Engineers + Architects

14 Wall Street
New York, NY 10005
(212) 505 1133

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    SuperScript is a quarterly newsletter from SUPERSTRUCTURES. Founded in 1981, we are a firm of architects, structural engineers, and conservators dedicated to the art and science of exterior restoration.


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      September 16, 2020

      First, a Second Opinion

      They say you don’t get a second chance at a first impression. Second opinions, however, are another matter. When a restoration proposal is novel, ambitious, or extreme, some clients naturally seek a second opinion—often from another consultant. SUPERSTRUCTURES offers second opinions of two main types: as a check on other consultants’ work, and as collaborative process within our own practice.

      Sometimes, we provide second opinions for clients who’ve received an assessment from another firm that’s hard to swallow. An example was our proposal for the facade of a NYCHA building. For this cavity wall structure, another consultant had proposed complete replacement of the face brick masonry because a lack of “frogs” (mortar-holding depressions in brick) was causing mortar failure and brick displacement. Here’s where our second opinion came to the rescue: We proposed securing the facade with post-installed anchors, acting in concert with a network of stainless-steel wire reinforcement inserted in the bed joints, avoiding complete masonry replacement and saving the client about 80% of the originally proposed cost. Needless to say, the client was grateful they sought a second opinion.

      We value second opinions so much that we provide them for the most familiar and trusted source we know: ourselves. That may sound like an oxymoron, but we consider it a best practice. If one of our studios is about to propose to a client a restoration solution that’s particularly novel or potentially controversial, that team runs the proposal past senior members of a different studio for an objective evaluation. Within our team, we have dozens of Registered Architects and Professional Engineers, and more Qualified Exterior Wall Inspectors (QEWIs) for FISP / LL11 projects than any other firm. Everyone in our firm benefits from this collective expertise—cumulatively, over three centuries worth.

      While there are benefits to having a small team dedicated to each project, we also draw on our extensive institutional memory to provide second opinions before proposing solutions to clients. Thus, we know our recommendations are thoroughly vetted in advance and we can make our best “first impression.”

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