Saturday, September 13, 2014

What's wrong with B2? At the very least, facade panels not secure, windows left open

Given the recent lawsuits and counter-charges between Forest City and its contractor/partner Skanska, it's clear there are delays, cost overruns, and problems with the B2 modular building for Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park.

What exactly has gone wrong? Until more information emerges, we won't fully know.

But some evidence is glaringly obvious when you walk around the building at Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue: various facade panels are not secure, and some windows are left open, as the photos taken yesterday show.

That's not new: in July, the panels were even less secure, flapping noisily in the breeze, as videos showed.

If the facade is not secure, that suggests the building is vulnerable to the elements. Could  rain be getting inside some modules or collecting in the facade? Remember, these apartments are supposed to be arrive quite close to finished, ready to plug-and-play.

What next?

Forest City has said it might have to complete the building using conventional construction if the modular factory doesn't re-start. That would make for an odd hybrid.

I wonder about a more dramatic path: if modules are damaged or defective, might they have to be re-built, or even un-built? Could we see the crane used to remove modules?

That's speculation, of course: no one has announced it as a possibility. But so much surprising has happened with Atlantic Yards--Chinese partner, name change, modular plan, among much more--that we shouldn't be surprised at any resolution.

Fighting a fellow heavyweight

Until more information emerges in the lawsuits between Forest City and Skanska, it's tough to tell which party is in the right, or more aggrieved.

But these lawsuits differ considerably from to the ones filed by citizens, property owners, and community groups challenging Forest City and/or its government partners, like Empire State Development and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

This is closer to a fair fight, given that Skanksa is a major company with deep pockets. It can spend a commensurate amount on litigation. And the rhetoric from both sides is already quite bitter.

Panels secured to facade with rope. apparently
Panels not secured to facade
Panels not secured to facade
An open window center-left

An open window center-right

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous10:05 AM

    From my own knowledge of building construction, these panels being "unsecured" should not make the building interior susceptible to water damage. This appears to be a very typical rain screen panel system, meaning that all of the water proofing is actually happening behind these panels. Why the contractor has left these unfastened is indeed curious, but it is not likely indicative of a breach in the water tightness of the facade. It is likely that this is merely a cosmetic issue that will be repaired from an exterior swing stage or scaffolding. The hinged connection at the secured edge of the panels is an interesting approach though, perhaps necessary due to the modular construction process. Thank you for sharing these photos.

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  2. Thanks for your comment... what do you think about the windows being left open?

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  3. Anonymous10:35 AM

    Worker comfort, perhaps? Summers in New York are hot, I imagine. Hopefully they remember to close them when it rains though!

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