Hitachi Building 6
San Jose, CA
Twenty feet below the boots of Bigham Taylor roofers, dozens of Hitachi employees were working in a clean room, building wafers used in the company’s most advanced storage devices. One of the company’s facility engineers calls Building 6, where Bigham Taylor tore off and re-roofed 1,200 squares during 11 months, “the company’s bread and butter.”
BT Superintendent Rod Freitas, who was on-site practically every day, calls this the biggest project of his 25-year career. “I’m not just talking about the size,” he says. “This roof is a jungle of equipment, girders, platforms, nitrogen and ionized water lines, hot steam pipes that would burn your hand if you touched them, and more. Then there were the areas where you had to be on your belly for hundreds of square feet to get the roof on.”
|Location||San Jose, CA|
|Client||Hitachi Global Storage Technoligies|
|Size||115,000 sq ft|
Bigham Taylor started the tear-off in November 2009. Because of the amount of mechanicals and pipes on the roof, BT had to be creative while removing the old material by lifting it onto scaffolding and then dropping it through chutes to the ground. Before removal, each section was inspected for buried mechanical systems and pipes.
“The demo took longer than usual because the roof is so busy,” Rod explains, “and we were doing small increments. We were lucky if we got a 3,000 square foot area done in a day.”
Teams from Hitachi and Therma supervised any lifting of the mechanical systems on the roof to ensure that nothing was damaged.
Once the roof was prepared, BT began to install a ballasted Firestone 60 mil TPO Roof with T-Clear Pavers that had been specified by Hitachi’s consultants Allana Buick & Bers. “They designed a system that superseded Firestone’s specs,” Rod explains. “It is one of the strongest that we’ve ever installed.”
The system installation was as challenging as the tear-off since the BT team had to work within hundreds of pipes, mechanicals, and exhausts. At the project’s peak, BT had 30 dedicated roofers working there with one of the company’s most experienced foreman in Abel Rodriguez. “It turns out that Abel worked on this building as a journeyman roofer in the early ‘70s when IBM owned it,” Rod says.
In addition to completing the project within the allotted 12-month window, it was critical that the work being done in the building itself be maintained. “If water had gone into that clean room, they would be shut down,” Rod reports. “If dirt got in there, shut down. They worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in a perfect environment that couldn’t be affected by a bad smell, water, or dust. We’re proud to say that there were no shutdowns due to our team. That’s a huge accomplishment.”
“This was certainly a learning situation for me,” remarks Hitachi’s facility engineer. “There were so many details, and the conditions varied so much that there was no way BT could have applied one solution to the whole roof — they had to be flexible and careful at the same time.
“The experienced foreman provided leadership, and things progressed on schedule,” he continues. “And Rod communicated well. He’s on top of things. He was quick to address if we asked for something or identified something.”
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