SafwayAtlantic contributes to major NYC project

Safety systems designer helps provide demolition, construction crews access at JPMorgan Chase headquarters rebuild.

jpmorgan chase project
The JPMorgan Chase headquarters demolition and rebuild has been a highly visible project in New York since 2020.
Photo courtesy of SafwayAtlantic

SafwayAtlantic, a New Jersey-based business unit of BrandSafway, says it is providing needle beam scaffold, ground protection and a 60-story hanging hoist complex to contractor AECOM Tishman for the construction of the 1,388-foot, 60-story JPMorgan Chase global headquarters in New York.

Previously, New York-based AECOM Tishman selected SafwayAtlantic to provide services for the demolition of the previous 52-story, 700-foot JPMorgan Chase headquarters, which had been at the same Park Avenue address in Manhattan. Demolition and new construction started in 2020, proceeding simultaneously, and both projects presented “limitations and other challenges,” SafwayAtlantic says. On the jobsite, SafwayAtlantic has provided an eight-car personnel and material hoist complex.

“We have a long-time relationship with AECOM Tishman,” says Keith Lynch, president of SafwayAtlantic. “We listened closely and worked hard to design new solutions for every phase of these unique projects. We custom- fabricated numerous solutions, including a four-car hoist for the demolition, shoring, ground protection, overhead protection, needle beam platforms to support three levels of scaffold during demolition, scaffold ties, edge protection, a debris shoot, the eight-car hanging hoist complex and the world’s longest hoist car.”

“Virtually every step required out-of-the-box thinking,” SafwayAtlantic Director of Engineering Tanya Charlesworth says. "AECOM Tishman trusted us with creating first-of-a-kind engineering approaches, and the value to both our businesses is immeasurable. Even in congested urban environments and with extremely tall buildings, we can devise solutions that enable demolition and construction teams to work safely and efficiently.”

The old and new JPMorgan Chase headquarters occupy a full city block between Park and Madison Avenues and 47th and 48th streets. Metro North subway tunnels run underneath three sides of the building. The tunnels date back to 1875, and some of the structural steel elements “have thinned and delaminated,” according to SafwayAtlantic.

As a result, no loading is allowed on the street above the tunnels. Even then, the tunnels needed shoring to withstand the increased construction traffic. SafwayAtlantic engineered and custom fabricated shoring, some of it using high-strength steel to meet a capacity requirement of 130 kips. (A kip bears 1,000 pounds of force.)

SafwayAtlantic says it also fabricated two ground protection platforms to support the trucks and debris bins that removed a total of 81,600 tons of debris. The platforms tied into the old building’s steel columns (to eliminate ground loading); and a ramp enabled trucks and debris bins to roll on and off the platform.

To demolish the 700-foot-tall tower of the old headquarters, SafwayAtlantic erected Systems Scaffold around its 500-foot perimeter, including needle beams on the 41st, 29th and 16th floors.

Other demolition support projects included fabricating a steel scrap chute and fitting it inside an old elevator shaft. Instead of the traditional cable and orange netting on the exterior of the building, the contractor used BrandSafway’s Rapid-EPS edge protection system, a vertical debris shielding system made from light aluminum panels attached to compression posts. The panels are designed to be removed and reinstalled easily as demolition progresses, to reduce waste compared with plastic netting.

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