Project Spotlight: Syracuse University, National Veterans Resource Complex

Project Spotlight: Syracuse University, National Veterans Resource Complex

Syracuse University, National Veterans Resource Complex, Building Enclosure Commissioning Services – Syracuse, NY

Horizon Engineering Associates (HEA) was contracted by Syracuse University to provide building enclosure commissioning (BECx) services for the construction of the school’s National Veterans Resource Complex (NVRC). The four-story building houses a cafe, offices, instruction space, a gallery, support areas and a 1,000-seat auditorium. It features two enclosed courtyards, one at the ground level and another on the building’s fourth floor. Systems commissioned by HEA during this project included: below-grade waterproofing, air/water/vapor barriers, insulation and penetrations of insulation, exterior enclosure systems (doors, curtain walls, masonry, glazing, sealing, control joints, louvers), roof systems, roof penetrations, roof plaza water proofing, expansion joints and allowance for expansion, interior separation between the gallery space and the adjacent areas.

Client: Syracuse University
Location: Syracuse, NY

Q/A with Frank Cedillo – Building Enclosure Associate

  • What was the biggest challenge faced during the project and how was HEA able to navigate through any problems faced due to this challenge? This project was unique in its use of custom-made unitized curtain wall systems. No less than five different wall systems were used on this project. This required us to dedicate a significant amount of time simply to study the design of each system in order to understand how the systems were intended to function. Becoming intimately familiar with the various building enclosures systems used on our projects is necessary in order for us to provide meaningful input when we review shop drawing or perform installation monitoring.  
  • Anything about this project that makes it stand out to you as different from any other projects you’ve previously worked on? The design team on this project did an outstanding job at developing high performing systems and preparing transition details that were very well detailed. However, the complexity of the details actually increased the difficulty level for the sub-contractors, and we actually found in some cases that this added complexity came close to compromising the performance of the system.
  • If HEA did not properly address the deficiencies found, how would this of negatively affected the building’s performance? We identified a few deficiencies with the installation of the brick veneer. Some bricks were installed tight against the underside of fixed shelf angles, and mortar was used at bed joints where sealant should normally have been used. These issues may have resulted in cracked bricks or separated mortar joints had they not been corrected.
  • Based off client feedback, where do you feel we provided the most value to the project? We were brought back on board many months after substantial completion to assist with the investigation of a persistent roof leak. The client was appreciative of the fact that we were able to provide critical insight on how the roof system had been installed. We shared the observations we had made during construction and provided comprehensive photographic documentation to document the installation sequence of the roof system’s various components.