Built for Survival

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CHTA Communications


Built for Survival

Written By: Greg Illig, P.E., Sika Corp. 

On the morning of Wednesday September 6, 2017, on a tiny speck of land 200 miles east of Puerto Rico, the eye of Hurricane Irma passed over the Caribbean island of Anguilla causing widespread destruction on the island. When it made landfall in Anguilla, Irma was a Category 5 Hurricane with sustained winds in excess of 185 mph that tore through buildings and ripped structures apart.

With its spectacular beaches and warm tropical weather, the economy of Anguilla is almost entirely based on tourism with ultra-luxurious resorts scattered about the island.  Most of the resort buildings were built with flat or low slope reinforced concrete roofs covered with insulation and a waterproof membrane. While the concrete roofs held up fairly well in the 185 mph winds, the same cannot be said for the membrane and insulation assembly. On many buildings, the waterproof membrane had been significantly compromised allowing water to enter the building through the roof, rendering the buildings uninhabitable.

Amid the widespread destruction on the island, one of the buildings at the Four Seasons Resort in Anguilla was spared the ravaging effects of water ingress. This building was the Central Energy Plant (CEP) building that housed most of the resort’s critical mechanical equipment. Six months prior to the arrival of Hurricane Irma, the resort’s management had the foresight to replace the existing 14,000 square feet of roof membrane on the CEP building with a fully bonded 60 mil (0.06”) thick liquid-applied fiberglass reinforced polyurethane waterproofing membrane. This liquid-applied membrane was one of the only roofing membranes to survive the powerful 185 mph winds that passed over the 50+ buildings on the resort property that day. Other than a few cuts and scrapes in the membrane caused by mechanical equipment on the roof that became airborne during the storm, the liquid-applied membrane was largely unscathed.

Because the liquid-applied polyurethane membrane is fully bonded to the roof deck, there is no need for adhesives or mechanical fasteners that can be vulnerable in a major hurricane.
Based on its successful performance on the CEP building in Category 5 hurricane conditions, Four Seasons management embarked on a major re-roofing project to replace 300,000 square feet of roof membrane on the other 53 buildings on the property that had been damaged by Hurricane Irma with the same liquid-applied polyurethane membrane.

Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia. It boasts two restaurants and a range of spa and leisure facilities with 103 bedrooms. The business employs over 150 staff, with the average length of the management team’s service in the hotel of 10 years.

“The hotel’s future is exciting. We’re planning a room refurbishment programme by the end of the year and we have also invested in the remodeling of the lobby and reception area together with a new business centre launch planned. With Avvio as a key strategic partner we are really clear on our future focus,” says Mark.