ICRI 1999 Project Award Winner
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Award of Excellence: Longevity Category

St. Nicholas Condominium
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Washington, DC

Submitted by Culbertson Restoration

St. Nicholas CondominiumIn the fall of 1988, the St. Nicholas Condominium engaged in a restoration program to restore four cast-in-place balcony tiers of drop beams, columns, and flat slabs. Problems associated with these balconies were primarily related to corrosion of the embedded rebar. The oxidation process was activated due to insufficient concrete cover over the rebar and water infiltration of soluble deicing salts. Flexural cracking was observed at numerous column lines, due to the development of negative movement, resulting from insufficient tensile steel.

In the rehabilitation of concrete structures, a contractor’s ultimate goal is to perform the repairs prudently in order to restore the structure to its original integrity while maintaining architectural aesthetics. Since the building had been constructed in the early 1900s, the owners were concerned with the project’s potential repair cost and resulting rate of return for extended balcony service life. After all, the performance of time-lasting restoration can be attributed to the attention to detail.

The unique aspect of this project was the painstaking research and review of available repair materials when the only established code in 1988 was titled “Building Code Requirements for Reinforced Concrete” by American Concrete Institute Committee 318. The St. Nicholas Condominium Balcony Repair is an interesting demonstration that attention to detail delivers extended structural service life and client satisfaction. This is demonstrated by the current condition of the St. Nicholas balconies. After ten years of exposure to the harsh conditions in the northeastern climate, the four balcony tiers stand firm in their vigilance resisting the forces of decay.

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