Wolstein Research Building Roof Replacement

Forensic Leak Investigation and Roof Replacement

The Wolstein Research Building is an eight-story postmodern structure at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) that shares research space with University Hospital. Eight (8) years after construction completed, Technical Assurance was called to provide forensic investigation on the roof leaks. The built-up roof system was original to the building and was under the manufacturer’s warranty at that time. The leaks presented in the building’s stem cell research lab, among other locations, and had the potential to not only pose a real health risk but also to ruin the ongoing research, because the lab works with University Hospitals to provide stem cell therapy for patients.

Due to the sensitive nature of the work and the requirements to maintain a white-suit clean lab, these leaks needed to be stopped. Initial repairs to obvious damage were only minimally successful. Upon continued and increased broader investigations outside the immediate vicinity of the leak locations, Technical Assurance discovered that there were large areas of saturated insulation. These discoveries and the sensitive nature of the building requirements ultimately led to the decision to replace the relatively new roof system.

Technical Assurance was engaged to provide design services and to perform project management with full-time quality observation services during construction. In addition, Technical Assurance was also hired to ensure that the stem cell lab was able to remain open and operational at all times during the roofing project and do so within the stringent parameters required due to the sensitive nature of the research being conducted.

The roof replacement project was labor intensive and difficult due to several factors, among them being congested working areas. Due to the vast numbers, locations and sizes of rooftop HVAC equipment, vents, drains and other rooftop accessories, large equipment typically used to remove roofing with light weight insulating concrete was not viable and much of the work had to be done with more demanding and time-consuming measures.

Throughout the project, several water leaks developed through the roof. The containment held with a 100% success rate. The stem cell lab did not have to shut down nor relocate at all during the project, and we were able to return the lab to its previous condition with confirmation of air quality through final testing.

Project Details

Project Specifics

  • 36,500 SF
  • Premature Roof Failure
  • Cleveland, OH

Services Provided

  • Forensic Investigation
  • Roof Design
  • Bid Services
  • Construction Administration & Project Management
  • Quality Observation
  • Material Testing

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