Best Practices for Lasting and Safe Podium Construction Design

Date: April 25, 2018 5:30pm
Location: Atlantic Wharf, Boston, MA

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Atlantic Wharf (in the Fort Point Room) 
290 Congress Street 
Boston, MA 02210

Two blocks from South Station on the Red Line. Parking is available in the parking garage between Sorelle Café & Boloco (282 Congress Street and 284 Congress Street) for a $12 flat rate if you enter after 5:00PM.

5:30 - 6:00 p.m. Registration & Refreshments
6:00 - 7:00 p.m. Presentation & Discussion
7:00 - 7:30 p.m. Cocktail Reception

Participants will earn 1.0 AIA CES Learning Unit (LU/HSW) for their attendance. Attendance is free and open to all; please invite colleagues. We will serve refreshments and hors d'oeuvres. Space is limited to the first 100 guests to register.


Podiums are popular building features because they allow owners to maximize the number of stories in a structure, increase unit density, and lower construction costs. These designs – typically consisting of noncombustible, combustible, or limited combustible construction over one- and two-story Type I concrete platforms – blur the lines between residential and commercial-grade construction, creating “light commercial” buildings often disguised as more robust commercial-grade structures. In this presentation, we will highlight changes to the ninth edition of the Massachusetts State Building Code related to podium-style construction and explore best practices for durable and safe design.

After attending this seminar, participants will be able to: 

  • Understand why podium construction is in high demand.  
  • Identify beneficial provisions and limitations related to implementing building code requirements for podium construction. 
  • Recognize key differences between residential, light commercial, and commercial grade construction and varying approaches to podium construction in use today.
  • Discuss how durability and economics play a role in selecting structural and building enclosure components for podium projects.



Joshua B. Kivela, P.E. | Associate Principal
Josh Kivela is experienced in designing, investigating, and rehabilitating historic and contemporary buildings. He is a versatile and creative designer of high-performance building enclosure systems that require integration of complex glazing, wall, roofing, and waterproofing systems. Josh helps clients provide innovative and durable solutions to complex building problems through investigation, assessment, and collaborative design. He has investigated numerous building enclosure failures on wood-framed buildings and provided building enclosure consulting services for designers and owners on several recent podium projects.


Nathan B. Wittasek, P.E., CFEI, LEED AP, CASp | Principal
Nate Wittasek has experience working in the fire protection and regulatory arenas. He brings a practical approach to the fire protection engineering field that reflects his diverse training and experiences in academia, codes consulting for both new and existing facilities, performance-based fire protection engineering, accessibility, and the fire service. His experience includes failure analysis, fire engineering, systems design, and building code consulting for commercial and infrastructure projects in North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Nate has worked on more than 100 podium structures of varying types and sizes in his career, addressing code compliance and fire/life safety considerations.



  • Owners
  • Facilities Managers
  • Property Managers
  • Contractors
  • Architects
  • Attorneys