Metal lockdown

Supreme Roofing Systems coordinates tough security measures to reroof the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's cannery

  • An aerial view of the cannery's new metal roof systemPhoto courtesy of Supreme Roofing Systems, Dallas
  • A 16-gauge engineered sub-girt system over 6-inch-thick batt insulation was applied to the existing roof system followed by 180-foot-long, 24-gauge aluminum-zinc alloy-coated roll-formed sheet-metal panelsPhoto courtesy of Supreme Roofing Systems, Dallas
  • New 1/4-inch-thick window systems were installed at the roof system's perimeter.Photo courtesy of Supreme Roofing Systems, Dallas

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) operates the largest prison system in the U.S. Its mission is to provide public safety, promote positive change in offender behavior, reintegrate offenders into society and assist victims of crime. It manages offenders in state prisons, state jails and private correctional facilities that contract with TDCJ. The agency also provides funding and oversight for community supervision and is responsible for the supervision of offenders released from prison on parole or mandatory supervision.

TDCJ's Terrell Unit Cannery in Rosharon, Texas, is part of the prison's agricultural operations, which includes field crops and a fresh vegetable cannery to help make the prison self-sufficient. When the facility's roof system began to fail, Supreme Roofing Systems, Dallas, was selected by the roof consultant, Amtech Building Sciences, Houston, to perform repairs and reroof the building.

Tight security

Reroofing a prison facility presents many unique security challenges. Supreme Roofing Systems employees were escorted from the guard shack to the roof each day and during every trip to the staging area.

Workers also faced the challenges of securing materials, tools and motorized equipment every day because the staging area was located inside the prison grounds.

"Meeting stringent security requirements and scheduling on a daily basis, from passing through the guard shack and being escorted to the project site each day was a challenge we faced head on," says Todd Gilmore, sheet metal manager for Supreme Roofing Systems. "We overcame the security challenges with constant communication from the beginning."

Additionally, the roofing work had to be completed while the cannery continued operations. Coordination with the cannery plant supervisor took place daily and sometimes hourly because of the nonstop cannery production assembly lines.

Supreme Roofing Systems' on-site supervisors faced significant coordination demands working with prison personnel and many subcontractors, such as window installers, glazers, electricians and on-site roll-forming crews, to create a precise work schedule. Employees were subjected to daily roof observations from TDCJ maintenance managers and engineers, weekly consultant roof walks and monthly scheduling meetings. In addition, on-site supervisors faced daily safety inspections with the prison safety coordinator and spur-of-the-moment meetings with the maintenance manager. At times, the sheet metal crew had to cease work and relocate to another area of the roof because additional food processing lines were needed for larger-than-expected deliveries, which jeopardized project schedule dates.

Get to work

The scope of work included power-washing about 700 squares of existing standing-seam metal roof panels rusting on the purlin structure. Rust-Oleum® Rust Inhibitor paint then was applied to the washed panels. Where the existing panels rusted through, 16-gauge galvanized panel inserts were installed over the affected areas. About 1,132 squares of existing metal panels were refastened by hand with Tek 5 fasteners. A 16-gauge engineered sub-girt system over 6-inch-thick batt insulation supplied by Bay-Star Insulation Inc. also was applied to the existing roof system.

Once the power-washing and prepping were complete, workers moved to the on-site roll-forming stage. Architectural Building Components' 238T Symmetrical Panel System specifically was used for its Archzilla® roll-former's metal panel eave height running capabilities. Half the facility's rooftop then was covered with 180-foot-long, 24-gauge aluminum-zinc alloy-coated Galvalume® Plus sheet-metal panels, and the rooftop's other half was covered with 125-foot-long and 80-foot-long metal panels. Staging the panels had to be precise to avoid overloading the deck.

Finally, new 1/4-inch-thick Lexan window systems were installed at the roof system's perimeter, new roof access ladders were installed, and the existing rooftop ventilators were reinstalled on custom-built curbs.

Detail work

The project's drainage system was somewhat unusual because of the long panel lengths and amount of water the panels can carry. A 12- by 12-inch, 24-gauge Galvalume Plus box gutter was made in 32-foot lengths supported by 16-gauge brackets. Downspouts were 12 by 12 inches and 25 feet long and required four men to install.

To ensure the facility remained watertight and insulation materials weren't exposed to the elements, work on each roof section had to be completed by the end of the same day with insulation in place, sub-girts aligned and the panels attached. This required detailed coordination to ensure crew members were working together and no one was working too far ahead of others.

Rewards for good behavior

Supreme Roofing Systems began the project Aug. 17, 2010, and despite the project's size, scope and security challenges, completed the project in four months, ahead of schedule and without deficiencies or injuries. Supreme Roofing Systems exceeded the expectations of its client, state coordinators and contacts involved.

"The most rewarding part was the kudos we received from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice," Gilmore says. "They were extremely pleased with our work, our ability to complete the work ahead of schedule and our commitment to quality."

For its work on TDCJ's Terrell Cannery Unit, Supreme Roofing Systems was a finalist in NRCA's 2012 Gold Circle Awards Outstanding Workmanship: Low-slope category.

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

Project name: Texas Department of Criminal Justice Terrell Unit Cannery
Project location: Rosharon, Texas
Project duration: July 2010–May 2011
Roof system type: Metal
Roofing contractor: Supreme Roofing Systems, Dallas
Product manufacturers: Architectural Building Components, Houston; Bay-Star Insulation Inc., Dallas
Gold Circle Awards category: Outstanding Workmanship: Low-slope


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