Tuesday, May 12, 2015

McCarren Park Pool Bathhouses Falling Apart - City Not Fixing It

White stains, identified as "excessive efflorescence" observed in many areas of the building's facade - a result of lime leach from the mortar - was the first indication of the problems according to the report.   The problems identified in the scathing report have not been addressed after more than a year and a half.  The firm found that poor workmanship during construction as well as deficient design and detailing are the main causes.  The white stains on the building's facade could cleary be seen on opening day in June 28, 2012. It has since gotten worse. (Photo: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on image to enlarge.  


By Geoffrey Croft

The McCarren Park Pool bathhouses are falling apart.  

"The appearance and the condition of the building is unacceptable,"  according to a report by the engineering firm hired by the city, and obtained by NYC Park Advocates. 

In 2013 the Parks Department hired engineering consultant HAKS to evaluate the causes of the excessive water infiltration and other issues that has plagued the McCarren Park Bathhouse within months of its opening after a $50 million renovation by the Bloomberg administration.  

The firm issued a scathing Investigation Report in December 2013 but the city has not moved to fix the issues.

Among the findings the report found severe signs of moisture infiltration including water leakage through the roof and facade which continues to deteriorate and shows distress, and cracking of mortar joints. They also discovered that the building suffers from a lack of proper bond between the brick and mortar, and masonry wall construction. Excessive efflorescence which is a sign on moisture was also found.  

The report found that poor workmanship during construction as well as deficient design and detailing were the main causes.    

Despite repeated requests the De Blasio administration has refused to say why they have not addressed the issues or provided an estimate of costs needed to fix them. 

In October the Parks Department's press office told A Walk In The Park that the "matter is currently under review. No further information can be provided at this time."

Since then the Parks Department had refused to provide any additional information. 

Park sources say the job's general contractor Commodore Construction has multiple claims against the city for the job. 

The Parks Department's besieged capital division was responsible for the $ 50 million dollar renovation project. 

"We have no idea what we're doing, " fumed a long-time Parks Department capital division employee. 

"We cover it up and lie and lie and lie. Silver (Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver) has no idea what is going on, he's clueless.  He keeps being lied to.  Therese  (Braddick, Deputy Commissioner, Capital Projects) and Jonna (Carmona-Graf,  Chief of Capital Program Management) have no idea what they are doing.   Instead of getting rid of the people who are responsible for these messes they're hiring more people for them to mismanage. 

"It's unbelievable.  Zero accountability. WE are wasting tax payer money.  They just don't care."
The report focus on the north and south bathhouses which were reconstructed and modernized to accommodate the new recreation centers. 

According to the report soon after the reconstruction was completed the building facades started showing  "severe signs of moisture severe signs of moisture infiltration, manifested by excessive efflorescence on the brick, and signs of water leakage through the roof and damp areas on the interior wall finishes."  

Despite some corrective measures, the moisture infiltration through the facade and roof has become "progressively worse and the buildings' interiors started to deteriorate" the  report states.

"The facade continues to deteriorate and shows signs of distress."

Our investigation indicates that the water infiltration through the building envelope has been caused primarily by poor workmanship of the masonry construction , and the problems have been compounded by deficient detailing on the contract drawings, " the report summarizes. 

The 8 page report found a host of problems including design deficiencies and poor workmanship during construction.

• Insufficient expansion joints

•  Absence of wall cavity and weep holes above the upper level clearstory windows

• Lack of flashing on the existing concrete brick shelves

•  Lack of vapor barrier in the roofing system and deficiencies in waterproofing along the parapet walls

• Inadequate flashing and roofing transitions around the exterior stairs at the roof

•  Deficient mortaring - lack of bond between the brick and mortar

• Lack of flashing on the steel lintels above the jack-arch windows and at the window sills 

• Insufficient masonry ties

• Leaking joints in the parapet  coping, missing flashing and unsealed penetrations

Read More:

McCarren Park swimming pool full of leaks after $50M renovation
New York Post - May 12, 2015 - By Rich Calder

1 comment:

  1. Does the author understand that efflorescence is the natural leaching of lime and salt from manufactured masonry materials and has nothing to do with the worksmanship??? This happens to any masonry or concrete product in which the aggregates containing lime and salt naturally permeate through the porous brick, block or concrete. It subsides over time but can continue to happen for years and years. Also to this specific fact, some of the brick at McCarren pool is the original brick from 1935 that still has efflorescence coming from it 75 years later as evidenced in the photos of the ribbon cutting (the archway of the tower is over 60% existing brick. To remediate excessive efflorescence a simply light duty cleaning solution is applied to and scrubbed into the brick and washed off. It's part of the maintenance program when maintaining baked or wire cut brick.