Facilities Services Project Takes to the Air

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It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s a helicopter and it’s flying over my building.

That just might be the case on our campus over the next several weeks. Facilities Services is working with a contractor to determine the damage and wear and tear to the roofs on eighty-three buildings, including the Middlebrook Pike Building and the UT Conference Center.

The core of the assessment involves taking thermo graphic surveys by helicopter flyovers throughout campus. Special technology and equipment is used to identify changes in temperature and moisture that better pinpoint damage, specific problem areas, and potential problems down the road.

Dave Irvin, associate vice chancellor for Facilities Services, said at least twenty-four roofs are in critical need of repair. Some of the damage is related to the April 2011 storms, but others are the result of years of deferred maintenance. The goal is to make the critical repairs on all twenty-four buildings this summer.

“This project will give us a much more detailed plan of action for the twenty-four roofs, but also help to develop long-range plans for maintenance and repair of roofing on all of our buildings,” Irvin said.

Many of the repairs will be covered by insurance, where damage is apparent from the storm. This assessment will help provide a better picture for documenting storm damage that is not as apparent, particularly on flat roofs.

The helicopter will fly about 1,200 feet above ground level and hover over individual buildings for varying periods of time. However, all of the tests are dependent on weather.

This project is part of a recent $12.5 million commitment from Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek to address critical maintenance including roofs, windows, and issues within classrooms, laboratories, and offices. Of the 220 buildings on our campus, more than 30 percent are fifty years old or older. Seventy-five percent are at least twenty-four years old.

Faculty, staff, and students may also notice more Facilities Services and contract workers on rooftops as part of the project. The surveys are expected to take less than a week to complete.

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