Boston, MA

Thomas P. O'Neill Federal Building Perimeter Security Project


In the summer of 2014, the City of Boston was developing plans to improve pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular traffic in the congested West End and North End neighborhoods. The project included replacing existing sidewalks and curbs around the Thomas O’Neill Federal Building, presenting the General Services Administration with an opportunity to enhance the building’s perimeter security. SGH consulted on the design of new bollards to replace existing precast concrete ones.

SGH identified locations and magnitudes of vehicle impact threats. We commissioned a non-destructive subsurface investigation to determine the locations of buried infrastructure elements, many of which predated the building’s construction in the mid-1980s. Based on the survey and threat analysis, SGH identified crash-tested bollards that could fit within the site’s constraints, while meeting Department of Defense and Federal Protective Services standards for perimeter protection of federal buildings.

We collaborated with federal agencies, the Boston Water and Sewer Commission, the Boston Transportation Department, and the City of Boston’s design consultants to coordinate our design with below-grade utility vaults and crossings, the city’s pavement design, new landscape features, and accessible access routes around the building. SGH prepared contract documents specifying the bollards’ type and locations and presented our plans to the City of Boston’s Public Improvement Commission.

We also provided post-construction contract services, including reviewing the contractor’s design and shop drawing submittals and making periodic site visits to observe construction progress.

Project Summary



Completion Date


Construction Value
New Construction
Structures | Performance & Code Consulting
Specialized Capabilities
Repair & Strengthening | Risk & Resilience Assessment

Key team members

Sean Donlon
Sean Donlon
Associate Principal
Alec Zimmer
Alec Zimmer
Associate Principal
Pedro Sifre
Pedro Sifre
Senior Principal