Masonic Village at Sewickley
Sewickley, PA
Jason Drake
Construction Management Option















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 Jason Drake. 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.



Final Thesis Proposal




The purpose of the final thesis proposal is to provide an overview of all four research analyses to be conducted on Masonic Village at Sewickley.  Two breadth studies are also included, which contributed additional value toward initial depth research.  The report includes project background as well as an expected research work schedule.  Lastly, a weight matrix was created to illustrate how much emphasis each analysis will place on core thesis investigation areas.     

  [Reposted: 1/13/12]


Analysis #1: Masonry Acceleration
The primary emphasis of analysis #1 is to employ new techniques capable of reducing the total time needed to construct all masonry assemblies.  The overall goal is to examine multiple scenarios and determine the optimal combination of practices that will generate a time efficient production, without compromising quality.  One major idea is to redesign the manor in which part of the superstructure is supported, creating an opportunity for a structural breadth.

Analysis #2: Façade Dimensioning    
Given the irregularity of the façade, dimensions are simply not compatible with block construction.  Altering measurements by a few inches has the opportunity to produce a huge cost savings.  Studies will be conducted regarding manpower, time, and material waste.  The ultimate goal of the analysis is to create an ease of constructability for workers.  However, taking advantage of cost and schedule also creates an additional bonus for the owner and CM.

Analysis #3: Façade Redesign
The core investigation area designated for analysis #3 is value engineering.  The current wall system is made up of CMU block’s and finished with brick veneer.  Utilizing a system that takes advantage of embossed brick-faced CMU’s would effectively eliminate the need for veneer.  Nearly 50% of masonry costs could be cut due to the proposed change.  Nevertheless, altering the system removes the ability to insulate the walls as previously designed.  A mechanical breadth study will be performed in order to find new ways of achieving the required R-value.   

Analysis #4: Masonry Sustainability
Exploring ways for masonry construction to provide a more ecofriendly design is the overall goal of analysis #4.  Due to rising public activism, sustainability is a major critical industry issue that needs to be more readily addressed.  Each process studied will be evaluated according to the LEED rating system for masonry sustainability.  Advancements will target any LEED points that can be earned with minimal effort by the project team.  Things like material reuse and recycled content are expected to make the largest contributions to the goals of the analysis.


Structural Breadth: Floor Slab Supports

In researching ways to accelerate masonry work, one major idea was to remove precast planking from in between exterior walls.  The modification would require floor slabs to be supported differently than previously designed and would provide an opportunity to present a structural breadth study.  Considering precast slabs would no longer be an integral part of the wall assembly, steel wide flanges would serve as an effective alternative to provide the necessary support.  Masonry pilasters are currently located at regular intervals along the exterior walls.  Steel wide flanges that span from pilaster to pilaster can be used as the primary means of supporting precast floor slabs.  Each plank will need to have weld plates mounted to them when as they are fabricated.  Once they are set, the plates are welded to the wide flanges to create a connection.  The intent of the study is to design a new connection for the planks as well as determining proper beam sizes needed to span various distances around the interior perimeter. 


Mechanical Breadth: Thermal Heat Loss

Analysis #3 involves value engineering the building’s exterior walls by utilizing embossed brick-faced CMU blocks to eliminate the need for brick veneer.  However, making these changes negatively affects the assembly’s ability to resist thermal heat flow.  The current system has a hollow cavity located between CMU’s and brick veneer.  Project specifications have detailed the cavity to be filled with 2” foam board insulation.  Removing the application of brick veneer to the outside walls also eliminates the current methods of insulation.  The purpose of this breadth study is to research alternative means of insulating the exterior.  Given that the intent of analysis #3 is to value engineer the system, cost of each method will also influence the final technique employed.  However, insulation values must achieve or exceed the R-value previously dedicated to the walls.  Finding effective ways to insulate the new façade system will contribute added value to the overall research conducted in analysis #3.