Civil and Structural engineering services were provided for the renovation of this 1820’s grange meeting hall from feasibility through construction. Following a lengthy process of grant applications and public approvals, this overhaul included repairs to the foundation, frame, roof, electrical and efficiency upgrades and exterior finishes all while keeping the building’s historic character.
Structural engineering services were provided to Vermont Integrated Architecture (VIA) for this green building multi-family community housing project in the heart of Bristol village. The residential units include both new, single-family homes as well as three multi-family units in existing historic buildings. The total square footage is approximately 10,500 SF. All buildings are slab on grade. This project won the 2018 Efficiency Vermont Best of the Best – Residential New Construction Affordability Merit Award and the 2018 Preservation Trust of Vermont Award – Outstanding Work in Preserving Vermont’s Architecture.
For this monumental project, EV assisted Engleberth Construction directly to provide an engineering solution to support the extensive scaffolding required to rehabilitate and re-guild the statehouse dome. Challenges included working around the existing historic timber truss roof structure as well as working with the time tested lime putty mortar masonry bearing walls to support these temporary loads. Ultimately, through extensive collaboration with ECI and coordination with existing conditions, a custom-fit solution was forged and executed successfully.
Sister projects performed concurrently with ECI included analysis and design to integrate the new statue (and current code loading) as well as reinforcing the existing stair which accesses the dome interior. Engineering Ventures was proud to be a part of such an important project in Vermont history and looks forward to finding solutions for unique projects in the future.
On August 28-29, 2011, Tropical Storm Irene rained down 3-5″ throughout the State of Vermont, with some areas receiving as much as 7″ of rain. The result was massive flooding and devastation of a magnitude not seen since the great flood of 1927. One of the hardest hit areas was the Waterbury Vermont State Campus, where more than 20 buildings were flooded and roughly 1,500 state workers were displaced.
As the floodwaters receded, the State of Vermont and Town of Waterbury immediately began work with FEMA and a team of consultants that evaluated several options including relocating State Offices to a greenfield site in Waterbury or elsewhere, the repair and return to the Waterbury State Office Complex or a partial reuse/restoration and new construction at the Waterbury State Office Complex. The State opted for the partial reuse/restoration and new construction at the Waterbury State Office Complex, which set the stage for several budget, schedule, permitting and engineering challenges.
The main challenge was that much of the Waterbury State Office Campus is located in the 100 year floodplain. The original Historic Core of the campus, built in the late 1800’s as the State Hospital, is situated on the edge of the 100 year floodplain, with the ground floor well below the 100 year flood elevation and the first floor just above the 500 year flood elevation. Since the 1927 flood, the campus had expanded behind the Historic Core, into the 100 year floodplain. The solution was to deconstruct the 20+ badly damaged and outdated buildings in the floodplain, fill the ground floor level of the Historic Core and restore it to its former glory and build a new office building and central plant behind the Historic Core, all above the 500 year flood elevation.
Through the Vermont Act 250 Land Use Permit process, deconstruction of the 20+ buildings (located within a campus on the historic register), was permitted on the condition of restoration of the original Historic Core Buildings. That effort included reintroduction of the historic porte-cochere, cupolas and other features, as well as opening the interior spaces, all of which required bringing the 125+ year old buildings up to current structural code. In addition, the first floor framing was removed and the ground level basement spaces were filled to get no open or occupied spaces below the 500 year flood elevation.
Because the settlement of the historic structure on the floodplain soils was a concern, the ground floor fill was a combination of light-weight Flowable Cellular Concrete Fill (FCCF) fill, that was sandwiched between steel fiber reinforced structural concrete layers. The innovative assembly functions both as a mat foundation to distribute building and fill loads to resist excessive settlements; and hydrostatic uplift pressures during future flooding events. This design, called ingenious by the project contractor and steel fiber supplier saved time by reducing extensive conventional reinforcing placement with steel fibers as it balanced soil pressures and buoyancy.
In addition, a new office building to house the majority of returning State Agency of Human Services employees and a new central plant to power and heat the campus were built. These buildings were also built above the 500 year flood elevation, requiring fill of up to 9ft above existing grade in some cases. The building structure uses a so-called special moment frame. In addition to providing lateral force resistance for the structure, it also functions to enhance structural durability for perimeter column loss in a catastrophic flood event from washout or floating collision. This fill in the flood plain required careful design and coordination across consultant team members and State Agencies to remove past fill and structures (including a dormant wastewater treatment plant) from the flood plain to evaluate and ensure that the Winooski River flood elevation would have no rise. In addition a stormwater treatment system and new flood proofed utility infrastructure for the campus was installed.
The entire project was authorized by the Vermont State Legislature which dictated a budget and schedule that could not be changed. A large team of consultants, contractors and Vermont State Buildings and General Services staff worked to see the project concept become reality, on budget and on time with substantial occupancy of the Campus by Agency of Human Services staff in December 2015… a bit more than 4 years after Irene.
The project has received the ACEC Vermont Grand Award for Special Projects as well as a Preservation Trust of Vermont Award for Outstanding Work in preserving Vermont’s Architecture.
Civil and structural services and permitting assistance have been provided for the demolition of an existing building and creation of additional parking and improved vehicular and pedestrian circulation, and the renovation of the building façade. The remaining facility will be converted from manufacturing to medical office, pharmacy, education, storage and light manufacturing, and features an innovative river water heat exchange system.
Permitting, civil and structural services are being provided for the renovation and additions to this North Country facility. The civil work includes the site layout plan, erosion prevention and control, water, wastewater, stormwater management, retaining walls, and utilities. Structural work has included a 10,000 sf Medical Office Building, and an addition for administrative services and a new classroom.
Working with the National Chapter of Engineers without Borders, and the local Non-Governmental Organization CII-Asdenic based in Estelí, Nicaragua, the Engineers without Borders Vermont Professional Chapter was able to design and help build a disinfection system for the village of Venecia.
Venecia is located in the north western part of the country and was established in 1984. The Village economy is based on organic coffee and timber production in a tropical highland climate situated at about 1200 meters above mean sea level (4000’). Just under 700 people live in approximately 175 homes. The water distribution system was originally designed for 95 people and the Village has experienced a water shortage issue affecting the clean potable water available for consumption as well as the availability for crop growth in the dry season.
In November of 2013, a team from Engineers without Borders Vermont (EBW – VT) visited Venecia to develop a relationship with the partners for the mission, collect data, and establish the goals for the project. Testing of the water supply revealed the presence of E.Coli and coliforms, and the water quality was determined to be the biggest issue.
In May of 2014 the team again visited the Village to strengthen relations with the community, and collect water hydrology data and distribution system data for analysis. The data was used to analyze the distribution system, develop disinfection alternatives, and prioritize potential projects. As for the water quantity the distribution system is hindered by a high point in the topography, “Punto Critico” which only allows two of the three water sources to reach the village.
Most recently the team visited Venecia in May 2015 to build and install a disinfection system consisting of a water meter, chlorine tablet feeder (CTI-8), and mixing tank with a sample port. The Team also distributed educational material to the local school and conducted a sanitary survey which gathered data about water use habits within the Village. Future work includes distribution system upgrades, and Critical Point excavation to improve the water transmission to the Village.
Engineering Ventures was a key volunteer sub-group in the EWB-VT team. Jeff Zweber preformed water distribution system analysis, Widge Currier produced profiles of water transmission main improvements, Bill Nourse designed and developed the structural drawings for the disinfection system platform, and Peter Gibbs helped the project management and participated on the November 2013 and May 2015 travel team to Nicaragua.
Peter commented about his experience “I had the honor to represent the Vermont Chapter of Engineers Without Boarders Vermont (EWB-VT) on two trips to Nicaragua. Together with the travel team we accomplished so much and helped the people of Venecia with basic public health issues. We hope to build on our relationships in Nicaragua and help more communities.”
The story surrounding the Lost Shul Mural begins in 1910 at the Chai Adam Synagogue in the north end of Burlington, where the population of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants had swelled to 800. The congregation at the Chai Adam Synagogue, built in the 1880’s, hired Ben Zion Black, a recent immigrant from Kovno, Lithuania to paint the synagogue in the artistic tradition of Eastern Europe, combining folk design and traditional Jewish symbols with more modern techniques. By 1939 the Chai Adam synagogue had merged with the Ohavi Zedek synagogue and the building changed hands a number of times.
By 1986, renovations to the building had destroyed all but the mural in the three sided turret of the original building when the building was sold yet again. Members of the Ohavi Zedek Synagogue led by Aaron Goldberg persuaded the new owner to hide the mural behind a wall until such time as plans could be executed to relocate it.
The mural stands eleven feet high, twenty two feet long and is nine feet wide. The Lost Shul Mural is a significant piece of folk art, given that World War II and the progression of time have all but eradicated the genre.
In 2010 the false wall was reopened and Architect Marcel Beaudin began the planning process along with Engineering Ventures, PC and Great Northern Construction, Inc. for the preservation and move. The existing turret was enclosed in a temporary structure with a removable roof so that work could begin on stabilizing and preserving the fragile mural. Enclosed in the temporary structure, the slate roof and wooden roof were carefully removed from the outside of the turret revealing the back of the mural.
MCC Materials was brought in to provide extensive experience with plaster and lath, and Constance Silver, Painting Conservator, was selected to provide preservation and restoration. The front of the mural was covered in mesh silk adhered with a removable facing adhesive to prevent flaking, and a layer of fiberglass mesh was applied to prevent the plaster and lath from pulling apart. Protective panels were constructed covered in foam and sealed with tyvek to minimize vibrations and protect the face of the mural from damage during the move.
A steel frame was designed to protect and encase the mural. Brought in through the temporary roof and sides, the frame was erected around the mural before cutting the mural and integrated roof structure from the building side walls. A 50 foot crane was used to remove the temporary roof and lift the mural out of the structure, where it was guided onto a flatbed truck and transported six blocks to its permanent residence on display in the foyer of the Ohavi Zedek Synagogue. In preparation of the display, the ceiling of the synagogue was prepared for the weight of the mural by installing two steel beams along with four suspension rods. Windows and doors facing the synagogue were temporarily removed to allow the mural to be wheeled into the foyer and suspended from the ceiling.
The mural was officially unveiled at the synagogue on Sunday, August 2, 2015, but there is still a significant amount of work to be done on the restoration of the painting itself, and fund raising is currently underway.
Engineering Ventures, PC was very proud to have provided the structural engineering for the momentous undertaking to stabilize, remove, relocate and install this very rare remnant of the Jewish faith in its new home at the Ohavi Zedek Synagogue.
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Design and analysis was provided for this 3,600 square foot timber framed barn with upstairs apartment. A traditional hand cut locally-sourced eastern white pine frame with white oak exterior elements was designed to provide lateral support so that the building could be clad with 1x wall and roof sheathing.
Structural engineering services were provided for the reconstruction of a circa 1830 English Style threshing barn that was lost to arson in 2008.
Engineering Ventures determined the adequacy of existing timbers after charring was removed with a drawknife.
EV worked with the timber framer to design historically appropriate joinery that would comply with the requirements of modern day codes.