Redoing Wrigley

Wrigley Field is not just the country’s oldest National League ballpark; it’s a Chicago landmark.

📅   Sat August 01, 2015 - Midwest Edition
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Wrigley Field is not just the country’s oldest National League ballpark; it’s a Chicago landmark. Thus, all work had to be carried out delicately. NDA member Brandenburg Industrial Service Company was chosen for this project because of the com
Wrigley Field is not just the country’s oldest National League ballpark; it’s a Chicago landmark. Thus, all work had to be carried out delicately. NDA member Brandenburg Industrial Service Company was chosen for this project because of the com
Wrigley Field is not just the country’s oldest National League ballpark; it’s a Chicago landmark. Thus, all work had to be carried out delicately. NDA member Brandenburg Industrial Service Company was chosen for this project because of the com Work on demolishing the bleachers began on Oct. 8, 2014. The original demolition strategy was to use two crews (one in left field, the other in right field) to remove universal waste and demolish the exterior brick walls, working inward. Shoring and bracing were required to secure the wall prior to Brandenburg selectively demolishing the stadium seating. Construction workers tend to the new scoreboard in right field at Wrigley Field before a baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers in Chicago on Sunday, May 3, 2015.

In early 2013, Chicago Cubs management announced a largescale restoration and expansion of the team’s storied ballpark, Wrigley Field. The project, called The 1060 Project (after its address on Addison Street on Chicago’s North Side), includes facelifts to the interior, exterior, infrastructure and other facilities.

The massive project, expected to be complete in 2018, will be executed in multiple phases. Phase One began after the 2014 baseball season ended and involved demolishing the ballpark’s bleachers.

From the Cubs Web site: “[The bleachers] will be expanded and enhanced with new seating, terraces and concessions, all while maintaining the charm that has made the location a prime destination for generations of Cubs fans.”

Original Strategy

Wrigley Field is not just the country’s oldest National League ballpark; it’s a Chicago landmark. Thus, all work had to be carried out delicately. NDA member Brandenburg Industrial Service Company was chosen for this project because of the company’s competitive price, ability to meet the schedule and safety record.

Work on demolishing the bleachers began on Oct. 8, 2014. The original demolition strategy was to use two crews (one in left field, the other in right field) to remove universal waste and demolish the exterior brick walls, working inward. However, due to scope changes and being limited to left field, the crew size and strategy were modified.

“The city had to relocate an existing water main that interfered with the new construction,” Project Manager Drew Deichmann said. “The relocation of the main took much longer than expected, and we were not able to work in both left and right field as originally planned. Due to the water company occupying the majority of right field, the sequence of our work changed and limited the size of our crew.”

New Strategy

The limited Brandenburg crew that remained, which included one superintendent, two operators and four laborers, began with its new strategy by removing all unnecessary materials. The next step was to demolish and load out the exterior wall along Waveland and Sheffield avenues. Once that was complete, they removed all construction and demolition materials from underneath the bleachers and, using a saw and jackhammer, cut out a section of the left field bleachers away from the outfield ivy wall. Next, the crew fully demolished the left field bleachers, processing concrete and rebar along the way. The same procedure was performed in right field. The crew also removed concrete slabs from center, left and right fields.

Because of the ballpark’s designation as historic, challenges arose. For example, the infield ivy brick wall was originally supposed to be replaced, but its historic landmark classification prohibited it. Shoring and bracing were required to secure the wall prior to Brandenburg selectively demolishing the stadium seating. The crew used small, handheld equipment like chipping hammers and concrete saws and installed bracing on the brick to protect against vibration and severe weather.

The equipment used in the project included a rubber tire loader, skid steers with breakers and grab buckets, man lifts, excavators with rotating shear and concrete processors, air compressors, a crane, and numerous jackhammers, chipping guns and torches.

Cubs management and Pepper Construction, the project’s general contractor, made it clear from the start that safety was the No. 1 priority. In keeping with that priority, Brandenburg workers held daily safety meetings and weekly safety audits. As part of Brandenburg’s VPP Best Practices, each Brandenburg worker completed a daily “Safety Task Analysis Card,” which is used as a reminder for the associated hazards, preventative actions and PPE requirements for the individual task being performed.

The 1060 Project continues to move forward. As for Brandenburg’s piece of the pie, the company was able to complete the job on time (four weeks) and with zero injuries.

This story was reprinted with permission from Demolition Magazine, May/June 2015 issue.