Dudick Inc.’s Contractor Wins Craftsmanship Award

December 27, 2012

F. D. Thomas Inc., the largest installer of Dudick Wall and Floor Systems, was recently awarded the “WBC Craftsmanship Award” for work performed at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID).

The US Army awarded the contract for the walls and floor coatings for their new BSL-4 Infectious Disease Lab to Dudick Inc. and F. D. Thomas.  Dudick Inc. has been chosen as the supplier for nearly all BSL-4 and 3 Ag facilities since the multiple failures of a large coating competitor.  To date Dudick has completed either new installations or the recoating of 9 of the 10 labs recently built in the USA as well as 2 facilities outside the US.

F. D. Thomas and Dudick Inc. have partnered on over 250 million dollars in projects.  Unique to Dudick our technical service reps are experienced 30-year veteran field applicators.  F. D. Thomas together with Dudick developed the application procedures and training necessary to complete a complex job with the highest level of performance.  Dan Thomas stated that “The Dudick Difference” is their ability to supply the best coatings in the industry along with their field technicians who together with F. D. Thomas, Inc. brought a winning combination to many critical projects.


The United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) Replacement Project is an 835,000 square foot replacement laboratory in Fort Detrick, Maryland.

The USAMRIID Replacement Project is the largest, most complex biocontainment facility ever designed. The 22,000 square foot Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) laboratory inside the USAMRIID Replacement Project will be the largest BSL-4 laboratory suite in the DoD. The designation BSL-4 is reserved for some of the world’s most deadly agents such as Ebola and other viral hemorrhagic fevers, for which there are no vaccines.

The special coatings and resinous flooring systems applied by F.D. Thomas, Inc. create the containment barrier for the BSL-4 laboratories that will prevent harmful diseases such as Ebola and the Plague bacteria from escaping the laboratory space.


The BSL-4 coatings were a critical part of the USAMRIID Replacement project. Due to the extreme consequence of the exposure to the diseases that will be inside the BSL-4 laboratory space, the inspection process for the special coatings was extremely thorough. Inspections were held at the preparatory phase, at every intermediate layer, and on the top coat of the special coatings system. Inspections for the special coatings involved representatives from the owner, architect, commissioning agent, Manhattan / Torcon, A Joint Venture, and F.D. Thomas. Each member of the inspection team would inspect the walls and floors by directing a flashlight perpendicular to the wall. Any slight imperfection would need to be repaired.

An unusually hot start to summer forced the team to search for a way to keep conditions inside the BSL-4 laboratory space cool. In order to keep the temperature and humidity inside the area at acceptable levels so that application and curing of the special coatings was not affected by the heat, two large air conditioning units were brought in to condition the space. Dryco installed the two units which have an out air flow between 2000 and 3000 cfm. The duct work attached to these units circulates air down the four main corridors of the BSL-4 space. F.D. Thomas would relocate the duct work and monitor conditions inside the laboratory space where coatings were being applied to make sure that conditions remained favorable throughout the entire application and curing process.

The complex systems that run through the BSL-4 laboratory forced the architects to create several complex details. All surfaces inside the laboratory space need to be smooth and cleanable. The laboratory is cleaned every day to eliminate any chance of exposure. All sharp edges needed to be smooth. F.D. Thomas took care to ensure that any lip created by the coatings was feathered so that the edges were smooth and cleanable. F.D. Thomas also ensured that all edges of electrical boxes had smooth edges so that maintenance personal working in containment suits would be able to complete work without fear of slicing a glove. Tight spaces between pipes inside chases also needed particular attention to ensure that the entire surface was coated and that no sharp edges existed.

In order to make sure all fluids and debris reached the appropriate drains, F.D. Thomas needed to ensure that floors were sloped properly. Concrete floors were intentionally kept low so that the resinous flooring system would create the appropriate slopes. Careful coordination with the plumbing subcontractor allowed F.D. Thomas to achieve slopes to drains and to meet the strict requirements for floor sloping inside the BSL-4 rooms. Thresholds also had to be built at doorways to ensure that all fluids were contained to rooms and would not escape into hallways or other containment areas.

Maria Troconis of Smith Carter stated, “F.D. Thomas has done an excellent job installing the resinous flooring and special coatings in BSL4. Their great attention to detail and willingness to prepare and repair the substrate has produced great looking smooth, seamless finishes that will meet the demanding requirements of the BSL4 environment. Thanks to Walt, Ron and the entire [F.D. Thomas] crew for their hard work, pride in their craft and for going the extra mile in their detailing.”

USAMRIID was also active in reviewing the special coatings for the BSL-4 laboratory space. One difficult challenge was achieving a texture in the resinous flooring that would be smooth enough to allow USAMRIID to spray and clean the laboratory with water but also have enough texture to allow slip resistance for employees where rubber boots and moving with heavy cages. Typically texture is applied to the top coat of a flooring system. However, applying glass beads into the top coat of the coatings was too much texture for USAMRIID to consider a smooth, cleanable surface. F.D. Thomas worked closely with their supplier, Dudick, Inc. to apply the glass beads in the HC coat beneath the top coat instead of to the top coat itself. This innovative idea and new application method allowed for a cleanable surface that still offered enough slip resistance for the end user.

The BSL-4 laboratory is also on the critical path of the project. Due to a design change, F.D. Thomas was brought onto the project late in the process and was required to work 10 hour days, 6 days a week to ensure that their quality work was installed within tight schedule constraints. Through dedication and attention to detail from all craftsmen involved, F.D. Thomas was able to complete the coatings ahead of schedule.




The success of the special coatings and resinous flooring can be measure in several ways. First, the attention to detail throughout the entire coating process led to minimal rework. No walls within the BSL-4 laboratory needed to be re-sprayed and only minimal patchwork was required on the top coat. All surfaces are smooth, cleanable and free of pinholes and debris. The quality craftsmanship not only allowed for a quality finished product, but also allowed the coatings to finish ahead of schedule. Performance requirements of the coatings were also above and beyond. Pull tests performed on the coatings were also well above the requirements within the specification with some tests exceeding over 1000 psi. The specification required the pull tests required values of only 250 psi for floors and 300 psi for walls and ceilings.

Laura Schumann P.E. of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers stated, “We were extremely fortunate to have FD Thomas install the special coatings and fluid applied flooring in the BSL-4 Laboratories of the USAMRIID Replacement Project.  FD Thomas is knowledgeable in applying high quality coatings, invested time to understand the owner’s requirements, and worked continuously to tailor their methods to our needs.  The FD Thomas crew efficiently and professionally met the challenges of a vigorous multi-step inspection process in our 22,000 SF laboratory.  They are a competent team and take pride in their work.  I highly recommend FD Thomas for future projects.”

Finally and most importantly, the owner and end user expressed great satisfaction with the BSL-4 special coatings and resinous flooring. The end user was not only happy with the appearance and functionality of the coatings, but also with F.D. Thomas as a team player. F.D. Thomas worked closely with the end user by allowing maintenance personnel to be present on site to learn and practice performing patches on the finished product. Once the BSL-4 laboratory is in use, only the USAMRIID maintenance personnel will be able to make repairs to the coatings. The teamwork between F.D. Thomas and USAMRIID provided the maintenance personnel essential training and tools that will allow them to better perform their job.

F.D. Thomas was one of the key components to the success of the BSL-4 laboratory. Their teamwork, attention to detail, and pride in their work allowed F.D. Thomas to be successful on their completion of the USAMRIID Replacement Project. F.D. Thomas went above and beyond what was required and exceeded the expectations of the owner, end user, architect, commissioning agent, and of Manhattan / Torcon, A Joint Venture.