Kessler Saddle Brook Involves TSG to Minimize Flooding
June 6, 2014
The Shauger Group, Inc. (TSG) recently completed a project for Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation’s Saddle Brook location as a measure to protect the building’s electrical services and utilities from the possibility of future water inundation.
Kessler has experienced continuous incidents in which the building and parking lot have been overwhelmed with water. During Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, as well as during one major storm prior to those, TSG was called in to perform emergency work at the site due to the extremity of the situations. The scope of work involved in these critical situations involved, among other things, draining tremendous levels of floodwater, replacing up to four feet of sheet rock, and remediating electrical damage.
The four-story building, located at 300 Market Street, has experienced this significant flooding due to its low elevation, as well as due to a nearby creek, which poses a threat when breached. Any storms that brought a considerable amount of rain prompted rain and creek water to flow in the direction of the building and caused the basement of the building to flood—sometimes only a few inches, other times in its entirety. Flooding in certain scenarios even brought water an additional one to three inches deep on the first floor.
Regardless, any amount of rain in the basement created an issue, as the utilities were housed in the facility’s basement.
As a result, Kessler put out a bid for the utilities to be relocated and reinstalled on an upper floor in order to minimize future interruptions and water damage. After TSG came in as the lowest responsible responsive bidder, the contract was signed on June 24, 2013.
The project was completed within three months. TSG used space from an adjacent first floor office when constructing the new ground floor electrical room. At approximately twenty feet by twenty-five feet, the new room is about twice the size of the previous room housed in the basement.
The biggest challenge for TSG and its subcontractor, Star-Lo Electric, Inc., was to not disrupt service for residents in the rehabilitation center. To ensure this, work was done in the evening and night hours when most residents were asleep. Moreover, the workers’ approach was carefully calculated and methodical as they disconnected and abandoned the existing service and installed the new service. Workers turned off no more than one or two breakers at a time as they moved over to the new service. At the same time, they also maintained service at all times to the emergency generation services used to power the facility in case of an emergency.
The job also involved minor construction projects. In addition to the demolition and construction involved in reallocating space from the existing first floor office to the electrical room, TSG also ripped out a bathroom and constructed a few interior offices to service the personnel displaced by the new utility room.
Kessler’s 230-space parking lot also floods consistently, so Kessler will be taking measures to ameliorate the parking lot situation in the coming months. TSG will take part in this upcoming project to redo the parking lot, which will entail repaving the lot and re-grading it to address flooding. Among the work involved will be the installation of an underground retention basin, site plan changes, and the redirection of water to the drainage system.
In engineering the changes to the parking lot, Mike Petry from Petry Engineering took into account the existing factors contributing to the frequent floods, with the intent that prospective floodwater will be diverted away from the building’s most critical points of entry.
“The entire area is below the DEP flood hazard elevation by three feet,” said Petry. “We’re trying to regrade the lot so that the low point is away from the building entrance—where it is now. It floods now at the most critical point.”
The new drainage system will be installed in the rear portion of the parking lot and will be connected to a subsurface recharge system intended to reduce the overall runoff from the site. This system will include a Tideflex check valve assembly to prevent backflow to the system during significant rain events. New and improved handicapped parking areas and accessible entranceways are being proposed as well.
“The difficulties in performing site work on a [hospital or rehabilitation center] are different than they are anywhere else,” said Petry.
According to Petry, jockeying construction while maintaining the facility’s accessibility and operations “takes a particularly talented team.” Having worked together on a number of previous projects, Petry and TSG are excited to work with one another again. Both understand the complexities of this project and, specifically, the importance of enabling Kessler to continue serving both its inpatient and outpatient needs while work is ongoing.
“What we like about working with The Shauger Group is that they provide the appropriate staffing for the project,” said Petry. “There are personnel on-site with specific experience with the work currently being performed. They are well-organized and well-prepared for the overall project and for the day-to-day activities as well.”
Although the building’s location precludes it from avoiding flooding altogether, the purpose of these previous and upcoming projects is to reduce the impact of future flooding.