Pawtucket City Hall Tower
RGB was commissioned in 2012 to study, document, and identify issues with the structure and veneer for the Pawtucket City Hall Tower. Originally constructed in 1936, the building is constructed of a structural steel frame encased in concrete with concrete floor slabs, solid masonry exterior walls, cinder block interior walls, pre-cast roof panels, and a tower which rises approximately 100 feet above the main roof. The tower walls were constructed as Mass Barrier exterior walls, which rely on the thickness and properties of wall materials to provide a barrier.
Since the tower was originally constructed, there has been continuous evidence of water infiltration. Two major renovation projects have previously occurred on the tower. In 1974, the tower underwent a new masonry and roofing renovation project which included removal of the existing stone on the belfry and re-cladding of the metal dome. In the mid-1980s water infiltration was again reported, and in 2005 the tower underwent additional exterior renovations. In recent years, the water infiltration has again continued to worsen. The majority of the leaking appears to be infiltrating at the lower northeast corner of the tower.
The latest water events occurred when substantial water entered the adjacent elevator shaft and caused the elevator’s electrical system to short out, resulting in costly repairs. According to the Pawtucket Maintenance Department, the water infiltration seems to have lessened since the east and west low roofs were re-roofed, but is still occurring. During different types of storms, evidence of water infiltration can be observed in various locations of the tower, but is more prevalent during wind-driven rain storm events.
RGB’s investigation scope was conducted by visual inspection at the base of the tower. Interior investigation of the tower was performed from the tower floor and exterior investigation was performed from the adjacent north and south low roofs. A wall opening was provided at the base of the east side of the tower (below the lowest window and above the intersection of the low roof). A lift was not provided as part of this investigation and conditions of the upper portions of the tower are based on photographs provided to RGB from the facilities department. No invasive (destructive) investigation was conducted by RGB due to the limited nature of the scope for this investigation study.