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Note: While great efforts have been taken to provide accurate and complete information on the pages of CPEP, please be aware that the information contained herewith is considered a work‐in‐progress for this thesis project. Modifications and changes related to the original building designs and construction methodologies for this senior thesis project are solely the interpretation of Benjamin Follett. Changes and discrepancies in no way imply that the original design contained errors or was flawed. Differing assumptions, code references, requirements, and methodologies have been incorporated into this thesis project; therefore, investigation results may vary from the original design.

Building Statistics
Building Name
Washington Park Condominiums

Washington Rd,
Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania

Building Occupant

Multiple Tenants

Building Type



148,000 ft2

Number of Stories

9 stories including ground floor and mechanical penthouse, plus 2 sub-grade parking levels.

Dates of Construction
Fall 2008 thru Fall 2010
Cost Information
$23,418,000 (Overall Construction)
Delivery Method
Primary Project Team
General Contractor
Structural Engineer
MEP Engineers
Geotechnical Engineer


Washington Park Condominiums attempts to blend classic architecture with contemporary conveniences allowing its residents to experience traditional family homes along with the benefit of large open floor plans that a condominium typically offers.  The main points of the building’s exterior architecture were derived from surrounding buildings with characteristics of romantic, picturesque residential landmarks popular along Washington Road and throughout Mt. Lebanon.Washington Park stands nine stories tall including entrances, fitness centers and retail on the first floor.  The residents have private entrances from both the first floor and the sub grade levels where their parking is located.  This steel frame and masonry building’s architecture intentionally displays the function of the building.  The exterior façade is clad with brick on the bottom two floors and then continue up to the 6th floor with a different type of brick veneer acting as the main outer façade.  The penthouse levels on the 7th and 8th floors are signified beautifully by the use of painted horizontal lapped fiber-cement plank siding.  Each floor utilizes clad wood, low emission windows of different types.  Moving inside, the first floor of the building is equipped with an entrance foyer, retail spaces, wine closet, fitness center and private elevators that serve both the condominiums on the above floors and the parking on the below floors.  The 2nd through 6th floors have six units on each floor and that range from a 1500 ft2 unit, two bedroom unit to a 2300 ft2 three bedroom unit.  Four of the units have private balconies attached and all of the units feature marble or slate entries, graciously-sized rooms with large windows, over-sized master baths and closets, sound insulated walls and floors, and fully-equipped kitchens with slate or ceramic tile floors, granite counter tops and Jenn-Air™ appliances are included. Baths have marble or ceramic tile floors with Kohler™ fixtures and other amenities include recessed lighting, individually controlled heating and air conditioning, and installed state of the art telecommunication systems.  The final two floors contain the penthouse level which houses five units ranging from 1730 ft2 to 2450 ft2.  The penthouse units have all of the same amenities as the other residences with the added bonus of more space and privacy.


Codes: IBC 2003 w/ Amendments for Mt. Lebanon
Other: High Rise Building Requirements, Enclosed Parking Requirements,
and Mixed Use Building Requirements

Building Envelope

The typical exterior wall system consists mainly of 4” brick veneer backed by a 2” airspace and 2” of rigid XPS insulation, then containing another 2” layer of rigid spray-foam insulation that is followed by an airspace and then 5/8” gypsum board.  This exterior wall system is typical for the first 6 floors of the building.  The 7th and 8th floors of the building, which are otherwise known as the penthouse levels, consist of a different exterior wall system which includes different material on the exterior façade.  This wall system consists of a 5/16” layer of fiber-cement siding, ½” solid sheathing, a 1 ½” airspace, followed by 2” of rigid XPS insulation, a 2” layer of rigid spray-foam insulation, an airspace and then 5/8” gypsum board.  The roof system is made up of, fully adhered EPDM Membrane roofing over mechanically attached tapered rigid insulation over top of a concrete decking.  The roof structural system is a combination of beam, truss girders and 18” deep steel joists.  The joists typically frame into steel beams unless they are running parallel to the beams in which case they frame into the truss girders.  Also, the steel joists have the top chord embedded into the slab which therefore makes the system a one way concrete slab or more commonly known as composite steel joist construction.  This type of construction is also used for the floor systems throughout the whole of the building. 

Structural System

The foundation system can be best described as a spread footing system with attached concrete piers. The sizes for the spread footings range from the smallest, a 4’‐0” x 4’‐0” x 2’‐0” footing with #8 @ 12” each way, to a 14’‐0” x 14‐0” x 3’‐6” footing with #8 @ 6” each way.  These spread footings have a concrete strength of f’c = 4000 psi, and the deepest of the footings will be 25’‐0” below grade. In addition to the spread footings, interior and exterior wall footings were used and are either 2’‐0” or 3’‐0” wide by 1’‐4” deep. The steel reinforcing in these wall footings are (3) #5 continuous bars and #5 x 1’‐8” @ 16”.  Although a typical spread footing foundation system was used, there were some interesting design issues that needed to be determined because of the presence of the sub grade parking garage.  As a result of this, the floor system below grade as well as the slab on grade is used to help tie the various foundations together.  The slab on grade in this system consist of either a 6” or 8” normal weight concrete slab reinforced with 6x6‐W2.9xW2.9 welded wire fabric or 6x6‐W4xW4 welded wire fabric. The slab on grade is also thickened to a minimum if 1’‐0” at non‐load bearing walls and (2) #4 bars are added for tensile strength.  Connecting the columns to the slab on grade and the spread footings are column piers that range from 16” x 16” with (4) #7 of vertical reinforcement to 40” x 40” w/ (12) #7 of vertical reinforcement.  The slab on grade and column piers are both f’c = 4000 psi concrete.

There are two separate floors systems that are typical within the structure of Washington Park.  The first is a precast concrete plank system that is used in the parking areas as well as the first and second floor framing.  The precast concrete plank is 8” thick and also contains a 2” thick structural topping.  The reinforcing in the structural topping is 6x6‐W1.4xW1.4 welded wire fabric.  The precast concrete plank system bears on W shapes which then carry the load to the columns.  This system was used in the parking areas because of the systems diaphragm capacity (ability to transfer horizontal loading) and because of its durability and strength.  Moreover, the system was utilized on the 1st and 2nd floors due to its weight.  It was also useful because of the contractors need to backfill the building early on the meet the owner’s schedule.

The second primary floor system in the building is the VESCOM composite joist floor system.  The composite joist system interlocks the top chord of a joist with the concrete producing less deflection, less vibration and greater stiffness.  The floor construction consists of a 2 11/16” reduced weight concrete slab that is poured on top of the 1 5/16”, 22 Gage galvanized floor decking.  The bottom chord acts as the main tension member, and in the composite stage the embedded top chord serves as a continuous shear connection.  The concrete is also reinforced with welded wire fabric and compressive strength of the concrete is f’c = 3500 psi.  These floors are also to act as a diaphragm that is able to resist lateral forces of 250 to 350 PLF. 

The flat roof system of the building is similar to floors 3 through 6 in that it also utilizes the VESCOM composite floor system.  The only main difference in the system is that the concrete is 4 11/16” thick.  The pitched roof is framed with a typical pre‐engineered light gauge roof truss system spaced at 2’‐0” on center.  This roof is topped with asphalt shingles and ½” cement bonded particle board.  Finally, the roof of the stair towers are framed with light gauge purlins, topped with roof insulation and shingles.

The lateral resisting system within the building is mainly moment resisting steel frames.  These frames begin on the second floor and continue up through the top of the building, and run in the north‐south direction and run along column lines A, B, C and D.  Rigid connections also occur on these floors along column lines 1 through 9.  Since the VESCOM floor system is being used as a diaphragm to transfer shear loading the load path begins at the exterior beams and then continue on through the floor system to joist girders which are to be designed and manufactured by the joist manufacturer.  The load is then transferred into the large W14 columns, and finally to the brace frames. There are a total of eleven braced frames located in the basement and sub‐basement levels running along column lines 1 through 11 from column lines A.1 to B.  The brace frames are 17’‐2” in length and they begin at the subbasement level and connect into the framing for the ground floor.  The bracing in the frames consists of HSS 8x8x1/2 up to the basement level, and HSS 6x6x3/8 from the basement level to the ground floor. These frames are used in conjunction with the precast plank system to create a diaphragm that can resist 280 PLF. 

The columns in Washington Park Condominiums have all been designed using AISC 9th Ed. ASDand are ASTM A992 Grade 50 wide flange columns. The columns are spaced at 27’‐8” or 28’‐0”in the north‐south direction and 17’‐2” or 28’‐4” in the east‐west direction. The columns at thebase of the structure that run the entire height of the building range from W12x96 to W14x193at the bottom to W12x40 and W14x74 at the top of the structure.


The construction of Washington Park Condominiums is slated to begin sometime in the fall of 2008 with an estimated completion date of fall 2010.  The general contractor on the project is PJ Dick Inc. and the building is being delivered as a design-bid-build construction project.  Site work has begun and the site has been excavated up to 25 feet in some places to reach the lower garage finished floor elevation.


The electrical system in Washington Park consists of a 208Y/120V 3 phase, 4 wire system with individually fixed mounted panels in each unit and separate panels in the electrical rooms located on the sub basement, basement and first floors.  The buildings main electrical room as well as the emergency generator is located on the sub basement garage floor.  The emergency generator provides emergency power to operate life safety items such as fire alarm, exit signs, emergency lighting and necessary mechanical systems.


Primary hallway lighting on the 1st thru 8th floors is provided by fluorescent wall mounted scones.  In the condominiums there are two types of fixtures that are primarily used.  These include 4’ fixed mounted T5 fluorescents in the closets and 75W recessed down lights with 6” aperture white baffled reflector trim throughout the rest of the spaces.  The basement and garage spaces use 150W Quartz restrike surface mounted lights as well as 4’ fixed mounted T8 fluorescents.  Exterior lighting includes decorative pole mounted fluorescent fixtures and wall mounted metal halide fixtures.  The building also utilizes natural lighting through large windows, 10’ ceiling heights and fact that the long direction of the building is in the east to west direction.


The mechanical system of the building is mostly individualized to each residential unit.  Each unit shall have an electric water heater located in the unit’s mechanical room.  Units on floors 2 through 6 shall have a 50 gallon tank and units on 7th and Penthouse shall have 80 gallon tanks.  Each unit is also conditioned with a high efficiency gas fired furnace and air conditioning unit utilizing environmentally friendly refrigerant.  The furnaces are located in the units mechanical room with the associated air conditioning unit located on the roof.  These furnaces are individually controlled through thermostats in the each apartment for desire temperature and comfort.  The building also has conditioned fresh outside air supplied to each retail and unit space.  The outside air is processed by a roof mounted energy recovery unit and then delivered through insulated metal ductwork to each furnace system.


The main entrances to the building are located on the east and west sides of the building.  The southwest corner of the building contains the ground floor entrance and lobby for residents.  This lobby serves floors 2 thru 8 by a main stair and elevator.  The parking garage entrance is located on the northwest corner of the building.  From the garage, either of the two stairways or elevators can be used depending on where the resident parks.  The eastern side of the building contains the main entrances to the retail spaces.  These retail spaces can also be accessed through the garage by using either of the stairs or elevators and then using the retail service corridor.

Fire Protection

The owner of Washington Park Condominiums chose to protect the building from fire with an automatic sprinkler system.  The basement and sub-basement areas are protected by a dry pipe system with the first through penthouse floors protected by a wet pipe system.  Smoke detectors are also located throughout the first floor lobby and retail spaces as well as in the residential units on floors 2 thru 8.  There are also fire alarms located in the hallways and lobby on each floor, including the parking garages.  These alarms are connected to a main fire alarm control box located on the first floor.  Since the building is a multi-use structure there is some fire separation required.  For most of the building a 2 hour fire separation between building functions is recommended by code.

Other Systems

The building also utilizes a security system with key card access for the residents to the lobby which controls the electromagnetic locks on the lobby doors.  Each residential unit also contains multiple land line telephone outlets, cable television outlets and data receptacles. 



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 This page was last updated on 21 April 2009, by Benjamin Follett and is hosted by the AE Department (c) 2008