Midway Airport

In response to rising air traffic in the Chicago area, the city's aviation department embarked upon a $722 million expansion project. Plans called for construction to be completed in several phases, including a six-story car park, a new terminal building, new airline gates and concourse, a new customs facility, and a new 41-gate concourse. The key factor for contractors working on this project? Each phase of construction had to be completed without any disruption of regular airport service.

Finding a Way to Make it Happen

Roofs Inc., of Lyons, IL, was awarded the massive roofing contract. "The lead architectural firm (A. Epstein and Sons International, Inc.) and the owner's representative had specified a full system roofing warranty, which meant that the sheet metal had to be covered along with the membrane materials," said Tom Elander, a sales engineer for Roofs Inc. and the Midway Airport project manager. "We had to find a way to make that happen."

To do just that, Metal-Era agreed to indemnify one of their coping products to be covered under the membrane manufacturer's warranty. Although competitive coping was originally specified, Metal-Era was willing to step up, assume the risk for wind uplift, and keep everybody happy. 

"Metal-Era satisfied a need before it ever got the chance to become a problem," added Elander.  

Have Your Cake and Eat it Too!

The airport's architect had also specified a custom 'Midway Silver' metallic paint finish for all of the roof components. "Metallic paints are difficult to match, particularly in this case where the components were constructed of varying materials," said Elander. To make the matching process even more difficult, some of the components were painted during the manufacturing process while others had to be painted in the field. 

"Metal-Era went the extra mile to get their paint manufacturer involved as an aid to a final solution. In the end, we recommended a coil coat finish that provided a better match than the powder coat originally specified. The architect was happy with the results, and all components matched."

"Coil coating also provides more consistency over time than spray coating," said Elander. "Metal-Era was willing to order a large amount of coil in order to assure the paint would consistently match throughout the entire project."  

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

"The original specs called for mitered and welded corners, which would have meant powder coating them on site,” added Elander. “Since we had convinced the architect to approve a coil coat, Metal-Era's solution was to use their Quick-Lock seam technology for the corner pieces to assure the corner paint would match the adjacent pieces – an integral key to the coping design.”

Going to Great Lengths

“Metal-Era's quality is superb – just what you want in an edge system,” proclaimed Elander. “On a job this size, you're talking about miles of coping. If you can install 20% more coping per piece, you save time and labor costs over the life of the job. They also performed field measurement services when necessary – I don't know of another coping manufacturer who would offer that.

We appreciated Metal-Era's help throughout this project to make it a success and stay within budget. They've been great to work with and were always willing to help us out when we had a scheduling bind. Obviously, Midway Airport has been an important project for us and Metal-Era always viewed it as high of a priority as we did.”

How We Did It