The power of Emagine-ation

Wm. Molnar Roofing installs multiple roof systems on a movie theater


Emagine Entertainment is a chain of Michigan-based luxury movie theaters with a combined 76 screens at six locations. It is the first theater chain in the world to convert to 100 percent digital projection, and in 1997, its Cinema Hollywood theater was the first in Michigan to feature all stadium seating.

The newest Emagine Entertainment location is Emagine Royal Oak and Star Lanes in Royal Oak, Mich. Construction of the 71,000-square-foot facility, which includes a 10-auditorium theater, 16-lane bowling center, restaurant and bar, began in August 2010. The project's general contractor, Ronnisch MICCO Joint Venture, Birmingham, Mich., invited Wm. Molnar Roofing Co. Inc., Riverview, Mich., to bid the facility's roof system installation, and Wm. Molnar Roofing won the project.

"We were asked to furnish and install TPO roofing for the building's low-slope roof area; metal copings; a metal mechanical screen wall; metal roofs on the curved tower and canopy; and composite wall panels at the tower, as well as hoist solar panels and flash solar rack penetrations into the low-slope roof and build and install vertical louvered metal gates," says Rob Molnar, Wm. Molnar Roofing's project manager.

A challenging job

Wm. Molnar Roofing entered into the contract in early December 2010 and encountered its first challenge—snow—immediately.

"To start on time for the aggressive construction schedule, we had to send in submittals and shop drawings immediately and then purchase materials before receiving authorized submittals," Molnar says. "The day the steel deck was completed, we wanted to start work on the south half of the building, but the general contractor wanted to allow the mechanical contractor to set all the curbs first. The mechanical contractor finished setting the curbs, and that night, about 12 inches of snow fell."

To adhere to the schedule, Ronnisch MICCO paid Wm. Molnar Roofing a change order to remove the snow from the deck and begin installing the low-slope roofing materials.

A crew of 12 roofing workers installed a Firestone Building Products TPO roof system, which consists of two layers of 2-inch-thick polyisocyanurate roof insulation in 4- by 8-foot boards and a 45-mil-thick reinforced white TPO membrane. The first insulation layer was loose-laid on the deck, and Firestone Building Products heavy-duty screws were mechanically fastened through both insulation layers and the deck. The membrane was 6-foot-wide rolls for the first two perimeter rows with fasteners 12 inches on center. The field of the roof received 12-foot-wide rolls with fasteners 12 inches on center.

"Getting the parapet wall flashings to adhere to a brand-new, frozen block was frustrating to say the least," Molnar says. "It already is difficult to get TPO membranes to adhere effectively to parapet walls, especially brick and block walls, and this was twice as difficult.

"Almost immediately after we finished this project, Firestone Building Products announced it would accept and warrant a hybrid TPO-EPDM system when TPO is used in the field and EPDM can be used as flashings," Molnar continues. "Unfortunately, it was too late to help us. We had to re-adhere the wall flashings at least three times. Finally, we used a termination bar at half-height on the wall flashings and cover-stripped over the termination bar. Firestone Building Products accepted this deviation."

Wm. Molnar Roofing also installed Firestone Building Products' 0.05-inch prefinished aluminum UNA-Edge™ CO Coping System.

The tower roof and canopy required curved metal; four sheet metal mechanics installed fire-treated plywood substrate board over the steel deck followed by Hi-Temp Grace Ice & Water Shield. On the tower, they installed Petersen Aluminum's 24-gauge Snap-On standing-seam prefinished metal panels, and on the canopy, they installed Petersen Aluminum's 24-gauge TITE-LOC standing-seam prefinished metal panels. Additionally, Petersen Aluminum 24-gauge Pac-750 V-groove prefinished metal soffit panels were installed on the underside of the canopy.

"The curved metal was specified to be the TITE-LOC system on the canopy and tower, but because of the fast-paced schedule, we did not have time to arrange for the field-curving machine to be on-site," Molnar says. "We were able to get flat panels to conform to the minor radius on the canopy; however, the tower has a more severe radius, and we had to think outside the box.

"The TITE-LOC panels have a 2-inch standing seam with two extra bends at the top of the standing seam, making them more rigid," he continues. "We cut the seams at 1 inch to eliminate the bends and make the panels less rigid and more able to conform to the radius and converted the existing panels to the Snap-On standing-seam system. This ended up working fine, and we were able to set the flat panels on the radial tower roof."

On the tower walls, three sheet metal mechanics installed commercial-grade Tyvek® and fire-treated plywood followed by Laminators' Omega-Lite® metallic aluminum composite wall panels installed with 1-Piece Tight-Fit Molding with reveal H.

"The reveal H moldings were fastened to the wood substrate with drywall screws," Molnar says. "We then slid the panels into the moldings and sealed them with silicone. The panels are held by two things: the tight fit moldings and liquid nails that adhered the backs of the panels to an aluminum plate we fastened to the wood substrate over the Tyvek; trying to adhere the liquid nails directly to the Tyvek would not have worked."

Laminators' Omega-Lite Clip & Caulk® installation system was used to accommodate the composite panels' radial soffits.

"For the soffits, we used Laminators' standard clips placed 12 inches on center with drywall screws," Molnar says. "A polyurethane caulk then was used to seal the gap where the fasteners and clips were exposed."

For the mechanical screen wall, Wm. Molnar Roofing installed Petersen Aluminum 24-gauge prefinished metal 12-inch flush panels.

"The structural steel for the mechanical screen wall was far out of level and plumb," Molnar says. "Our field mechanics had to cut canted shims out of treated lumber and brake-bend metal trims to overcome the issues. This caused installation of the screen wall to take significantly more time than we planned."

Wm. Molnar Roofing also fabricated and installed the metal gates, which consist of 1/4-inch-thick mill-finish aluminum frames and 0.05 prefinished aluminum fabricated to louvered panels.

Last, crew members hoisted and flashed the posts for the solar panel racks on the low-slope roof area. The panels were integrated into the roof system by Michigan Solar Solutions LLC, Commerce Township, Mich.

Staying safe

According to Molnar, safety was of utmost importance during the project.

"Safety always is important, but on this project it was even more so," he says. "The project was being closely watched by interested parties, as well as some naysayers.

"Further, the building was so big and was built in such a short time frame that it essentially had to be built in two halves," Molnar continues. "The south half of the building was built first, with the block wall and steel deck installed just before the heavy snowfall. We had to work in icy, snowy conditions with one edge of the steel deck totally unprotected at first."

Wm. Molnar Roofing installed guard rails along the north edge of the building's south half. For the rest of the low-slope roof perimeter, a warning flag and stand system and safety monitor were used.

"It was difficult to keep our warning-line flag system in place with so many other subcontractors working on the roof area—electricians, the solar installer, plumbers, carpenters and more," Molnar says. "Toward the end of the project, there was a real push to finish on time. The trades had to work together and be understanding of one another's work. At one point, there were four aerial lifts lined up next to one another with people working on the building's front entry. We overcame this by communicating with each other and sharing equipment to complete the project. We made a few new friends!"

For the metal roof system installations, all crew members working on the roofs or in aerial lifts used harness and lanyard systems and were 100 percent tied-off.

A great success

The final touches to the metal roof system installations were completed in May 2011.

"The project took a bit longer than we anticipated," Molnar says. "The harsh weather prevented us from accomplishing great production, and we would have liked to install the roofing materials before most of the mechanical penetrations went in because you limit the amount of seams in the roof membrane if you don't have to cut around all the penetrations. This is especially important with TPO because of its scrim reinforcement, which is prone to wicking in moisture at cut edges if the membrane is not sealed properly. Unfortunately, the general contractor wouldn't allow it."

However, the project's successful completion helped Wm. Molnar Roofing establish a strong relationship with Ronnisch MICCO; the two companies have since completed several other successful projects together. The building owner also was pleased with the project's outcome and hosted all the contractors and their families for a night of movies and bowling.

"The different types of roofing materials and sheet metal all on one job made this project unique," Molnar says. "We are pleased our performance helped ignite a relationship with the general contractor."

Ashley St. John is Professional Roofing's associate editor.



Project name: Emagine Royal Oak and Star Lanes
Project location: Royal Oak, Mich.
Project duration: December 2010-May 2011
Roof system types: Metal, TPO and photovoltaic
Roofing contractor: Wm. Molnar Roofing Co. Inc., Riverview, Mich.
Product manufacturers: Firestone Building Products LLC, Indianapolis; Laminators Inc., Hatfield, Pa.; and Petersen Aluminum Corp., Elk Grove Village, Ill.

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