ICRI 2001 Project Award Winner
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Award of Excellence: High-Rise Category

Buchanan House Repair
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Arlington, Virginia

Submitted by C.A. Lindman, Inc.


Buchanan House Balconies

Owner
Charles E. Smith Companies
Arlington, Virginia

Project Engineer/Designer
Theobold Bufano & Associates
Washington, D.C.

Repair Contractor
C.A. Lindman, Inc.
Jessup, Maryland

Material Suppliers
American Stone Mix
Towson, Maryland

Mameco
Beachwood, Ohio

Sika Corporation
Lyndhurst, New Jersey

The Buchanan House is a 15-story upscale apartment property located just outside of Washington DC in the Crystal City section of Arlington, Virginia. Its proximity to Reagan National Airport, to the Pentagon, to the DC-area high tech corridor and to the nation's capital make the Buchanan House a popular address fro the military personnel, airlines employees, government workers and other professionals. The building is a 25-year old concrete structure with cast-in-place concrete balconies. 

Since its construction, Buchanan House had received very little exterior maintenance. Significant balcony deterioration problems were evident when it was purchased in 1908 by nationally-prominent developer and property manager The Charles E. Smith Companies. Shortly after the purchase, the new owner saw pieces of the pre-cast concrete balcony rails and balcony slabs break loose and fall to a heavily-trafficked sidewalk below. No injuries occurred due to the incidents, but repair measures were obviously necessary. In order to address these safety issues, and to bring the building up to their operating standards, the CE Smith Companies initiated a repair program to restore the structural integrity of the 367 balconies, and improve the appearance of the property.

The original pre-cast concrete rail systems were secured to the balconies by steel rail posts embedded in the slabs. Weathering of any sealant originally installed at the embeds had led to rusting and deterioration of the rail posts. Rust expansion of the posts in turn caused spalling of the rail post pockets, and eventually of the balcony slab edges. This spalling exposed reinforcing steel in the slabs, which also rusted, causing both more spalling and extensive cracking on the tops of the slabs. Visual inspection and sounding of balcony slabs indicated that the falling concrete incidents were not isolated occurrences, but were evident of systemic problems.

The renovation of the stadium was a three-year project, beginning in December 1998, with work being completed in stages so as not to interfere with the home games of the Ohio State Buckeyes. During the course of construction, much of which took place during the cold winter months, not one home game was cancelled or postponed. To get the stadium ready for both the 2000 and 2001 home openers, the work schedule was accelerated, but milestones were met.

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