Best Safety: New York State Capitol Building Restoration, Contract C

The team tackling Contract C of the New York State Capitol Building Restoration project was well aware of the basic safety compliance mandates for an undertaking of this scope. But what impressed Best Projects safety judges the most was the team's application of these practices. The project, the judges said, is an example of risk prevention by design "at its best."

That meant that possible safety risks were scrutinized and addressed well before any worker picked up a tool to begin the fourth and final phase of restoration work on this 114-year-old structure, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1979.

The project included addressing the building's chronic leakage problems and repairing the oldest and most deteriorated sections of the building—the Assembly and Senate staircases, the east roof and east facade. The team worked while the building remained open to the public and legislative offices—located adjacent to and above the job site—remained active.

The roof repair, in particular, was complicated and included decorative terra-cotta elements; slate and copper; and granite. The team was tasked with restoring two skylights; installing two laylights; renovating Tower Hall; removing asbestos; and renovating the fifth floor.

Contractors developed intricate scaffolding methods and access plans, including using four hydro-mobile platforms with two 4,000-lb hoists for materials delivery on one tower that allowed materials to be delivered to the fifth floor access point.

A third materials hoist was used when the tower crane was in use. The team built a delivery platform into the existing fifth-floor window opening and equipped it with safety rails to guide the crane operator in landing materials. The materials receiver, while harnessed to the building, used a tethered hook to pull in the load and steel rollers for ease in moving the material.

Putting in nearly 400,000 hours of work, the team maintained a 99.6% safety score.

One of the forward-thinking measures taken on this project was the establishment of crane inspections outside of normal intervals. "This was an expensive step but priceless in risk elimination [because the team] found cracking in the crane—before the failure," one judge said.

"This project had multiple and significant risk exposures," said another safety judge. However, these were "mitigated by design, pre-planning and a proactive safety management system [on a project where] many things could have gone wrong but didn't."

New York State Capitol Building Restoration, Contract C, Albany, N.Y.

Key Players

Owner/Developer New York State Office of General Services

Prime General Contractor Consigli Construction Co.

Lead Designer Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

Structural Engineer Clark Engineering & Surveying PC

Lighting Design Domingo Gonzalez Associates

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