First-of-a-kind roofing

KPost Roofing & Waterproofing helps build the largest retractable roof in the world

  • More than 19,000 tons of steel were used to build the roof.
  • The 5.5-acre retractable roof weighs 24 million pounds.
  • About 2,000 people worked more than 6 million man-hours to build the venue in 30 months.

In 2020, Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers played its first game in a new ballpark, Globe Life Field. Located in Arlington on a 13-acre site south of Globe Life Park, Globe Life Field is the Rangers’ third home ballpark.

In May 2016, the Texas Rangers and the City of Arlington announced an agreement for a new $1.2 billion ballpark and multipurpose venue. Designed by sports and entertainment firm HKS Inc., Dallas, Globe Life Field measures 1.8 million square feet—400,000 square feet more than Globe Life Park—and has a seating capacity of 40,300 on seven levels situated to provide fans with 360-degree unobstructed views of the field.

The venue includes a 5.5-acre retractable roof—the largest single-panel operable roof in the world—that weighs 24 million pounds. The project’s general contractor, Manhattan Construction Co., Dallas, selected KPost Roofing & Waterproofing, Dallas, as the roofing contractor for the mega-roofing project.

Building the roof

On Sept. 28, 2017, the Globe Life Field project officially broke ground. About 2,000 people worked nearly 6 million man-hours to build the venue in 30 months. The structure’s most notable feature is the retractable roof that takes about 15 minutes to open or close, allowing for year-round temperature control. The retractable roof is 278 feet at its highest point from the playing field.

The overall roof is composed of PVC membrane on the north and south sloped planes, and the flat center is covered with 223 clear panels made of ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene), a transparent plastic polymer material that allows for natural light to fill the facility. More than 19,000 tons of steel were used to build the roof structure consisting of five steel trusses with tie-in steel between each truss.

Before installing 450,000 square feet of single-ply PVC membrane on 21 steep- and low-slope roof sections, the KPost Roofing & Waterproofing on-site team constructed guardrails where parapet walls were less than 39 inches. KPost Roofing & Waterproofing’s safety director, Luciano Perez, regularly scheduled job-site safety meetings, and the team held to the strictest safety measures with a zero-tolerance policy for safety violations.

“In addition to a high standard of quality, the KPost Roofing & Waterproofing team had an equally high standard for safety,” says Jim Cuddihee, senior vice president of operations for Manhattan Construction. “The team mitigated the risks given the challenging roofs located throughout Globe Life Field.”

While working on the retractable roof, workers wore personal fall-arrest systems and added orange safety fencing at the top of the operable roof gutter to ensure materials didn’t fall from the steep-slope sections.

Team members mechanically fastened two layers of 2.2-inch-thick Carlisle InsulBase® polyisocyanurate insulation followed by 1/2-inch-thick Georgia-Pacific DensDeck® Prime Roof Boards using Carlisle HP Fasteners and plates. Then, team members adhered Carlisle FleeceBACK KEE HP PVC membrane using Carlisle FAST™ low-rise foam adhesive.

“The project required us to employ innovative methods to meet a rigorous construction schedule needed for the stadium’s opening deadline,” says Thomas Williams, vice president of operations for KPost Roofing & Waterproofing. “Our team used sophisticated dual-component adhesive spray equipment that allows for installation in temperatures as cold as 25 F. This equipment was critical when constructing the first roof, the ‘office roof,’ in January 2019 when temperatures were below 32 F.”

Countless bolted metal flanges protruding through the roof also required the team to use an unprecedented amount of Carlisle LIQUISEAL® liquid flashing extensively throughout the project.

In addition to the PVC membrane, the KPost Roofing & Waterproofing team installed an Alpine SnowGuards® Snowmax system on the retractable roof to control snow and falling ice and 45,000 linear feet of pre-finished Kynar®-coated ES-1-tested edge metal to match the wall panel system.

PROJECT NAME: Globe Life Field
PROJECT LOCATION: Arlington, Texas
PROJECT DURATION: January 2019-May 2020
ROOFING CONTRACTOR: KPost Roofing & Waterproofing, Dallas
ROOFING MANUFACTURERS: Carlisle® SynTec Systems, Carlisle, Pa.; Georgia-Pacific Gypsum, Atlanta

The challenges

In addition to working in extreme heat, rain and ice that is typical when working on a substantial roofing project in Texas, the KPost Roofing & Waterproofing team faced other obstacles while working on Globe Life Field. For one, stocking material on the various roof areas was difficult.

“With so many other trades needing crane time and stocking areas, we used multiple lifting and hoisting methods to stock material to the roofs, including reach forklifts and a helicopter,” Williams says.

On Sundays, the job site was shut down to permit KPost Roofing & Waterproofing’s team to use a helicopter to lift materials safely to the numerous steep-slope roof areas and place the materials precisely where needed.

“Although more expensive than conventional methods, the speed at which material was loaded was advantageous,” Williams says.

Using a helicopter allowed the team to transport about 30 loads of materials per hour to the rooftop. However, because of an aggressive construction schedule, the project still required more than 75 roofing personnel working on-site for the project’s duration.

“Our ability to assign a large number of highly qualified and experienced roofing and sheet-metal crews enabled us to meet the compressed schedule,” Williams says. With a project as large as Globe Life Field, the team also faced unexpected disruptions.

“Unfortunately, the project experienced a significant roof fire on the west low-slope roof section caused by another subcontractor,” Williams explains. “Our team mobilized multiple roofing crews to quickly mitigate the potential damage to interior finishes and restore the roof to a watertight condition in less than 48 hours.”

Knocked it out of the park

Although the KPost Roofing & Waterproofing team faced a tight construction schedule, difficult material loading logistics and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the crew successfully completed the Globe Life Field project in May 2020—ahead of schedule with no safety incidents and within budget. Because of the pandemic, the start of the 2020 MLB season was delayed for several months, and the venue officially opened May 29, 2020.

“The KPost Roofing & Waterproofing team had many challenges—an aggressive completion schedule with no wiggle room, daunting logistics at an extremely busy and congested construction site, and working high in the air atop the heavily pitched retractable roof,” says Greg McClure, senior vice president of Manhattan Construction. “They did it all with the highest regard for the safety of every worker across all trades.”

For its work on Globe Life Field, KPost Roofing & Waterproofing received a 2022 Gold Circle Awards honorable mention from the Roofing Alliance and a Pyramid Award from the Associated Builders and Contractors.

“I am incredibly proud of the safety, quality and value the men and women of KPost Roofing & Waterproofing brought to this iconic project, along with the trust of Manhattan Construction, the Texas Rangers and the City of Arlington put in us,” says Steve Little, president of KPost Roofing & Waterproofing. “We are a blessed company!” 

CHRYSTINE ELLE HANUS is Professional Roofing’s associate editor and an NRCA director of communications.



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