Feng shui roofing

Korellis Roofing helps build Chicago's Chinatown public library

  • An aerial view of the library's completed roof systems.
  • An aerial view of the library's completed roof systems.
  • A crane was used to hoist roofing materials.
  • Workers assemble the vegetative roof system.

Snce opening its doors in 1873, the Chicago Public Library system has served Chicagoans with free, open places to gather, learn, connect and read. Its 80 locations throughout the city provide innovative library services and technologies to give Chicagoans the tools they need to reach their goals and establish the city as a competitive force in the global marketplace.

Each library has been designed as a special place beyond home and work where people can come to improve their lives, nourish their intellect or savor entertainment. Rich literature collections, state-of-the-art technology, and cultural and public partnerships make the Chicago Public Library system a thriving, engaging presence in Chicago's diverse neighborhoods. Although the Chicago Public Library system has dramatically changed since its beginnings in an abandoned water tower after the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, its mission to support all people with equal access to information, ideas and knowledge through books, programs and other sources of information has remained constant.

On Aug. 29, 2015, the Chicago Public Library system opened a new 16,000-square-foot, two-story Chinatown Branch library to serve as a cultural and information center for those who seek information about the Chinatown community and Chinese culture. The feng shui-inspired structure was designed to harmonize with its surrounding environment and is partially covered with a "living" roof installed by Korellis Roofing Inc., Hammond, Ind.

Building a yin-yang roof

In February 2015, Korellis Roofing began work on the Chinatown public library's PVC and vegetative roof systems. The roof is about 8,400 square feet with 3,900 square feet covered in vegetation. Working on a large structure in the hub of Chinatown posed significant challenges.

"This project was in the heart of the Chinatown neighborhood in Chicago, so staging and loading of material presented significant logistical challenges," says John Ziolkowski, project manager for Korellis Roofing. "Coordination of deliveries and timing was vital to this project."

A Garlock Equipment Perimeter Clamp Guardrail System initially was installed to provide workers with fall protection while installing the roof membrane. Once proper fall protection was in place, workers mechanically attached 1/4-inch-thick DensDeck® Prime™ Roof Boards to the structural concrete roof deck. Next, a self-adhering Sarnavap vapor barrier was placed over the substrate boards. Workers then adhered two layers of 2.2-inch-thick Sarnatherm polyisocyanurate insulation to the vapor retarder with Sarnacol® OM Board Adhesive.

Next, workers installed an EFVM® (electric field vector mapping) wire grid for future membrane leak investigations and adhered 1/2-inch-thick DensDeck Prime Roof Boards with Sarnacol OM Board Adhesive. More than 80 squares of white, 80-mil-thick, feltback Sarnafil® G410 EnergySmart Roof® Membrane (thermoplastic PVC) then were adhered to the cover boards with Sarnacol 2170 VC adhesive.

After the PVC roof membrane was installed, workers used a permanently installed horizontal lifeline system that borders the vegetative roof area during installation and placement of the vegetative roof system. Working from personal fall-arrest systems consisting of FallTech® harnesses, lanyards and self-retracting lifelines, the eight-person Korellis Roofing team installed 40 squares of a LiveRoof® 4-inch-thick modular tray "green" roof system that includes an irrigation system with rotary heads. Walkway pads around the roof's perimeter also were installed to protect the white membrane.

Good chi

After overcoming numerous logistical and fall-protection challenges, in July 2015, Korellis Roofing successfully completed its work on the Chicago Public Library's Chinatown Branch in time for the library's grand opening in August 2015.

"The most rewarding aspect of this job was this project was truly successful as a result of our workforce, workmanship and expertise with installing PVC membranes and vegetative roofs," Ziolkowski says. "The city of Chicago and the operation staff at the Chinatown branch library are all highly appreciative of our company and have given us multiple compliments on our completed work."

For demonstrating excellent workmanship on the Chicago Public Library's Chinatown Branch, Korellis Roofing was selected as a 2016 Gold Circle Awards finalist in the Outstanding Workmanship: Low-slope category.

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

Project name: Chicago Public Library's Chinatown Branch
Project location: Chicago
Project duration: February 2015-July 2015
Roof system types: PVC and vegetative
Roofing contractor: Korellis Roofing Inc., Hammond, Ind.
Plant provider: LiveRoof® LLC, Nunica, Mich.
Roofing manufacturers: Georgia-Pacific Building Products, Atlanta; Sika Sarnafil,® Canton, Mass.
Gold Circle Award: Outstanding Workmanship: Low-slope



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