Facade restoration, the maintenance or repair of a building’s exterior, is becoming more important as our cities’ buildings age. O’Donnell & Naccarato created an in-house facade restoration division in the early 1980s in response to the Philadelphia area’s under-served needs. Our capabilities are comprehensive, encompassing traditional load-bearing masonry walls, modern curtain-wall facades, roofs, windows, and underlying structural elements impacting facade aesthetics and performance.
The conservation and effective repair of facades depend upon an intimate familiarity with any material’s nature, the pathology of deterioration, and encyclopedic knowledge of repair technology and available craftsmen. As water is the primary cause of facade deterioration, especially for stone buildings, water management expertise is fundamental. Mass wall systems must be allowed to breathe, cavity wall systems must drain, and barrier wall systems must be sealed. Repairs for each can be drastically different. The interaction of building components (roof, parapets, windows, doors, etc.) must also be understood.
We have extensive experience in the full range of cladding materials:
Traditional terra cotta
We are also experienced in more contemporary complements of glass, steel, aluminum, EIFS, and reinforced concretes.
We offer a plethora of facade restoration services to our clients. Our engineers are highly experienced and qualified in a range of restoration and engineering services, from preventive maintenance to restoring a building envelope or the building facades themselves. Below are some of the services we provide.
Facade investigations and condition surveys
Design of new and replacement facade systems
Completion of work during full facility occupation
Emergency stabilization & repair service
Development of project budgets
Design, monitor and phase immediate and long-term facade repairs
Construction administration services
We use the latest technologies to improve efficiency and reduce costs, such as creating and maintaining digital archive files of original building drawings. This allows us great agility and economy in responding to routine maintenance and emergencies. Our knowledge of repair techniques is comprehensive, including innovations such as mechanical and coating stabilization systems and pressure-equalized rainscreen (PER).
In addition to our design services, we have built long-standing relationships with local, qualified restoration contractors and material representatives, ensuring project coordination, quality workmanship, and immediate response to emergencies.
The unique dynamics of masonry buildings, like facade restoration, demand specialized forensic engineering skills when maintenance or restoration work becomes necessary. Understanding the dynamics of water infiltration through masonry and moisture retention, dissipation, and deterioration scenarios within the wall, are essential for proper diagnosis and remediation. Period construction techniques, such as a lack of vertical expansion joints, horizontal soft joints, or other stress relief measures, reduce a building’s ability to resist stress within a wall.
Another critical factor in masonry restoration is to interpret the exterior presentations of decay properly. Spalling, cracking, delaminating, and displacement so that the true underlying conditions are revealed enable repair designs that do not mask the formative causes of decay but significantly extend the useful life and enhance a masonry building’s performance.
Professional masonry restoration engineers understand how improper inspection and repairs can seriously advance a building deterioration scenario from a simple maintenance item to a catastrophic structural situation.
Our experience in the historically-rich environs of Philadelphia has given our firm and engineers a deep understanding of masonry restoration complexities. The team has built up a vast array of knowledge, skills, and tools to bring incredible value to building owners in need of this highly specialized work on modern or historical buildings.
Our typical masonry restoration services start with a visual review of the exposed facade components. Following our review, we prioritize repair recommendations and provide an engineering opinion of cost for each phase. As the owner authorizes each phase of repairs, our office will prepare construction documentation for bidding and provide construction administration services through project completion.
Facade restoration and restoration engineering, particularly on historical structures, is a highly specialized branch and outgrowth of structural engineering. Construction methods, building systems, and materials in much of our building inventory are generally not known or taught in contemporary schools of engineering. Our 40 years of experience with numerous and diverse examples of vintage structures is almost irreplaceable. We have the unique ability to apply modern engineering principles in the restoration of such historical structures.
While an antiquated building may be structurally safe, if the building and engineering system are misunderstood, repairs may very well undermine the structure’s integrity. Our extensive portfolio of historical restoration projects assures owners and clients that their unique property is in the hands of knowledgeable and sensitive professionals.
Restoration engineering at O’Donnell & Naccarato grew naturally out of our core structural engineering design services. Underserved needs of the Philadelphia marketplace’s extensive historical commercial structures became apparent in the late 1970s. Restoration extends beyond structural expertise. Restoration engineering encompasses a blend of skills and understanding of architecture, manufacturing, materials science, project management, and construction techniques. Fundamentally, problem-solving is the driver behind competency and innovation.
Some of the restoration services we provide include the following:
Condition surveys, including visual inspection and materials testing
Analysis of root causes of distress and deterioration
Recommendations for/design of repair, including bid documents
Management of repairs with long-term monitoring and QC
O’Donnell & Naccarato provides facade restoration and restoration engineering services across a broad swath of the commercial sector: mid-rise and high-rise office buildings, parking garages, medical facilities, residential towers, and life-care and academic campuses. Whether it is eliminating safety hazards, correcting structural deficiencies, upgrading appearance, or eliminating water infiltration, our restoration engineering department is known for our detailed and thorough designs as well as prioritized phasing, limiting change orders, and providing clients with exceptional service, value, and end-product quality.
To keep your building’s façade beautiful, functional, and valuable, reach out to O’Donnell & Naccarato. O’Donnell & Naccarato provides many services related to facade restoration and engineering. We specialize in structural engineering and design, and have decades of experience working with various structural engineering projects. Contact us at 1-800-607-7284, or reach out to one of our offices.