Union Station Seismic Repairs to Vaulted Plaster Ceiling Winner of 2017 WBC Craftsmanship & Star Awards

Winterbottom Union Station CROPPED

In March 2017, the Washington Building Congress awarded both Hayles and Howe, Inc. and Norwood Environmental Systems each with a Craftsmanship Award in their respective categories of Plaster and HVAC-Sheet Metal.

In addition, the WBC Craftsmanship Award Judges conveyed the highly coveted Star Award for Excellence in the Face of Adversity to Hayles and Howe for their exceptional work in the execution of solutions used to restore and stabilize the damaged ceiling in the main hall of Union Station. It was noted, that the supporting structure of the glorious coffered ceiling was weakened by the 2011 earthquake. Pieces of the ceiling began to break and fall into the main hall of the train station. Technical excellence was represented by the way the Hayles and Howe craftsmen worked with structural engineers and architects to create seismic bracing to protect the ceiling from future earthquake damage. The difficulty of execution in this project was to repair the enormous ceiling in the main hall without shutting the station down. In order to keep the patrons safe from the work going on above them, Hayles and Howe built an enclosure around the scaffolding. Quality of craftsmanship was found in the precision applied to the repair of each damaged coffer. With these techniques the historic ceiling was returned to its original splendor.

Additional Project Team Members include Construction Manager – Jones Lang LaSalle; Architects – Gensler and John Bowie Associates; and MEP Engineer – GHT Ltd.

Project Background

Following the 2011 Mineral Earthquake, McMullan provided a Safety Assessment Inspection. Large cracks in the Main Hall Ceiling were identified as needing immediate repair and the original supporting hangers were found to be deteriorated. McMullan recommended a two-pronged approach: A detailed non-structural component seismic evaluation of the ceiling leading to construction documents for retrofitting, and an ASCE 31 evaluation of the entire building in accordance within the requirements of the Standards of Seismic Safety for Existing Federally Owned and Leased Buildings (RPF8) for Immediate Occupancy performance. The building, constructed in 1907, has more than 500,000 sf of load bearing masonry and steel truss framing, and serves as a vital transportation hub for Washington.

McMullan then teamed with Forell/Elsesser Engineering to access the building structure for Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3. McMullan provided the Tier 1 assessment and an extensive material testing program to determine the in-situ strengths of the steel and masonry. F/E used the material strengths in a Tier 2 and subsequent Tier 3 analysis. The Tier 3 Analysis resulted in a reduction in the number of potential deficiencies identified by Tier 2. Recommendations for strengthening were developed that follow ASCE 41-31 guidelines including the connection of the roof diaphragm to the bearing wall at the Main Hall.