August 6, 2018

American Tap Room is a local restaurant chain in the Washington, DC metro area that was looking to expand their presence south to Richmond, Virginia. The owner, Thompson Hospitality, brought Structura on to provide structural services for the build-out of the new restaurant including the support of new mechanical equipment, a new outdoor wood trellis and new folding patio doors, as well as some unforeseen issues along the way. 

The Challenge

The building, which had previously housed a bank, featured structural elements that had been installed to support a second-story bank vault and needed to be evaluated for removal. Working in a tight timeline, Structura was able to assemble drawings for permit and construction for the main elements of the build-out. The biggest challenge came during construction when the general contractor found that what had been assumed to be a slab on grade was actually a high slab over a low structural slab spanning between pile caps due to poor soils.

The Solution

Knowing that flexibility is key when working with existing buildings, Structura staff made a site visit to Richmond to evaluate the existing slab structure. Since most of the slab needed to be replaced to provide room for plumbing to run under the finished floor, Structura quickly designed a network of grade beams spanning between pile caps to properly distribute the ground floor loads and eliminate cracking and settling of the slab–without slowing down construction progress.

The Takeaway

It’s critical to have a design team that’s able to “roll with the punches” and respond quickly when working with existing buildings, especially those without available base building drawings. By quickly and efficiently targeting the problem and providing a feasible solution, Structura was able to keep the project on schedule while ensuring a good long-term outcome.

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