EFCO’s Power Tower system for forming highrise concrete construction now has a companion system, the Power Shield protection system.
Ken Miller EFCO’s Power Tower system for forming highrise concrete construction now has a companion system, the Power Shield protection system.

With the use of a powerful self-climbing and perimeter protection system, a new hotel from Marriot is staged to add sizzle in the heart of New York, at 1717 Broadway. This hotel recently broke ground, and when completed this year, will be one of the tallest hotels in New York City. Situated in the heart of the Theater District and adjacent to David Letterman’s famed “Late Show” studio, this new hotel will be the cornerstone in the revival of this iconic district. “This project is a long time coming, and we believe that Marriot, along with the leased retail shops and restaurant, will offer needed services in this part of Manhattan,” says Ronnie Gross, Vice President of Granite Broadway Development.

After a year of reviewing bids from major concrete superstructure companies, Granite Broadway LLC Development selected Navillus Contracting of New York as its construction partner. The task to transform a 10,000-square-foot lot into a 340,000-square-foot, 67-story tower was going to provide challenges that only a very good construction company could meet head on.

Founded in 1987, Navillus has become a premier contractor in commercial concrete construction. A strong work ethic matched with guiding principles moved Navillus to the head of the selection list for this Ashihara Architect designed building. The design called for two distinctly different hotels vertically stacked in one tower—the 378 room hotel and the 261 room residence. When finished it will be the tallest stand-alone (without office or residential space) hotel building in New York.

Of the many challenges, Navillus was concerned about site safety. Due to the location, just a few blocks from the busiest intersection in the world at Times Square, protecting pedestrian and vehicular traffic was going to be a concern throughout the construction process. “We were looking for safety features that would protect our workers as well as provide protection to the traffic that was going to be in very close proximity to the site,” says project manager John Kuefner. “We had heard of a new edge protection system being offered by EFCO that appeared to be the perfect solution.” Once Navillus realized the potential of what the Power Shield had to offer, their decision to use this unique protection system was easy.

Recently introduced to the market, Power Shield provides a fully enclosed, self-climbing perimeter protection system, or cocoon, that ensures safety to the workers and safety from falling debris. Navillus had the choice of selecting plywood, 29 gauge steel, or fabric as the edge protection cover. “We went with the fabric because of the weight, cost, and appearance,” says Navillus Vice President Peter Downes. By selecting the self-climbing system, Navillus felt very comfortable with the overall protection it provides. Since the system has its own hydraulic package for climbing, crane usage was minimal, and was only needed to set the initial gangs. After the exterior shields are set in place, the crane is no longer required.

While other systems they studied required large staging areas, the initial set up of the Power Shiled can be built in a relatively small area. With the use of fabric and the manufacturer’s very light structural steel and versatile E-Beams, the system is much lighter than others, consequently for anchoring purposes less weight is placed on newly formed slabs. “We can jump up to four 24-foot gangs that cover three floors vertically in about 20 minutes” says cocoon foreman Jimmy Smith. While only three floors were protected, the system has the capability to cover five floors at a time and still maintain floor cycle times.

“The climbing protection system is lightweight and moves quickly. The system allows us to use fewer anchor points with the building than other systems we have used. This means fewer panels to climb and a quick turnaround time for jumping the entire system. When pouring concrete on a two-day cycle, we cannot afford to wait for our protection system to catch up to us. The staff at EFCO, from sales to engineering to field service have all contributed to the success of the project. Also, this is the first cocoon system in New York City to acquire its own ALT-2 permit, which will soon be required of all cocoons,” adds Kuefner.

As the Marriot Hotel begins to penetrate the New York skyline, and Navillus continues to broaden its horizons with projects increasing in magnitude, EFCO is privileged to provide a comprehensive safe working environment for what Navillus considers their most important resource: their workforce. Both Navillus and EFCO are looking forward to a lasting partnership poised to meet the challenges associated with high rise construction.