In the past few years, New York City has seen an unprecedented of weather disasters, including Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Irene. Contractors and developers are now looking for new methods to protect buildings from harm in the event of future storms. New York City based Plaza Construction has designed a structure to accomplish this task.

The firm was was contracted by New Water Street Corporation to help develop a flood protection system for 55 Water Street, a 53 story, 3.5 million square foot building located near the Hudson and East rivers in lower Manhattan. The job was to “develop a flood protection system to guard against future storm surges that continue to be a major threat to the infrastructure of New York City and its neighboring communities,” says Richard Wood, president and CEO of Plaza Construction.  “Together with our partners, we created a simple, fast and easy solution in a modular set up, take down and store removable barrier flood protection system that is tested to withstand an 8-foot flood line, higher than 7-1/2 foot flood line recommended by FEMA.”

The total barrier length is 1,780 ft., and the 8-ft wall delivers 6.5 ft. of flood protection, which reaches the federally required level, plus an additional 1.5 ft. added as a safety margin. The interlocking beam design is water tight with rubber gaskets that slide into the retention grooves within the panel beams and vertical shoring posts. The beams, bolts and anchor plates were crafted withstand corrosion with repeated use.

When the flood protection system is not in use, the removable barrier is not visible, and as no effect on day-to-day operations. With the help of a 12-person crew, each side of the barrier can be put up in roughly two hours.