ICRI 2011 Project Award Winner
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Award of Excellence: Masonry Category

906 Grand Building Masonry Repairs
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Kansas City, Missouri

Submitted by Structural Engineering Associates

906 Grand

UMB Bank
Kansas City, Missouri

Project Engineer/

Structural Engineering Associates
Kansas City, Missouri

Repair Contractor
Western Waterproofing
Kansas City, Missouri

Material Suppliers/

LK Custom Fiberglass
Maryland Heights, Missouri

Architectural Stone Products
Independence, Missouri

The Rialto Building was constructed in the early 1920s on Grand Avenue in Kansas City, MO. The building was constructed of a structural steel frame with multi-wythe brick and an ornate terra cotta envelope, which was typical of “transitional-age” construction.

Deteriorated mortar joints and leaks in gutters allowed moisture to enter the cavity of the cornice. Exposure to moisture promoted corrosion of the structural steel framing, leading to more damage to the terra cotta units. This process led to extensive corrosion of hangers and pins supporting individual terra cotta units. Also suffering extensive corrosion was the structural steel framing supporting the entire cornice.

Initial testing and investigation was performed to consider different repair options. Working with the contractor, the design engineer developed options for repair and associated construction costs. The final repair used fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) panels to replicate the appearance of the existing cornice.

The contractor designed and installed a custom scaffolding system that canti­levered out of the 11th story of the building, providing a two-story working platform to remove and replace the terra cotta cornice.

Latex forms were fabricated 12 stories above the sidewalk level to exactly match the terra cotta being removed. The structural steel was sandblasted and coated with a high-performance coating to retard future corrosion. Deteriorated steel members were replaced or strengthened. FRP panels were installed to provide an exceptional match to the existing terra cotta. The use of the FRP panels allowed the owner to economically repair the cornice while maintaining an exact appearance match. Additional individual units of terra cotta were replaced with cast stone, which was coated to match the terra cotta glazing.

This project used the team approach, where the owner, engineer, and contractor all worked together to complete a complex project.

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