Clayton Police Headquarters/Municipal Facility

Western Specialty Contractors – St. Louis, MO branches (formerly named Western Waterproofing Company), are earning praise for their role in the LEED Platinum restoration of the Clayton Police Headquarters and Municipal Facility in St. Louis County, Missouri. The project earned 80 out of a possible 110 points to qualify it for LEED Platinum certification through the United States Green Building Council. The project was a joint venture for Western’s St. Louis Masonry Branch and St. Louis Concrete Branch; St. Louis Masonry was contracted to restore the building’s exterior and St. Louis Concrete was contracted to restore the building’s attached, 168-space parking garage.

The Clayton Police Headquarters and Municipal Facility occupies 22,000 square feet of a historic, six-story structure in Downtown Clayton at 10 S. Brentwood Ave. The primary goal of the restoration project was to maintain the building's historic character while incorporating modern, sustainable technology and design.

Green features of the project included on-site energy generation using the largest, single-site solar array in the state of Missouri; high-efficiency HVAC, lighting and water systems; a refurbished and improved exterior envelope; and a commitment throughout the facility to indoor air quality and environmental controls for all building occupants.

The scope of work for Western's St. Louis Masonry branch (building's exterior) included:

  • Tuckpointing
  • Brick replacement
  • Caulking of settlement cracks
  • Removal of efflorescence and stains

The scope of work for Western’s St. Louis Concrete branch (attached, three-level parking garage) included:

  • Partial depth concrete slab repairs
  • Full-depth concrete slab repairs
  • Vertical concrete repairs
  • Overhead ceiling concrete repairs
  • Post-tensioning tendon repairs
  • Installation of a urethane traffic coating

Maintaining proper dust control during both projects was a major challenge for Western and extremely important to preserving the function of the solar panels, which are located on the roof of the parking garage.

“Our biggest hurdle on the project was keeping dust off the panels,” said Western St. Louis Masonry Branch Manager Jason Holtman. “We were told at the beginning of the project that dust would damage the solar panels and we were responsible for protecting them. Our solution was to use shop vacuums while cutting out the mortar. We also utilized a combination of swing stages, pipe scaffolding and aerial lifts to get the job done efficiently.”

The garage's restoration and maintenance was vital to providing a strong foundation for its rooftop deck where the solar panels are attached.

Work on the parking garage repairs began on the top-level parking deck with the identification of delaminated concrete by chain dragging. With engineer approval, Western crews began removing and repairing the damaged concrete. During the process, Western crews discovered that several post-tension tendons were broken or severely corroded. Western was authorized to shore the structure down to the slab-on-grade level before continuing with the restoration work.

Once the top-level garage repairs were made, Western went on to complete the required deck and overhead repairs as planned, just before the winter set in. Installation of the heavy duty urethane traffic coating membrane to protect the existing structure and the repaired concrete decks was applied the next spring when the weather allowed the work.

The project received its LEED Platinum certification in July, 2014.

Photo credits – The Lawrence Group and Energy Company, Brightergy, Clayton PD's solar partner


Freedom Place

Originally constructed in 1928, sat an abandoned apartment building in St. Louis with boarded-up storefronts, broken out windows and a greater purpose. Through a complete facade restoration by Western Specialty Contractors, the building was transformed back to its original glory and opened in October as apartments for special needs and homeless veterans.

“We are so proud to have worked on this gratifying project, called Freedom Place. Not only were we able to bring a historic building back to its original appearance and support a neighborhood, but we also helped create a new home for our area's homeless veterans who deserve our help and respect,” said Western Specialty Contractor Regional Manager Bill Hohmeier.

The project's developer, The Vecino Group of Springfield, MO, invested $12.7 million to renovate the five-story building at 4011 Delmar Boulevard into 20 studio apartments, 24 one-bedroom units, 16 two-bedroom units and eight three-bedroom units. According to city officials, about 12 percent of the city's 1,300 homeless are veterans.

Western Specialty Contractor crews provided a full masonry restoration of the building which included:

  • Cleaning all of the brick, terra cotta and concrete on the exterior and applying a clear water repellant
  • Tuckpointing all of the building's exterior joints
  • Removing and replacing 3,000 unsound bricks with new or salvaged bricks
  • Rebuilding and repairing 24 damaged walls on multiple floors of the building.

Western crews also removed more than 140 existing terra cotta storefront pieces and replaced them with new Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) replicas, removed a significant amount of graffiti from the masonry exterior, and partnered with an MBE subcontractor to meet city WBE/MBE guidelines on the project.

Additional work provided by Western crews included preparing the top chimney bricks and installing a new mortar cap with a positive slope, rebuilding a CMU block wall, repairing the skim-coated wall area and applying a coating over 20 cornice units to cover spider cracks, among other work.

“The building looks remarkable; just like it did when it was constructed 86 years ago,” said Hohmeier. “The building has life again, inside and out.”

The general contractor on the Freedom Place project was HBD Construction, Inc. and the architect was Buxton Kubik Dodd Creative.


Washington State Legislature Building

As dedicated experts in craftsmanship for 90+ years, Western has grown into an industry leader—thanks to our belief in a strong work ethic and doing the job right the first time.

We are proud of our recent project: the Washington State Legislature Building in Olympia. Due to ongoing budget constraints, this 84-year-old building has gone untouched since 2004. Prior to that, the building was cleaned every four years. Upon initial inspection, there were layers of grime, mold and moss due to the heavy rains that fall in Olympia.

At 287′ tall, the dome is the tallest of its kind in the U.S. and cleaning it was a delicate process. Everything was scrubbed by hand and Western did not use any soap or harsh chemicals. In addition, Western cleaned the building to the fourth floor, installed lead weather caps and stainless steel flashing, replaced sealant and completed Kemper waterproofing for protection. This extensive, $1.1 million project began in July and was completed by November—on time and on budget.

Photos featured courtesy of Washington State Department of Enterprise Services and the Legislative Support Services.

Decatur Dam

Western’s Springfield branch, working for Global Structures, recently completed concrete repairs at the Decatur Dam. The scope of work involved the removal and replacement of deteriorated concrete on both the upstream and downstream sides of the dam using pre-placed aggregate repair mortar. Global Structures performed the upstream repairs which required certified divers to perform the repairs under water. The backside (downstream) side of the dam was de-watered to allow for repairs. The constant pumping of water and monitoring was completed by Global Infrastructures.

Saw-cutting, demolition, cleaning of reinforcing steel, installation of supplemental steel, surface preparation and clean up are daily tasks the Western crew performed. The intricate portion of this project was the use of pre-placed aggregate concrete. The surface repair is standard, but the installation of the pre-placed aggregate is different than regular concrete repair. Several steps are required in order for the installation of the material to work.

After the demolition, cleaning of the steel and installation of the supplemental steel and surface prep is complete, wooden forms are installed. The forms are installed in 15” tall increments, starting at the bottom of the repair opening. Prior to fastening the forms, a bead of sealant is applied around the perimeter of the repair opening. This acts as a gasket so that the material cannot leak out when it is placed. Once the 15” wide form is attached, supplemental anchors are installed for additional stability. Placement of the grout requires maintaining a pressure of five PSI inside the forms. Therefore, forms must be designed to limit deflections to meet ACI criteria for surface profile.

The form is then filled with thoroughly cleaned course aggregate (i.e., 3/4” up to 2”). Once the first form is filled, a bead of sealant is applied to the top of the previous form and the bottom of a new form and around the repair opening. This cycle continues until the end of the repair opening is reached. Due to the locations of the dam repairs and their configurations, all of the aggregate was placed into the forms manually with five gallon pails.

Once the forms were installed and secure, 1 1/2” inlets with gate valves were installed every five to six feet on center. The forms were then flushed with water to provide a saturated surface dry (SSD) condition. The Western crew them pumped BASF Master Builders Masterflow 928 non-shrink grout into the forms through the inlets with a 2,000 PSI grout pump.

The process begins at the bottom and the grout is pumped until it comes out the next inlet. The pump is then shut off and the gate valve is closed. The grout is then pumped into the next adjacent inlet. This process is continued until the entire form is filled.

Once the form was completely full, the crew continued to pump grout into the last inlet to pressurize. The internal pressure is maintained in order to force the grout into the pores and micro-cracks in the existing concrete surface. This repair method provides superior bonding. The last gate is closed to keep it under pressure until the material cures. The forms stayed in place for seven days and were then removed.


MLK Federal “Timeline” Building

Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Building in downtown Atlanta is a working symbol of our nation’s 20th century storyline.

Designed by legendary Southern architect A. Ten Eyck Brown, the original purpose of the 1933 granite, marble and masonry building was as a central processing facility for the fast-growing U.S. Post Office. The craftsmen who built the “state-of-the-art” structure were employed through the Depression era’s Work Projects Administration (WPA). Some 35 years later, it became the first federal building in the nation to be dedicated to the memory of slain civil rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr.

Western Specialty Contractors' Atlanta branch recently helped restore the historic structure for 21st century service. Current tenants include an array of federal agencies, including Homeland Security, Immigration and the ICE police force.

Western’s scope of work involved removing existing facade stones at shelf-angle floor lines and other select areas, making certain each stone – some 6,000 across two phases – was tagged and cataloged for exact replacement. Substantial repairs were to be made to backup walls, angle flashing installed, and parapet walls torn down and rebuilt. All windows, inside and out, were to be stripped of lead-based paint and repainted. A total of 106 windows were to be built to match, replaced in their entirety and sealed for protection against the elements.

Like most major projects, this one came with a number of challenges. The existing roof system was to be removed and replaced with a ballast and paver perimeter system. Two elevations had elevated plaza decks that prohibited any weight being transported across. Limited storage at the project meant all materials had to be delivered to the branch and redelivered to the site. Moreover, all work was to be performed with the building fully occupied and stringent noise perimeters in place.

With scaffolding and mast climbers in place, Western’s crews of up to 40 craftsmen have tackled the complex and historic task. The three-year project will see completion by year-end 2008.

Building 62 Loading Dock

Located at a federal government facility, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory falls under the federal OSHA regulations. The safety requirements are very strict. Western Specialty Contractors was selected for a concrete restoration project at the facility because of it’s safety record and the ability of it’s crew to operate under tight restrictions.

A large liquid nitrogen holding tank is located on the loading dock of Building 62. Several times a day, lab researchers visit the dock to fill the individual tanks for their labs. Often times during the filling process, LN leaks out hitting the concrete deck. This exposure creates an immediate freeze/thaw condition causing cracks and spalls to develop. The weight of the filled tanks (between 300 to 500 pounds), rolling across the docks caused further damage to the concrete surface.

Western craftsmen removed the spalled and damaged concrete. SIKA SLV55 penetrating sealer was applied into the cracks. The replacement material chosen was SIKA 2500 repair mortar. The use of this material allowed the crew to place an epoxy coating on the loading dock within four hours of installation. The coating used was SIKA 52 loaded with sand to provide a slip-resistant surface.

Both the owners and researchers are happy with the result. No longer will the lab technicians have to fight through the maze of cracks and spalled concrete.