The below-grade waterproofing challenge in building the 17,500-seat, $507 million Golden 1 Center, the new home of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, isn’t the fact the arena sits below the water table or the immense scale of the task.

The challenge? Time.

The general contractor, Turner Construction, is required to deliver the LEED Gold-targeted arena in less than two years, a super-aggressive schedule. Delivery is planned for October 2016.

Unfortunately, heavy rains just weeks into the project left the excavated jobsite under “… three or four feet of water,” according to Stuart “Stu” Hunter, Vice President of the waterproofing division of F.D. Thomas, a respected regional waterproofing contractor. The flooded jobsite was only one of the challenges facing the Oregon-based contractor.

“We knew it could be a demanding project,” Hunter said. “W.R. Grace works with contractors that perform at a very high level and were able to accept the risk due to high performing Preprufe® Plus product, technical expertise and global success on similarly critical projects. We took the lead in making sure the general contractor, concrete subcontractor, rebar subcontractor, and plumbing subcontractor all worked together to meet Grace’s requirements and deliver on the aggressive schedule.”

The stakes were high. The arena is being built below the water table and adjacent to two major river systems. The owner required a fail-safe below-grade waterproofing solution. The Golden 1 Center had to operate dry, period.

Once the skies cleared, the pressure was on F.D. Thomas to waterproof 280,000 square feet within 60 days. No excuses, no delays. F.D. Thomas held pre-job meetings to get all the trades dialed-in to support a smooth, efficient installation.

Result: F.D. Thomas finished the job in 45 days, shattering all expectations. Turner Construction officials were ecstatic. What nature had taken away, F.D. Thomas returned without compromising the application requirements. To illustrate the performance, F.D. Thomas superintendent Kirk Himbert reports, “Two weeks ago we kicked-out 96 rolls of Preprufe® Plus [waterproofing membrane] (30,000 square feet) in a single day.”

Hunter credits the dedication of his team, the pre-job meetings, and Preprufe®Plus product. Only Preprufe® Plus brand products offer a unique combination of industry-leading features for fast, confident application:

  • Rapidly-deployed kick-out rolls
  • All-weather seam adhesion with exclusive Preprufe® ZipLap™ technology
  • Permanent lateral water migration resistance from an integrally bonded membrane (no long-term settlement worries as with loose-laid barriers)
  • No-waste, release liner-free installation

Owners especially like the fact that more than 500 million square feet of Preprufe® [product] have been installed worldwide on thousands of high-profile, must-not-fail projects. As Hunter says, “It’s the industry workhorse.”

“I’ve installed Carlisle, Tremco, Cetco, you name it. Bonding companies will tell you that assurances are tough for owners to get because manufacturers don’t want the risk. W.R. Grace can say ‘yes’ because they know Preprufe® Plus [waterproofing membrane] eliminates nearly all risk if installed correctly.”

Today the project is on schedule for an October 2016 delivery and no below-grade leaks have been reported in spite of historic El Niño rains and a rising water table. To that, Hunter just grins and says, “Let it rain.”