Joseph F. Weis

Joseph F. Weis, Jr. U.S. Courthouse

WDP performed an on-site investigation of the GSA Joseph F. Weis Jr. U.S. Courthouse, a 10-story building sprawling across an entire city block in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Its interior walls are rich in history with framed images of every judge who has served lining the hallways. The building was originally built in the 1930s, but several renovations have occurred since then, with the notable addition of four skylights and the partial enclosure of its historic façade. Generally, WDP’s involvement on the project demonstrates our flexibility in adapting to an evolving scope, as during the Phase 1 evaluation, significant section loss was observed on the steel structural members of the loading dock. Upon that discovery, WDP was able to rescope services, allowing us to conduct a preliminary structural evaluation of the loading dock within the original budget. Ultimately, our services included: a window condition study, limestone façade crack survey, concrete condition assessment, and diagnostic water testing.

The investigation was separated into two phases to allow time for Phase 1 to inform how to most efficiently conduct the remainder of the investigation. Phase 1 was performed in September 2020 and included the deployment of WDP’s Rope Access Team who expertly documented the limestone façade cracking and general exterior window conditions. Rope access was an ideal approach for this project, as it had a low impact on the high volumes of foot traffic around the perimeter of the building. While the WDP Rope Access Team were rappelling, another part of our team worked in tandem with the subcontractor to perform in-depth documentation of the interior condition of both the historic and storm windows, perform diagnostic water testing at the below grade parking garage seated directly below the building, complete water and air infiltration testing in general accordance with ASTM E 1105 and ASTM E 783, and perform a concrete condition evaluation below a loading dock connected to the building’s east elevation.

Phase 2 was performed in November 2020 and included additional documentation of windows, limestone façade test cuts, and in-depth documentation of concrete and steel member conditions below the loading dock where there were active train tracks that were originally built to aid mail delivery, as that was the building’s original purpose. This required members of our team to become Track Trained by the Port Authority.

After the completion of both phases of the investigation, Phase 3 was completed in February 2021.  WDP provided the GSA with a detailed report of our conclusions, repair recommendations, and a detailed design and construction cost estimate. Photos of each condition encountered were provided along with an Appendix, complete with the areas surveyed.

During the building-wide assessment, WDP determined repair of the loading dock to be the highest priority of all components investigated, and the GSA accordingly requested services for an on-site study and repair design to address the root causes and deficiencies at the loading dock, and to maintain current and future operations. WDP performed a follow up field assessment between June 29 and July 2, 2021. The purpose of this survey was to document damage in greater detail, determine the root cause of deterioration, and gather information to prepare construction documents for loading dock repair.

Documented conditions included corrosion of structural steel framing elements, delamination and spalling of concrete, and observations of additional water infiltration. WDP updated repair recommendations and cost estimates included in the 2020 report and is currently preparing documents for repair and rehabilitation to address deterioration. A full set of construction documents were completed in January 2022.

  • Investigation – Phase 1
    • Existing documentation review
    • Visual survey using rope access
    • Diagnostic water testing & air leakage testing
  • Investigation – Phase 2
    • Field survey of existing conditions
    • Observations for design change recommendations and/or repairs
  • Study Report – Phase 3
    • Survey report with conclusions & repair recommendations
    • Cost Estimate
  • Loading Dock Repair Design – Phase 4
    • Field survey of existing conditions
    • Survey report with updated repair recommendations and cost estimate
    • Development of construction documents for repair (on-going)