The canopy-style standing-seam metal roof of the Miller Outdoor Theater in Houston needed repairs — badly.
A Humble, Texas-based Byrne Metals was called to install more than 18,000 square feet of copper standing-seam panels during the theater’s five-month performance off season by using a roll former from McElroy Metal that runs panels right onto the roof deck.
“Everyone else who had tried to fix the problems focused on trying not to change the appearance,” said Karl Schaack, P.E., president of Price Consulting of Houston. “We realized providing a leak-free solution required some change in the appearance. We got a little pushback at first, but when we explained our design, they were just happy to know it wasn’t going to leak anymore.”
Byrne Metals President Neil Byrne said the project wasn’t the easiest, mostly due to the intricate design’s inability to hold up against Texas rainfall.
“It was a very challenging job,” said Byrne. “This is an iconic structure in Houston, originally built in 1968. At the time, it won several awards for its design.”
Schaack chose model 238T symmetrical panels from McElroy Metal for the project.
“It’s rigid and it meets high wind requirements,” he said. “The 238T is symmetrical so if a panel gets damaged, you only have to replace one panel.”
Byrne Metals went to work as soon as the 2013 performance season concluded in early November. Improvements included replacements of the east and west wings, a new soffit for the main sloped roof and the new 20-ounce-copper standing-seam roof.
“Using copper helped the new roof blend in with the original framework,” Schaack said. “Especially as it ages, it will look great, like it’s been there all along.”
Changes in design to the updated roof, as well as a watertight standing-seam installation, will help prevent future leaks, officials say.
McElroy Metal’s worksite roll-forming equipment made the installation process easier and safer, officials say. The roll former was hoisted to the roof on a scissor lift where panels were installed. Because of the unique shape of the roof, panels were cut to fit on the roof.
“We specialize in the unique and difficult,” Byrne said. “This is the kind of job we like. We generally have about 20 to 30 projects under contract at any one time, but this one required a lot of personal attention from our upper management, myself included. We had as many as 30 crew members on-site, working 10-hour days and some weekends, when necessary.”
As with all Byrne Metals jobs, safety was a major consideration during the evaluation and installation, Byrne says.
“There are three things we consider important to staying in business,” he said. “Safety, quality and productivity. We have a full-time safety person on staff making sure we’re working safely on all jobs. This job required us to take into consideration some other factors like guys working long days, getting fatigued and the speed at which we had to work to complete the job on time. We enjoy a good challenge and Miller Outdoor Theater falls into that category.”