Harvard University Cambridge, MA
The name Harvard conjures many images in our minds. Unless you are a student at Yale, you would likely think of the great traditions of Harvard University, the ivy-covered facades, and high standards imposed by Harvard.
Gaining entrance into Harvard University is not easy. You must be an excellent student. In fact, less than 10% of the applicants who apply to Harvard are accepted. And, a great majority of those who apply, over 90% of which are denied entrance, are our nation’s best students.
Well, the same can be said of those with whom the University chooses to employ, including its contractors and vendors. Gaining the University’s approval is a very tall order!
In early 2008, the Facilities Management Department at Harvard budgeted for a roof and railing replacement for their Concord Avenue Condominium, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Concord Avenue Condominium houses Professors who teach at Harvard. The building has several dozen roof decks that sit above heated living areas. The problem that Harvard faced with these decks was that many of the aged roofs were leaking and the old wooden railing, which sat upon a parapet wall around the decks, was rotting. In some cases the rot had reached a dangerous state. The railing sat in areas where moisture collected and stayed moist. Any wooden rail could not stand a chance against the elements. Clearly, the roofs had to be replaced. And, equally as clear, a new, and better-than-wood, railing and baluster system had to be installed.
To add to the challenge, Harvard needed to hire a contractor that could work within a very confined property, in an urban area, and on buildings that would continue to house the inhabitants. Once demolition was complete and the roofs were finished, Harvard insisted that the contractor could not assemble the rail sections on the property. The assembly needed to take place off-site, so that all that had to occur, on-site, was an easy and quick installation that would not get in the way of the busy residents as the came and went.
Finding a reputable roofer is one thing, but finding a reputable roofer that meets the standards set by Harvard, and one that can include a turn-key roof and rail system is another. Harvard settled upon W.S. Aiken, Inc. of Chelsea, Massachusetts. Aiken Roofing specializes in turn-key projects that require organizing and working with other trades to complete complicated projects in a professional manner. Mark Swansburg, of Aiken, turned to Coastal Forest Products, a distributor of INTEX Millwork Solutions, a valued vendor who has served them well in the past. Coastal understands millwork and railing, and worked out a plan to have INTEX fabricate the rail sections, off-site at the INTEX Millwork shop in Williamstown, New Jersey.
- Rail system was manufactured in a controlled environment that was not affected by the winter-time installation in New England.
- Installation time was minimized with the complete sections, shipped ready-to-install.
- Fewer expensive, skilled installers were necessary on-site to install.
- Cellular PVC rail sections will last very long, relative to the old, existing wooden rail.
- The rails were delivered primed, and painted on-site by the contractor. Since the Cellular PVC will not absorb any moisture, the paint will last much longer and require much less on-going maintenance.
- The painted Cellular PVC Railing appears to be manufactured of wood.
- The INTEX Rail System was evaluated for, and met, the structural performance requirements of the 2006 International Building Code, International Code Council and the 2006 International Residential Code, International Code Council. Structural tests were performed according to chapter 17 of the 2006 IBC.