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At A Glance

“We made a commitment to make sure that everything was going flawlessly, keeping their men in paint...”

Sometimes a one-stop shop is the answer to a prayer. When the job calls for painting a 1.2-million-square-foot ceiling – with less than the optimal amount of time in which to do it – that and flawless orchestration of products, coating systems and shipments may be the only way to avoid total chaos.

The one-stop shop was the Cleveland flagship service center of Sherwin-Williams Protective & Marine Coatings. The job was the beautification of the largest single-building exhibition facility in the world, Cleveland’s International Exposition (I-X) Center, a former 1940s-era B-29 Bomber and Cadillac Tank Plant.

Chasing the calendar

The project had to be finished in time for the kick-off of the 2007-08 trade show season. For a variety of reasons outside of the project team’s control, there were just seven weeks to complete the first phase, and six months in total.

Over the course of the project, Sherwin-Williams provided 23,957 gallons of Waterborne Acrylic Dry Fall, 485 gallons of PrepRite ProBlock alkyd primer, 1,660 rolls of 1.5-mil polyfilm to drape off the area, 25 G-10 spray guns, 417 spray tips, 1,500 spray suits, 2,100 gloves, 480 rolls of tape, 13 Bulldog® spray rigs and 2,100 lineal feet of spray hoses. Cleveland painting contractor Preferred Painting LLC dedicated 35 workers to the project.

“That many wide open spray pumps, painting as fast as they can... it’s a paint salesman’s dream,” said Bob Wissinger, Sherwin-Williams’ senior Protective &Marine representative, who won the bid for Sherwin-Williams from Preferred Painting.

William Nemitz, Construction Manager for I-X’s owner, Park Corporation, appreciated the efforts of Preferred’s vice president, Gerald Radovanic, and his team. “The painting of a 1.2-million-square-foot ceiling would not be easy in the best of circumstances, let alone working around the trade show schedule Preferred Painting was given,” said Nemitz

Nemitz was concerned about the massive facelift –with challenging deadlines, budget constraints, work rules and project modifications – going off without a hitch. But he knew failure was not an option, and with the right people, products and know-how, they accomplished it; Phase I (820,000 square feet) was ready for the first September show, the Midwest Snow and Ice Control Expo, and Phase II was ready for the February Home and Garden Show.

Hazmat site

From the outset the project scope was fraught with challenges. The pre-construction meeting revealed that the project required treatment as a hazardous materials site. The rafters and ceiling were presumed to be lead contaminated – byproducts of diesel, equipment exhaust and previous manufacturing equipment. Personal protective equipment (PPE) would be a significant component of the job, as were air and debris sampling and the setup of a dirty room, decontamination room and clean room. These precautions added 1,110 man-hours to the overall job, in temperatures during the blowdown process that were in the mid- 90 degree range.

PPE included full body protection suits, hood and boots, full faced respirator equipment, full body harness, gloves, steel toed boots and ear plugs. Employees were strapped into ten 85-foot JLG lifts per OSHA weight restrictions and safety tie-off guidelines.
Preparation for the priming and painting of the interior ceiling and structural trusses required was a job in itself. The entire physical plant, which included the complex’s sprinkler heads, lights, floors, carpeting, kiosks, food stands, beverage stands, restrooms and Ferris wheel, needed complete coverage in the 1.5-mil plastic.

Switch to Waterborne

Just as that mammoth task was completed, a coatings product switch became necessary. The extended labor force hired to keep the job on schedule had not been respirator fit tested, making the solvent-based alkyd Dry Fall product originally specified undesirable.Getting A Facelift

Sherwin-Williams substituted its greener, low-VOC Waterborne Acrylic Dry Fall coating. Still, an alkyd pro-block was the only spot primer that could thoroughly cover certain stains from past water damage, so arrangements were made to apply that product when regular I-X workers were not present. “A job of this magnitude is more than just pulling product out of the back room and dropping it off,” said Wissinger. “We made a commitment to make sure everything was going flawlessly, keeping their men in paint.”

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