Located directly on the riverfront in the heart of downtown, the Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center is a multi-purpose facility owned by the City of Mobile, Alabama. The 317,000-square-foot building features a 100,000-square-foot exhibit hall that hosts conventions, tradeshows, meetings, social gatherings, and consumer shows. The convention center also provides facilities and services that benefit the people of Mobile. When the building needed a new roof, it was important that the new system was high-quality and could be installed quickly, with minimal disruption to the building’s operations.

The City of Mobile knew they needed an experienced contractor with an established track record of excellent workmanship and a broad knowledge base. They turned to Dortch, Figures & Sons, Inc., a family-owned, Mobile-based company with a 30-year history of satisfied clients across the Gulf Coast. Dortch, Figures & Sons (DFS) works on a variety of projects including commercial and residential construction, historical building renovations, and municipal and utility improvements. Their team’s wide skillset allows the company to offer design recommendations and support, in addition to outstanding workmanship on every job.

The Mobile Convention Center’s existing 290,000-square-foot built-up roof was old and many of its expansion joints had separated over time. In some areas, water had penetrated into the seams, causing gas bubbles and blisters. The re-roofing job was originally put out for bid based on another manufacturer’s specification, but the DFS team worked with Versico Roofing Systems to design a system that would give them a competitive edge. DFS submitted Versico as an alternative (equal or greater product), and the City of Mobile Architectural Engineering Department approved the Versico system, which ended up saving the city about $400,000.

The roofing system that was selected was an induction-welded 80-mil-thick gray VersiFlex PVC membrane over a ½”-thick SecurShield HD Polyiso cover board. The system could be installed directly over the old roof, so there was no need for tear-off. VersiFlex™ PVC single-ply membranes have been providing protection and performance for decades, making them a popular choice among roofing consultants and specifiers. PVC’s excellent resistance to chemicals, grease, fire, and punctures make it an ideal choice for a wide variety of buildings, and the 80-mil-thick membrane provides added durability.

Instead of glue or traditional fasteners and plates, DFS used an induction welded attachment method featuring Versico fasteners and special isoweld Plates that are secured with the help of a portable induction welding tool. This non-penetrating system uses the same fastener and plate to secure the membrane and insulation to the deck, creating an FM-approved system with no point of entry for moisture. Versico’s isoweld system also provides superior wind uplift performance compared to traditional mechanically fastened assemblies.

The 290,000-square-foot phased project took about eight months, and the Mobile Convention Center received a 20-year warranty after Versico inspected the installation.

Rashawn Figures, CEO at DFS, said, “When Versico designed a system for the structure, it was clear that the system would provide us with an advantage over our competitors. Dortch Figures was able to save the City of Mobile more than $400,000 based on this design approach.”