Building Envelope Repairs for Local Façade Ordinance
The City of Philadelphia passed a façade ordinance that requires inspection and repair of older facilities. Originally constructed in 1930 as the Girard Trust Building, the Ritz Carlton Hotel was a part of the first year of implementation due to the age of the building and historical landmark status.
PULLMAN was contracted to assist with the façade survey to determine what repairs may be needed along with historical preservation methods. Inspections revealed that the building’s exterior wall was in need of life safety repairs because of areas of marble falling off the building. The parapet wall, in particular, required immediate repair and a sidewalk canopy was installed to protect pedestrians.
Because of PULLMAN’s involvement in the inspection phase and proposed access plan that minimized disturbance to hotel guests, the team was awarded the contract to perform the building envelope repairs.
One of the biggest challenges was working on the facility while it was occupied which provided a very limited staging area. The detailed access plan, developed by PULLMAN, included the use of a mast climber positioned on the West Elevation. This provided an additional laydown area and an easier method to unload roof debris and load and transport new construction materials. Once the access plan was detailed and ready for safe implementation, façade repairs began.
The façade repairs required panel stabilization through installation of new mechanical masonry anchors to stabilize the marble veneer. Where the existing marble veneer panels were displaced, PULLMAN crews carefully removed the masonry panel, shored the unsupported masonry, and replaced damaged or cracked stone masonry to match what existed.
Deteriorated and spalled marble was removed using chipping hammers and saws. Crews installed stainless steel pins and areas were patched with Jahn repair mortar to match the profile of the existing masonry.
The parapet wall reconstruction involved the removal and replacement of copper coping, inside copper sheathing, and counter-flashing. The top two courses of the two-wythe masonry backup wall were also removed and replaced.
PULLMAN removed existing waterproofing membrane at the balconettes, cleaned the horizontal and vertical surfaces of the balconettes, and installed a waterproofing system. Additional repairs were performed on the cast iron handrails.
The PULLMAN team successfully completed repairs on time to bring the building back to a safe condition while maintaining and preserving the historical architectural details.