Building Ascent: Chapter 7

April presented unique challenges for the Ascent Innovation building project due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Scull Construction took strong precautionary measures in order to adapt to the restrictions. Every morning, each crew member was subjected to a health screening where they had their temperature taken and answered several questions. Afterward, they got a sticker to place on their hard hat. One thing that wasn't difficult to manage was social distancing. "We have very few people working right now and it's a several-acre site, so keeping people separate is not an issue," Thomas Palm explained. 

The focus this month was getting the Area B structural steep up. National Crane supervisor/foreman Zackery Bowers said, "The biggest thing is getting it plumb." This involves starting on a column and going down the line to see which direction the columns have to move. A cable is put out and the columns are pulled until they are plumb. 

One interesting facet of the work at this point is the fact that the building is still moving. "You'll be up there and you'll feel it," Zack said. "Once you start welding the deck down and torquing everything, it gets rigid. They designed this one to be extra rugged, I can promise you that." 

The most important priority for Zack and his crew is to be safe, pay attention, and watch what they're doing. "It's gone well considering everything that's happening right now," he concluded. 

The big steel beams go up very quickly, but all the rest takes time. There are virtually endless numbers of pieces of steel of various sizes, lengths, widths, and weights that need to go all around the building—especially the south and west sides, with the prominent, swooping roof line. "There is a lot of steel that is curved; it's 30 feet in the air, and it has to go in at an angle," Thomas Palm explained. "It's quite a process that, from the casual look, goes very quickly and then it's like all of a sudden, wow...nothing's happening. It's really the 'nothing's happening' part where most of it happens."

As much as the building was starting to take shape in April, the steel work isn't done yet. Thomas and his crew are expecting another seven or eight semi-loads of steel to be delivered. 

"For months and months we've been planning to get to this point," he said, "So now we're looking ahead at the next big phases of the project, which are getting the concrete down on the deck and the floor slab, and starting on the steel framework that goes around all the structural steel. That has to be there before we can start any of the exterior work on the building. That'll be exciting to see!"


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