Security was especially tight, in part because an arsonist in the summer of 2008 had set fire to the nearby governor’s mansion, which had been empty at the time for renovation work. After background checks on all workers, Flintco issued identification badges. The company fenced the site and hired a security firm to monitor entry through a single location. No one was admitted without a badge.

Safety was a priority. Each worker got briefed on safety issues. Subcontractors completed daily job-hazard analysis forms. All trades met regularly to discuss any incidents and eliminate any known hazards. Flintco rewarded good safety records with free lunches and afternoons off.

The Chamber

The gridded ceiling of the house of representatives chamber is comprised of flat glass skylights, measuring 4 sq ft and filling 176 of the spaces.

Lead paint had started to flake, and some of the gold detail had lost its lustre. Flintco temporarily removed two historic windows to provide access to the interior from the exterior work scaffold.

No documentation existed to identify the ceiling’s original paint colors. San Antonio-based architect Ford, Powell and Carson worked with the building team to select the new white and gold hues under natural light, matching the new colors to the original colors found on the backs of original paint chips. It took 10 submittals to correctly match the white paint and three rounds to match the original gold hue hidden under layers of paint, Narvarte says.

A dance-floor-style work deck gave crews access to the ceiling, which is 32 ft above the floor. After protecting the etched-glass skylights, crews from Evergreene Architectural Arts, New York City, used standard containment and disposal procedures to remove 17,000 sq ft of lead-based paint, using hand scrapers and brushes to protect the substrate. Evergreene crews then applied the white and gold paints.

The Dome

For access to the dome’s exterior, Houston-based Betco placed 8,000 pieces of scaffolding in a circle, like a barrel. The scaffold was supported by trusses at the rotunda’s seventh-level observation deck. One restriction was that the scaffold could not touch the sheet-metal surface of the dome for fear of damaging it. Flintco scattered crews for the dome’s paint removal, metal repair and repainting because of weight restrictions on the platform.

Betco crews erected the scaffold by hand, passing pieces weighing up to 150 lb hand-over-hand until the installation, which wrapped the dome, was complete. “It was no small task to do that,” Narvarte says. “To not drop a piece, to not have a lost-time accident was a feat all its own.”

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