CONSTRUCTION CENTRAL BLOG, JAN. 10: Demolition of Link nears end, foundation of new building next focus
Since the teardown of the Link began late in Fall Semester 2019, the physical signs of change and growth are much easier to see around the College of Engineering’s City Campus complex. This building project, which will add two new facilities to this footprint over the next three-plus years, is already transforming the daily lives of the people who work and study here.
With so much happening right now, and literally tons more coming, this blog is intended to give a quick update on the progress being made and provide some insight into how it’s being made.
There will be somewhat regular updates – I hope to be talking with the crew frequently and passing that information on through this blog, and even answering questions you might have about the construction (a form for submitting questions can be found on the right side of the Construction Central Blog home page).
Since there’s so much ground (pun intended) to cover with the construction underway, this entry will be a little longer than future ones, so grab a coffee, put up the foot rest on the recliner.
Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020
I talked with Devin Morris, superintendent for Hausmann Construction, on Wednesday (Jan. 8) to get the 411 about the work that has been completed, is taking place now and will be coming up.
Devin said, "Everything's going so perfectly right now," with the demolition work about a week ahead of schedule even after the site was shut down during Finals Week in December.
As of today, there is only a tiny amount of the Link that remains in place – a small section attached to Nebraska Hall that will be torn down in the coming weeks.
The three-man crew from Complete Construction Services on Tuesday started tearing down a three-story, brick-and-mortar stairwell on the north side of Scott Engineering Center – one in a forklift, one on the ground acting as a spotter and one in a bucket on a crane operating the remote control of the Brokk Model 90 robotic pneumatic jackhammer.
There are many ways they could have done this demolition, but Devin said safety and efficiency were the biggest factors in choosing this process.
“You would need many more people to do it by hand or with an excavator, and when you go up to a higher elevation, that poses a greater safety risk. You could be in an excavator, but you’re going to be much closer (to the falling debris) because of your angle of repose. You’d be right up on it. If you have a large piece come down, it could kill you. With this tool, there’s a guy in a forklift that’s scoping out 100 feet away, so the debris falls way over here away from him.
“When it comes to safety, you always try to engineer out the hazard. That’s why this really is the right tool for the job.”
The removal of the stairwell was expected to be finished on Friday (Jan. 10), bringing the demolition of the Link to near completion. That would be the first of five milestones in this project. Even with snow in the forecast for the weekend, Devin and the Hausmann team are upbeat about the progress they’ve made:
“Right now, we’re just finishing up the first of five milestones for the projects, and we’re doing really well,” Devin said. “But wintertime and wet weather scares everybody in construction. We’ll be OK with snow, if it’s not a lot of snow, but there’s so many more things affected by water than by cold – you can’t weld in your structural steel, you can’t place your concrete slab, you can’t roof. It’s been mild so far, and it would be great for that to continue.”
A look at the next four milestones, after demolition, in a nutshell:
- Starting next week, work on the foundation of the new building begins. That includes getting down to the subgrade by removing an existing mound – Devin called it moving “thousands of cubic yards of dirt” – which runs from near 16th Street on the west to the parking area a couple of hundred feet to the east, and from right up against SEC on the south side to a matter of yards from Nebraska Hall. The week of Jan. 20, a contractor will be on-site to install an earth retention system to help support the existing structure of SEC. This involves installing soldier piles and lagging, a common wall strategy in which H-shaped steel beams (“piles”) are drilled into the earth at regular intervals to support a wooden (“lagging”) wall that would remain in place until the new building is competed. It’s expected this step will be finished by late February, when construction of the new building’s structural foundation would begin.
- After that is completed, comes construction of the structure – including erection of structural steel, installing deck placements and skin sequences, such as curtain wall systems, masonry and precast concrete.
- The Dry In stage follows. This is when, Morris said, finishers start their work on electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems. This stage would include construction of the elevator in the new building.
- The final milestone is the punch-out list, which comes when the building is near completion and finishing touches are made. It’s expected the new building should be finished by Fall 2021.
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