Nicholson Construction, a national geotechnical contracting firm specializing in deep foundations, earth retention and ground treatment and GEI Consultants Inc., one of the nation’s leading geotechnical, environmental, water resources, and ecological science and engineering firms, announced that the Massachusetts chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC/MA) has presented the team its top prize, the Grand Conceptor Award, for their Provo Temple Underpinning project in Provo, Utah. The award was presented at the ACEC/MA 2015 Engineering Excellence Awards Gala held in Boston on March 18.
The Grand Conceptor Award winner was chosen from the five Gold Awards as the overall best engineering project amongst all the award submissions entered this year to ACEC/MA. The award recognizes the innovative underpinning system which was employed to salvage the Provo Tabernacle, a historic building in the center of the Utah city, built around 1890, that was ravaged by fire on Dec. 17, 2010.
The underpinning system stabilized the remaining exterior walls to allow for careful excavation beneath the structure to preserve the temple’s facade. In addition, the underpinning system allowed the owner, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, to expand the size and purpose of the building, and rededicate it as a Temple.
In a design-build partnership, GEI Consultants and Nicholson Construction Company designed the pioneering underpinning system to lift the brick facade off its existing shallow foundation, excavate 35 ft below street grade, and prepare the site for the build-out of a new basement under the historic structure for general contractor Jacobsen Construction. As engineer of record, GEI finalized the design of the underpinning micropiles, needle beams, and bracing to support the tabernacle and resist lateral loads during excavation.
Nicholson Construction skillfully installed the unique underpinning structure that was able to keep 6.8 million lbs of the building’s facade in the air and enable the excavation underneath to take place without compromising the existing structure. The result of this project was an undertaking that attracted the rapt attention of the public and showcased the resolve of the Church to preserve its history; the skill and workmanship of the engineer and contractor, and the technical prowess of the civil engineering profession.
“We’re very proud of the work that both teams did on this project,” said Paul Krumm, Operations Manager, Nicholson Construction. “The reconstruction of the Temple is very important to the local community, and we are really honored to have been part of it.”
The underpinning and foundation excavation project was completed in December 2013. Work is currently proceeding on the above-grade portions of the temple.