Designed by award-winning architects Yann Weymouth and HOK, and constructed by Skanska USA, the University of Miami’s (UM) new Frost School of Music facility boasts two buildings with 41,089 square feet of upscale teaching spaces and beautiful curb appeal. Located on UM’s Coral Gables campus, the Patricia Louise Frost Music Studios – with triangle-shaped energy-efficient windows and solar arrays – is the first LEED® Platinum certified building project in the City of Coral Gables.
In September 2014, Musical America named UM’s Frost School of Music as one of the top 20 music schools worldwide in their special report – Top 50 Music Schools around the World, ranked from a list of more than 1,250 institutions.
Previously, Frost School of Music faculty were teaching private lessons in what were originally designed as 8’ x 10’ student practice rooms in the Bertha M. Foster Memorial Music Practice Building. Over the course of time, the practice rooms were slowly absorbed by classes as the School’s enrollment expanded. When Dean Shelton G. Berg arrived in 2007, he made new teaching facilities a top fundraising priority and the Frosts generously offered to pledge their support for the project.
In 2014, Skanska USA, the project’s General Contractor, awarded roofing, waterproofing, and solar project scopes to Advanced Roofing Inc. (ARI). ARI was chosen because it is one of the four approved Siplast installers in the area, and the only roofing company to have solar design capabilities and competitive pricing. With in-house divisions including metal fabrication, crane, air conditioning, roofing, and solar energy, along with a healthy balance sheet and commitment to safety, ARI offers unmatched commercial roofing and solar energy solutions that distinguish it from traditional roofing contractors. Many of the company’s in-house divisions were used for this project.
Working on a new construction building in the middle of an active University brought with it a unique set of challenges along the way including:
Challenge #1: Safety
The general contractor, Skanska USA, required ARI’s team to maintain stringent safety policies and precautions; including but not limited to: ten minutes of daily group stretching for all onsite employees; mandatory full site safety training for each employee; and every morning all foremen were required to meet and discuss ways to mitigate safety issues. Because this was new construction, the roof could only be accessed via ladders, which also presented challenges with safety/fall protection so a temporary safety railing was left in place for the solar crew and the roofing crew returned to install the coping cap after the system was installed. Additionally, ARI’s full-time Safety Team would make routine site visits and hosted fall-protection courses at the office to ensure crews maintained a safe working environment during the project.
Challenge #2: Production
Site conditions were constantly evolving and with so many trades involved in the new construction process, organizing execution was crucial. Coordination among other trades included the architect, GC, electrical contractor, and roof manufacturer Siplast on various details of the project as they had changed due to site conditions. Other coordination challenges included working with the electrical contractor onsite for the interconnection to the building and scheduling our in-house Roofing, Metal, and Solar Divisions.
Challenge #3: Environment
Working on new construction in the middle of an active university brought with it a unique set of challenges along the way; however, ARI still implemented the following sustainable design features in order to obtain LEED Platinum status: rooftop solar array, Siplast mod-bit roof system with Eco Active cap sheet to help reduce pollution, and Siplast Waterproofing system with raised pavers.
The roofing portion of the project was done in phases (numerous mobilizations throughout the year) as the Terrace was not ready for installation until later in the project. The new roof system encompasses Siplast NVS Lightweight Concrete pour including R30 insulation value, Siplast Parabase, Siplast Paridiene 20 TG, torched Siplast Paradiene Eco Active cap sheet, flashed using Siplast Veral, and custom stainless steel copings caps fabricated by ARI’s in-house Metal Division. The roof system from Siplast was unique because of the LEED point acquired through the Eco Active cap sheet and the ability to bundle the light-weight concrete decking and mod bit roofing system under the same 20-year warranty.
ARI installed a Siplast Teranap Waterproofing System and Hanover Guardian Pedestal Paver system on the terrace and balconies to create a community space for the music students in between classes. An elevated pedal system allows for easy removal of the concrete paver to access the waterproofing system below for repairs. ARI chose this waterproofing system because it is the only solution that includes pavers in the Miami-Dade Notice of Acceptance (NOA). Additional installation challenges arose from the concrete paver sizes; however, ARI was able to cut the slabs on site to ensure the installation went smoothly without delaying the project.
Lastly, ARI was tasked to design and build two solar arrays above the new, pollution-reduction roofing membrane at the Frost School of Music totaling 71.5 kW. A Sunlink RMS Racking system was mechanically attached to the roof and can meet 180 MPH wind speeds. The completed solar arrays will offset 13% of the building’s total energy consumption and produce 101.344 Megawatt hours annually. In total, 286 solar panels were installed – featuring Canadian Solar 250W High-Efficiency Mono Crystalline Solar Panels, SMA TriPower Inverters.
The original solar array design called for central inverters; however, due to space constraints on the electrical pad the plan was readjusted to install string inverters. There were additional plan changes to the flashings for the solar racking as well – Siplast Parapro PMMA liquid rein flashing had to be adjusted to a two-ply target patch applied to the support legs for the solar racking attachment.
The completed solar racking system qualified for a 20 YR NDL on all penetration flashings from the roofing manufacturer– and helped the building qualify for two LEED points in the energy efficiency category.
Despite the challenges, the UM Frost School of Music project was completed on time and to the client’s satisfaction.