Saturday, June 07, 2008

Special Enforcement Needed to Save Brooklyn's Memorial Baptist Church: Recent Crack Comparison Data is in.

Standing on the brink.
It just so happens that this north eastern corner of the Memorial Baptist Church, 1506 8th Avenue in Brooklyn, is closest to where the Armory Plaza constructed its foundation. It's no more than a half dozen feet away from where all the digging occurred. Beneath this new Armory Plaza building is a three storied
subterranean parking garage, designed and built to cover the entire 100'x100' lot, right up to the property lines of 10 other existing buildings. There are no 30' set backs. No buffer zones.

Was any protective shoring done by the developer of the Armory Plaza prior to the start of their excavation? No. Any underpinning of the hundred and seventeen year old adjacent foundation? Nope. Any site surveys or monitoring of the existing adjoining properties? Nothing really, unless you count reading the 100+ complaints to 311 that show up on the DoB's BIS site. But I doubt they did that even.
The 60' long hollow steel tube piles,
soldiered together side by side, were dropped into pre-drilled shafts, and then absurdly pounded into the ground using the "converted" end of the Kelly Bar of an IMT AF-80 Boring Rig. Settlement, apparently caused by the creation of subsurface voids during the boring process eventually lead to sink holes extending out some distance from the new wall. Of coarse there was also the vibration and shaking to contend with that went on for months as the 200 or so piles were driven. That's gotta hurt.
Vacate Orders and
Stop Work Orders and Partial Stop Work Orders soon followed. The Church's neighbor, 1504 8th Avenue, was not able to withstand the same assault. It now stands propped up like an empty coffin, its entire rear facade and part of the side masonry wall have been removed and shrouded with plywood. And then there is our Church.

In the beginning.
The first signs of cracking. Photo dated 1-6-2007. (If you choose to click on any of these pictures, they will expand to full size in another window.)

Detail below of same corner wall: 1-6-2007

As the crack widened significantly...
and after numerous complaints, a special meeting with Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Magdi Mossad, PE, was called. As a result of this meeting the DoB installed a single crack monitor in the Church's damaged interior and then left, not to return for almost a year.
Photo dated 8-9-2007

The inspectors return: Below the same crack monitor 10 months later, photo below dated 6-6-2008, showing continuing movement. New cracks are actively appearing daily in other locations through out the Church even as the Armory Plaza nears completion of its building.

Time for the NYC Buildings Department Special Enforcement Teams Forensic Engineers to step up to the plate and ensure the present and future safety of Memorial Baptist Church and the other properties that have been harmed during the building of the Armory Plaza.

Detail 6-6-2008

The bigger picture: 6-6-2008

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