Restoring TAMU Corps Dorms

Posted by on: April 12, 2019 5 AM

Texas A&M university Corps Dorms houses more than 2,600 students in College Station, Texas. 

Texas A&M University Corps Dorms in College Station, Texas, accommodates approximately 2,600 students in 12 dorms on the Corps of Cadets Quadrangle. Members of the Corps are required to reside here unless approved by the Commandant, making this a very high volume area of the Texas A&M campus.

Constructed in 1939, the dorms have undergone renovations throughout the years but by 2015, no renovations had been made for 25 years. With weather and time taking their toll, nine of the 12 dorms were in need of major repairs. In August of 2015, Chamberlin was selected by general contractor SpawGlass to kick off a two-year process to stop water intrusion and revitalize the Corps Dorms.

Safety First

The project was divided into two phases with phase one consisting of five dorms and phase two completing the remaining four dorms. The buildings that were being worked on were not occupied during construction, so time was of the essence to re-open the dorms to residents. The construction site was still a high-traffic area, however, since the surrounding dorms were occupied. Safety of the students and other pedestrians was top of mind. Chamberlin began by developing a site-specific safety plan for the project, and the superintendent communicated the plan to all crew members. A Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) was also developed for this project which covered each task on the job, potential hazards associated with those tasks and how to prevent those hazards from causing an accident. The superintendent reviewed it with crew members each day before work began. Warning and directional signage as well as designated pathways were in place for foot traffic. All equipment was inspected daily by a competent person before use. Personal protective equipment was worn at all times, and Chamberlin’s zero tolerance fall protection policy was in place. Weekly toolbox talks were held for all crews covering pertinent safety topics and reinforcing Chamberlin’s safety policies and procedures.

Aged and weathered masonry and mortar in need of repairs and replacements.

Overcoming Challenges

The dorms in each phase were worked on simultaneously, which required a large crew to complete the work on time. Chamberlin Project Manager Mike Harper and Superintendents Lane Coston and Pablo Venegas worked hand in hand with SpawGlass to overcome major setbacks due to material availability and weather issues. Chamberlin’s scope of work began with water blasting of the building to remove dirt from the existing brick in order to expose any flaws in the grout as well as cracks in the exterior skin of the building. The pre-applied sheet waterproofing and fluid-applied waterproofing were both replaced. The scope also included installation of thermal insulation, weather barrier, sheet metal flashing and trim, expansion joints and joint sealants. Along with the remedial waterproofing renovations, Chamberlin also installed pre-applied sheet waterproofing and fluid-applied waterproofing on the new building connectors. Four building connectors were added in order to give an easier flow to the twelve dorms.

All 12 of Texas A&M Corp Dorms were constructed with the same brick 76 years ago. It was challenging to find replacement bricks that matched the existing bricks closely enough to use in the areas that were too damaged to be salvaged. Bricks were also needed for the new building connectors to match the dormitory buildings. Chamberlin search all local brickyards for the appropriate color. After cleaning them out, the crew moved the search to Louisiana to obtain the last of the bricks. The 76 years of aging on the existing bricks added another level to the challenge, but in the end the team secured matching bricks for replacements on nine different dorms as well as the newly constructed building connectors.

Additionally, the crew was challenged to finish the project on time after a large delay due to heavy rains that lasted for months. The relentless rain in phase one made the worksite extremely muddy creating extra clean up duties for the crew. Superintendent Lane Coston stated, “The working conditions were insane. We saw mud up to our knees in certain parts of the project. Getting all of that taken care of really set us back.” The weather delays caused phase two to start behind schedule, so the crew worked extra hours and brought in additional manpower to make up lost time while still delivering a high-quality job.

Chamberlin crews secured bricks matching original construction and took care to keep with existing installation patterns during repair and replacement. 

Teamwork Pays Off

Harper is proud of the team’s hard work and perseverance to produce beautifully restored buildings. He states, “The thing that sticks out to me the most is how good the project looked upon completion. The dorms with all the matching bricks, the repaired mortar, the new building connectors, the archways and especially the grounds.” Chamberlin overcame challenges to complete major repairs and replacements on nine Texas A&M dormitories on schedule with high quality installations and zero safety accidents. Chamberlin prides themselves on the three legs of a successful project: safety, quality and teamwork. Texas A&M Corp Dorms was a successful project because it was completed safely, is of high quality and the crew, project manager, superintendents and general contractor all worked together as a team.

The restoration and revitalization of the Texas A&M Corps Dormitories completed in August 2017.