February 28, 2013
Around Town by Neal Tepel
The impact of Hurricane Sandy knocked out critical infrastructure across New York, especially at the Southern tip of Manhattan. Tunnels and subways were flooded, infrastructure in countless buildings was decimated, electrical and phone services were knocked out and in some cases still in need of serious repairs many months later.
One stand out example of recovering from the aftermath is one of downtown’s most prominent buildings, 1 New York Plaza, which was entirely flooded on the bottom floor and below grade. With a high profile roster of tenants such as Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, and Fried Frank, the building’s owners, Brookfield Properties, decided they needed to repair the building immediately. The building, needing restoration of electric, sprinkler, HVAC and elevator systems, called in Timbil Mechanical, a member of the Mechanical Contractors Association of New York, Inc., to expedite the repairs.
Starting in early November and over the coming weeks, Timbil did something close to a miraculous feat in the emergency building restoration arena, by replacing key aspects of the 2.6 million-square-foot building’s mechanical systems harmed by Sandy in just 13 days.
“The expedited operation conducted for 1 New York Plaza is one that typically would be carried out over a six month period in a building of that size. Brookfield decided for the best interests of their tenants to significantly advance the timeline and we were able to meet the need,” said Bill Ross, Jr. of Timbil Mechanical.
Timbil had more than 54 employees, along with subcontractors, working 20 hour days to bring the building back online. An estimated 2,000 feet of 18-inch and 24-inch pipes were used to install a 3,000 ton chiller plant, which was necessary in getting the building back online. Mr. Ross adds that pipes custom made for the job were actually still warm from fabrication as they were coming off the trucks and being immediately installed.
Richard Roberts, Business Agent at Large of Steamfitters Local 638, said, “What our Steamfitters working for Timbil on the 1 New York Plaza project and others across the city managed to accomplish following Super Storm Sandy was nothing short of a herculean effort. To be a Steamfitter in New York takes five years of intensive training and significant dedication to perfection.”
Pat Dolan, President of Steamfitters Local 638, said, “It is because of the high-skill level of the workforce that we can not only get a 2.6 million square foot building – essentially a vertical town – back online following this 100 year natural disaster, but do so in record time. Similar restoration projects are taking place all across New York and Long Island and Local 638’s Steamfitters are committed to advancing the recovery efforts.”
Major Post-Sandy building restoration projects like 1 New York Plaza have been going on across New York City and the Long Island region by Mechanical Contractors Association of New York, Inc. member companies and union contractors.