Working at an active international airport terminal can be a juggling act. With flights and travelers coming and going, keeping a productive work schedule can be a challenge for a less experienced contractor. Chamberlin has been working for the Houston Airport System for several decades on various waterproofing and roofing projects and knows what it takes to get the job done.

George Bush Intercontinental Airport Houston (IAH) is the city’s largest airport. One of the airport’s five terminals, Terminal D has 12 gates servicing passengers departing and arriving on several foreign carriers such as Air France, AeroMexico and British Airways. At the end of 2008, the former 20 year old SBS Modified Bitumen roof system above the terminal and airline gates had reached its service life. It had also sustained damage from Hurricane Ike, which turned small leaks into large ones.

Serving as the general contractor, Clark Construction called upon Chamberlin to re-roof the 220,000 sq. ft. terminal.

“Chamberlin was chosen because of their bid, but also because we have had a good experience with them in the past at Hobby Airport and at the IAH Federal Inspections Building,” said Clark Superintendent Matt Lewis.

The scope of work included tearing off and removing the former roof system and installing a new Fibertite DuPont™ Elvaloy® KEE coated single-ply system along with associated sheet metal coping and counter flashing.

With so many airplanes arriving at and departing the terminal, residual jet fuel had taken a toll on the previous roof system. Project architect PGAL chose the FiberTite KEE membrane because it holds up to the long term effects of jet fuel and other contaminants. The membrane is also ENERGY STAR rated.

Working on a busy, fully occupied building that is roughly the size of four football fields brings some challenges. Before Chamberlin began the tear off process, the roofing team carefully planned a safe and efficient trash removal procedure and designed a chute engineered to meet the airport’s safety protocols. First, Chamberlin built ramps over telecommunication systems, pipes and expansion joints in order to utilize motorized towing vehicles carrying debris to the garbage chute. Behind the vehicle in a train car style were four-wheeled carts hauling the trash.

Second, a 60 foot tall, free standing garbage chute was engineered to handle 220,000 sq. ft. of demolished roofing material. A special ramp was also created at the entrance to the chute so the motorized carts, which travelled in excess of one quarter of a mile across the roof, could pull up to the chute, dump the materials and go back for more. Additionally, a free standing stair tower was engineered and constructed adjacent to the garbage chute for worker access. Both structures were designed by Chamberlin to withstand hurricane force winds.

Once all procedures and processes were in place, the project schedule was set so airline operations were not interrupted by Chamberlin’s work.

“For the most part, our work took place between 4:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.,” said Chamberlin Project Manager, Bill Lawson, “this helped to eliminate disturbances to travelers and airlines alike, and it kept the project moving ahead on a timely schedule.”

Superintendent Yuber Espinal and General Superintendent Jerroul McMellon did a great job coordinating the installation of the roofing system and following through on the plan for safety and trash removal. The project even received a safety award from Clark Construction for achieving six months of work with no lost time accidents or recordable injuries.

In addition to the IAH Terminal D project, Chamberlin is currently working for the Houston Airport System on the interior and exterior renovation of Terminal C and its garages, Terminal A roof replacement, as well as the exterior renovation of the ticketing building and concourse at Hobby Airport.