From the Field – Support of Excavations

Kimberly Murphy

As 2016 will be a year of heavy construction administration, we’ve taken the opportunity to learn from each other and share our experiences in a bi-weekly office forum. One recent topic that has emerged from a change in the DOB application approval process is Support Of Excavations (SOE).

battleSOE’s are a Department of Buildings application filed to describe the design, means, and methods for excavating the site in preparation for the new construction. In our experience prior to last year’s filings, the SOE had not been a requirement prior to approval of the New Building (NB) application, leaving this application in the hands of the General Contractor as part of the requirements in pulling the Construction Permit. Now that the DOB is requiring the SOE to be submitted along with the NB prior to approval, the architects have become involved in this process and the SOE design, which is prepared by a geotechnical or other structural consultant to the Architect or Owner, and becomes part of the Contract Documents. Essentially the SOE design becomes another trade consultant to coordinate whose design has impact on cost and schedule. Including the consultant earlier than later in the design process and coordinating with the Structural Engineer has been key. It’s critical that we understand the impact of the proposed SOE design, the proposed impact SOE ESKWon the adjacent properties, and the resultant costs.

The cost associated with the SOE work is significant, and as with any trade, there are several ways to skin the cat. The SOE design that goes out to Bid, could be subject to value engineering and is a way that submitting Bidders can propose to cut costs. This could mean revising the consultants’ design or even replacing the SOE application and superseding the design professional.

Even once the SOE and the NB are approved and the GC has permits in hand, there is no guarantee that things will sail smoothly. Due to unforeseen below-grade conditions, the SOE design is likely to change—possibly many times. As with all approved DOB applications, the SOE then needs to be amended to reflect the updated design.

We all know that getting out of the ground is more than half the construction battle, so being more familiar with the SOE process has become something worth talking about. Our internal office discussions have been crucial for furthering our knowledge.  Any thoughts or experience with SOE? Feel free to comment or contact us!

Happy digging!

Our Holiday Party

As the weather is finally catching up to the season this week, we’re looking back fondly at what was a relatively balmy holiday celebration here in NYC.

Our office took some time out to share a meal together at Pepolino Restaurant, where we enjoyed a hard-earned break and engaged in some cut-throat holiday gift trading.

The good food, drink, and laughs revived us in time to hit the ground running in 2016, for what promises to be another busy year, with plenty of laughs to temper our hard work.

Many thanks to Marcella and Francisco for the photography work.

Highlights of 2015

It’s been a busy year for us at Edelman Sultan Knox Wood / Architects! We broke ground on several projects, renovated our office, received some awards, completed a few projects, and gained two new team members.

In short, it seems like an appropriate time for a highlight reel of 2015.

Hour Apartment House III Won a Silver Brick In Architecture Award

ESKW/A’s second project for Hour Children, Hour Apartment House III, was completed in 2014 and was well-received by the Brick Industry Association this year. It was gratifying for the project team, headed up by Fialka, to see their attention to brick detailing garner this recognition.

4380 Bronx Boulevard also received a Boston Society of Architects Award and a Silver Medal of Honor from the Society of American Registered Architects, while New Settlement Community Campus collected an Excellence Award from the Center for Active Design.

True Colors Bronx Opened Its Doors

With much celebration, especially from True Colors’ exuberant patron Cyndi Lauper, our second project for West End Residences was completed in September. The 7-story supportive housing building offers 30 efficiency apartments to formerly homeless LGBT youths. Read more here.

ESKW/A Took a Field Trip to the Aquarium

Following the topping out ceremony earlier this year, ESKW/A toured the WCS’s Ocean Wonders: Sharks! at the NY Aquarium construction site and enjoyed one of the last summer days by the ocean in Coney Island. Project team Cary, Carlos, Martin, Michael, and Fialka gave a detailed behind the scenes look at the project. ESKW/A are Architects of Record for the new Sharks! exhibition building, which is anticipated to open in 2017.

1066-1070 Myrtle Avenue, 1561 Walton Avenue, and 233 Landing Road Broke Ground

Much of our staff was also busy this past fall celebrating exciting developments in several other large projects, as these three new buildings kicked into the construction phase. Be sure to check back on the blog and our website this year as we continue to post progress photos.

We Revamped Our Office, and Welcomed Carlos and Andrea

After more than 10 years in our space at 100 Lafayette, and with a growing number of employees to seat, the ESKW/A offices recently underwent a transformation.

We opened up the space by removing the low partitions dividing our stations, and installed a continuous work surface.  The new U-shaped desktops with shared side tables allow for easier collaboration — not to mention increased elbow and breathing room.

Partners Randy Wood and Andrew Knox have always preferred spacial equality in the workplace and an open office design to foster sharing of information.  Our open plan has proven itself over the past decade as a bright and airy use of our high-ceilinged corner suite, maximizing the natural light from our windows looking out on Chinatown and NYC.

ESKW/A also grew by 2 persons this year. We were happy to welcome Carlos and Andrea to the team! Carlos is working on Ocean Wonders: Sharks!, and Andrea is managing our Site 7 project for Clinton Housing Development Company and is part of the team working a new school addition for the NYCSCA.

It’s Giving Season!

One of our seasonal traditions here at ESKW/A is the annual holiday gift donation drive. Headed up by illustrious office manager Lauretta daCruz, we collected donations from the office, shopped for gifts, wrapped ’em up, and hand delivered to students at Explore Charter School in Brooklyn. A school social worker and high school placement coordinator identified families who could use some additional cheer this holiday season. The guardians were contacted, and the kids provide a wish list. Each child received special gifts selected just for them off of their list.

We had a lovely haul this year, and we’re grateful to everyone who participated. Happy Holidays to all!

 

Press for NSCC + Landing Road

We’re always happy to see our projects get recognition, so we were excited recently to see both the New Settlement Community Campus (a collaboration between Dattner Architects and Edelman Sultan Knox Wood / Architects) and Landing Road (currently under construction) submitted to the New York Housing Conference Community Impact Competition Gallery, where they are in very good company with 49 other inspiring projects by non-profits in NY state.

NYHCorg.jpg

Per NYHC’s website, the organization is ‘a nonprofit affordable housing policy and advocacy organization.’

Halloween 2015

Slasher-A-ESKWA  Happy Halloween from ESKW/A!

ESKW Fridge Fright

 

We’re really getting into the gory spirit this year.

The office fridge is fully stocked with spooky delicacies (see left), and we’re planning a Great Pumpkin carving and pumpkin ale tasting for this afternoon.

Afterwards will be a scary silent film streaming, for which we’ll sample a few different early cinema classics such as Nosferatu (1922), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920), and The Golem (1915).

Check back next week to see the fruits of our labor, or better yet, stop in and give us a hand – or just a couple of fingers.