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ICRI 2012 Project Award Winner
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Award of Merit: High-Rise Category

Marriott Frenchman's Reef—Ocean Tower and Water Cistern Repairs
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St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Submitted by Tadjer Cohen Edelson Associates

Marriott Frenchman's Reef

DiamondRock Hospitality Company
Bethesda, MD

Project Engineer/

Tadjer Cohen Edelson Associates
Silver Spring, MD

Repair Contractor
Performance Construction LLC
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Material Supplier/

Sika Corporation
Lyndhurst, NJ

Frenchman’s Reef, located in St. Thomas overlooking the Caribbean Sea, was built in the early 1970s as a Holiday Inn Hotel and comprises multiple hotel buildings, restaurants, and ancillary supporting structures. The continuing demands of operating the property had discouraged the owners from performing needed repairs in previous years, and the poor original workmanship and lack of quality control—exacerbated by the harsh tropical climate of sun, salt, and frequent rain—had taken a toll that could not be ignored. Concrete started falling off in chunks from balconies, prompting the owner to retain a consulting firm knowledgeable about concrete repairs to investigate the problems and devise a repair strategy.

The investigation revealed that during initial construction, beach sand had been a component in the concrete mixed for the hotel, resulting in extremely high chloride levels in the concrete. In addition, the reinforcement for the concrete was designed with only 0.75 in. (19 mm) of cover and, in many locations, less cover was discovered. Finally, the hotel had been exposed to salt-laden sea spray for years without any waterproofing being applied.

Because all the buildings needed repair, projects had to be prioritized based on the immediate needs. Repairs made to the Ocean Tower and the Fresh and Gray Water cisterns were performed in 2011. The repairs involved removing the deteriorated concrete with 15 lb (6.8 kg) chipping hammers and sandblasting corroded reinforcing steel. Exposed steel was coated with a corrosion inhibitor and a corrosion-inhibiting admixture was added to the repair mortar. A waterproof coating was applied to any top surfaces and a breathable water-resistant coating was applied to the underside. In addition, the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) liner was replaced in a leaking cistern after structural repairs were made to the interior.

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