Building Ascent: Chapter 4
With the dawn of a new year, Scull Construction was heavily involved in working on the elevator and stairwell pad. Once that was complete, concrete walls were poured and the framework of the building began to take shape.
January saw the arrival of 2,500 tons of engineered fill, which is different than standard fill because it compacts properly. Robert Snyder with Site Work Specialists explained, “Moisture content, compaction, rock density, it all goes together. Compaction is important because if you don’t compact anything, your building is going to rip itself apart. If subgrade settles, concrete will settle, steel will settle. That’s why we get FMG out here to test it; that way we know we’re 100 percent correct.”
Alex Fisher with FMG Engineering elaborated further. Soil, gravel, and other building materials all compact at a certain density and have a specific moisture content at which they are able to achieve their maximum density. “We work with the contractor to achieve a very tight range within that optimal moisture content so that the effort they put into compacting the soil is most efficient,” he said. “That’s a big role that we have when it starts to get cold—working with the contractor as a team to get those materials placed correctly.”
Albertson Engineering arrived onsite in January to perform structural engineering. According to Justin Kepler, structural engineering provides the skeleton of the building. It holds everything up and in place, from the foundation to the roof. The grade beam, spanning between the pile caps that are connected to the top of the piles, is especially important. “The grade beam transfers the load from pile to pile versus a regular footing, which spreads it down to the ground directly below,” Justin said. “This building is designed to be around for a long time.”