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Mechworks receives prestigious 2013 CAGC Pinnacle Award for exceptional performance on The Reconstruction of Chatham County Courthouse

Jan 05, 2016

From North Carolina Contruction News:

The historic Chatham County Courthouse, known to thousands as Chatham County's front porch, burned March 25, 2010. Carolinians and history buffs held their breath waiting to hear if it could be salvaged.

The entire roof structure and clock tower had burned through to the lower floors, which collapsed. While it was determined that the remaining masonry structure could be salvaged, the skeleton would require "kid glove treatment" in refurbishing damaged exterior brickwork.

The top of the walls were drilled and doweled with rebar and the walls capped with new masonry and concrete to extend higher. Thus, the new upper floors are partially supported today by the original masonry walls installed in 1881. A system of fans was placed in the building to help dry out the interior masonry walls; the building remained undisturbed for almost a year during this dry-out.

Once underway, interior reconstruction included a new steel-framed roof system, interior concrete floors, extensive millwork and all new finishes. Parts of the building would be returned to their original appearance, with remaining historical materials protected. Of course, the renovation also included installation of a fire suppression sprinkler system.

Debris removal was tedious, and all pine flooring and beams not permanently damaged were carefully removed and salvaged. To keep as much original detail as possible, modern HVAC, electrical sprinkler and plumbing systems were installed in 130-year-old areas not designed for such systems, often requiting customization. H.M. Kern's partnership with Mechworks was key.

Among the project's unique safety threats, the courthouse is located in the center of town, in the middle of a traffic circle, with continual traffic from two major highways bustling around it.

From the start, H.M. Kern entered into an agreement with OSHA's consultation services to ensure the safety of not only its workers but also the public, who became eager spectators as the project progressed. The result was no injuries, fatalities or citations.

Originally published June 15, 2014 at http://www.ncconstructionnews.com/2013-carolinas-a...



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