During a re-roof project at the school, Springer-Peterson Fabrication was making aluminum gutters. During a meeting with the school board representative and the project consultant, we commented that the rails should be addressed as they were not ADA compliant and the structure was in bad shape. They didn’t know that we could assist with this but that but they would entertain a proposal from us.
Hillsborough County Schools chose us for our unique approach to the problem at hand. Our ability to custom design the components and utilize the optimal material for the job was attractive. There was no need of having to adapt commercially available products that were not the perfect fit for this job. Through our relationship with a local structural engineer, we were able to provide a true design build solution custom to the needs of our client.
The issue here is that the school is very old. Much of the support for the awnings that run around the outside perimeter of the school to keep the kids out of the rain, as they walk to and from classes, was wooden material holding up a metal structure roof. The wood was getting old and starting to deteriorate. This could also be an ideal place for kids to get splinters. In addition, the railings were not ADA compliant. These railings protected the handicap ramp and the multiple stairways that lead to the network of raised walk ways.
Our recommendation is that all of the existing material be replaced with mill finish aluminum square and round tubing. Our talented fabrication team provided a vast array of services on this project. We handled the design and introduced our own engineers on board. Also, we managed all of the fabrication and installation in-house including the with the roofing work that our sister division was working on.
One of the most interesting challenges that we had with this project is that we had chosen aluminum for its maintenance-friendly properties. There was no need for paint, cleaning, or corrosion protection. It did have to come in to contact with the original steel structure which left it susceptible to the electrolytic process of galvanic corrosion. There must be a neutral charge non-metallic barrier between the dissimilar metal to prevent the reaction. Through research and some pretty inventive cutting techniques, we made UHMW (a special molded plastic product for this purpose) saddles that isolate the support posts from the steel structure above.
To top it off, we were tasked with doing all of the work during non-school hours like nights and weekends. We were ready for the challenges.
We executed the job by first going to the site and taking careful existing condition photos and measurements to take back to the shop for CAD detailing. After we had an accurate representation of the existing conditions, we began to design the support system while trying to maintain the layout and colonial look of the original system.
Through past experience and design criteria, we selected members and configurations that were both structurally sufficient and aesthetically appropriate. After the design was complete, we sent it off to one of our third party structural engineers for calculations and approval.
When we had received final approval from the engineer, Hillsborough County Schools also signed off. Then we were finally ready to build. We went out in force on the first weekend and demolished all of the old material, painted the existing steel structure and re-roofed it. Following that, we went in each night after school and replaced both small sections of support and railings until the job was complete.
The client was very happy with the product and we expect it to be a quality durable product for many years to come. Our Springer-Peterson Fabrication team is working with Hillsborough County Schools to do additional similar projects in the future.