D. C. Taylor Co. Reroofs California Not-for-Profit Hospital

June 28, 2022

Sutter Solano Medical Center is a not-for-profit healthcare provider in the Sutter Health network. The medical center was established in 1921 and moved to its present location at 300 Hospital Dr., in Vallejo, CA, in the 1960s.

Sutter Solano’s original building, a four-story patient tower, was built in 1966. Several building additions followed in 1976 and 1986 to form a 63,000 square feet 106-bed facility. All of the ten roof areas were original before the medical center embarked on a complete facility reroofing project in 2020. “The roof was in varying conditions. … [Reroofing] was a bottom-line necessity,” explains Paul Fernandes, Senior Project Manager, Layton Construction, Roseville, CA.

The Project Team

A roof consultant evaluated the roofs in Sutter Health’s real estate portfolio and prioritized which required immediate attention. Silva Stowell Architects LLP of Sacramento, CA, then helped to ferry the project through HCAI, the California Department of Health Care Access and Information (formerly OSHPD), which serves as the building department for hospitals in California. Layton, the General Contractor, molded the project into a bid package and was heavily involved in planning the work with subcontractors.

D. C. Taylor Co. became the roofing subcontractor on an already robust project team. The roofing contractor was asked to bid based on a past experience. “We have done other work for Sutter. We completed the medical office building project in Antioch, CA,” explains Juan Reyes, Project Representative, D. C. Taylor Co., Concord, CA.

The project fostered a partnership between all parties. Whenever a challenge arose, it was dealt with collaboratively. “D. C. Taylor Co. proposed several solutions and determined which was best. Our consultant said he’s never had a roofing project run so smoothly,” notes Kathleen Carroll, Senior Project Manager, Facility and Property Services, Sutter Health, Antioch, CA.

The almost year-long reroofing project was managed by D. C. Taylor Co.’s Project Representative Juan Reyes and Construction Manager Raymundo Jimenez with onsite supervision by Project Supervisor Daniel Lopez. “What I appreciated about Juan is that he was always available, always there, supported his crew, and they respected him. They also respected Daniel. They took care of the crew and the crew took care of us,” says Carroll.

Lopez’s crew ballooned at times to as many as 20 individuals, combining resources from D. C. Taylor Co.’s California and Arizona offices. “The guys (usually Daniel) had to do a daily check-in with Jason, Layton’s superintendent onsite. And any time we added new personnel, they had to go through training with Layton,” explains Stephanie Simarro, Project Administrator, D. C. Taylor Co., Concord, CA. This was on top of D. C. Taylor Co.’s own safety requirements. “Each person coming on to the crew must review and sign off on the job hazard analysis and the emergency action plan for the site,” notes Kirk Dighton, Safety Manager, D. C. Taylor Co., Cedar Rapids, IA.

The Project

Work on Sutter Solano Medical Center (roofs A-J) began in late November of 2020. “Besides roof J, it was a complete tear off and reroof,” summarizes Fernandes. “It was 10 different roofs and each one was a different type of construction.” Existing roof types included single-ply, foam, and built-up roofing (BUR). Insulation ranged from isocyanurate, fiberglass, wood fiber, EPS, Styrofoam, and perlite, over concrete, lightweight concrete, and metal roof decks. “The roofs were in poor condition. In this case, there was no option but to reroof the entire the facility,” says Reyes.

Primer was applied and the concrete decks (as well as one lightweight concrete deck) received a vapor barrier, to prevent moisture in the concrete decks from migrating into the roofing system. Isocyanurate insulation was installed in thicknesses ranging from ½ inch to 3 inches.

Several strategies were deployed to handle drainage and control moisture. Carlisle SynTec Systems’ ChannelDry EPS system was installed on three roof areas (A, B, and E). “We installed a ChannelDry system because of the moisture we found on the concrete deck,” explain Reyes. Crickets or tapered insulation were added to other roof areas to divert water to the drains. Six of the roof areas also included gypsum fiberboard (C, D, F, G, H, and I) for added durability.

“Their main goal is to have a leak-free roof. They didn’t want to worry about the roof for many years,” says Reyes. This objective was met with Carlisle SynTec 135-mil fleeceback TPO membrane on the field of the roof and 80-mil TPO used for flashing on roof areas A-I, all of which now have a 30-year labor and material warranty. Walkway pad (1,095 lineal feet) was also installed on six of the roofs as added protection for when rooftop mechanical equipment is serviced.

The roofing plan for the last roof area required a change in plans. “Roof J was supposed to be TPO but there was an unforeseen condition, so they ended up coating the deck,” notes Simarro. D. C. Taylor Co. performed a restoration to the existing roof system with three gallons of acrylic coating applied per 100 square feet. “In order to eliminate the risk of overspray around the building and prevent it from going into the air-conditioning air intakes, we rolled it out. We also reinforced that with mesh/fleece screen,” says Raymundo Jimenez, Construction Manager, D. C. Taylor Co., Concord, CA. Roof J now has a 20-year labor and material warranty.

“This was a long project. We started receiving material in November and began on the roof in January. It took 10 to 11 months,” says Daniel Lopez, Project Supervisor, D. C. Taylor Co., Concord, CA, of the largest and longest project he’s led. The superintendent at Layton worked very closely with Lopez to put together a daily schedule and D. C. Taylor Co.’s crew did a great job adhering to it. “It takes forethought to put together a daily work plan,” says Carroll. “They embraced the tool. A lot of subcontractors don’t want to make those kinds of commitments. D. C. Taylor Co. had no issue with it.”

Project Challenges

The project started in winter, which heightened the need for vigilance. “Instead of demoing large sections, they removed smaller sections at a time and roofed it back. It was a lot of protection and watching the weather forecast,” recalls Fernandes.

Despite taking all necessary measures, 45 minutes of unpredicted rain pounded the facility after D. C. Taylor Co. had finished roofing for the day. “We worked until midnight and were back up and running in less than 24 hours. It was impressive,” Carroll remembers.

With facility operations ongoing throughout the project, D. C. Taylor Co. worked hard to limit disruption to hospital patients and procedures, at times halting work during emergency surgeries or working when there were fewer staff in the building. “D. C. Taylor Co.’s guys completely and utterly understood what we were doing – roofing a hospital. They recognized it was a sensitive facility,” praises Fernandes. “We had to recognize that we’re there doing a job, but we’re the ones that don’t really belong there,” says Jimenez about staying out of the way and being conscientious of patient and staff needs.

Great care was taken to make sure that material staging didn’t block any areas and demolition was meticulously planned to prevent disruption. “Everyone had to do their part – people that we hired with the crane, people performing all the rigging and traffic control – all working in coordination with the general contractor, and of course, our people on the roof that would be receiving materials or sending debris down,” says Jimenez. “We hired a company to bring semi trucks on-site every 3 hours. We’d fill one and then another would come. It had to be well planned.”

Loading materials was just as precarious, especially for roofs I and J. Due to underground piping and conduit, the crane had to be relocated further away. “We could only mobilize a certain low capacity based on the distance,” explains Jimenez. This meant more loads and more time.

Both the general contractor and Sutter Health had high safety expectations, which D. C. Taylor Co. met. “The general contractor was extremely vigilant on vetting our safety procedures and audited us frequently. The fall protection plan was issued and approved by the general contractor and, since this was a hospital setting, the California COVID regulations were in full force for our personnel,” says Dighton. Crews used guard rail, warning lines, rope and rope grab, mobile anchor carts, leading edge self-retracting lifelines, along with body harnesses. “Layton has a very rigid safety program. It’s aggressive. D. C. Taylor Co. not only met it, they exceeded it with their own safety requirements,” notes Fernandes.

The COVID-19 pandemic provided additional safety challenges. Limiting the number of individuals in company vehicles meant multiple vehicles with limited parking. Trucks, materials, and equipment had to be cleaned frequently. Temperatures were taken daily and face masks were worn when entering any part of the facility and while working in close proximity on the roof. “It was a big area, so thankfully we were able to spread out,” says Lopez. Additionally, all D. C. Taylor Co. crew members on the project were vaccinated.

A Job Well Done

When the project concluded, Sutter Solano Medical Center had 71,150 square feet of new and restored roofs. “D. C. Taylor Co. as a whole, seems to really care. They care about what they do, how they perform, and building relationships,” says Carroll.

“It was a great job. And a great opportunity for us to once more show Sutter, that this is work D. C. Taylor Co. can do well,” concludes Jimenez.

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