CRF Seismic Retrofit Complete

 The installation of new exterior concrete/steel seismic buttress walls, which are attached to the building steel framework. They reinforce the building structure so the building acts like one “box” during an earthquake.

The installation of new exterior concrete/steel seismic buttress walls, which are attached to the building steel framework. They reinforce the building structure so the building acts like one “box” during an earthquake.

On Friday, Sept. 12, Sandia National Laboratories completed a three-year seismic retrofit of the Combustion Research Facility’s (CRF’s) building 905 to ensure that the building meets the newest earthquake codes.

Sandia/California’s Physical Operations Planning & Studies department led the conceptual planning process, starting in August 2011. When the plans were approved, Sandia engaged Overaa Construction, a firm from Richmond, Calif. To accommodate the construction, which took place from June 2013 to September 2014, the building’s occupants relocated to temporary offices in two phases.

The main achievement of the retrofit—strengthening building 905’s structural integrity—is readily apparent: huge concrete and steel buttresses now envelope the exterior walls. Other changes are less striking. “The interior of 905 looks much the same as before, except for new carpet, ceilings, and paint,” said Blake MacDonald of Sandia/California’s Facilities Projects and Engineering department, who served as the project manager.

The low-profile changes are significant. In addition to securing utilities hidden by the interior ceilings, the retrofit fixed a leaking skylight and upgraded the fire alarm system, passenger elevator, and egress lighting.

“All in all, this project went very smoothly and safely,” said Dawn Manley, deputy director of the CRF. “I would like to thank everyone who helped make this happen, including our DOE sponsors who supported this retrofit, as well as our facilities team and CRF staff who accepted many inconveniences with grace. The good news is that we’ve done what was needed to help ensure the safety of our people.”

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