August 29, 2013
Stadium painting a tall order for Long Painting
Challenges included the immense size and scope of the stadium, a combination of commercial and industrial work, harsh weather conditions, difficult to reach access points and a tight schedule
By JEFF ENGLE
Newly renovated Husky Stadium is scheduled to reopen just in time for football season on Saturday. Behind the stunning redesign were several painting obstacles that required a collaborative effort from Long Painting Co.'s entire team.
This project was no small undertaking for the men and women at Long Painting, many of whom have more than 20 years of experience on large commercial and industrial projects. The immense size and scope of the stadium, combination of commercial and industrial work, harsh weather conditions, difficult to reach access points and a tight schedule created a demanding work environment.
Getting the job
Long Painting estimator Mike Lester began budgetary work for the project more than four years ago. He said initially there were several general contractors vying for the job.
'I put in a lot of early work for contractors on the project,' Lester said. 'It's a matter of taking time to build relationships with the customer so that they trust your number and your company's ability to perform the work.'
Turner Construction Co. eventually won the design-build competition and was awarded the project. It selected Long Painting to apply paint and coatings.
Many parts of the stadium were
difficult to reach, requiring boom lifts and other machines to get painters to the work.
Safety was a top priority, as with all Turner projects.
Mike Wilkinson, Long Painting's director of environmental health and safety, said setting the tone for safety at the beginning of the project was crucial and that Long's safety program starts the moment people are hired.
'One of the biggest challenges is the hiring of so many people to do the job,' Wilkinson said. 'The core groups of people we have here at Long know the expectations; it's making sure the new hires, which may have no safety expectations from previous jobs, are on the same page.'
Wilkinson said crews worked more than 40,000 hours, and other than a few first-aid instances, there were no serious injuries.
'With this type and pace of work, that's an incredible feat,' he said.
Reaching the high, overhanging steel on both the north and south grandstand cantilevers posed a challenge throughout the entire process, requiring Dan Santos, industrial superintendent, and Brent Haynes, field superintendent, to develop innovative rigging techniques.
Santos' eight-man team was responsible for painting the back of the north grandstand cantilever steel, which looms more than 100 feet high and has no accessible way to get there.
To accomplish this task, Santos' team had to rig a swing stage -- similar to what window washers use -- in a pulley-like system that moved up and down the back of the grandstand like a trolley.
Other challenges included building adequate containment to keep paint from escaping into the environment. Wind tarps were engineered and secured around each bay, or section, of cantilever. While rain was hardly an issue during painting under the cantilevers, wind gusts of up to 30 mph sometimes shut down production.
Long Painting was also in charge of applying traffic coating to the stadium decks, and walking and parking surfaces. The slip-resistant, waterproof floor coating is a combination of sand sprayed on paint.
The collaborative process
With so many different trades working at once on the stadium, collaboration across teams was crucial to the success of such a massive project.
'In the Northwest we paint from July to October, so most of the exterior work has to get done in that short window of opportunity,' Haynes said. 'If anyone ahead of us falls behind, it's up to us to pick up the slack.'
Project manager Les Gustafson said his team had to 'man up' when required, which often meant crews working overtime and on weekends to get the job done. 'I cannot begin to give enough praise to our field painters for their exceptional performance and can-do attitude on this project.'
A successful outcome
In his 37 years as a jobsite foreman, Haynes said Husky Stadium was the most challenging project he's been a part of and is pleased with the results.
'None of it was easy or quite like anything I'd ever done,' Haynes said. 'I don't think you could change much to make the outcome any different, or more or less successful. You can plan all you want, but when you get here, it's nothing like you expected.'
Wilkinson said he feels a newfound, enriched confidence in his team.
'It was truly a team effort between Turner Construction, the other subs and Long Painting. No single group could have pulled this off alone and been successful,' Wilkinson said. 'Good, solid leadership and team work is what made this happen.'
Jeff Engle, business development manager at Long Painting, has more than 35 years of experience in the paint industry.