Thursday, September 24, 2009

September 24, 2009 (photo credit: Bob Sher)
Have you been by the church in the past few days? Have you noticed anything? Anything missing perhaps? That's right, the scaffolding is gone. The roof project is complete. Thanks to all who have supported us and shown patience with us during this long, complicated and sometimes scary process. We now have a roof that will last for decades and will ensure that the building that houses The Church of St. Luke & The Epiphany will stand as a witness to the grace of God in our lives and the lives of those around us for generations to come. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Umm....What's That Thing Do?

Falcon Wire Rope and Stainless Steel Self-Retracting Lifeline

Miller HP High-Performance Harness (as worn by a professional model - not just some random dude they pulled from the warehouse)

Roof Access Hatch Stairway

Chuck Looking Down The Roof Access Hatch
For years whenever Victor, our Sexton, needed to get onto the church roof to clean out the gutters, unblock the snow or ice or just to get a good view of the Philadelphia skyline he took a really tall ladder to the back of the building and started climbing, dragging his tools behind him. Those days are long gone. The new roof now has this spiffy new access hatch, along with a safety harness and lifeline pictured above. These are OSHA approved devices that will make the job of maintaining our building safer and more efficient for Victor and his staff. Honestly, considering all the work that they do for us day in and day out, the roof project is worth it for this alone. Thanks Victor and Bob! Enjoy your new access hatch.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Right On Time!

West Facing Chimney At The Beginning Of August 2009 (Before)

Same Chimney One Month Later - Septemnber 2009 (After)

Everything is on target for the roof project to wrap up right on schedule in just about a month.

During the semi-monthly progress meeting yesterday, Construction Manager John Farrell of J.S. Cornell and Sons reported that painting of the exterior is about 85 percent completed while the interior patching and painting is finished.

The scaffolding that was constructed inside the nave to patch some holes, skim over some cracks and repaint some water spots, will be removed next Wednesday, in time for us to return to our normal Sunday schedule as planned on September 13. Once the scaffolding is down, cleaners will move from top to bottom in the nave, scrubbing and dusting to make sure no signs of the construction remain inside.

The new electric wiring has already been run and the lighting inside was retuned to normal on Wednesday. The only abnormal thing will be that several of the light fixtures that for years have had missing rosette rings at their base have had those rosettes restored. The plasterer cast a mold from one of the better rosettes and five missing ones have been put in place.

Outside, you may want to remember your sunglasses this weekend. The garden area is completely coated with a fresh coat of very white paint. The only area needing work there are four window sills that were badly rotted and will be replaced with new Spanish cedar next week.

Out front, the columns and walls have been painted. Two details remain there. Tomorrow morning, Victor and construction supervisor Lou DiCicco will begin installing two new scrolls on the capital atop the second column from the South side. There, an original scroll fell to its destruction around 1850. With the scaffolding up, we removed one of the other scrolls and had a cast made of it and two new scrolls will be installed on that capital, once again completing the ornate leaf and scroll work of these cast-iron Corinthian capitals.

Also while the scaffolding is up, the fixtures that flood the front wall with light will be updated. Several of the old mercury-vapor fixtures were in very bad shape and a bulb needed to be replaced. Tomorrow morning, we'll replace one of the fixtures with a new two-light fixture with compact fluorescent bulbs to test the light tone and brightness. We expect to replace all of the fixtures and bulbs, increasing the amount of light by about 40 percent and cutting electric use there by more than 50 percent, all at the same cost as it would be to just replace the mercury-vapor bulbs.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Big Progress

Column Capital on August 5, 2009

Column Capital on August 19, 2009

Work on the new roof and electrical system now is smoothly heading into the fine-detail stage, with nearly all roofing and gutters in place, cornices installed, and even the painting nearing about the 40 percent completion point.

In a bi-weekly construction progress meeting today, construction manager John Farrell and construction supervisor Lou DiCicco of J.S. Cornell and Sons confirmed that the UArts parking lot next door would be returned to UArts staff Monday, with final cleanup and the removal of the security fencing on the 13th Street entrance slated for this Friday. The entire north side of the church fronting the parking lot has already been painted except for some low-lying detail work. The scaffolding along the lot has already been removed.

DiCicco estimated that the roofing is 95 percent complete, with one small section of lower-lying roof above the north-side organ chamber and lady chapel to be resurfaced later this week. Also, some detail work on some diverters and downspouts remains.

Scaffolding has already been installed inside the nave for ceiling touchup plaster and paint work at the joint above where the nave meets the chancel, and in the back south portion of the church where a hole was created during survey work last winter. Cornell and the paint contractor are currently working to match the paint that was applied in the summer of 2003. They have also cast a mold of the rosettes that surround the light fixtures on the ceiling and are re-creating eight new rosettes to replace the six that fell off in recent years and to allow us two back-ups, along with a permanent mold in case we ever need to create additional ones.

Some additional scaffolding will be temporarily installed in the front portico to allow painters safer access while scraping and repainting the nearly 50-foot columns. New scrolls for the capitals, replacing one that fell and was destroyed in the 19th Century and one that was removed last month to have a mold made, will be replaced in the next few weeks with newly created replicas being cast in Bucks County.

Meanwhile in the attic, electrical work is progressing, with all new wiring and boxes installed, and only some detail remaining for the nave lighting fixtures and the attic lighting itself. The permanent vent fans have been installed in the roof as well as permanent access hatches with stairs to allow Victor to get out to the roof for gutter cleaning and other maintenance. We will nail down details for a safety harness system for roof maintenance next week.

The old, yellowed Lexan (plexiglass) has been removed from the stained glass windows under the portico and from the side windows on the wings by the stairwells. The stained glass framing is being painted and -- in a detail that is looking very good -- the steel cross members on the glass are being painted with a lead-colored paint to match the rest of the leading, replacing the old black paint that broke up the windows into obvious sections. An attempt to remove the Lexan from the upper "Saint" stained glass windows revealed some deterioration of those stained glass windows, which leaked badly without the protective coating. The two trial windows are being re-coved with new, perfectly clear Lexan, significantly brightening them from the inside.

Work is still on target for ultimate completion the first week of October.
And while it's too early to predict any savings from budget, the work to date has progress without a single change order.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Progress Aplenty

North Side Gutters on 7/22/09 (BEFORE)

North Side Gutters on 8/5/09 (AFTER)

We had a roof construction update meeting today. Lots of interesting things going on – most all of it good news.
Right now the work on the roof is proceeding on schedule. Even with the heavy rain this past weekend the project is basically on time.

The reinstallation of the cornice is complete and the north side of the building has already received a fresh new coat of white paint. It looks terrific! The cast iron capitals on the columns on the porch have been power washed and are ready to be painted.

Last week the Lexan was removed on the windows facing 13th street. These windows are protected by the portico and thankfully no rain got in through them during Sunday’s monsoon. The front of the building will have uncovered windows but the sides won’t. The windows on the north and south side of the building unfortunately aren't in good enough shape to have the Lexan coating removed.
The painters will paint the wood and the iron surrounding the front windows as well as the railings going up the steps. The iron fencing going along the top of the wall will not be painted.
Victor inquired about the new downspouts and he was reassured that they were on their way. John Farrell explained that for the downspouts the rubber roofing material is laid down first and then it is peeled back. A rectangular down spout connector is inserted and the rubber is then folded down into the spout to create a finished seam on the inside. Pretty cool. Check out the pictures!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Good Progress...Weather Permitting

Chuck Pukanecz gave us the following update from yesterday's construction meeting:

"Truss installation above the nave remains on schedule, with only the final 10-foot section of hips descending to the chancel connection remaining. That area was fully opened up yesterday, and work is proceeding to build that section of truss-work in place.

Meanwhile, the EPDM rubber roofing material is about 75% installed and the new gutters are being quickly installed, making way for the detail work to begin on flashing and fascia board. Next will come painting, with the scaffolding still scheduled to be removed August 17.

Workers are also currently pealing the roofing layers off the Chancel, which is not being rebuilt, but will get a new, smooth layer of sheathing and new gutters and EPDM roofing.

All the scheduling remains weather-dependent. Workers lost Tuesday to rain, and will be working this Saturday to make up the time.

During our semi-weekly Construction Progress Meeting yesterday, construction manager John Farrell of J.S. Cornell & Sons informed the project team that timing is getting very tight. 'Right now,' he said, 'it’s up to the weather. We have no float. We’re hard up against it.'

After the meeting yesterday, the team headed back up to the roof to examine the one active chimney that vents from the boiler room. Like the ones that were removed, it’s an old masonry chimney showing lots of wear. After looking at the masonry budget for the project, we decided while the scaffolding is up to shore up that chimney. It will be wrapped in metal lathe and get a ¾-inch coat of new stucco, extending its active life for decades."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New Signage

If you haven't already seen them in person check out these pictures of the new signage for our construction project.