Physical Science Building Construction Documentary By: Kevin calantone, laban christenson, MaRcus Carlson


Site Plan

The construction project that we have chosen to focus on for this project is the Physical Science Building located on north side of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Campus.This project is estimated to be completed in early 2018. The Physical Science Building will be seeking Silver LEED certification. This project is projected to provide labs, lab support, and offices for 20 faculty members and approximately 130 bench positions. In total the building net square footage of the building will be 44,255 mainly consisting of labs, offices, and building support. Net square footage is defined as the total rooms/areas on a floor not including wall thickness or space that is open to below. This is not to be confused with gross square footage which includes all internal floor space. The gross square footage of the building will be 82,500. The construction process will be accomplished through four phases. The first two phases will cover preliminary utility construction and upgrades in the area projected to be completed in 8 months. The third phase will involve abatement, selective demolition and dismantling to allow for relocation and reconstruction of the West Experiment Station. In order to preserve the aesthetics and historical character of the WES the exterior materials will be preserved as much as possible. Any materials that are too deteriorated to be salvaged will be replace in kind. This rehabilitation construction is not meant to replicate but rather complement the pre-existing West Experiment Station. The fourth and final phase of the project includes the reconstruction of the WES and the construction of the Physical Science Building. The estimated construction timeline is from Spring 2015 to early 2018. The UMass project manager Joe Balzano.

Companies Involved:

The Architecture firm involved in this project is Wilson Architects, a well known firm that is based out of Boston, Massachusetts. Wilson Architects specializes in campus design, a field in which they have extensive experience including previous projects here on the UMass campus like the Life Science Laboratories, which was completed in 2013.
The Contractor on this project is Whiting-Turner, which was established in 1909 by G.W.C. Whiting and Lebaron Turner. Since its beginning, Whiting-Turner has been a powerful presence in the Contracting market and has been involved with numerous projects throughout the United States.

Week 1:

Picture 1:

This picture of the Physical Science Building shows the start of weather proofing the building before Winter comes. Ideally, by late November or early December the building would nearly sealed so the workers can deal with the harsh Massachusetts weather conditions. This will allow them to stay on schedule even if there is large amounts of snow that could get in the way of production. The weather proofing material, usually Tyvek, must be spread properly on the outside of the building. The Tyvek sheathing should be overlapped and sealed to the outer walls of the building. The ground on site is not yet even. Piping must still be laid and there is still cement work to be done. The cement work on the building must be done in good weather conditions to ensure it sets properly with the correct material strength.

Picture #2:

In this picture, we see a system of scaffolding that is being used by the masons to build the brick veneer wall on the east side of the building. This scaffolding systems is adjustable which allows the masons to raise it as they build the wall. This system seems more convenient for the masons because they can adjust the height of the platform so that it is always lined up with the area that they are working in. The scaffolding is supported by steel anchoring that are connected to the building itself.

Picture #3

This image above shows workers installing blocks of insulation on the outside of the house wrap, which acts as the air barrier for this wall system. The insulation will add most of the walls thermal barrier by increasing the R-Value of the wall. There are small orange clips that are placed evenly in between each of the insulation blocks in order to keep a uniform pattern and minimal spacing between the blocks. There will then be a layer of brick veneer placed on the outside of the insulation blocks that will act as the outermost layer of the exterior wall. This process is very time consuming because the bricks must be uniformly laid one by one and each course must be level so as not to interfere with the entire wall. This requires many skilled masons in order to achieve a desirable outcome while still staying on schedule.

Week 1 Research Insulation:

Thermal insulation in buildings is a way to mediate temperature within a building in order to provide thermal comfort and lower space heating cost. While most insulation is for thermal purposes there are other types of insulation which protects against noise, fire, and impact. Often insulation can be used for multiple functions at once. Primarily the duty of insulation is to slow heat loss through materials that are known to trap heat within the insulation. Various types of insulation can be used for this. Those include rock wool, blown cellulose, vermiculite, plant fibre, and many more.

Insulation provides the walls of the building with higher R - Values. An R value is a unit of measurement to determine the capacity of an insulating material. The higher the R value the higher insulation levels and capacity to trap heat. For example 1 inch of blown cellulose in an attic (such as the picture above) is the equivalent to an R value of 3.2 to 3.7. In order to add the full R value you must take into account any R values of siding, sheathing, and drywall simply by adding them together. The chart below shows R Values of various materials with respect to their depth.

A Thermal envelope defines the conditioned living space within a house. By reducing the airflow from inside to outside one can reduce convective heat transfer and reduce cost of space heating. Often times buildings that do have an adequate thermal envelopes may require weatherization upgrades which tighten the building and provide additional insulation to prevent heat loss. These weatherization upgrades can be reviewed by energy auditing companies. With less natural airflow inside a building there must be systems that ventilate and support human comfort. It is necessary for their to be adequate air exchange within a building to avoid problems such as condensation, rotting, and other mold and bacteria from deteriorating materials.

There are two main categories building insulation fall under. These types include bulk insulation and reflective insulation. As you would suspect the bulk insulation is used to prevent the transfer of heat from conduction and convection. Essentially, this type of insulation traps miniature pockets of warm air. Regardless of the direction the heat is flowing it has the same amount of heat resistance. Bulk insulation is used in most residential housing as well as commercial buildings. Reflective insulation is made up of foil backed by paper or plastic to protect against heat produced by radiation. It bounces the heat back towards the inside. Although a flaw of this insulation is that it must be kept clean to keep its reflective properties.

Picture #4

In this picture we see foundation formwork that is being used until the cement completely cures through the process of hydration. Formwork must be extremely strong to hold the weight and fluid pressure of the concrete. In many cases the makers of the formwork will apply oils, waxes, and plastic coatings to ease the removal process because in many cases the concrete will adhere to the formwork and make it very difficult to separate from the cured concrete. The cement that is being used in this picture must be suitable for the weight that it ill hold, and also have the ability to be open to the surrounding earth. There is only one type of cement suitable for these conditions, which is M Type cement. This cement is a mixture of portland cement, gravel, fine aggregates (like sand), and water. All of these elements are mixed together in a mixing truck or on site and then poured into the formwork by a crew of cement workers. In some cases there is an admixture in the cement, which is an additional ingredient to give the cement different properties. This cement may not have any admixture but that decision is made by the structural engineer.


Laban and Marcus

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