Updates from GNCB

GNCB Names Charles Brown President

  • By GNCB
  • 24 Feb, 2017

Old Saybrook, CT

GNCB Consulting Engineers, P.C. names Charles Brown, P.E. its new President. Brown, previously Vice President, replaces Kenneth Gibble, P.E. who retired from GNCB last December following 45 years of practice.

Brown brings with him over 35 years of experience as a structural engineer. His career includes the design and oversight of a multitude of projects including educational facilities, hospitals, and museums. A few of his recent projects include the Cornell Law School Expansion in Ithaca, NY; St. Katharine Drexel Chapel at Xavier University in New Orleans, LA; the renovation of the Henry Ruthven Monteith Building at UCONN’s Storrs Campus; the new West Beach Facilities Building at Hammonasset Beach; and the elevation of the Watch Hill Yacht Club in Westerly, RI. He holds B.S. and M.Eng. Degrees from Cornell University in Civil and Environmental Engineering, and is a licensed Professional Engineer in CT, MA, NY, NH, and RI.

GNCB provides structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, and historic preservation services throughout the country in a variety of sectors. The firm has been based in Old Saybrook, CT for 52 years. When asked how he feels about taking over leadership, Brown stated:

"For as long as I can remember, the engineering of building things has been my passion. From the smallest consult to a large complex facility, each project brings with it challenges that make this profession so very rewarding. I am excited and honored to help lead GNCB as we move into our next 50 years of providing innovative solutions to our clients."


Cornell University Law School Expansion, Phase 1, Ithaca, NY:  The Cornell Law School Expansion, Phase 1 included the renovation of the existing 1930s Myron Taylor Hall and the new design and construction of an underground lecture-room addition. The expansion consists of steel framing supported by concrete foundations. The 54-foot, clear-spanning structure was designed to support a green roof and traffic loading . The renovation of Myron Taylor Hall included underpinning foundations to provide a new sub-grade story at the same elevation as the addition. To facilitate the design, GNCB designed and monitored shoring efforts for the multiple upper library stack levels to ensure continued integrity of the historic structure. This is a LEED Platinum Project and the winner of the Boston Society of Architects Educational Facilities Award, the AIA-Southern NY Design Award, and the SCUPI/AIA_CAE Excellence in Architecture Award. Architect: Ann Beha Architects . Contractor: Welliver .


Xavier University St. Katharine Drexel Chapel, New Orleans, LA : New 12,000 square foot, masonry structure with a steel-framed truss roof and is supported on a reinforced concrete slab and 65-foot long friction piles. The building is located on a site that is on axis with the original campus quadrangle where Pope John Paul II spoke in 1987. Characteristic of many other Xavier campus buildings, the Chapel’s copper roof will slowly oxidize and turn green. The Chapel is LEED Silver Certified and is the winner numerous awards including the 2013 AIA-New Orleans Design Award , the 2014 AIA-CT Design Award, and the 2016 AIA Religious Art & Architecture Award. Architect: Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects . Contractor: Landis Construction Co., LLC .


University of Connecticut Henry Ruthven Monteith Building Renovation, Storrs, CT : This project is a $17 Million renovate-as-new project for UCONN’s 1959 academic building. The steel and masonry structure was seismically retrofitted to allow modification of interior spaces for the new, LEED Silver Certified space. Architect: Perkins Eastman . Contractor: KBE Building Corporation


Hammonasset Beach State Park West Beach Facilities, Madison, CT : New timber-framed structure with deck and boardwalk to support the Park’s service needs. Architect: BH+A . Contractor: Lawrence Brunoli Inc.


Watch Hill Yacht Club, Westerly, RI : On-going elevation of existing structure to lift it out of the floodplain. Pictured are recordings of blow-counts for new steel H-piles. Architect: Burgin Lambert Architects . Contractor: A/Z Corporation .

By GNCB 18 Aug, 2017

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.

By GNCB 08 Aug, 2017

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.

Steeple Installation Video

Cross Installation Video

By GNCB 07 Aug, 2017

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

By GNCB 24 Jul, 2017

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

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