Royal roofing

Advanced Roofing helps build the Royal Caribbean terminal at the Port of Miami

  • Advanced Roofing workers install DensDeck® Prime Roof Boards
  • Because of tight space, materials were lifted to roof areas as they were delivered.
  • The crew applied two layers of polyisocyanurate insulation in a staggered pattern to the roof decks on the steep-slope areas.
  • A worker installs metal panels
  • Advanced Roofing received a one-time Notice of Acceptance to install metal panels as wall cladding
  • The completed aluminum roof system

The Port of Miami has been serving 750,000 Royal Caribbean International passengers annually, representing about 15% of the port’s overall passenger traffic. In 2018, a new terminal opened to serve as homeport to several Royal Caribbean International ships, including the Symphony of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship measuring 1,188 feet long with a capacity of 6,680 passengers.

With the new terminal, Royal Caribbean International expects to increase Miami cruise passenger intake to nearly 2 million annually, making the Port of Miami Royal Caribbean International’s largest cruise port in the U.S. and solidifying the Port of Miami as the cruise capital of the world. Although ships from major cruise lines including Royal Caribbean International won’t sail again until at least Sept. 15 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, cruisers are not deterred and continue to book future voyages.

The state-of-the-art, 170,000-square-foot terminal resembles a ship and was designed by England-based global architecture firm Broadway Malyan.

When the project’s general contractor, Suffolk Construction Co., Boston, needed a high-end architectural roof system installed on the $247 million facility designed to be LEED®-certified, the company chose Advanced Roofing Inc., Fort Lauderdale, Fla., because of its reputation of successfully installing unique and complex roof systems.

Scope of work

In March 2019, Advanced Roofing began work on the Royal Caribbean International terminal. The terminal complies with stringent requirements of the high-velocity hurricane zone portions of the Florida Building Code. All roof system components and materials used on the project were required to have valid and current Notices of Acceptance approved for use in the high-velocity hurricane zone.

To carry out the detailed design for the project, Advanced Roofing project managers applied to Miami-Dade County’s Product Approval Department for several new Notices of Acceptance along with several one-time Notices of Acceptance, including one for uninterrupted metal panel lengths more than 34 feet. Working with roofing product manufacturers and staff at Miami-Dade County Permitting and Product Approval divisions, Advanced Roofing submitted and obtained the Notices of Acceptance as expeditiously as possible, including one for the use of insulated metal panels as wall cladding for which there currently was no approved Notice of Acceptance.

After obtaining the required approvals, Advanced Roofing’s 30-person crew applied tapered polyisocyanurate insulation 1/4 inch per foot on the 45,500-square-foot low-slope roof areas of the terminal and parking garages followed by 5/8-inch-thick DensDeck® Prime Roof Boards and a 50-mil-thick FiberTite® XT TPO membrane.

To create the metal roof system on the 106,500-square-foot steep-slope roof areas, Advanced Roofing workers applied two layers of ACFoam®—III polyisocyanurate insulation over the structural metal deck followed by 5/8-inch-thick DensDeck Prime Roof Boards. Workers then added 40-mil-thick Englert® Metalman HT underlayment to ensure long-term weathertightness for the building’s interior as construction progressed. To cap the roof system, Advanced Roofing craftsmen installed Englert Series S2000 .040-inch-thick snap-lock aluminum roofing panels.

“We also installed the same metal panels vertically over concrete block walls, which is quite rare,” says Carlos Varas, Advanced Roofing’s project manager.

Project challenges

Working on the Royal Caribbean International terminal posed many challenges.

For example, the roof’s height ranged from 80 to 105 feet. Because of this unique roof design, the roll-forming machine had to specifically be engineered to be suspended over the roof to create panels that were up to 135 feet long. A designated safety team was created to monitor this substantial task.

Because the terminal is located in a hostile marine environment, proper material selection and installation were critical to the project’s success. When considering wind and saltwater, dissimilar metals had to be avoided. Advanced Roofing craftsmen used only anti-corrosive metals, stainless steel or coated fasteners, and they fabricated all panels and trim from aluminum.

To comply with the design wind speed of 175 mph and other building code requirements, including ASCE 7-10, “Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures,” Exposure Category D (Hurricane Ocean Line) and Risk Category II Buildings, Advanced Roofing chose insulated metal panels for the wall cladding based on the results of wind-tunnel testing using 700-year period modeling. Properly installed perimeter edges also were especially critical for design and attachment to attain designated wind speeds.

In addition, Class A fire-resistant roof assemblies and coverings were required based on the building’s location and occupancy size. The project’s designers specified fire-retardant plywood over the structural metal deck to obtain the required Class A fire rating. However, Advanced Roofing project managers knew the material was a poor choice for many reasons, including moisture effects to the steel deck and roofing fasteners over time as well as the high cost of the fire-retardant plywood and its installation.

Advanced Roofing project managers proposed a more functional roof system to obtain the Class A rating by using 5/8-inch-thick DensDeck Prime Roof Boards installed over polyisocyanurate insulation and the steel structural deck. The product was vetted by all parties, including the developer, general contractor, metal panel manufacturer and project designers.

Miami’s building boom also caused some obstacles. The terminal was built on a zero lot line (next to another structure on an adjacent lot) with new construction taking place on all sides of the project. Because of this, all materials had to be delivered factory-direct or on Advanced Roofing boom trucks and immediately lifted to the roof or installation areas.

To ensure safety, Advanced Roofing workers installed more than 900 feet of custom safety railings around the main roof’s perimeter. Because of the unique geometry of the building and steep slope, Advanced Roofing’s sheet metal department custom-fabricated base plates to install the safety rails. Given the varying elevations of roof levels, workers developed highly specialized, site-specific safety measures for the project. All tools, equipment and materials were tethered together so they would not fall off the side of the building or be blown off the roof by high winds.

Additionally, to save the client money, all metal was purchased in one order and stored at Advanced Roofing’s off-site facility to avoid the threat of tariffs on raw metal materials.

The crown of Miami

Time also was of the essence as the terminal was receiving a new Royal Caribbean International ship Oct. 1, 2018. Although a lack of project details resulted in a design-as-you-build project, the Advanced Roofing team provided input and design for many of the terminal’s details while collaborating with Suffolk Construction and Miami-Dade County staff to deliver a standout roof system Sept. 10, 2018, on time, within budget and with no safety incidents.

“Safety is paramount and Advanced Roofing’s No. 1 priority,” Varas says. “The fact that such a challenging project was completed on time and with no safety incidents was rewarding for our entire team. Advanced Roofing is proud to have been a part of this unique project and help create what the community calls the crown of Miami.”

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

Project name: Royal Caribbean International terminal
Project location: Miami
Project duration: March 2-Sept. 10, 2018
Roof system types: Aluminum and TPO membrane
Roofing contractor: Advanced Roofing Inc., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Roofing manufacturers: Atlas® Roofing Corp., Atlanta; Englert® Inc., Perth Amboy, N.J.; FiberTite® Roofing Systems, Wooster, Ohio; Georgia-Pacific Gypsum, Atlanta



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