Just south of the University of Texas in the heart of Austin you can find the Lyndon Baines Johnson State Office Building, which is home to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Since its construction in 1968, this state government building is one of many named after the 36th President of the United States and is located a few blocks from the State Capitol Building and the Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium where the Longhorns play football.
During the summer of 2012, significant wear and tear issues on the 45 year-old building became apparent and needed to be addressed. This high-rise structure, complete with elongated concrete shade devices made of clad with granite panels, began to experience pieces of the exterior falling from the building causing major concern for pedestrians below. Overhead protection was immediately installed around the building to protect passersby. Chamberlin was asked by the consultant, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. (WJE), to provide access and assist with the survey of the exterior skin of the building.
Getting Ready for Game Day
At the conclusion of the exterior survey, it was recommended that the damaged concrete precast panels be repaired. In August of 2012, Chamberlin was asked to immediately begin concrete repairs to the north side of the building. The challenge was the team had to be complete before September 1st, which meant exterior cleaning would need to be finished at another time. Damaged concrete was removed down to the rebar and repaired. The sidewalk and street on the north side of the building is used for tailgating during the Longhorn football season and scaffolding was required to be down in time for the first home game. As a result of the extremely tight schedule, adjustments were made to work six to seven days a week and have up to 15 installers on site at a time to ensure the concrete repair work and rust-inhibiting anode installation kept up with schedule. During the last week, Chamberlin work crews went above and beyond the call of duty working 14 hour days to guarantee the deadline was met.
“Foreman, Jeff Dittrich and Superintendent, Dave Edwards, worked extremely hard and long hours to make sure Chamberlin finished the work on time,” said Patrick Halaszyn, Chamberlin Operations Manager. “The tight timeline was the biggest challenge and they executed it very well.”
When it was time for Longhorn tailgating, work moved to the south side of the building to continue the concrete repairs. Like the work that took place on the north side, damaged concrete was removed and repaired while anodes were installed inside the concrete and cathodic protection was tied to rebar to prevent corrosion. As the concrete work wrapped up, Chamberlin then proceeded to cut out and recaulk the granite panel joints and window perimeters. Surface preparation took place including pressure washing the building as well as wet glazing all windows before the elastomeric coating was applied to the exposed precast panels to help protect the sunshades from future damage. Only cleaning and caulking was required on the east and west sides of the building.
Once football season was over, Chamberlin returned to the north side of the building to complete the work which included wet glazing all windows and the removal and replacement of all joint sealants. Over 100,000 linear feet of sealants were replaced by Chamberlin crews over the life of the project.
Work Access Area
The unique structure of the building made some areas of work difficult to reach. To help with this task, four swing stages were utilized with special baskets extending out from the stage to access the building. Sunshades, also known as “eyebrows” protrude from the building which caused the swing stage cables to sit on the outside of the shades making an unreachable distance from the stage to the building. This required boom poles to extend several feet away in order to install sealant at the windows and at certain areas on the granite. A portion of the work area was limited to what could be reached from the three-foot platform, and only two platforms could be used per stage which needed to be moved repeatedly to access the work area. This unique task called for a well-executed safety plan. Ensuring all personnel were tied off and following correct procedures was a continuous responsibility. Safety is not only strongly enforced, but it has become second nature for the Chamberlin team.
“Edwards, Dittrich and the Chamberlin crew were great to work with. They knew how to overcome challenging conditions and responded quickly to any issues,” said Keith Simon, Associate III, with WJE. “Safety is taken seriously with Chamberlin and that is very much appreciated.”
Time was not necessarily on Chamberlin’s side during the work on the LBJ State Office Building, but having a committed team made the difference in meeting the tight deadline.
“We enjoy doing work with Chamberlin and hope to continue working with them in the future,” said Simon.