A roof with a view

Commercial Roofing & Waterproofing Hawaii restores five arched roof systems on Honolulu's Harbor Court

  • Workers repair one of five arched metal decksPhoto courtesy of Commercial Roofing & Waterproofing Hawaii Inc., Honolulu.
  • Two layers of Georgia-Pacific DensDeck® Roof Boards were installed on the metal decksPhoto courtesy of Commercial Roofing & Waterproofing Hawaii Inc., Honolulu.
  • Sarnafil®'s Decor Roof System was installed over the roof boards to replicate the look of standing-seam metal panelsPhoto courtesy of Commercial Roofing & Waterproofing Hawaii Inc., Honolulu.

Located along the waterfront in Honolulu's central business and financial district is Harbor Court, one of Honolulu's most recognized landmarks. Built in 1994, the 41-story building has 120 luxury condominiums, 18 floors of commercial space, and several restaurants and retail tenants on the ground floor plaza.

Designed by Norman Lacayo, Harbor Court's tiered form is sun-oriented to interact with light and shadow. Its distinctive blue glass gives a modern appearance and provides occupants with mountain, Honolulu Harbor and ocean views.

Because of the building's height, strong wind gusts and salt spray from the harbor severely damaged the arched metal roofs. After withstanding 19 years of constant battle with brutal elements, in December 2012, Harbor Court's five steep-slope arched roofs underwent replacement performed by Commercial Roofing & Waterproofing Hawaii Inc., Honolulu.

High-rise safety

Knowing the crew would face strong harbor winds while working on the 34th through 40th floors, safety was of utmost concern. Commercial Roofing & Waterproofing Hawaii developed a comprehensive safety program for the high-rise project that included a full fall-arrest system, guardrails, closing off potential hazard areas at ground level and securing all tools. Residents, tenants and others were kept away from danger areas.

"Replacing the arched roofs was a major project, and we're pleased with Commercial Roofing & Waterproofing Hawaii's professionalism from start to finish," says Jimmy Ventura, property manager for Douglas Emmett Management Hawaii LLC, Honolulu. "The company provided a far-reaching safety plan for the crew and building occupants."

Restoring a metal aesthetic

Once the safety plan was in place, the five-person crew carefully removed the existing arched metal panels from the 350-square-foot arched roofs. Commercial Roofing & Waterproofing Hawaii developed a tear-off process that involved securing each panel, bending individual panels and then removing one panel at a time by hand through the building's elevator for transport to the ground level.

Next, the crew repaired the metal decks. A new custom-fabricated curtain wall flashing then was installed to encapsulate windows and walls for a watertight seal, followed by two layers of Georgia-Pacific DensDeck® Roof Boards.

Because of Harbor Court's arched roof design, Sika Sarnafil®'s Décor Roof System was chosen to replicate the look of metal.

"The materials give the appearance of a metal roof," says Larry Young, Commercial Roofing & Waterproofing Hawaii's vice president. "But they include the performance of a roof membrane known for keeping moisture out."

The felt-backed, 60-mil-thick single-ply thermoplastic vinyl membrane in EnergySmart Tan was hot-air welded to the substrate, followed by Sarnafil décor ribs to complete the standing-seam metal panel look. Performing these tasks on top of the building's 41st level was difficult.

"The project was challenging as we had to install the small arched roofs against the daunting height of the building and high winds," Young says.

Typically, a large roof can accommodate material fabrication on it, but because of the small-sized arch design, this wasn't possible. Prefabrication was performed at the ground level so the crew did not need to transport large rolls of material to the building's rooftop.

An iconic finish

Although the crew faced high winds while performing roofing work at dangerous heights, as a result of Commercial Roofing & Waterproofing Hawaii's diligent safety measures, no accidents or injuries were reported. The company completed the reroofing project in January 2013, within the projected timeline, with minimal disturbance and inconvenience to the commercial and residential tenants.

"The most rewarding part of the project was completing it safely with no damage and accidents, considering the sheer drop and high winds," Young says. "We are confident Harbor Court now can further deflect moisture and salt-air damage to this recognizable downtown Honolulu iconic structure."

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

Project name: Harbor Court
Project location: Honolulu
Project duration: December 2012-January 2013
Roof system type: Thermoplastic vinyl
Roofing contractor: Commercial Roofing & Waterproofing Hawaii Inc., Honolulu
Product manufacturers: Georgia-Pacific Gypsum LLC, Atlanta; Sika Sarnafil,® Canton, Mass.


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