The Salt Lake City Public Safety Building was designed with “sustainability” and “durability” in mind. The structure, which houses the city’s Police and Fire Department Administrations, Emergency Operations Center and combined Police and Fire Dispatch — was built to provide an open and inviting public safety facility that would remain operational after the maximum credible earthquake — providing a high level of security to its staff, and operate as a Net Zero Energy building and sustainable site. Contributing to these design objectives, tile was chosen for the public restrooms and elevator floors.

“One of the main objectives for this project was to design this building to last for 50, possibly 100 years, so durability in a 24/7/365 work environment was key,” said interior designer Alison Mitchell IIDA, LEED AP of GSBS Architects. “Tile was chosen for durability, easy maintenance and design. Because we had a radiant heating and cooling system, tile works well — allowing the heat and cool to penetrate easily.”

According to Mitchell, large-format porcelain floor tile from the Fabrique collection by Daltile was employed in the elevator lobby spaces, elevator floors and all of the toilet and shower rooms. The floor tiles, which exhibit the details of fine fabric, were in 12- x 24- and 12- x 12-inch format.

The restroom walls feature 6- x 6-inch semi-gloss glazed ceramic wall tile, while the shower floors consist of 1- x 1-inch Keystones mosaic tile — all from Daltile. “We selected the tiles based on Daltile’s reputation as a nationally known manufacturer with excellent local representation,” said Mitchell. The material was distributed by Daltile of Salt Lake City, UT.

When it came to the tile installation, there were factors to consider, explained Mitchell. “Because this is a Net Zero building, all of the mechanical systems were designed with that goal in mind,” she said. “All of the flooring materials and adhesives presented particular challenges because of our radiant heating and cooling system. The floor tile and adhesives needed to withstand temperature swings as the radiant system heats up and cools down. Carpet tile, recycled rubber and terrazzo were also selected to allow heating to penetrate the slab surface and radiate as designed.

“Fortunately, we had a very skilled and conscientious tile subcontractor,” Mitchell went on to say. “I was on site to review initial installations before the work proceeded. Following that, I was on site for other reasons, but tile was never a problem area.”

According to Project Manager Doug Davenport of Metro Tile Associates, the tile subcontractor, the biggest challenge was dealing with concrete floors that did not meet industry standards/tolerances. “We had some floors that varied as much as 1 inch in 12 feet,” he explained. “We used Durock EcoCap Self-Leveling Underlayment from UGS to flatten/level the floors.”

The Durock EcoCap Self-Leveling Underlayment was used as a tile substrate for several main areas of the building. The product possesses sustainable attributes that may assist in obtaining Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) credits.

Additionally, Mapei’s UltraFlex2, grout and Mapelastic 315 as well as a Nobleseal membrane was used in the tile installation. “We had six journeyman installers and two apprentices onsite,” said Davenport, adding that Kevin Neff was the Super. Metro Tile Associates completed the tile installation in three months.

From the start of design to the finish of construction, it took approximately three years to complete the Salt Lake City Public Safety Building. “GSBS Architects and our consulting firm, MWL, were awarded the job approximately six months before we began design,” said Mitchell. “The City and general contractor executed the program verification and performance criteria definition during that time.

“The reaction to this building has been overwhelmingly positive — from the community, the City, and most importantly, from the Police and Fire Departments,” Mitchell went on to explain. “The end users previously were housed in a crumbling, out-of-code building from the 1970s where everything was falling apart. Water was leaking into evidence rooms, tile was falling off the walls and the elevators were very unreliable. The Police and Fire personnel representatives were involved with every aspect of the design and construction process, and they couldn’t be happier with the end result. We designed and executed a beautiful, durable and a highly sustainable building, and stayed with budget. The project has received many awards — both locally and nationally. The project has also been published in several architecture and design trade magazines, for its design and sustainable aspects. The Salt Lake City Public Safety Building has been recognized as the first and only Net Zero public safety building in the nation. Because of the Net Zero rating, the building is on track to receive a LEED Platinum status.”

Installation Details
Tile Products: 12- x 24- and  12- x 12-inch porcelain floor tiles 
from the Fabrique collection  (elevator lobby spaces, elevator 
floors and all of the toilet and shower rooms),  6- x 6-inch semi-gloss glazed ceramic wall  tile and 1- x 1-inch Keystones mosaic tile (shower floors) — all from Daltile of Salt Lake City, UT

Installation Products: Durock EcoCap Self-Leveling Underlayment from USG of Chicago, IL; Mapei UltraFlex2, grout and Mapelastic 315 — all from Mapei of Deerfield Beach, FL; Nobleseal membrane from Nobleseal of Grand Haven, MI

Number of Installers: 6 journeyman installers and 2 apprentices

Installation Time: 3 months