Facility Management on the Pacific Northwest Coast
Kalaloch Lodge, located within Olympic National Park on the Pacific Northwest Coast of Washington, is a Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts operated property that features lodging and dining in a spectacular location. However, due to the remote nature and geographical positioning of this setting, management at Kalaloch must take additional measures to maintain the assets and protect them from the harsh seaside conditions.
As a part of Delaware North’s winning response to the RFP to operate Kalaloch Lodge, it was recognized that the coastal environment at Kalaloch Lodge presented unique challenges in regards to maintaining the facilities, in large part due to the combination of two factors: salt and constant moisture.
“The degradation by corrosion, decay and weathering (rain, sun and wind) has had a profound impact on the structures at Kalaloch Lodge…The highly corrosive nature of the moist salt air creates an accelerated deterioration of the service life of most unprotected metal surfaces it comes into contact with, much more profoundly than moisture laden alone. While this impacts the aesthetics, it can lead to structural failure as well as impairing mechanical equipment’s functionality.”
Salt is hydroscopic; having the properties to attract water. When combined, salt increases the ability of the water to carry electrons, leading to faster corrosion when the transfer of such electrons occurs between water and oxygen and interacts with iron. Further, the salt has a drying effect which causes unprotected wooden surfaces to crack, split, and become unsound, allowing even more salt and moisture to infiltrate the wood. Salt also dries out paints and sealants, reducing their effectiveness and shortening their lifespan.
“The constant moisture from marine layer coastal fog and average of 100 inches of rain a year causes additional impacts on the facilities. Often this moisture is driven by wind off the ocean, which contributes to its ability to infiltrate any flawed barrier. The humidity surrounding this area also permeates into the interior of the buildings, creating moisture, mold, and mildew problems if not handled correctly. The moisture can penetrate any opening.”
Following site visits and an in-depth analysis by Delaware North’s Facilities team, it was determined that of the 133 listed deferred maintenance items, 41 were created by or exacerbated by the coastal environment. In order to outline the best approach to preventative, deferred, and preservative facilities maintenance, the following focus areas were called out:
- Exterior Wood and Finishes
- Roofs and Gutters
- Corrosion of Exterior Metals and Equipment, including door locks
- Interior Moisture or Condensation on Windows and Walls
- Pest Management
Kalaloch Lodge’s on-site management, including Environmental, Health, Safety & Interpretive Manager Alec Bartolai, LEED AP O+M and Mike Guilford, Maintenance Manager have taken many steps to combat the constant environmental assault while improving visitor experience as well as preserving and protecting the property for future generations to enjoy. Many of the projects also incorporated environmentally preferable practices resulting in greater energy and water efficiency and decreased human-wildlife interactions.
Kaloloch Lodge boasts an impressive list of improvements made since September 2012, including the following:
- Being in a national park that is 95% wilderness lends itself to human–animal interactions. In order to prevent these animals from becoming pests Kalaloch implemented a comprehensive Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. This included monitoring pest activity, trapping, exclusion, and vegetation management.
- Weather-stripping and heavy duty door sweeps with rain diverters were installed to prevent the infiltration of water and wind particularly during intense winter storms.
- Kalaloch’s location next to the ocean takes a toll on untreated wood. The structurally deficient staircase, railing and decking of the Seacrest Motel Building were replaced with treated lumber. A broken and rotted staircase landing at associate housing was rebuilt.
And, the deck bench and railing of the Main Lodge was rebuilt to increase safety. Additionally, anti-slip material and caution tape was installed throughout the operation to reduce potential slips, trips, and falls.
- A new long lasting cedar split rail fence around the bluff line of the property replaced a structurally deficient fence for safety along the steep bluff.
- The roof of the Main Lodge was power washed to remove significant moss and algae build up. This not only made the lodge more
visually appealing but significantly increases the life of the roof. The facilities crew also routinely power washes all decks to remove algae to protect the wood and reduce potential slips, trips, and falls.
- Purchased and installed new vinyl clad, double panned, low-e glass windows for the restaurant and employee housing. These
replaced old structurally deficient single panned aluminum clad windows which were not only energy inefficient but subject to severe corrosion due to the salt air.
- Purchased and installed new electronic ignition propane stoves in six cabins to replace standing pilot light units. These old units were subject to propane leaks due to the propensity of the pilot light to blow out when doors or windows were opened.
- Replaced nearly all of the propane water heaters with high efficiency electric units. The electric units do not require venting to the outside. This retrofit reduced overall energy consumption, propane consumption, and associated emissions of greenhouse gases; reliability also increases since the electric units do not need to be exposed to external conditions and are less likely to corrode and/or fail.
- Metal tanks, pipes and fittings can suffer severe corrosion in the coastal marine environment. Working collaboratively with the propane vendor, the infrastructure was upgraded to ensure the longevity and safety of the equipment. These efforts resulted in the overall reduction of propane tank capacity on property by 2,230 gallons. Propane tanks and associated equipment have been inventoried, tested, and replaced with corrosion resistant units. Bollards were installed and dispensing equipment upgraded to meet NFPA 58 standards for the systems used to fill guest propane tanks. Additionally, takes were repainted and relabeled to ensure proper communication of hazards. In order to prevent movement from severe weather, earthquakes, impacts or settling all propane tanks were strapped to the ground with hurricane tie downs in accordance with good engineering practices.
- Painted buildings in Park Service approved colors using long lasting exterior paint. Two existing wooden signs were restored to their original condition and two additional wooden “Kalaloch Lodge” signs and one mercantile sign were made out of recycled materials.
- Purchased, assembled and installed 23 new picnic tables made of pressure treated lumber, the discarded tables were recycled. Developed and placed interpretive messages on each table to remind guests to keep wildlife wild and to store food and trash properly.
- Installed several new chimney/wood stove caps to protect them from the elements and allow for better smoke flow away from the cabins. An induced draft fireplace insert and flue were installed to ensure proper functionality of the fireplace on windy or stormy days.
- Despite the high annual rainfall, summers are quite dry and drought conditions can occur. Seven rain barrels were installed on property in strategic locations to conserve water yet maintain watering of potted plants.
- Improved fire and life safety infrastructure. This project included upgrading 78 fire extinguishers to larger 2A:20BC size to meet fire code, installing four new fire hoses in the Main Lodge and Seacrest Motel buildings, and installing a new fire panel and detectors in the Main Lodge. In the kitchen, new UL listed kitchen hood filters were installed and the Ansul fire suppression system was upgraded.
- Cleaned, repaired or replaced all exterior lights. Daylight sensors were installed on exterior lights of the lodge and cabins to improve illumination and overall safety during dark or poor visibility conditions.
- Replaced all batteries on cabin door locks. Routine testing and cleaning of all door locks is conducted to prevent corrosion from salt air.
As one can imagine, managing facilities located in a coastal environment of the Pacific Northwest is a challenge yet rewarding. Please congratulate Kalaloch Lodge for their dedication and hard work to complete these projects in just two years, perfect timing as the company celebrates their second anniversary!