A roofing salute

Absolute Roofing and Waterproofing helps renovate the Corps of Cadets Dorms at Texas A&M University


The Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M University, College Station, strives to develop leaders who embody the values of honor, courage, integrity, discipline and selfless service. With more than 2,000 students in the training program, the Corps of Cadets is the largest, oldest and most visible student organization at Texas A&M University and one of the largest uniformed student bodies in the U.S.

Although a majority of graduates pursue civilian careers, about 45 percent of Corps of Cadets graduates pursue military commissions in the U.S.' Air Force, Army, Marine Corps or Navy.

Dedicated to the success of every cadet, in 2015, Texas A&M University's board of regents developed a strategic plan to invest $135 million to transform the Corps of Cadets' "Quad" into a modern living-learning environment.

Absolute Roofing and Waterproofing, Frisco, Texas, was selected by the project's general contractor, SpawGlass, Houston, to install the Quad's new roof systems.

Scope of work

To successfully undertake and implement the largest Quad renovation since its construction in 1939, the project was split into two phases.

Phase one began in July 2015 and included a complete overhaul of dorms one through eight; new landscaping, benches, trees and lighting north of the Quad; and two new four-story, 32,000-square-foot leadership learning centers. Funded with $20 million in private donations to the Texas A&M Foundation, the learning centers offer open access to six state-of-the art computer labs, study group rooms, and comfortable lounges and couches. Phase one was completed in June 2016.

One month later, phase two commenced with revamping dorms nine through 12 and completing landscaping and paving work south of the Quad.

Roof systems

The existing three-ply coal-tar pitch roof systems with gravel surfacing were removed by a third-party demolition company. Absolute Roofing and Waterproofing originally was awarded the reroofing project based on using a 60-mil-thick TPO membrane, but because of the more than 500 roof system penetrations on each building and an abundant amount of work to be performed on the rooftops by other trades, Absolute Roofing and Waterproofing recommended GAF's HYDROSTOP™ PremiumCoat® System.

"We knew from the beginning of the two-year project it was going to be a marathon and not a sprint to the finish line. But with all the rooftop work that took place by other trades, we'd constantly be conducting inspections and repairing membrane damage," says Dustin Guess, managing partner with Absolute Roofing and Waterproofing. "If we went with the coating system, we could 'dry in' the roof and allow other trades to work for a few months and come back and repair any damaged areas and build up to our required mils."

After Texas A&M University approved the recommended roof system, workers adhered up to eight layers of complex tapered insulation to the concrete roof decks. Workers then adhered 1/2-inch-thick DensDeck® Roof Boards before applying the HYDROSTOP PremiumCoat System.

Safety challenges

After the DensDeck Roof Boards were installed, the parapet walls were less than 42 inches tall, requiring workers to use harnesses and lanyards for fall protection.

"The buildings' exteriors were 'picture-framed' with chiller pipes on the parapets' interiors, so we used these as our 'danger zones' to ensure all workers were tied-off," Guess says.

Absolute Roofing and Waterproofing also conducted on-site toolbox talks two or three times per week during the project's duration, and SpawGlass conducted mandatory weekly, site-wide safety meetings.

Moving workers and material from the ground to the roofs presented the most difficult safety challenge. At the project's peak, 437 workers were on-site working on multiple buildings.

"The staging areas were small to nonexistent, and this led to a logistical nightmare throughout the project," Guess explains. "Every load and movement on campus required a flagger at all times, and deliveries had to be scheduled one week in advance. We worked with SpawGlass to facilitate all deliveries to ensure everyone was safe throughout the project."

Additionally, with more than 65,000 students attending the school and the project's location next to Kyle Field, where the cadets train, pedestrian traffic was constant. The entire site was fenced off with minimal entrances to eliminate pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

A commanding performance

After overcoming material, safety and logistical challenges during the two-year, 128,000-square-foot reroofing project, Absolute Roofing and Waterproofing successfully completed its work on the Corps of Cadets' Quad in June with zero recordable safety incidents.

"Renovating 78-year-old buildings certainly was a challenge," Guess says. "We overcame a lot of obstacles throughout the project, and our company has grown tremendously from this experience. We are honored to have worked with SpawGlass on this project and are proud of our work on one of the largest and oldest universities in the state."

Chrystine Elle Hanus is Professional Roofing's associate editor and NRCA's director of communications.



Project name: Texas A&M University's Corps of Cadets Quad
Project location: College Station, Texas
Project duration: July 2015-June 2017
Roof system type: HYDROSTOP™ PremiumCoat® System
Roofing contractor: Absolute Roofing and Waterproofing, Frisco, Texas
Roofing manufacturers: GAF, Parsippany, N.J.; Georgia-Pacific Gypsum LLC, Atlanta

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