CoatingsPro Magazine

JAN 2009

CoatingsPro offers an in-depth look at coatings based on case studies, successful business operation, new products, industry news, and the safe and profitable use of coatings and equipment.

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ABOVE Winning the Skirball Cultural Center fountain project was the easy part. Getting their equipment to the site was the challenge. According to Jeff Dunkel of Aquatic Coatings, the closest staging area was almost 500 ft. away — across a twisting, sloping walkway of imported granite. "We completely dismantled a spray rig in the parking lot and used techniques I'd learned in aerospace to secure the loads on rolling equipment, coax it all down a steep ramp, and move it gently over the granite walkways. Between the generator and everything, we had a good 25,000 pounds of machinery that had to be moved." BY JACK INNIS E estled in the Santa Monica Mountains west of Los Angeles, the Skirball Cultural Center is an important gathering place for individuals, families, students, and business people alike. The Skirball, founded to explore connections between Jewish heritage and modern-day democratic principles, features an extraordinary museum, a theater, classrooms, meeting rooms, a ballroom, an auditorium, café and more — all in a picturesque hillside setting. More than 500,000 visitors representing virtually every religious and ethnic background attend Skirball every year. Few fail to notice the facility's spectacular centerpiece, the Skirball Fountain. THAT DRAINED FEELING Skirball facilities managers were shocked last year when they found evidence of leakage in the Skirball Fountain's basin. The concrete structure had performed admirably since the facility opened in 1996, and an epoxy coating laid down a mere two years ago was supposed to have sealed the deal. When Jeff Dunkel, owner and operator of Brentwood, California-based Aquatic Coatings, Inc., first walked through the facility for purposes of submitting a bid, he quickly recognized several obstacles that could easily turn this 5,000-square-foot ABOVE With a wedding scheduled to be held near the fountain in less than a week, Dunkel brought in a couple of local helpers and flew in an experienced shotblast operator from Arizona. The crew then took steps to avoid inconveniencing the Center's staff and guests. Plastic tenting and a vacuum dust collecting system helped keep dust particles from shot blast- ing and angle grinding from becoming airborne. In order to prevent noise from disrupting the cultural center's operations, the crew performed most of their prep work at night. PHOTOS COURTESY OF AQUATIC COATINGS, INC. "spray and split" project into a draining experience. Dunkel had full faith his crew could put an end to Skirball Fountain's leaks with a 90-mil barrier of Polycoat Products' Polyeuro 5502, a flexible two-component polyurea he had used dozens of times in building and repairing containment ponds. But physical access to this work site could be categorized between impractical and impossible! The closest staging area that might accommodate a spray rig was more than 450 feet away — and that would only work if Aquatic Coatings crew could snake their spray hoses down the busy hallways. Skirball operators couldn't permit that. To make matters even more difficult, sloping terrain and close proximity of buildings at the cultural center made crane access impossible. The equipment would somehow have to be disassembled in the parking lot and reassembled on site. But even that approach threw up a red flag. The only way to bring equipment to the job site seemed to be along a wandering walkway made of imported granite. One small mistake hauling heavy equipment would likely lead to a crack, chip, or split that would eat into an already thin profit margin. As he pondered all this, Dunkel began to understand why he had the distinct impression that few of his competitors even bothered to bid the project. Job access was nearly impossible! But Dunkel had an ace up his sleeve. January 2009 J www.coatingspromag.com 49

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