Vertical Access Adds Three!

Tuli Kuckes has joined the firm as a SPRAT Certified Level 1 Rope Access Technician and Preservation Technician. He is a graduate of Skidmore College and the National Outdoor Leadership School, served as a High Ropes Course instructor, and has his Wilderness First Responder certification.

Matthew Kreidler has joined the firm as our new TPAS and CAD Manager.  He received his Masters in Architecture from the University at Buffalo and comes to the firm from Boston Valley Terra Cotta.

Judith Fagin, PMP, has joined the firm as Business Development Manager. Judy has spent the majority of her career in project development and implementation and has worked in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. She has a Bachelor of Arts in art history from Tulane University, a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Miami, and did graduate work in Historic Preservation at Columbia University. She recently received her Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School.

See our full team here!

Marshall Sellers, AIA, Joins Vertical Access

Marshall Sellers, a registered architect in New York, has joined Vertical Access as branch manager of our New York City office.  Marshall earned his Master of Architecture from the University of Louisiana and brings 13 years experience working in architecture offices in New York and Louisiana on historic structures and building envelopes.   A SPRAT Level I certified rope access technician, Marshall is fluent in Revit, BlueBeam, Newfoma, Fieldlens, AutoCAD and other software.

To learn about the rest of our team, go here.

Kent, Berta, and Virginia Lorenta Co-Wrote A Children’s Book on Guastavino

Kent Diebolt and Berta de Miguel have written a children’s book, “Immigrant Architect”.  This book is an extension of the authors’ shared passion for the life and work of Rafael Guastavino Moreno and his son, Rafael Guastavino Expósito.

Illustrated and authored by Virginia Lorente and penned in the voice of the younger Guastavino, this book is geared toward children aged 7-10 and is “a firm foundation for building interest in architecture and a solid STEM resource”, according to the Kirkus synopsis and review: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/berta-de-miguel/immigrant-architect/

Slated for release April 7, 2020, pre-orders can be made now through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Vertical Access Purchases A New Fiber Optic Borescope

In an effort to offer clients the best possible services in challenging access situations, Vertical Access has purchased a new diagnostic borescope to replace our older video enabled borescope system that we bought 25 years ago. Vertical Access uses these devices to afford minimally invasive observations to seeing behind cladding materials as well as any other hidden spaces we are asked to investigate. This upgrade features on-board, all-in-one light source, video screen, and recording capabilities.

Modern day borescopes, which are more industrial versions of the endoscopes first created in the early 1800s[i], generally refer to any device that provides a view of what is going on within an inanimate structure through a small opening.

Borescopes originally referred to small diameter scopes with different angles of view for different applications, but it is generally assumed in modern applications that a camera and a light source are connected or included in the setup. The scopes are traditionally long rigid lenses (rigid borescopes) or flexible fiber optic varieties (flexible borescopes or fiberscopes). Some of the newer styles available simply have a video camera on the tip of a flexible cable. This particular variety is sometimes referred to as a videoscope because the camera sensor is permanently integrated into the system, but they are still covered under the general definition of a borescope.

Vertical Access’s newest tool is the Fluke DS703 FC Diagnostic Scope. This videoscope replaces our current setup, which was composed of an Olympus ILV-2 light source with Hawkeye lens scopes. This will complement a 200’ fiber optic scope called the SeeSnake® that Vertical Access still uses for applications such as drain investigations.

The old borescope: note the blue extension cord required for light source and video camera. The canvas bag tethered to the technician contains the light source box and other parts of the borescope set-up.

The Fluke DS703 FC Diagnostic Scope incorporates a 7-inch touch display screen with a 0 and 90 degree lens system on the end of a 4 foot flexible cable. It provides all of the capabilities of the old borescope system at a fraction of the size complete with wifi connectivity and 6GB of internal storage.

Vertical Access’s Fluke DS703FC High Resolution Diagnostic Videoscope.

The connectivity that is made possible by adding a mobile phone will have important implications for immediate feedback in the field. A technician on the ground will be able to connect and download what the technician on rope is seeing before the test location has been left, should there be questions about what else the client wants to see.

With the addition of an HDMI cable, Vertical Access will also be able to provide live video through the diagnostic scope. Most importantly, this new scope no longer requires an extension cord to power the light source. Coming in at 2 pounds, this fully integrated system will be a huge asset in the fieldwork to come.

A Vertical Access technician uses a diagnostic videoscope in a separated seam on the Illinois State Capitol building. Holes were also drilled through the sheet metal cladding in other areas to provide for further assessment. These same holes were very easy to patch later on to maintain the integrity of the façade post assessment. At the Illinois State Capitol, Atkinson-Noland & Associates loaned VA their videoscope during the investigation.

[i] https://www.olympus-global.com/technology/museum/endo/?page=technology_museum

Can You Guess the Building? Series No. 15

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

This National Historic Landmark was once the tallest building in the world, and was the tallest in its city for over 90 years. A taller building was built nearby in 1986, allegedly bringing a curse against the city’s professional sports teams. 

Where is it?

Answer: Philadelphia City Hall. This 548-foot-tall masonry building was designed in the Second Empire style by John McArthur Jr. and Thomas U. Walter and was the tallest building in the world from 1894 to 1908. The 37-foot-tall statue of William Penn, sculpted by Alexander Milne Calder, is still the tallest statue atop a building in the world.

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.

Andrew Broffman Joins Vertical Access

Andrew Broffman has joined Vertical Access. Before joining the team he has worked at height in the Challenge Course industry for over 5 years, facilitating and performing maintenance/inspections on courses and zip lines.

Andrew assists with AutoCAD and is a SPRAT certified Level I rope access technician. He graduated from Springfield College in Western Massachusetts majoring in Psychology and Adventure Education. He was also the Ropes Course Director at Camp Massasoit of the 2019 Season.

Patrick and Dan Reach New Heights!

Patrick at the Nebraska State Capitol

Patrick Capruso 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.

Patrick joins Kelly Streeter, P.E. and Mike Russell, EIT 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.

Dan at Philadelphia City Hall

Daniel Gordeyeva recently trained and was certified to Level I Rope Access Technician.

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.

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 at the time of writing is 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.  It has been the tallest building in Cambridge for over 50 years.

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.