As the scaffolding was placed, Flintco learned more about the condition of the dome, and the scope of work changed to address additional issues and unexpected conditions, such as repairing the Goddess of Liberty statue. Flintco also repaired the cupolas and air shafts on the wings of the Capitol. Betco attached the exterior access scaffold to the cupola’s steel structure inside the attic space to avoid putting any loads on the copper roof surface.

A 135-ft-tall personnel and materials hoist provided access from the ground to the rotunda’s scaffold, which began at the rotunda’s base. The hoist entrance, at grade, doubled as a security point.

Crews from Alpha Paint & Decorating, Round Rock, Texas, then climbed up the scaffold stairs to reach their specific work stations, carrying water, paint and other supplies. That would have been cumbersome enough, but intense summer heat made it much worse. The sheet metal reached 148� F. And 1 ft off the dome, temperatures reached 135� F. Betco provided shading, but workers still took many water breaks.

Crews stripped 75,000 sq ft of old paint; made more than 1,500 repairs to the 100-year-old sheet metal, which had tears, dents and holes from storm damage; and applied primer and 1,200 gallons of fluorourethane paint to the dome. In some places as the old paint came off, so did prior repairs, necessitating additional work.

“Every time [crews] touched [the dome], we had to review every square inch to make sure they weren’t pulling up something,” Narvarte says.

The dome was originally constructed with vents so that it could “breathe.” The paint supplier and project team discussed each opening to determine whether caulking would be beneficial or harmful to the structure. Some places received caulk, some didn’t.

During the punch-list process, conducted after each work phase, Alpha crews followed the inspection team of Flintco, HS&A, the architect and owner, immediately correcting any areas that didn’t pass muster.

The Goddess of Liberty’s 2.5-ft-wide star is covered in 23.75-carat gold leaf. When the repair team learned the state could not afford the re-leafing, Flintco, HS&A and the architect decided to split the cost to apply a fine film of gold. The area gilded was approximately 12 sq ft, says Stauch. All parties declined to release the amount of their donation. “We thought it was appropriate to top off the project the right way,” Stauch says.

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