An unconventional convention center

Hartford South installs roof systems on the Orlando Hilton Convention Center

  • Aerial views from the East of Orlando Hilton Convention CenterPhoto courtesy of Hartford South LLC, Orlando, Fla.
  • Aerial views from the West of Orlando Hilton Convention CenterPhoto courtesy of Hartford South LLC, Orlando, Fla.

The Orange County Convention Center in Orlando is central Florida's primary public convention center and the second-largest convention center in the U.S. The facility consists of two buildings—the West Building and North/South Building—joined by an elevated, covered pedestrian walkway.

Through a prequalification process in 2006, WELBRO Building Corp., Maitland, Fla., was hired to construct an 18-story, 1.6 million-square-foot hotel—Orlando Hilton Convention Center—adjoining with the North/South Building's concourse via an elevated, covered pedestrian walkway. The hotel was to feature 1,400 rooms, 77,595 square feet of ballroom space, 33,630 square feet of meeting space, 6,097 square feet of boardrooms, a spa area, several swimming pools and other amenities.

In turn, WELBRO Building hired Hartford South LLC, Orlando, to install roof systems on the building's various roof areas, including 288,000 square feet of lower roof areas and 60,000 square feet of roof areas on the towers, as well as roofs on the new elevated walkway and some small buildings in the pool area.

"We were asked to furnish and install all roofing and associated sheet metal, including standing-seam metal roof system and wall panels," says Jay Rintelmann, Hartford South's president.

A large project

Hartford South began work on the multi-faceted project in February 2008.

"Between the lightweight insulating concrete crew, two roofing crews, sheet metal crews and a standing seam crew, our peak manpower was about 40 workers," Rintelmann says.

On the low roof areas, Hartford South workers installed lightweight insulating concrete over a previously installed metal deck.

"Once the lightweight insulating concrete was poured on the large, open roof areas at the back of the building, it needed to be covered as soon as possible, which mandated additional manpower," Rintelmann says.

Crew members installed Seaman Corp. fully adhered 45-mil-thick custom-colored Emerald Green FiberTite membrane directly to the lightweight insulating concrete. Because the lower roof areas can be seen by hotel guests and passersby, all flashing had to match perfectly.

On the towers, workers installed lightweight insulating concrete over a concrete slab. A fiberglass base sheet then was nailed with lightweight base sheet fasteners followed by a Soprema Inc. torch-applied smooth polymer-modified bitumen interply sheet and torch-applied fire-retardant granular-surfaced polymer-modified bitumen cap sheet. A granular-surfaced polymer-modified bitumen cap flashing was torch-applied on walls and curbs.

"The tower roof areas have rows of roof-mounted equipment that needed to be worked around, and we had to coordinate with multiple trades," Rintelmann says. "The interply sheet was installed to keep the building watertight so interior and mechanical trades could continue their work. The cap sheet was installed after staging of the roof was complete."

The lightweight insulating concrete decks slope to roof drains on all roof areas, according to Rintelmann. All roof systems have 20-year full system warranties from their respective manufacturers.

Additionally, on four small pool buildings, Hartford South workers installed a peel-and-stick underlayment over the metal decks, followed by mechanically seamed Berridge Manufacturing Co. blue standing-seam metal roof panels. On the elevated pedestrian walkway, crew members installed a peel-and-stick underlayment and mechanically seamed white standing-seam metal roof panels.

Warning lines were used on all lower roof perimeters with workers tied off within 6 feet of parapet walls, and guardrails were installed around the tower roof areas' perimeters.

The main entrance

The hotel's main entrance received a different roof system—an 18,000-square-foot Birdair PTFE fiberglass roof designed to resemble a clamshell.

The tensioned membrane canopy roof system, which Birdair installed, consists of a supporting steel frame and PTFE SHEERFILL Architectural Membrane cover. Birdair integrated an invisible gutter and downspout system into the steel frame.

The finished product

Roofing work was completed on schedule in August 2009, and Rintelmann and WELBRO Building were pleased with the finished installations—especially considering the challenges the project presented.

One such challenge was submitting several change orders throughout the design phase: Hartford South was asked to design, build and install a halo light system around the towers' perimeters. This meant re-pricing with the architect and WELBRO Building.

"The size, number of roof areas, details and intricacy of the roof, as well as the variety of roof assemblies installed, also made this a challenging project," Rintelmann says. "To complete the project on budget and schedule such that WELBRO Building wrote us an unsolicited letter of recommendation was rewarding."

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

Project name: Orlando Hilton Convention Center
Project location: Orlando, Fla.
Project duration: February 2008-August 2009
Roof system types: Polymer-modified bitumen, single-ply membrane and standing-seam metal
Roofing contractors: Birdair Inc., Amherst, N.Y., and Hartford South LLC, Orlando
Roofing materials manufacturers: Berridge Manufacturing Co., San Antonio; Birdair Inc.; Seaman Corp., Wooster, Ohio; and Soprema Inc., Wadsworth, Ohio.


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