Daniel Gordeyeva Joins Vertical Access

Vertical Access announces Daniel Gordeyeva joins the company’s Ithaca office at the end of July.  A tree climbing instructor with Cornell Outdoor Education, Daniel will assist with AutoCAD and certify to a SPRAT Level I Rope Access Technician.  He graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, majoring in Sustainability Studies and Economics. He has also served as a Back Country Steward with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and as an Operations and Maintenance Solar Electrician with EMT Solar works.

Can you identify this building? – Series No. 14

Test your knowledge of historic and iconic buildings in the U.S. (and beyond!) in this series of “guess the building” blog posts.

Series No. 14: 

This building was designed by a recently deceased icon in the architecture world, and until 2019 was the tallest building in its city.

Where am I?

Answer:  Green Building (Building 54), Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Green Building is a 21-story concrete-frame structure designed by I.M. Pei & Associates and completed in 1964.  The cast-in-place concrete is expressed on the exterior facades, with pre-cast units used at the window sills.  

Don’t miss another architectural challenge: subscribe to our blog by signing up with your email address in the sidebar. Click here to see all of the posts in this series.

Photos by Vertical Access.

“Parking Garages are Buildings Too”

Vertical Access is called upon to assist with all kinds of difficult to access civil structures, not just buildings.  Parking garages are no exception, and are increasingly coming under scrutiny by building codes departments across the country.

Vertical Access assisted Elwyn & Palmer with an assessment the ends of the post-tensioned beams on the north and south sides of the Seneca Street Parking Garage in Ithaca, NY.

Last summer, New York State amended Title 19 of the New York Code, Rules, and Regulations to require periodic inspection of parking garages. An initial condition assessment is required prior to an issuance of an updated certificate of occupancy or certificate of compliance being issued for a new structure.

Deadlines are fast approaching. Existing buildings must complete an initial condition assessment prior to:

  • October 1, 2019 if originally constructed prior to January 1, 1984
  • October 1, 2020 if originally constructed between January 1, 1984 and December 31, 2002
  • October 1, 2021 if originally constructed between January 2003 and August 29, 2018 (the date of the release of this new rule).

Following the initial condition assessment of a parking garage, such parking garage shall undergo periodic condition assessments on an ongoing basis every three years. 

According to a recent issue of NYC Building News, the New York City Department of Buildings is currently recommending similar requirements for periodic parking garage inspections for adoption in New York City as a local law through the Department’s Periodic Code Revision Process.

Contact Kelly Streeter, P.E., our resident Qualified Exterior Wall Inspector, to see how we can assist with your parking garage inspections.

Three more technicians certified in Infrared Thermography!

Kristen Olson, Mike Russell, EIT, and Patrick Capruso completed Level I Thermography Certification Training through the Infrared Training Center in Nashua, NH.  Bolstering our team’s already existing infrared thermography skills, the course will help Kristen, Mike, and Patrick better collect quality data about differences in emitted infrared energy and account for measurement effects such as distance and emissivity using infrared cameras. This technology helps with our investigation of moisture infiltration and evaluation of subsurface conditions. Infrared thermography measures emitted and reflective heat coming from an object. This closely corresponds with the temperature of that object; the hotter it is, the more heat it will emit to its surroundings.

It is useful in building inspections to be able to “visualize” differential levels of heat emanating from a building. Water, for example, will heat up and cool down at a slower rate than the rest of a building façade. This makes it possible to view where there may be water infiltration using a thermal imager because wet areas exhibit different heat signatures, whereas a visible light image will not show the temperature differences. Steel rebar and relieving angles in a facade will similarly change temperature at a different rate than the surrounding material and therefore be distinguishable in a thermal image.

The certification and training included:

  • Comprehensive, hands-on introduction to thermal imaging and measurement systems for predictive maintenance applications.
  • Hands-on instruction on how to interpret thermograms and make informed decisions using heat transfer concepts to analyze thermal images
  • Learning about the latest in infrared inspection report generation and database software.
  • Training to distinguish between hot spots and reflections, direct vs. indirect readings and qualitative vs. quantitative thermography.

Read more about our infrared projects and services

Read more about our non-destructive testing services

Heat Wave at the Nebraska State Capitol

Patrick Capruso “mini-me” on top of the Nebraska State Capitol.
Above photo by Steve Kelley.

Note the sombreros on Patrick and Kristen, below!

Vertical Access spent the last two weeks at the Nebraska State Capitol assisting Dan Worth and Julie Cawby at BVH Architects and Stephen J. Kelley, Preservation Consultant, with investigations at the dome and other portions of the 400′ tower. We were retained to assist with a periodic inspection of the masonry following a multi-phased restoration project completed in 2011, and to help assess the condition of roof drains at the dome.

Week one was during a brutal heat wave, but our team kept their cool.

Our team was on site to help verify that those prior repairs were still intact and that no other conditions had developed that couldn’t be seen from the ground.  In addition to a hands on inspection and documentation, VA performed water testing aided by infrared thermography to determine whether repairs were still holding and whether there were any leaks.

Read the story in the Lincoln Journal Star and learn about our butterfly scare! *

*note: Kelly mentions in the article a return to the New York Times Building when we will actually be in the field at the Times Square Building (the former New York Times Building) later this summer.

The History of the Capitol and Renovation

Nebraska State Capitol, the product of a nationwide design competition won by New York Architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue in 1920, is described as the nation’s first truly vernacular State Capitol. The present building, the third to be erected on this site, was the nation’s first statehouse design to radically depart from the prototypical form of the nation’s Capitol and to use an office tower. Constructed in four phases over ten years from 1922-1932, the building, with furnishings and landscaping, was completed at a cost just under the $10 million budget and was paid for when finished. To decorate the building, Bertram Goodhue selected Lee Lawrie, sculptor; Hildreth Meiere, tile and mosaic designer; and Hartley B. Alexander, thematic consultant for inscription and symbolism. 

More on the history of the Nebraska State Capitol

BVH and WJE completed an extensive multi-phase, multi-year restoration project of the entire exterior envelope of the Nebraska State Capitol. The $57.4M project was substantially completed in fall 2010 and included restoration of the masonry at the tower, base and courtyard, gold dome, the iconic bronze Sower atop the dome, bronze windows and copper roof. 

Read about the restoration that is displacing senators for the better part of the next decade…

Be 1% Better: 1% for You, 100% for the Planet

Vertical Access has been a supporting member of 1% for the Planet since 2006, pledging a portion of our profits to non-profit organizations that make our planet a more sustainable place for future generations. In celebration of Earth Day 2019, we wanted to heighten awareness of this organization and take a moment to urge others in the preservation community to step forward and make a commitment to the future of our global environment.

By recognizing the important role that historic preservation plays in the sustainability movement, VA has made a commitment through our 1% FTP contributions to The Association for Preservation Technology International (APT), The U.S. National Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (US/ICOMOS), and Friends of Alta.

 

When Vertical Access first joined 1% for the Planet in 2006, we were one of about 250 other businesses that pledged a small proportion of our annual net revenues to environmental causes. Today, 1% for the Planet is a growing global movement with more than 1,800 members in over 45 countries, working together to protect the future of our planet.

Join us and Be 1% Better! Visit One Percent for the Planet to see how you can make a difference, and check out all the donor and recipient partner organizations. Please consider supporting these organizations when you make purchasing decisions, and consider becoming a supporting member. We can all make a difference.

 

Proposed Changes to NYC’s FISP Regulations

Photo courtesy of Sullivan Engineering

Vertical Access often assists building owners, architects, engineers, with New York City’s Façade Inspection & Safety Program, or FISP, also known as Local Law 11.  We would like to share some proposed changes that were recently brought to light by Brian Sullivan, a principal at Sullivan Engineering in a recent article in Habitat Magazine:

Brian sits on a DOB advisory committee that proposes changes to FISP regulations. The committee’s attention is now focused on Cycle 9, which begins in February 2020.

Here are some proposed changes:

  • Probes to verify and document wall anchors in cavity wall facades might be required in the 9th cycle and every 10 years thereafter.
  • The number of required close-up inspections might increase.
  • Qualified Exterior Wall Inspectors (QEWI) might be required to have at least three years of relevant experience. (VA partner Kelly Streeter, P.E., is a certified QEWI).
  • A time frame to resolve unsafe conditions might be required, with a maximum of five years.
  • Monthly civil penalties for unsafe conditions might accrue and increase annually at a rate based on the length of sidewalk shed.
  • The DOB might perform inspections before granting extension requests.
  • Boards might be required to display a FISP condition certificate – either “safe,” “safe with repair,” or “unsafe” – in the lobby.

To read Brian’s article, go here.

To learn about VA’s façade inspection services, go here.

 

City of Ithaca to Repair Cemetery Vaults Using VA Repair Estimates

(Hint: It’s not all about rope access!)

In 2017 Vertical Access was retained by the City of Ithaca to perform a condition assessment of twelve hillside burial vaults located within the Ithaca City Cemetery in Ithaca, New York.  Early this year the City of Ithaca voted to bond money toward the repair some of the hillside vaults.  

The Ithaca City Cemetery comprises approximately 16 terraced acres on University Hill, between downtown Ithaca and Cornell University, with views over Cayuga Lake and downtown. Vehicle entrances are located at University Avenue, Stewart Avenue, and DeWitt Place. An additional pedestrian entrance is located at Cornell Avenue. Owned by the City of Ithaca and managed by the Parks and Forestry Division, the cemetery is actively used by pedestrians, cyclists, and dog walkers. 

The City Cemetery is Ithaca’s oldest burial ground, dating from the city’s earliest settlement period in the 1790s. During the nineteenth century, it underwent multiple expansions, evolving into a park-like, formally-designed landscape following the “rural cemetery” movement. 

Beginning in the 1860s, hillside burial vaults were constructed by prominent Ithaca families.

VA historian Kristen Olson conducted a  hands-on inspection of the vault exteriors and video documentation of selected vault interiors with assistance from VA partner Evan Kopelson. Ithaca City Forester Jeanne Grace was on site to discuss findings.

The vaults range in overall condition from fair to poor. All exhibit signs of water infiltration and structural movement to some degree. Ten of the vaults are constructed with stone exhibiting widespread mortar failure and erosion. Delamination is widespread in units of locally quarried shale known as Llenroc.

Vertical Access documented existing conditions at all twelve burial vaults within the Ithaca City Cemetery. Notable and representative conditions were documented digitally using the Tablet PC Annotation System (TPAS®), with digital still images linked to condition annotations in an AutoCAD drawing. Additional investigation was conducted at three of the vaults using a GoPro camera mounted to a telescoping pole, inserted through a hole in the door or gap between the door and adjacent masonry, and illuminated with a flashlight.

A Borescope was used in an attempt to obtain imagery of the interior spaces of vaults with gaps that were too narrow to accommodate the GoPro, but the footage was not of use since the depth of the masonry at the door surrounds was generally greater than the length of the Borescope. A fiber optic “See Snake”, incorporating a camera with built-in illumination at the end of a flexible cable, was used to investigate the interior of one of the vaults which had an accessible rooftop vent.

Vertical Access prepared repair recommendations and cost estimates for each vault, with additional emergency stabilization recommendations and cost estimates for the three vaults found to have the most advanced deterioration.

While the current funding is inadequate to reconstruct all of the vaults, it will address the three vaults most in danger of collapse as identified in the Vertical Access study. The City’s continued investment is crucial to maintaining this valuable community historic site and greenspace.

Mike Russell, EIT, Certified to Level III Rope Access Supervisor

Mike Russell, EIT, recently trained and was certified to the Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians (SPRAT) Level III Supervisor. According to SPRAT’s Safe Practices for Rope Access Work, all site work must be performed under the supervision of a Level III Supervisor.

Level III Supervisors are responsible for the overall rope access operations on site.

Mike joins Kelly Streeter, P.E. and Kevin Dalton as Level III Supervisors for Vertical Access.

As part of the training, Mike reviewed basic rope access techniques that we most often use in our site work as well as more advanced skills that are less often used, such as passing knots, rope-to-rope transfers, redirects, rebelays and horizontal aid traverse. The training also covered rope rescue techniques and mechanical advantage systems used for raising or lowering a casualty or other load.

SPRAT is a membership organization that promotes the development of safe practices and standards for rope access work in the United States, Canada, Mexico and beyond. Vertical Access is a member of SPRAT and active in its leadership committees.

Celebrating 50 Years of APT International

The last week of September, Vertical Access attended the hottest conference in preservation: APT International’s 50th anniversary celebration happening in Buffalo and the Niagara Region of Canada.

Fifty years ago, a group of preservation and conservation professionals from both the United States and Canada came together in New Richmond, Quebec to form a new organization called The Association for Preservation Technology International (APT).  APT is a is a multi-disciplinary, membership organization dedicated to promoting the best technology for conserving/preserving historic structures and their settings.

This joint American-Canadian organization has grown to include chapters around the world. It is only fitting that this year’s conference was held in Buffalo with events and celebrations on both sides of the border.  The conference billed itself as “a point of departure for our next 50 years”, alluding to the fact that at one point in history, Buffalo was one of the most important points of departure on the continent.

Vertical Access has had a long history of involvement in APT since our founding in 1992. Founding Partner Kent Diebolt served as President of the Board of Directors from 2001 – 2003. This year, Evan Kopelson served as Co-Chair of the Programs Committee, and also served with Kristen Olson and Patrick Capruso on the Local Planning Committee.  We were excited that some of the events were held at historic locations that we have personally played a role in revitalizing, including:

While there were many field sessions and education opportunities to choose from during this multi-day celebration, two that we had a hand in coordinating are:

What Do Buckingham Palace, Brooklyn Bridge, and Buffalo Have in Common? – Medina Sandstone

(Coordinated by Patrick Capruso): Quarried in Orleans County near the town for which it was named, Medina sandstone was prized by builders and architects for its inherent strength and beauty. Fourteen attendees joined the all-day, Medina Sandstone Field Session as part of APT 2018. The field session included a visit to the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame where the Medina Sandstone Society offered programming on the stone’s mineral composition, an in-depth look at life in and around the quarries, and the socioeconomic impact that the quarrying industry had on the region. Following lunch in Medina, the trolley was bound for Buffalo for site visits at several ecclesiastic landmarks and the Richardson Olmsted Campus. Mike Lennon, of Flynn Battaglia Architects, provided insight into preservation efforts at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral and First Presbyterian Church. At St. Louis RC Church, the Church historian and a member of the Board of Trustees highlighted the parish’s past restoration campaigns. Finally, our docent at the Richardson Olmsted Campus gave a whirlwind hardhat tour of the site’s exterior façades and a glimpse of an interior space slated for redevelopment.

 

Preservation by the Pint: Revitalization and the Craft Beverage Boom

(Co-coordinated by Kristen Olson): Preservation By the Pint was a driving tour of adaptive use sites where craft beverage producers have rehabilitated existing and historic structures representing three very different areas of Buffalo. Along the way, session co-planner Courtney Creenan-Chorley pointed out historic structures that remain from the city’s incredibly rich history of brewing and malting.

At our first stop, above, Ethan Cox of Community Beer Works showed us their newly-rehabilitated 7th Street space and gave a fascinating history of brewing in Buffalo, from tavern days through the post-Prohibition decline of independent breweries, to the revival of craft brewing in the 1970s and 80s and the current brewing renaissance. Ethan literally wrote the book on Buffalo’s rich brewing history; he is the co-author of Buffalo Beer: The History of Brewing in the Nickel City. He also described some of the technical aspects of converting an existing building for a brewery, utilizing tax credits, and the inherent challenges of locating in a historic neighborhood with older utilities, all driven by the community ethic central to the business’ identity.

Next, we traveled to the mixed-use First Ward neighborhood where Adam Bystran, head distiller at Lakeward Spirits, walked us through the transformation of the Barrel Factory, a historic manufacturing building just one block off the Buffalo River. Adam and his family took on a true labor of love in rehabilitating the 1903 manufacturing structure into apartments, an event center, and commercial spaces including a brewery and distillery (and more). Many of the attendees in our group are working on or have worked on craft beverage projects, and impressed Adam with their questions about code issues and utilities needs!

Our final stop was Big Ditch Brewing’s downtown taproom and production facility, an adaptive use project completed in 2015.

APT The Next 50 Symposium

While Kristen and Patrick packed it in after a whirlwind of educational field sessions and presentations during the conference, Evan Kopelson stayed in Buffalo for Thursday’s Symposium, where speakers and attendees explored:

  • Where are we in the world with preservation technology?
  • How has the field changed in 50 years?
  • What new formula will we need for the next 50? What are the new challenges?
  • How can we be more mainstream, less specialized? As the field matures, who are the partners we must collaborate with to remain vital?
  • How will authenticity, resilience and changing technologies guide us?

With a keynote presentation, summaries of the conference plenary sessions, small group break-outs and facilitated discussion, a facilitator and Technical Committee leaders worked with participants to create a vision for the Next Fifty. The first break-out session focused on the context and trends in preservation as a whole, while the second break-out looked at these issues through the lens of APT’s six technical committees. In wrapping up the symposium, the discussion focused on how to turn this vision into action. The findings and discussions of the symposium will be summarized by the symposium organizers and made available to APT membership.

We thoroughly enjoyed exploring with our colleagues all that is possible in preservation for The Next 50 Years.

For more about the conference, visit: https://www.eventscribe.com/2018/APT/ 

Vertical Access was a Bronze Sponsor of the conference this year.