April 2014

A day at the zoo

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Bradford Roof Management installs a roof system on ZooMontana's new bear exhibit

by Krista Reisdorf

Photo courtesy of ZooMontana.

The Bear Meadows exhibit at ZooMontana, Billings, Mont.

ZooMontana in Billings, Mont., is a 70-acre zoological park and botanical garden. Hosting more than 70,000 visitors annually, the zoo is one of the most popular attractions in the region and the only zoological park and botanical garden in Montana.

When the zoo needed a new grizzly bear exhibit, it wanted one that would be consistent with Montana's weather and natural surroundings.

The zoo is now home to the 2-acre exhibit, Bear Meadows, which is one of the largest grizzly bear exhibits in the U.S. Bradford Roof Management, Billings, installed the exhibit's roof system.


ZooMontana's grizzly bear exhibit features four outside holding cages, two inside holding cages and a full kitchen with food for the bears.

Photo courtesy of Bradford Roof Management

Bradford Roof Management, Billings, installed a metal roof system on the viewing platform of the exhibit.

Roof systems needed to be installed on a 4-square viewing area and 17-square bear holding area, offering protection against the Montana weather for the bears and visitors.

Carlisle SynTec's EPDM membrane was chosen as the roofing material for the exhibit in part because its flexibility could "handle the constant expansion and contraction caused by Montana's sporadic climate," says Tom Bradford, vice president of Bradford Roof Management.

Carlisle SynTec donated 2,400 square feet of EPDM membrane to the zoo for the project.

For the viewing platform, the company installed a green-colored UNA-CLAD 24-gauge KYNAR® 500 metal roof system and associated flashings.

Photo courtesy of Bradford Roof Management

The company installed EPDM membrane and metal flashings on the holding area.

"A high-temperature underlayment was installed directly to the deck and covered with a Tyvek® slip sheet," Bradford says. "A 24-inch-wide coil was ordered and run through our roll former to produce a finished 20-inch-wide, mechanically hemmed panel with striations in the bottom of the pan. Bradford Roof Management fabricated all associated flashings and parapet caps as necessary."

For the holding area, the company installed gray UNA-CLAD 24-gauge KYNAR 500 metal flashings, including a standard drip edge, counterflashings and parapet wall caps. The low-slope roof system consisted of one layer of Carlisle SynTec's 75-mil-thick reinforced Sure-Seal® EPDM membrane.

"The roof system was installed over a steel deck, starting with a layer of 1/2-inch-thick DensDeck®; one layer of 6-mil-thick visqueen vapor retarder taped at the seams, perimeter and penetrations; two layers of staggered 2-inch-thick polyisocyanurate; and one layer of mechanically fastened 1/4-inch-thick DensDeck," Bradford says.

Regarding safety, Bradford Roof Management used harnesses and lanyards on the viewing platform and used warning lines and a safety monitor on the holding area's low-slope roof system.

Offering support

The material donations were helpful for the project.

Photo courtesy of Bradford Roof Management

Another view of the holding area

"I bid the project lower than usual, depending on the idea that I could get some donations," Bradford says. "After being awarded the contract, I began soliciting suppliers for help. After securing the donations, we wrote a check for the balance of the material costs donated."

Bradford says helping the zoo was a satisfying experience.

"The zoo receives no local taxpayer support," Bradford says. "I think that's fantastic, and I'm inspired to help in any way I can. Soliciting material donations seems to be an obvious way of lowering an exhibit's costs, and most entities are more than willing to do what they can for a unique community-based project. When contractors request help from their suppliers, it obviously lowers the cost but, more importantly, it creates ownership by all involved."

Krista Reisdorf is Professional Roofing's director of online communications.

Project name: Grizzly Bear Exhibit at ZooMontana
Project location: Billings, Mont.
Project duration: Fall 2007
Roof system type: EPDM membrane and metal
Roofing contractor: Bradford Roof Management, Billings
Roofing manufacturer: Carlisle SynTec, Carlisle, Pa., and Firestone Metal Products/UNA-CLAD, Anoka, Minn.


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