How to Soar Without a Helicopter

When ESD thinks of questions we need to answer during a project, the crucial one is: How do we best benefit the client?

Here’s a story about how ESD and DW Hammer provided an innovative turnkey solution that benefited the client – including saving it a ton of money.

ESD has been involved with the 77 West Wacker Drive building from its inception as the original building’s design engineer, and it continues to be the preferred building engineer. DW Hammer’s principals also maintained a presence separately and in conjunction with ESD in tenant projects there over the years.

In 2017, the building’s original cooling towers needed a complete retrofit and placement. Others suggested using a helicopter to execute the project, which brings significant risk and liability (and, if the weather doesn’t cooperate on the scheduled day, the tens of thousands of dollars earmarked for the helicopter firm are lost forever). With the ESD engineering team’s relationship leading the way, DW Hammer explored other options to mitigate the risk.

So how does one remove old cooling towers and install massive new ones 52 floors up without a helicopter? Our team proposed that we dismantle the aging towers and remove the parts via the elevators. Then, we explored options to see how the new ones could be brought up elevators in pieces and assembled on the roof rather than dropped on the roof whole. In fact, the DW Hammer and ESD team traveled to Baltimore to the cooling tower factory to examine the manufacturing process, the quality of the products and to see exactly how they are assembled and deployed. Seeing how they’re built means we’ll know how to fix them if needed.

By choosing our successful implementation, the client saved a significant amount of money. As a bonus, our method averted a logistics nightmare as Wacker Drive and Clark Street would have had to be shut down during a helicopter installation. Not only that, our work at the outset of the project -- where we gathered information to mitigate a lengthy schedule and a previously undefined budget -- allowed JLL to move quickly to get approval.

This project fits right in with ESD’s Core Values. Everything that we do at 77 West Wacker is inherently about sustainability. Our work will provide optimal comfort, energy savings, improved utility costs and a reduction in the amount of maintenance required, while DW Hammer is meeting and maintaining certifications in the LEED Platinum structure.

Working together and united by our history at 77 West Wacker, DW Hammer and ESD provided the best solution for the client. When a project like this can take flight without a helicopter, all parties end up walking on air.

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