Concrete Repairs and Waterproofing at the Harvard Towers Parking Garage

December 6, 2017
Concrete Repairs and Waterproofing at the Harvard Towers Parking Garage

Concrete parking garages can face harsh conditions, especially in the northeast where vehicles bring deicing salts from winter roads, causing corrosion of steel reinforcement and subsequent deterioration of the structure. We recently faced these issues during a condition assessment and concrete repair project for the Harvard Towers parking garage located in Cambridge, MA.

The 200-vehicle garage is a two-level, below-grade, cast-in-place concrete structure built around 1962. The lower parking level is slab-on-grade and the upper level is an elevated parking deck with a plaza and building above. Concrete deterioration in the parking garage structure and plaza was widespread and severe in several instances, prompting the need for this repair project.

The general scope of the concrete repair work involved the following:

  • Replacing the elevated parking level with a new concrete pan-joist system
  • Repairing structural elements (beams, columns, and walls), including the plaza deck structure
  • Conducting structural strengthening of existing concrete beams and joists to support additional loads
  • Installing new vehicular-traffic-bearing waterproofing on the new deck

Removing and replacing the existing elevated parking deck created a big challenge for the phasing of the repair work, since it provided intermediate lateral support for the existing two-story buried foundation walls and columns supporting the plaza and building above. The project required extensive temporary structural support to existing structural elements, including installing lateral bracing systems, during demolition and reconstruction of the elevated parking deck.

The International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI) recognized this project as part of their annual ICRI Project Awards program in New Orleans, LA. The project was one of three Project of the Year finalists and also earned the 2017 Award of Excellence as the top entry in the Parking Structures category. I was proud to accept the award on behalf of our SGH project team, which included Senior Principal Greggrey Cohen and Senior Project Manager Gustavo Tumialan.

Thank you, ICRI, for recognizing this unique and challenging project, and congratulations to all of this year’s award winners.

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