GNCB attended the Grand Reopening of the Darien Congregational Church Meetinghouse following completion of the restoration of the Meetinghouse’s attic and roof. The Meetinghouse was closed to services in summer 2016 following GNCB’s discovery of major failures in the structural system during our condition assessment of the Congregation’s complex. GNCB is pleased that the attic and roof are stabilized and that the Congregation is once again able to occupy their Meetinghouse.
This project was undertaken due to failures in the bottom chord of the Meetinghouse’s modified queen-rod trusses. Two of the three truss bottom chords were split at the location of posts supporting the roof’s purlins and wind-bent frame. Evidence of two previous retrofit attempts indicated that the roof and attic framing were a source of concern for the Congregation for many years. In addition to the failures observed in the structure, GNCB discovered that the modern plaster and metal lath system were in the process of “unzippering” due to nail withdrawal from the attic floor framing.
Kronenberger and Sons Restoration (KSR) was hired to temporarily shore the failed trusses while the Congregation and GNCB deliberated the best option for restoring the Meetinghouse. It was decided to remove the existing attic floor framing and ceiling finishes, reinforce the existing primary framing, and reconstruct the attic at a constant elevation with improved capacity. KSR constructed a temporary work platform to protect the lower areas of the Meetinghouse while they worked above.
The truss bottom chords were reinforced with double channels set at a constant elevation level with the bottom of the most heavily deflected truss bottom chord. This option allowed removal of the columns currently supporting the roof framing off of the balcony framing – the result of a previous attempt at retrofitting the structure. The steel was brought into the Meetinghouse through one of the building’s windows and set on steel bearing plates pocketed into the brick masonry walls. Level attic framing was installed and the existing roof framing was reinforced for modern snow loading.
The steel-reinforced truss bottom chords are now boxed out and finished with a modern gypsum ceiling with crown-molding, matching the molding originally finishing the perimeter of the Meetinghouse’s ceiling. The Congregation took the opportunity to make improvements to the accessibility of the attic space and the lighting of the Meetinghouse.
GNCB believes that it is important to foster students’ interest in the fields of structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, and historic preservation. The firm is proud of its internship program which supports students at both the high school and college levels. This summer, Ms. Eleanor Phetteplace of Roger Williams University (RWU) joined GNCB as an intern. Ms. Phetteplace is an Engineering major, with a specialization in civil engineering, and is minoring in both Historic Preservation and in Mathematics. She began her internship in May ( GNCB Welcomes Eleanor Phetteplace ).
While working at GNCB, Ms. Phetteplace was given the opportunity to work with our engineers is all three departments. She was tasked with a wide range of assignments both in and out of the office. As her education and interests lean towards historic preservation, Ms. Phetteplace worked mostly on existing and historic structures where she was responsible for site surveys, condition assessments, structural calculations, writing reports, and drafting. Some of her historic projects included unreinforced masonry mill buildings, timber churches, a caisson foundation lighthouse and several academic buildings.
In addition to working with existing buildings, Ms. Phetteplace worked on new construction projects where she helped create 3D Revit models and determined dead and live loads on bearing walls for the design of spread footings. Additionally, she conducted research on Fall Protection standards in order to participate in the assessment of fall protection systems for a Massachusetts college.
With our geotechnical engineering department, Ms. Phetteplace participated in the soil investigation of a new hotel site in central Massachusetts. As she has not yet taken any soils-related classes, she found this assignment particularly interesting and looks forward to incorporating geotechnical courses into her curriculum as her education continues.
Ms. Phetteplace’s favorite aspects of this internship included gaining knowledge and experience with structures in the field during site surveys and construction administration. She believes that her new skills with Autodesk Revit and Risa-3D will be incredibly beneficial in her future as a structural engineer. She also enjoyed learning about the interaction between design team and construction team members at different project stages.
The Church of St. Michael the Archangel reached its next milestone this July with the installation of its new steeple. The steeple is a reconstruction of the original steeple based on archival photos of the civil-war era Church. The original steeple blew off the Church shortly after it was built, making its reconstruction an integral component of this Project.
The steeple is anchored to the structure with a series of bolts fastened through the octagonal base of the steeple and an octagonal angle frame designed by GNCB. The steeple is braced with chevron braces within its square base which is constructed with structural steel designed to accommodate the replicated tapering of the original steeple.
Phase 1 of the reconstruction of St. Michael Church will soon be completed. In addition to the installation of the steeple, the cold-formed steel shear walls are close to completion as the exterior cladding and stained glass windows are being installed. The east and west entrances and rear additions are in progress. Phase 2 of the project will include the interior fit-out and finishing of the Church.
This marks the second major milestone in the reconstruction of St. Michael. The first milestone, the raising of the first timber truss , was celebrated by the Parish with a truss-raising ceremony during which Bishop Michael Cote of the Diocese of Norwich blessed the first truss before its installation.
Architect: Geddis Architects
Construction Manager: Petra Construction
Steeple Fabricator: Campbellsville Industries, Inc.
Watch the videos of the steeple and cross installation.
GNCB recently provided geotechnical engineering and construction administration services for the recent renovation to Putnam High School located off of Woodstock Avenue in Putnam, CT. The project included classroom and library renovations and the addition of an expanded gym along the southeast side of the 1950s building. Other site improvements included expanding the parking areas, redirecting traffic and bus flow, and constructing retaining walls. The $36.6 million project was led by O&G Industries, of Torrington, CT, as construction manager.
GNCB’s services included a test boring program which revealed site conditions that consisted of thick sand and gravel. Previous site utility work resulted in deposits of man-placed fill at some areas. The man-placed fill required removal and replacement with compacted structural fill. The full extent of the fill was uncovered during construction, during GNCB’s field monitoring of building footing preparation. The deep cuts at the south end of the site for the new parking area enabled the on-site reuse of the excavated sand and gravel as structural fill.
Architect: Drummey Rosane Anderson (DRA Architets)
Construction Manager: O&G Industries
The Connecticut Cancer Foundation Headquarters in Old Saybrook, CT is close to completion. The Headquarters is GNCB’s latest “hometown” project. Throughout our 52 years in Old Saybrook, our structural engineers, geotechnical engineers, and historic preservationists have been involved in numerous Town projects including the elementary, middle, and high schools, the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, the stabilization of the Town Dock, and various residential projects.
The CT Cancer Foundation Headquarters consists of a 4,400 square foot addition to the Sanford House, an early 19th-century, timber-framed home. The addition consists of reinforced concrete foundations supporting a steel-framed first floor and a wood-framed superstructure.
GNCB designed a strong-back system for the perimeter of the Sanford House to allow removal of the first floor framing and increased headroom for the new Headquarters. The original House’s chimney was removed at the interior of the building and is supported and stabilized with a new engineered wood framing system.
GNCB served as Structural Engineer of Record for the Headquarters. Additionally, our firm provided historic preservation and special inspection services for this project.
Architect: Point One Architects
Construction Manager: Enterprise Builders, Inc