Commercial Restoration Project: Skyline Headquarters, Long Island City, NY
Every good story has unexpected twists and turns. But during the initial walkthrough of the recently demoed interior of the Skyline Restoration/ Andromeda warehouse-soon-to-be-headquarters, it wasn’t clear just how many curves were ahead for this restoration process.
The facility’s owner was “a visionary,” recalls Dave Scaturro, principal, Alpine Painting & Sandblasting Contractors in Paterson, N.J. “He was very particular on the look and feel he wanted. He told a story as we walked around the empty, dark space.”
However, the vision in this story changed … frequently. The result was that the Alpine crew soon gained a new level of experience in balancing stringent project documentation with utmost flexibility.
A Detail-Driven Plan
It became evident early in the planning process that thorough documentation would be important in protecting the painting contractor from frequent revisions to the client’s ultimate vision. This facility, after all, was a work of art in process.
The client was at the start of the project to upgrade this dated warehouse when he reached out to Alpine Painting. There were multiple trades still working on the site, but the client wanted the painting crew in early to coat the ceiling’s corrugated metal decking and steel beams that had been recently erected in the 30,000-square-foot facility.
The facility’s owner was very conscious of the color and finish choices, which ultimately drove product selections. Alpine provided multiple color drawdowns and field applied samples to provide options for the ceiling and beam surfaces. The color preferences and surface needs drove the team to use a specialized coating manufactured by PPG - SpeedHide Super Tech MG Epoxy Ester Dry-Fog 6-157, in a flat finish.
“We used a specialized epoxy ester dryfall on the ceiling because it was a high-performing product that was able to hold back minor rust and adhere better to steel surfaces than a typical dryfall,” Scaturro shares.
The columns presented a distinctive challenge because the client wanted to keep their industrial look—a rusting orange-brown—protected by a clear coat. Each column would have a clean break from the white painted surface to a clear epoxy, creating a unique look meant to capture visitors’ interest as they walked in the space. The client was very specific in his selection of a satin finish—as it turns out, very difficult to find in a waterborne clearcoat. Ultimately the painters would apply two coats of RD Coatings’ RD-Monograff Waterborne Clear Coat to each steel column.
The warehouse owner also had strong opinions on where the line between white and rusting-orange broke, but that break was different for nearly every beam. As the client walked the painters around, having them tape columns out to ensure it would be done correctly, it became very clear that careful documentation would be necessary to keep this vision on track and prevent double work.
Prepping the Future Office Space
Before the painting could begin, Alpine’s crew leaders worked with other onsite laborers to clean the ceiling of its film of rust. Using a combination of hand and power tool cleaning to meet SSPC SP-2 and SP-3, respectively, followed by a compressed air blowdown to remove any dust prior to painting.
In some areas the ceiling neared 25 feet tall, so the crews worked on specialized electric scissor lifts. But because the building lacked an elevator to move the lifts to the second level, rolling scaffolds were erected to allow the craftsmen access to the mezzanine ceiling surfaces. Crews had to tie everything off properly to adhere to all fall protection standards.
As the crews began to spray the ceiling, half-face respirators protected them from overspray. Areas were covered and protected using plastic and tarps.
And as the owner’s vision began to evolve (occasionally without passing that information to the appropriate channels), detailed documentation of the project scope protected the crews from performing rework at no cost.
Rework by the Standards
Originally the HVAC system was to be installed immediately prior to painting. Climate control would be a necessity, the painting contractor knew, because the coating they used to hold back rust was intended to be applied at a 55 degrees F. minimum. In addition, if the facility went into the summer without climate control, the high humidity levels could lead to sweating on the steel and elevate the potential for spot rusting. But more delays led to a later HVAC installation and, as a result, heaters were brought in to ensure proper climate control during coating and curing process.
The hot summer months brought high humidity levels, which in fact, did cause sweating on the upper steel beams. Spot Repainting any areas that showed signs of spot rusting from condensation was required. With much of the painting completed before the mechanical equipment was installed, it was perhaps no surprise that there would was damage to the painted surfaces after the install. As equipment and other tradespeople came in to work in this space, dings happened.
By tying the PDCA standards into their agreement the painters were able to use P1 to clearly define a touchup versus damage repair. And because of Alpine’s detailed documentation, the painters were able to verify the days on which they applied the primer and finish, as well as the signoffs from field managers that stated the work was completed appropriately. This helped prove that any damage repair went well beyond routine touchups. As a result, Alpine was brought in on a time and material basis—on several occasions—to perform repairs.
By the time that ceiling repainting had been done, sheetrock, trim and doors were being installed, all of which needed to be painted. Happy with Alpine’s professionalism thus far, the client encouraged the painting contractor to tackle the next component of the project. Knowing now the close attention to detail to expect from the client, Alpine even further, clearly outlined their proposal to paint the sheetrock, wood base trim and Door Frames.
A Striking Transformation
Ultimately, the resulting project was exactly as the client had envisioned: phenomenal.
“The project was beautiful,” Scaturro recalls. “It was phenomenal architecture. The architect did a great job tying it all together. It was amazing to see this transformation from this old warehouse to a state-of-the-art office facility.”
Despite setbacks, revisions and rework, everyone came out with what they wanted—and Alpine had proven once again that it could meet even the most exacting eye for detail.