Intermediate school roof work on target despite heat

Written by Ann Richardson
Tuesday, 13 July 2010 00:00
Shore News Today

OCEAN CITY - Installing a roof is never an easy job, but when the heat and humidity conspire to reach the century mark, it's downright unbearable.

Despite a scorching week-long heat wave, there have been on average 40 roofers working diligently on the new roof on the Ocean Cit y Intermediate School. The project remains on budget and on target for a late summer completion, according to school officials.

With hundreds of children set to arrive for a new school year on Sept. 9, roofers can't afford to take even one day off because of the heat. So how bad is it to work with burning hot tar and heavy roofing materials under insufferable conditions?
"It's worse than walking across the hot sand, barefoot, on a 100 degree day with a hot breeze and simultaneously doing strenuous labor," said Brian Moore, construction manager for Epic Management, Inc. of Piscataway. "You're dealing with a material that is over 300 degrees."

Moore said the company follows strict guidelines for working in the heat. The roofers go through more than 150 bags of ice on a hot week. His company rented an ice machine to keep workers cool and roofers guzzle gallons upon gallons of cold water and take frequent breaks, which they spend in the shade, he said.

"Fluid replacement is very important," said Moore. "It's part of the trade, we make sure that they are constantly replacing fluids."

All in all, Moore said roofers are used to uncomfortable conditions. "Weather-wise, basically what you have is summer construction," he said, adding that even on a barrier

island roofing is tough work. "You may on occasion have a cool breeze, but you have high temperatures and humidity and occasional showers. It's hot, and that affects the physical working conditions of a roofer. You are dealing with heavy, hot materials." Moore said the roofers work as a "team," keeping a careful eye on one another. The city has allowed them an early start so they can finish their 10-hour days before the intense late afternoon sunshine takes a toll, he said.

The $7,311,746 million project, designed by Garrison Architects of Marlton and constructed by TN Ward Company of Atlantic City, will bring a new roof and HVAC system to the intermediate school."The system will be totally upgraded," said Moore. "We are replacing the old electric system, which was very costly at this point, with a more efficient gas fired system."

Fire ratings of the corridors will be improved by replacing the existing doors in the school, which was built in 1965. "It was fine back then, but we are now bringing it up to current status," said Moore, adding that emergency lighting will also be upgraded to make it more energy efficient. The emergency generator will also be upgraded.

Three weeks into the "meat" of the project - Phase II - which began literally the last day of school on June 18, Moore said he couldn't be more pleased with the progress. "We started as the buses pulled out and the teachers were saying their last goodbyes," he said. "The contractors were mobilizing, starting the scope of the project, including the roof replacement."Phase I started before school dismissed. The preliminary work was done at the end of the day after kids went home.
The roof, he said, is a "work in progress."

"You have two layers of roof that had to be taken off," said Moore. "You put an original roof on and then you can put a second roof on, but the third time the two roofs have to come off, that's where we came in."

A small army of electricians, mechanics, painters and carpenters are also on the job.
"We have about 80 workers here every day," he said, adding that the project is fully unionized through a PLA (Project Labor Agreement).

The labor crew, which hails from New Jersey and not out of state, Moore said, should be "commended" for their efforts.

"With the economy, the jobs just aren't there," he said. "They know that, so they are making a big effort to show us how much they appreciate this work. They want to be here, they show up on time and work very hard. Everyone has a very positive attitude, even with this heat. They're very happy to be working and they're doing an excellent job."

"You won't find any trash around here," he added. "Our guys clean up. We're very conscious of activity around the project. We have not disturbed anyone, despite three weeks of heavy construction. We are working hard not to disturb the community."

Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Taylor, business administrator Steve Terhune and the board of education, including buildings and grounds chairmen Jim Bauer and Tom Oves, have made sure crews arrived at a well-planned, well-orchestrated construction site, said Moore.

"They have treated this like a newborn infant, like the school was their child," he said. "They were concerned about their students, they were concerned about the neighborhood and the community and their staff."

School officials cleared an area where a soccer field used to be so there was off-street parking, which took at least 40 cars off the street every day.

"It's been a very productive partnership," said Terhune. "Everyone has been working hard to make sure that there is no negative impact on the community. The crews have been fantastic."
Moore said he is confident progress will continue.

"Our goal is to be complete by the time school starts," said Moore. "We're working 10 hour days, six days a week to make sure that happens. Any work that is not completed will be done after school, we'll go to the second shift."

Terhune said summer cleaning and organizing at the intermediate school will be compressed into a 10-day period after construction is complete.

"You have summer cleaning and organizing, we have to bring the front office back," he said. "We have two and half months compacted into about a week or ten days."


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