Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta is the largest hospital in Georgia and one of the nation’s foremost trauma centers. On the afternoon of December 7, 2019, the hospital suffered a trauma that it was not equipped to handle; a 24-inch waterpipe on the sixth floor of the hospital’s west tower burst, spewing water that heavily damaged the floors below, rendering 200 patient rooms and elevators useless. The hospital’s emergency room was shut down and hundreds of the hospital’s most urgent cases were sent to other medical facilities.
The impact of the flood on the region’s healthcare system was widespread. Other hospitals were overwhelmed with unexpected patients who could not receive care at Grady Memorial.
Damage to the hospital was extensive, with 80,000 square feet of flooring impacted by the flood requiring a complete renovation. That the building is old, dating back to 1892, and over time there have been renovations and additions, which created a variety of issues with the concrete substrate. Of particular concern were the extremely high moisture levels in the substrate, which had to be addressed before any flooring could be installed. Since the project was on a fast track to completion and traditional methods of addressing moisture problems – such as using industrial dehumidifiers, which could take up to 100 days to rectify the moisture issue – were not an option.
Additionally, the residue from all of the old glues, self-leveling and patching compounds had to be removed in order to create a surface profile that would handle any type of resilient flooring.
Project lead: Skanska-Walsh
Flooring Company: Sub-Floor Specialties, ARDEX LevelMaster Elite Installer®
Distributor: Fishman Flooring Solutions
Due to the multiple complicated issues involved, the general contractor decided to turn the work over to an expert in moisture remediation; Sub-Floor Specialties. The firm specializes in prepping and/or remediating substrates for flooring installations and has the expertise and necessary equipment to handle all aspects of a job.
Ortiz, of Sub-Floor Specialties, immediately turned for help to ARDEX Sales Professional Chris Tomasik, and Jay Harvey, Southeast Region manager for Fishman Flooring Solutions. Sub-Floor Specialties is recognized as a LevelMaster Elite (LME) contractor, based on the company’s high level of proficiency in prepping and remediating flooring substrates.
“Victor is very, very familiar with ARDEX products,” Tomasik said. “That really pays dividends in situations like the Grady Memorial Hospital flood, because he can explain to general contractors, end users and others both how our products add value and how they are installed.” It was determined that ARDEX K 13 Self-Leveling Underlayment would be used to level and smooth the substrate. “The product is excellent when remediating concrete containing old patch and nonwater-soluble adhesive residue,” according to Tomasik. “It’s walkable in two to three hours and most floor coverings can be installed on the substrate 16 hours after it is applied.”
The ARDEX MC RAPID moisture control system was used to address the very high moisture levels in the hospital’s substrates. The one-coat system is formulated to suppress excessive moisture vapor emissions levels up to 100%. It is also fast setting, so work on the substrate can proceed in as little as four hours.
Remediating 80,000 square feet of damaged concrete slab was not without its logistical challenges. To keep the project on schedule, it was crucial that the ARDEX products were at the hospital site when needed, with weekly deliveries stretching over 6 weeks.
Upon completion, the project is considered a great success, with good planning and communication and the right people for the job paying dividends. “We gave them exactly what they needed, which were flat, smooth and continuous substrates that were in compliance with required tolerances and were immediately ready for the installation of resilient flooring,” says Ortiz of Sub-Floor Specialties. “And thanks to good communications and teamwork among ARDEX, Fishman and Sub-Floor Specialties, the work was done on a fast track, which was very important to the hospital.”
Original story written by Greg Vale, Fishman Flooring Solutions