The Architect of the U.S. Capitol will accept bids Feb. 17 for professional painting and repair services for the Capitol Dome's cast-iron structure and masonry walls within the skirt area.
The project will involve the repair and restoration of historic ironwork, the repair and restoration of historic sandstone and brick masonry, and lead paint abatement from a complex structure adjacent to occupied work areas.
This project will include cleaning, spot-priming, and repainting the interior and exterior skirt area surfaces of the 288-foot-high cast-iron dome.
Access, Coordination Requirements
The project will also require the design, engineering, fabrication and installation of access systems on an existing roof with limited load capacity, site staging, scaffolding and scaffold bridging.
Because of the Dome's historic value and the building's use by Congress, staff and millions of visitors, on-site, on-going activities coordination will also be required, in addition to surface preparation, priming and the sequential repainting of the interior and exterior surfaces of the Dome Skirt.
The contract will be awarded using best value procedures. An orientation site visit was conducted Jan. 27; a second site visit, on Feb. 8, will be a pre-proposal conference.
History and Renovation
The Capitol's first dome, constructed of wood covered by copper, was finished in 1824. By the 1850s, however, the dome was considered a fire hazard, required constant repair, and was too small for the enlarged Capitol.
That dome was removed in 1856. The new dome, which cost $1,047,291, was constructed with 8.9 million pounds of ironwork. The exterior was completed in 1863; the interior, with Constantino Brumidi's fresco, the Apotheosis of Washington, 180 feet above the Rotunda floor, was completed in 1866.
A major renovation within the interior space was completed in the early 2000s, when 80,000 pounds of lead-based paint were removed and recycled, and surfaces of the interstitial space were painted with an epoxy paint system. The last significant exterior renovation of the dome was conducted in 1959.
The next phase of the dome restoration project is to repaint the exterior, to hold the dome over until a more complete overhaul can begin.
During that project, lead paint will be abated from the exterior of the dome and the interior surfaces of the Rotunda, and more than 1,300 known and anticipated defects in the ironwork will be repaired. That will be followed by a resealing and repainting of the ironwork with an epoxy and urethane paint system.
That project is expected to begin after the January 2013 inauguration and take about three years.