and windows and building some new partitions.)
  • More than 1,000 2’ x 3’ granite panels were installed over the existing facade on the south and west elevations. New shelf angles were installed at each floor to help support the weight of the new panels.
  • The joints between the granite panels (5,600 lineal feet) were caulked and metal closure strips were installed at the top of the granite facade and at some end locations.

Parking Garage Restoration
A three-level parking garage – one exposed top deck and two lower levels are located beneath the hotel. Exposure to moisture, road salt, and lack of maintenance had caused extensive concrete deterioration throughout the structure. An intrusive restoration program was required.

A great deal of deteriorated concrete had to be removed. The entire garage was shored from the bottom level up. Work began on the top level of the garage so that restoration could continue on the two lower levels during the winter months.

The top level of the garage covers 6,000 square feet. More than 4,500 square feet of old concrete had to be repaired, including full depth replacement over the entrance ramp. Once the repairs were completed and the new concrete placed, the slab was waterproofed with a Carlisle “hot applied” membrane system.

The lower levels of the garage suffered extensive damage, both overhead and on the floor slabs. More than 18,000 square feet of concrete had to be repaired or replaced. New 5,000 PSI concrete was used as the replacement material. New reinforcing steel was added as required. Gunite, air placed concrete, was utilized for beam and column repairs. To protect the slabs against future moisture and chloride attach, a heavy duty Iso-Flex vehicular deck coating system was installed on the lower levels.

Western’s portion of the project lasted 12 months. The three Western branches are proud of their work on this “new” downtown building.