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2015FallShotcreteEMag

Shotcrete Corner The Energy Innovation Center By Ted Sofis Fon “The Hill,” as it is locally known, over- with a steep slope below and then another wallfacing a cliff. Behind the old building was adeteriorated wall at the rear base of the structure,or many years, the Connelley VocationalSchool stood at the top of Bedford Avenue looking downtown Pittsburgh, PA. The vocational with a 100 ft (30 m) straight drop down to the school was where the City of Pittsburgh Public busy highway, Bigelow Boulevard. Access was School students learned auto repair, welding, restricted and the original wall had been cast-in- carpentry, and other trade skills. Over the past few place before the building was built. The engineers years, this massive complex with its classrooms wanted the wall replaced, but due to access and workshops has undergone a complete trans- problems, such a solution would be prohibitively formation to serve a new role as the Energy expensive. Michael Renna, the Project Manager Innovation Center. The project involved the for Mascaro Construction, stated that the original renovation and reconfiguring of the structure and wall was part of the foundation and its removal the adjacent workshop areas to adapt it to meet and replacement was not a viable option. So they the needs of a modern twenty-first-century looked at other possibilities and after some building (refer to Fig. 1). The purpose of the consideration, decided to install pin piles and renovation was to provide firms with both office rehabilitate the wall with shotcrete. and developmental facilities and to serve as an Sofis Company was asked to look at the project incubator for energy-based startup companies. and price a shotcrete repair. Again, the access The general contractor, Mascaro Construc- presented problems. The slope was too steep for tion, faced a long list of challenges over the conventional scaffolding and there was no access course of the renovation work, one of which around the building for equipment, so it would involved the wall overlooking the Allegheny not be possible to use access equipment such as River, the Strip District, and Lawrenceville man-lifts. With nothing above to attach cables to, below. The old school building was built on the the best option was to use outriggers to hang our top of the hill, with the back of the building swing stages from. The outriggers with counter weights were carried down the building’s stair- wells to a back door in the rear of the old school. After the outriggers were put in place with the appropriate counterweights, the swing stages were hung in place (refer to Fig. 2 through 5). The next step involved chipping out the dete- riorated concrete, preparing the substrate, and installing anchors and mesh. By using dry-process shotcrete for the repair, we were able to efficiently transport material around to the back of the building. A prepackaged shotcrete repair mortar, Shotcrete MS, manufactured by Quikrete, was used on the project. With the logistical issues out of the way, the shotcrete placement work pro- ceeded and the wall repairs were completed. The shotcrete repairs to the wall will give the old wall an extended functional life. The renova- tion of an old school building and its transforma- tion into the Energy Innovation Center will Fig. 1: The building complex has undergone extensive renovations to provide efficient and affordable space for new transform it into the Energy Innovation Center and will serve as an start-up businesses in the coming years. In addi- incubator for energy-based startups tion to the obvious advantage of being able to 50 Shotcrete • Fall 2015


2015FallShotcreteEMag
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