Updates from GNCB

Major Milestone in Reconstruction of St. Michael Church

  • By GNCB
  • 12 Apr, 2017

Pawcatuck, CT

The Church of St. Michael the Archangel celebrated a major milestone in construction this April with the installation of the first timber truss. To commemorate this point in construction, the Church invited the St. Michael community and the project design and construction teams to attend a ceremony in which Bishop Michael Cote of the Diocese of Norwich blessed the first truss before its installation.

The parish decided to reconstruct their Church following GNCB’s discovery of extensive failures in the original Church’s scissor roof trusses in spring 2012. The new Church is designed to replicate the original’s layout and appearance, while providing major improvements to accessibility, community space, and aesthetics.

As Engineer-of-Record for this project, GNCB is responsible for the improvements and modifications to the existing foundations, reinforcement of the first floor framing, design of the lateral system of the Church using cold-formed-steel construction, and design of the Church balcony and rear addition. To-date, installation of concrete and steel in the lower level of the Church is complete. Construction now moves above ground with the installation of steeple steel and the timber trusses.

See the photos and video below to learn more about this project’s backstory and progress as well as the Truss Blessing Ceremony.

Architect: Geddis Architects

Construction Manager: Petra Construction

Timber Frame Designer and Contractor: Vermont Timber Works

Watch the Truss Raising Video

The original Church steeple blew off the structure shortly after its construction. The new Church will have a steeple replicated from archival photos.
Interior columns in the original Church blocked Parishioners’ views and cluttered the nave. GNCB’s investigation showed that these columns were not original to the structure and were an attempt to support the scissor roof trusses shortly after the Church’s construction. The columns were supported with lally columns in the Church’s basement.
View of the original Church’s roof and ceiling construction. The lightly-framed scissor trusses supported a lath and plaster ceiling. Failures in truss and roof members and connections were present throughout the attic space.
The original community room under the transept was cluttered with columns. Some of these columns were original supports for the first floor framing and some of them were supplementary columns added to support the added columns above under the roof trusses.
GNCB documented the original floor and wall framing through exploratory openings at the interior and exterior of the Church.
GNCB also provided geotechnical services on this project by performing test borings and test pits at the site. Test pits allowed GNCB to document the original stone foundations.
Petra Construction demolished the Original Church down to the first floor framing. This image shows the lightly-framed transept scissor truss.
The first floor girders are reinforced with steel to remove most of the columns from the community space. A concrete retaining wall was constructed under the nave to expand the Church’s mechanical and storage space. Reinforced concrete pilasters are in place around the foundation to support the new timber trusses.
The first of the timber trusses was installed on April 3, 2017. The timber trusses are supported on steel columns which are anchored to the new concrete pilasters and which will be concealed within the cold-formed-steel walls. The steel frame at the north of the Church is also in place to support the replicated steeple and balcony construction.
The new Church of St. Michael the Archangel (Revit model by Geddis Architects).
By GNCB 17 Nov, 2017

GNCB attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Sayebrooke Village Elderly Housing Expansion project this month. The project broke ground earlier this year and now contributes an additional 15 units to the highly popular complex on Sheffield Street.

The buildings are a mixture of single- and two-story wood-framed structures on concrete slabs-on-grade. GNCB provide structural engineering and geotechnical engineering services for the project. The expansion was a Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA)-funded project.

Architect: Wiles + Architects

Contractor: Haynes Construction

By GNCB 14 Nov, 2017

Ms. Zoe Laird of Ohio has been hired as a Design Engineer at GNCB. Ms. Laird graduated from the University of New Haven (UNH) this May with a Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering.

As a student, Ms. Laird was an active member of UNH’s student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) Concrete Canoe team, and was a member of the student chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).  

Ms. Laird’s senior design project was to design a four-story steel-framed boutique hotel with an underground reinforced concrete parking garage for UNH’s Hospitality and Tourism department. She performed much of the structural analysis and structural design for the building, and performed hand calculations to verify the computer model.

Past work experience includes an internship with the Ashtabula County Engineer’s Office in Jefferson, OH; tutoring entry-level engineering courses at UNH; acting as counselor for Camp GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science) at Ohio Northern University; and several summers at YMCA Camp Fitch holding various positions including Tech Focus Counselor.

By GNCB 30 Oct, 2017

Amy Jagaczewski , GNCB Engineer, attended this year’s Association for Preservation Technology International (APTi) Conference in Ottawa, Canada . This year’s conference, themed CAPITALizing on Heritage, was a joint conference between APTi and The National Trust of Canada in honor of Canada’s 150th Anniversary. Approximately 1100 delegates from over 20 countries attended, including engineers, architects, preservationists, owners, historians, students, craftspeople, and technicians.

The APTi Conference offered professional development opportunities sorted into seven tracks depending on attendees’ backgrounds and interests. Ms. Jagaczewski attended presentations on the investigation, analysis, planning, and design of heritage structures as well as case studies on successful implementation of structural and preservation engineering principles. Topics directly corresponding with current GNCB work included reversibility of retrofits for exposed structural framing, management and assessment of historic coastal structures, and practices for analyzing unreinforced masonry buildings in moderate seismic zones.

By GNCB 18 Oct, 2017

The Northampton Community Arts Trust began occupying their newly renovated building at 33 Hawley Street in Northampton, MA this fall. The prefabricated metal building was originally built in the late 1980s and required structural upgrades to support the new use and energy-efficient design. The 25,000 square foot building will be used by the Trust to support education, rehearsals, and performances for varying forms of art.

GNCB provided structural engineering and geotechnical engineering services for this project during the initial investigation, design phases, and construction phases. Structural work included supporting new design features as well as addressing deficiencies in the existing gravity and lateral framing systems for modern loads. Geotechnical investigations included interior soil excavations to confirm the layout of existing foundations and subsurface characteristics for the installation of a new elevator pit.

Improvements to the roof framing involved the addition of 50-foot long steel trusses supported on new steel columns at the centerline of the building. The new steel off-loads the original steel bent frames to meet modern building loads and allow the installation of solar panels and a future suspended catwalk system for the black box theater. Steel x-braces were installed between the new and existing perimeter building columns to improve the building’s lateral system. GNCB also provided structural designs for the monumental stair and mezzanine and the new front entrance vestibule.

Architect: Thomas Douglas Architects

Contractor: D.A Sulivan & Sons, Inc.

Steel Fabricator and Erector: Dublin Steel Corporation

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