Structural Assessment Provides Detailed Repair Scope for Georgetown University

Structural Assessment Provides Detailed Repair Scope for Georgetown University

June 15, 2023

Situated along the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., Georgetown University’s campus features a wide variety of academic and residential structures that have been constructed over its 234-year history.

Each of the 61 campus structures—from the 1792 National Historic Landmark Healy Hall to the 2016 LEED Gold certified Pedro Arrupe S.J. Hall dormitory—are uniquely designed to capitalize on the multifaceted terrain of the area and to support student learning and living. Because the campus holds a variety of facility types, the University required a comprehensive picture of maintenance, repair, and restoration needs to anticipate the service life of each building as well as a detailed profile regarding possibilities for expansion.

The task of deciding which problems to address first, and where to best allocate limited resources was further complicated by incomplete or missing information on building conditions across campus.

HIGHLIGHTS
  1. Diagnostics Study
  2. Assessed 61 Structures
  3. Provided Direction for Remediation

In 2021, Walter P Moore’s Diagnostics Groups in Washington, D.C. and New York worked together to perform a campus-wide structural and building enclosure assessment for Georgetown University. Unlike a typical assessment scope, Walter P Moore adapted their approach to specifically align with the University’s need to develop a long-term capital investment strategy.

“Ultimately, the University’s team understood Walter P Moore was well-suited to perform this evaluation due to the firm’s expertise in historic preservation, historic masonry repair, enclosure diagnostics, and structural diagnostics related to traditional and modern higher education construction,” says Steven Treser, principal and managing director for Walter P Moore’s Diagnostics Group in Washington, D.C.

The schedule established with the University’s facilities team was ambitious, including assessing three to four buildings per week. Each building assessment included reviewing the existing documents, interviewing facilities personnel, visually surveying both the interior and exterior, and documenting distress and deterioration.

Walter P Moore streamlined their workflow process to share site notes and photos from the on-site staff to in-office team members, compressing the lag time between each assessment and report. A standardized approach was established across the entire team for the assessments, with checklists and continuous coordination. Regardless of which team member performed the assessment they could hand off their field work to another team member working on the report.

As part of the assessment, the Walter P Moore team met weekly with the University’s facilities staff. During each meeting, the previous week’s reports as well as an overview of the assessments was presented. The working sessions allowed the team to answer any questions, received real-time feedback, and coordinate updated reports or perform additional assessments, as necessary.

“Each week, we would compile and present the reports from the previous weeks’ building assessments while concurrently conducting the next set of evaluations,” Treser says. “To be able to meet the schedule, two to four Walter P Moore engineers were on site at any given time.”

The assessment schedule was consistently maintained for over five months and the campus-wide evaluation of all 61 campus structures was completed in February 2022. The coordination amongst the Walter P Moore team enabled their ability to meet the tight timeline while maintaining a commitment to excellence per the quality of deliverables.

Building Assessment Summary

In March 2022, a summary of the campus-wide assessment was presented to the University’s facilities staff. The summary thoroughly outlined the methodology and explained each aspect of the evaluations, which included a spreadsheet of all 640 observations of distress and deterioration.

The data was organized for easy use by the University’s team with sorted and categorized descriptions and locations. Each report detailed each deterioration or distressed condition observed by the Walter P Moore team and summarized corresponding repair recommendations.

“The observed conditions and recommendations were divided into high, medium, and low priority categories with an emphasis on life safety and preserving critical assets,” Treser says.

The prioritized schedule of repairs allowed the University to budget more effectively and accurately, optimized repair sequencing to reduce downtime, capitalize on setup and staging, and reduce the likelihood of damage to adjacent areas from ill-timed repairs. With detailed building component information, comparative condition evaluations, itemized repair recommendations, photographic documentation of key problem areas, and construction cost estimates, the campus-wide assessment provided a written record of campus facilities. As a result, the assessment serves as a roadmap for the care and upkeep of the buildings, and as a snapshot of the state of Georgetown’s current structural assets.

Moving forward, Georgetown University is well-positioned to preserve its distinguished collection of architecture while also addressing their future growth and footprint.
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For more information on our higher ed campus-wide assessment services, contact Steven Treser at streser@walterpmoore.com.

EXTERNAL PROJECT TEAM
Owner: Georgetown University
Diagnostics Engineer: Walter P Moore

INTERNAL PROJECT TEAM
Principal in Charge: Steven Treser
Project Engineers: Nouha Javed