UMass Physical Sciences Building Construction Kevin Boyan, jake macisaac


The Physical Sciences Building (PSB) is under construction in the north end of the University of Massachusetts campus in Amherst between Lederle Graduate Research Center, Goessman Laboratory, and North Pleasant Street. The building was designed by Wilson Architects and is being contracted by Whiting-Turner Contracting Company. The project is estimated to be completed by early 2018.

Project Description

The UMass Physical Sciences Building is designed to provide labs, conference areas, and office space for the physics and chemistry department. The building will be three stories tall and have a footprint of 44,255 square feet out of the 100,000 square feet of the site. The gross square footage of the building will be 88,500 square feet. The completed building is estimated to achieve LEED silver certification. The construction site will include the incorporation of of the old West Experiment Station (WES) which will be partially demolished and rebuilt to be connected to the PSB In order for the WES to be properly connected to the PSB, the building must be moved to a new location in the site. Labs within the PSB complex will have flexible usage potential to be used from anything from physics, computing, or synthetic chemistry research. Along with the construction of the PSB and renovation of the WES, the loading dock at the Lederle Graduate Research Tower will be renovated and expanded upon.

Week 2 Observations: 10/12/2016

This picture shows the southern face of the building. The frame has been completed and rigid insulation is beginning to be installed on this side of the building. Part of the temporary staircase that was there the previous week has been removed so that it will not get in the way of covering the wall. You can see an excavator arm that could be used for digging ditches to install plumbing or for lifting heavy materials.
The east side of the building is being covered with rigid insulation as well as siding. There is a worker in a boom lift who is attaching the siding to the frame. The closely spaced members of framing in the top left corner of the facade suggests that the rest of the wall will be covered in siding. At the bottom of the vertical strips of insulation you can see the beginnings of masonry installation.
This picture shows the northeast corner of the building. There are not many changes to the northern facade from the previous week. There has been no progress on the amount of wall covering, siding, or scaffolding. A portion of the fence has been removed to allow utility vehicles such as the van in the picture to enter to bring in materials.
This picture shows the northwest corner of the building. From this angle you can see the foundation wall on the western side because the ground slopes down. The ground hasn’t been paved or landscaped yet so it doesn’t get ruined from construction vehicles. There is a structure connecting the west wall to Goessman lab at the second story. The west wall has been completely covered in siding but the external layer has not yet begun installation.

Week 2 Research: Framing

For the second week of observations, we will cover framing. Framing as used in construction is material used to give shape and structural support to a building or other structure. Framing can either be categorized as heavy framing or light framing. Heavy framing uses large, heavy members that cannot be easily listed without machinery and require certain components beyond nails or screws to assemble such as brackets, heavy bolts, and welding. Light framing uses small, closely spaced members that can be assembled using only nails or screws.

The Physical Science Building is primarily a heavy frame building but uses light framing as well in its construction. The main structure uses heavy framing as it is a large building and needs large strong members to support the weight of the building and everything that will be going into it. Light framing is used in this construction project not for structural support, but as studs to give shape to the walls and supply a base for sheathing to be attached.

As you can see in the picture below, there are both heaving framing members and light framing members making up the exterior wall. In the center of the picture and at the far right of the picture you can see large steel I-beams which are heavy framing. These beams are connected to joists that run across the ceiling which provide support for the floor above it. These beams are coated in a fire resistant material to keep the building structurally sound so that is doesn’t collapse in case of a fire. The thin steel members on either side of the center I-beam are light frame studs which will act as a base for the sheathing and gypsum board to be screwed into.

The most common materials that framing is made of are wood, steel, and sometimes aluminum. Each different material has its own benefits and the choice of what material to use is dictated by the goals of the project architects and engineers. In the PSB, all the framing is made of steel. The main benefits of using steel for framing are because of its durability and strength (mid city steel, 2013). Steel can carry larger loads than other materials and span larger distances and it is less likely to degrade over time from pests or from fire. Steel is also commonly recycled which can make it a more environmentally friendly option for framing than wood. A big disadvantage of using steel for framing is that it has a high heat transfer rate which allows heat to be easily lost from a building.

There are three types of steel framing used in building construction. Conventional Steel Fabrication is the oldest and most labor intensive type of construction (understand building construction, 2016). This style consists of cutting members of steel and welding them together on site to create the framing. Another style which is more widely preferred is bolted steel construction. This is when pre measured and cut lengths of steel are delivered to the site so that they can easily be put into place and bolted together. The third type of steel framing is light gauge steel construction which uses thin pieces of steel that are bent into shape and easily cut to size on or off site. The PSB uses both bolted steel construction and light gauge steel construction.

Members of bolted steel construction come prefabricated and ready to be installed. You can see in this picture that the pieces fit perfectly together and already have holes drilled into them so that they can be lined up and bolted.

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