Gunter roof repair saves thousands

by Karissa Arnett
42nd CES/CEA asset management chief

3/16/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, GUNTER ANNEX, Ala. -- Starting in his days as roofing technician, Pete Preskitt, an engineer technician and ITT Exelis employee with 42nd Civil Engineering Squadron, always knew there was a smarter way to repair roofs. He has worked at Maxwell since 2002, and with time, he used his field experience to try new methods in design.

One such example is at building 826 at Gunter, home of the Community College of the Air Force. This facility had a deep, bronze standing-seam metal roof leaking in more than 15 locations.

"The building occupants got so creative that they even created a funnel out of plastic sheeting to try to control the water flow. It really was not an optimum work environment," said George Jones, facility manager for the Thomas E. Barnes Center for Enlisted Development.

Preskitt worked on a solution, wanting to try a new repair method since other repairs had failed. Partnering with a roofing manufacturer, Preskitt devised a way to preserve the existing metal roof, saving the cost of disposal of the existing roof materials as well as the cost of new metal roof installation. Their idea was to use the roofing manufacturer's fabric-coating system to cover all the seams and joints where engineers suspected water was entering the building. The treated roof has a leak-free warranty for 10 years.

Using this system resulted in more than $100,000 in project savings when compared with the cost of replacing the roof with another standing-seam metal roof. When completing the design, Preskitt felt it was the perfect opportunity to also take advantage of the "environmentally green" benefits of using a coating.

"I knew by using a lighter color than the existing deep-bronze that is commonly used across Gunter that we would get some energy benefits on the base utility bill," he said. Preskitt took his proposal all the way up the chain of command to make sure this new look would meet the compatibility standards of the 42nd Air Base Wing.

Mickey Allen, 42nd ABW civil engineer, said he feels this is a step in the right direction.

"Updating our design standards and being efficient will sometimes require us to balance appearance versus smarter applications," he said. "In this case, the outcome was both visually appealing and had a positive impact on our checkbook."

The facility received its improved roof in September 2011. In addition to eliminating the leaks, the facility's utility consumption has dropped by 32 percent based on a seven-year average of utility bills.

Although this loss is a great gain, the reduction should be even more noticeable during the high-cost cooling months, when electricity bills tend to skyrocket from the hot Alabama summers.

No one is as thankful for this project as the building occupants. "We are happy to have our offices match the professionalism of our team," said Jones.

This sentiment is not lost on Preskitt. "It makes me feel good to have a project that positively affects people's work but also helps the environment," he said. "I look forward to having more projects like this in the future."