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Plaza Renovation Stops Garage Leaks

Trammell Crow Center in Dallas, Texas, is a mixed-used destination encompassing a nine-level parking garage, 34,000 square feet of retail space, a 9,000-square-foot conference center and a 400-unit high-rise tower comprised of office space. 

A unique renovation was recently completed to cease persistent water infiltration in the parking garage. The center's plaza deck, which encircles the high-rise tower, was originally built over a 35-year-old existing parking garage and had to be removed to replace the waterproofing between the deck and the garage. After the original waterproofing was removed, Chamberlin installed 45,000 square feet of hot fluid-applied waterproofing, caulked expansion and control joints and installed 4,000 square feet of pavers. Chamberlin also installed Carlisle TPO Membrane over concrete decking on three balconies on the tower.

Smart Scheduling

Precise scheduling was a main focus on this project. Working with multiple trades, such as electricians, plumbers, masons and other exterior trades can create scheduling challenges. Additionally, the center was operating during construction, so considerations had to be taken to keep the tower entrances and exits as well as the surrounding plaza functioning. 

To accommodate the patrons and staff of Trammell Crow, the deck renovation was performed in a sequence of small sections so the majority of the plaza and tower was accessible throughout the project. The work area was confined to approximately 5,000-6,000 square feet at a time. In this limited space, the multiple trades had to work together and pay special attention to their surroundings.

These working conditions called for a considerable amount of daily coordination between Chamberlin's project manager, superintendent and foreman. In addition to internal coordination, Chamberlin participated in daily subcontractor meetings to make sure everyone was on the same page. This practice helped mitigate mishaps such as equipment being driven over the waterproofing membrane or penetrations being made after the membrane was installed.

High Class Quality Control

While Chamberlin crews worked on the waterproofing scopes, they were mindful of quality control and focused on the sequencing that had been created by the general contractor. Because there were three to four trades working on a section, sometimes simultaneously, Chamberlin had to go above and beyond normal QA/QC practices.

Communication was vital during this project. Not only did crews have to keep up with the scheduling of the sequences, but it was important for Chamberlin to coordinate with the other trades who would need to make penetrations through the deck for things such as electrical pipes and plumbing for drains. These penetrations had to be created before the hot fluid-applied waterproofing was installed or it would puncture the membrane allowing water to seep in.


In order for Chamberlin to verify their work was 100% watertight, they utilized Electronic Leak Detection (ELD) testing. Once all trades completed their scope in each section, an ELD test was performed and a report was provided that identified if the section was watertight or had breaches in the membrane. If the report came back with no breaches, Chamberlin would proceed to the next section in the sequence. However, if a breach was identified Chamberlin would fix the breach immediately so it could be retested. 

ELD testing wasn't the only quality assurance test performed during the completion of Chamberlin's scopes. Mil-gauge testing was used to assess the thickness of the hot fluid-applied waterproofing to ensure Chamberlin's installations met the requirements of the manufacturer. 

Strong Safety Plan

Especially on the areas of the plaza near tower entrances and exits, the crew members were working very near pedestrian traffic. The general contractor blocked the work areas with barricaded walkways, and Chamberlin took care to store the hot kettle on the side of the workspace furthest from the building. Crew members were ultra-cautious to protect the safety of themselves, other tradespeople and pedestrians.

Crew members wore appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for hot-fluid applied waterproofing application including long sleeves, long pants, gloves and protective eyewear. The kettle operator also wore a face shield. 

An additional tool used during the Trammell Crow project was Chamberlin's Safe Performance Self-Assessment (SPSA) process. SPSA combats the risks of unforeseen conditions that arise during the workday and encourages workers to stop before beginning any and all tasks and go through the following mental steps:

  1. Assess the risk. What could go wrong? What is the worst outcome if something does go wrong? 
  2. Analyze how to reduce the risk. Do I have all the necessary training and knowledge to do this job safely? Do I have all the proper tools and Personal Protective Equipment? 
  3. Act to ensure safe operations. Take the necessary action to ensure the job is done safely. Ask for assistance, if needed.

Taking time before starting a task to recognize potential hazards and identify preventative measures that can be taken helps protect employees and those working around them from potential hazards becoming incidents. This was especially pertinent on this project given the close proximity of other trades.

Completed Trammell Crow Center plaza.

That's a Wrap

Chamberlin's attention to coordination, internal and external communication and their ability to complete their scopes in a timely manner were critical in delivering a high-quality project on time and with zero safety incidents. Chamberlin Project Manager Justin Holiman said, "Thanks to our crew's diligent effort on a daily basis, we were able to successfully complete this project and further strengthen our bond and trust with our client."