Working on the State of New York's Capitol Building

Liebherr Tower Crane 200 HC

In the job featured here I am operating a Liebherr Tower Crane, it is at the Capitol building restoration project in Albany, New York. The climb alone takes approximately 15 grueling minutes and you sweat up a storm after arrival! The view, once on top, is breathtaking on a sunny day. The Laborers of  Local  #190 and  Masons and Bricklayers Local #2 that we are working with, also the Roofers from Local #241 and Sheet metal  workers from Local #83 are a great group of individuals to work with throughout the day. We have been working largely in the blind and signaling is a very important part of our job. My main man on the ground is Dan Rafferty from local 190 who is very professional and highly reliable. We must rely on our ground man explicitly for safe directions.

This is a two man job and the second operating engineer is John Kakely, an operator that I met at the Bechtel site. We are working for Monaco Restorations out of Sturbridge Mass.  Originally, Ian Phillips and Todd Kelafant were the operators, then Todd left and I came, then Ian left and Larry Van Heertum joined me, then Larry left and Marc Dorsey joined me. Since then Phil Peta and Herm Bussie and Chuck Egan and Mark Mincher have all taken turns at one time or another. Not many operators enjoy a 195 foot climb first thing in the morning. Its also a very stressful job with allot of other difficulties and lack of newer guides and instruments. It makes for a long day high up overlooking the Capital of New York State. No air conditioning, bathrooms, or just the ability to get up and walk around and take a breather. That is why it is important that is is manned by two qualified crane operators.

Monaco Restorations

(out of business)

113 Main Street Sturbridge, MA 01566

Terra Cotta Roof Rehabilitation at the Capitol Building for State of New York

Monaco Restorations was selected by the State of New York to perform the first phase of historical masonry repairs to the State Capitol Building. The Capitol building is 102 years old and water infiltration as been a serious problem since it was completed. The $8 million dollar project is the beginning of a full-scale historical restoration of the Capitol Building roof, skylight, terra cotta and stone. Phase #1 is the beginning of a 10 year master plan to renovate the entire exterior structure. There were 55 gallon drums scattered around the inside of the building capturing the water leaking in from the roof. People had to remember to empty them or they would overflow, describes Jim Jamieson, State Architect for the last four years and a wealth of knowledge on the history of the structure. A roof rehabilitation project may not sound very interesting on the surface however, the complexity and historical significance of this effort is very important to the state and the nation.
Monaco craftsmen have been involved with several key steps along the way. Initially they removed and waterproofed the very intricate granite gutters that serve as the rain gutter system for the roof. The granite gutters can weigh thousands of pounds with complex carvings and designs on them. In addition the granite gutters needed to be re-attached to the building with stainless steel rods, something that was not in place previously. Now they are not just ornamental but much more effective in the roof system design. The next step involved Albany Local 2 Masons and Albany Local 190 Laborers  and Roofers from Local  241 , removing and replacing the historic Terra Cotta fencing, finials and roof hip tiles. There are 274 different styles of terra cotta tiles on the massive roof structure that add up to thousands of actual terra cotta pieces. Each tile needs to be replicated by hand at a plant in Ohio and installed by Albany Local 2 Masons without seriously damaging any of them. Moving thousands of terra cotta tiles from Ohio to Albany then lifted almost 200 feet to be installed with a perfect technical precision and historical skill is quite a daunting task. Monaco' craftsmen are up to task.
"I have been very satisfied with the quality of the work and the craftsmanship of the Monaco Team. I am especially impressed with the attention to detail and the experience that Monaco Restorations brings to the project and the team. It is good to see the strong working relationship between the Architects, the contractors and the State".
$8 million roof and terra cotta restoration project on the most prestigious state owned building. This is the home of the Governor and New York State Senate.
Above are photos from the archives of the original building of the Capitol and some photos of the fire of 1912.
This unique restoration project involves complex scaffolding, slate, tile roofing, architectural terra-cotta replacement, masonry re-pointing, structural skylight replacement, structural; steel, historic window restoration, asbestos abatement, lead abatement, historic glazing replacement and decorative interior finishes. All work is performed while the building is fully occupied.
The Capitol building is a marvel of 19th-century architectural grandeur, built by hand of solid masonry over a period of 25 years, under the direction of five architects. When Gov. Theodore Roosevelt declared the Capitol complete in 1899, its cost had exceeded $25 million. Free tours are offered daily at 10 a.m., noon, 2 and 3 p.m. and by special appointment. Above are photos from the archives of the original building of the Capital and some photos of the fire of 1912.
There are four floors, housing more than 500 rooms, including the State Assembly, Senate and Governor’s office.
It’s very eclectic,” said George McCroy, guide with the New York State Capitol Tour Program. “There’s Gothic Revival, Romanesque and Moorish influences.”
Three staircases will make your head spin with the amount of detail and beauty in the carvings of stone.
The Assembly Staircase, completed in 1879, was designed by Leopold Eidlitz and is built of sandstone and granite and Gothic in style. The Senate Staircase is also referred to as the Evolutionary Staircase because of the carvings of animals that decorate it. Built largely of sandstone, it was constructed between 1883 and 1885. The Great Western Staircase, or the Million Dollar Staircase, which actually took $1.5 million to construct and 14 years to complete, is the most elaborate of the three. Completed in 1896, the staircase is a celebration of the stone carver' art and includes portraits of many famous New Yorkers
The Senate Chamber is embellished in 23-karat gold leaf, with onyx from Mexico and marble from Sienna, Italy, completing the impressive chamber. The acoustics are so good in there that some senators have been known to walk into one of the two massive fireplaces to carry on a private conversation, said McCroy.
There are elaborate murals throughout the Capitol, including the work of New York City muralist William deLeftwich Dodge, who painted the ceiling murals that embellish the Flag Room, housed beneath a 40-foot high rotunda. His murals chronicle important events in New York state military history, from the earliest sovereigns on the colonial frontier to the impact of the Iroquois Indian Nation, the French, Dutch and English influence.
Sheet Metal Workers' International Association, Local 83
New Cap for Capitol - Times Union December 9, 2001
Raising the Roof - Times Union December 9, 2001
Roofers 241
United  Union of Roofers
Titan Roofing
Chicopee (Main Office)
(800) 929-0413
Titan Roofing Inc.
165 Harding St.
Worcester, MA 01604
Phone:(508) 755-0487
Fax:(508) 756-8609
email address bbernhardt@titanroofing.com

Role: Subcontractor
Structure: 6-story building
Masonry: Terra cotta fencing, finials, and tiles. Granite gutter system restoration.
Work Performed: Complete removal of all terra cotta tiles on the multi peak building. Installation of new terra cotta tiles, fences, finials and roof lip tile. This is a first of a kind installation of this complex project.

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 Tower cranes are a common fixture at any major construction site. They're pretty hard to miss -- they often rise hundreds of feet into the air, and can reach out just as far. The construction crew uses the tower crane to lift steel, concrete, large tools like acetylene torches and generators, and a wide variety of other building materials.

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Terry McGettigan

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