StructureTech NY

StructureTech NYStructureTech NY solidifies its reputation in the industry for providing a total package by adding to workforce and services. 

By Janice Hoppe-Spiers, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media

StructureTech NY has increased its manpower and expanded its portfolio of services to take advantage of more opportunities and larger site projects that have become available in New York City. “Our focus has been on delivering and everyone who comes to work here has to be the type of person who feels energized to make it happen,” CEO Gerry Cormican says. “We have super-motivated people that go out there and get the job done. Our workforce allows us to sit in front of clients and make aggressive commitments knowing we have a team that will back us.”

Cormican and his partner, James Scully, founded the Mount Vernon, N.Y.-based company as a foundation contractor in 2008. The country had fallen into a recession at that time, so both partners filled multiple roles and were hands-on with projects to ensure work was done on time and within budget. “You have to think outside the box and find different ways to get things done,” Cormican remembers. 

StructureTech NY faced tough lessons early on like keeping costs down, staying lean and creating alternative approaches. But those early challenges meant that the company had the leadership and lean processes in place to expand when the economy improved. 

As the building market picked back up, StructureTech NY filled the void left by competitors that didn’t survive the downturn. The company headed in a new direction in 2012 when it built its first superstructure building. Since then, StructureTech NY has branched into superstructure concrete and masonry. 

Total Package

StructureTech NY can take a project from piling, excavation and foundation up to the topping out and masonry enclosure. The ability to act as a total package provider makes the company appealing to general contractors that want to minimize the number of subcontractors to ease coordination. “You’re squeezing a lot more output out of the same building footprint when one builder is doing it all,” Cormican says.

In February, StructureTech NY acquired a curtain wall company to fully round out its services. “That’s going to be an exciting venture for the next number of years,” Cormican says. “It’s in its early stages and [we are] developing partnerships with suppliers to begin operating full package deals to our clients. All along it has been the foundation, superstructure and masonry, and this completes the package and fully encloses the buildings.” 

StructureTech NY expects the existing staff of the curtain wall company will complement its masonry division as similar skillsets are required. “This company is going to be a big part of our future,” Scully notes. “The two big areas we are pushing are drilling and pile driving and the curtain wall company, which will be our focus over the next year or two to make sure all our divisions are busy, successful and turning out profit.”

Motivated Manpower

In the past year-and-a-half, StructureTech NY has grown from about 450 to 750 workers as it continues to seize opportunities that come its way. The company is organized around its three units: foundation, superstructure and masonry. Each of those areas is managed by people who were promoted from within the company’s ranks. StructureTech NY box

Cormican believes elevating employees into leadership positions ensures those managers understand StructureTech NY’s mentality and ethos, and keeps everyone’s interests aligned. “Our people are the biggest factor in our success,” Cormican says. “They bring energy to work and pride in what they do. Structure Tech has a tremendous energy that comes from our people and we harness that and keep building on it to bring success to our company, employees and deliver successful projects to our clients.” 

The company says labor is still its biggest challenge, but it tackles it by creating an appealing work environment. “Most of our people come from word-of-mouth and through the existing staff who recruit family and friends,” Scully says. “We put the time and energy into setting the conditions for our workforce to where people want to work for us. The right conditions include payment, overtime options and promoting safety on the job.”

Safety is StructureTech NY’s No. 1 priority and the company has built a structure where it is the first thing people think about in the morning. That culture is driven from the top down. “I think our workers see that, clients see that and our safety record is what people know us for,” Cormican says. “It’s why we stand out in the industry. Clients tell us that the drive and emphasis and push we put on safety in recent years is paying off and it has become a very integral part of our culture.”

Because safety is pushed from the top down, it is the responsibility of the project managers, supervisors and foremen to spend time educating people in the classroom and with toolbox talks in the field. “We want everyone to see it’s an important enough part of the work day to stand down first thing every morning to see where we are going to be working, make plans so work is approached in an organized and controlled manner and identify problems to push up the chain of command to ensure the environment is what it should be,” Cormican explains. 

StructureTech NY’s senior field management team meets monthly to reinforce its safety culture, discuss new innovations in the market and how to use them to make the job safer. “We also discuss how we reinforce compliance and discipline among the staff,” Scully notes. “We are always looking for ways to make our jobs better and beat our own targets. The biggest change is that we have turned a corner in how safety has become the No. 1 priority in how we build our buildings.”

By increasing its focus on safety and developing a culture where everyone thinks the same way about how to get a job done, StructureTech NY has naturally increased its efficiency on every project. “You kind of intrinsically know what’s needed and every layer of management knows what is expected of them,” Cormican says. “We reached a major milestone, our 10-year anniversary in February, and it’s rewarding to see how the company has grown.”

Reputable Processes

At any given time, StructureTech NY has between 12 and 14 ongoing projects. Most of its work is in foundations and superstructures and masonry for high-rises in Midtown Manhattan, but the company also does multi-family apartments and low-income housing in New York City’s boroughs. “We feel that keeping a presence in the market for the multi-family, low-market stuff is good for us,” Cormican explains. “In recessionary times that work is still there for us.”

Structure Tech NY 2Clients keep coming back to StructureTech NY because of the trust it has earned over the last decade. The company works for nearly all of the major general contractors in the New York City market, including Lettire Construction, Plaza Construction, Bravo Builders, T.G. Nickel & Associates, Monadnock Construction, Triton Construction, Newline Construction, ZDG LLC, Gilbane Building Co., L+M Builders Group, Time Square Construction and CM & Associates. 

Those general contractors continue to enlist StructureTech NY to work on many high-profile commercial projects in and around the city. Cormican and Scully are still heavily involved in all of the company’s projects and clients know StructureTech NY for its ability to deliver projects and overcome challenges. 

StructureTech NY often heads off issues before construction even begins. By investing in pre-construction shop drawings and project management, StructureTech NY resolves inconsistencies in project documentation and plans months ahead of ground breaking, resulting in smoother construction. When issues do arise in the field, the company strives to quickly identify multiple solutions to keep work moving.

Superb Superstructure

In its superstructure division, StructureTech NY is currently working on a 52-, 65- and 74-story buildings in Manhattan. This division has grown to include more than 400 workers on three active crews.  “Right now on the 74-story building at 125 Greenwich Street we are proceeding at a rate of two floors per week,” Cormican says. “This is a complex and challenging large project in downtown Manhattan with difficult access and street logistics.”

The 74-story project at 125 Greenwich requires StructureTech NY to pour about 950 yards of concrete per week and the company will continue that rate until the fall. “The biggest challenge in working in that area is the sheer volume of concrete we have to pour,” Cormican explains. “Every two-and-a-half days we do formwork, place the rebar and dump 450 yards of concrete, which is about 45 trucks, that has to happen twice a week. 

“Getting 45 trucks to the site is challenging and they are subject to rejection if they go past a certain time threshold. This is the difficulty the narrow streets and traffic patterns of lower Manhattan cause,” he continues. “Navigating downtown Manhattan and getting the product into the hopper is challenging.”

This project also required the addition of metakaolin to the concrete to produce a lighter gray color, but the additive makes it more difficult to pump. “The output was reduced, but we still needed to achieve the same volume, which meant a lot of late hours and a huge commitment from our crews,” Cormican says. “Many nights we went beyond 9 p.m. and were back at 6 a.m. We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to our crews for getting it done and through the difficult Manhattan winter.” 

StructureTech NY will complete its work on the new residential skyscraper in the fall. World-renowned architect Rafael Viñoly designed the condominium building that will feature 273 residences ranging from studios to three-bedroom and penthouses. “It’s a condo building right in the heart of the financial district, which reflects how the neighborhood is changing and more residential is going in there,” Cormican notes. “We build the blank canvas and they fill in the details.” 

Speed is critical in building the superstructure because the New York City market is especially competitive, Cormican says. High land values mean slimmer margins for developers, so making a profit on their investment often hinges on being able to turn a building around quickly. 

The faster the skeleton of the building are completed, the sooner work can begin on the mechanical systems and filling out the interior. “It’s very easy to measure success on these jobs in that if we deliver a project on time everybody is a winner,” Cormican adds. “We look good, they look good and we all move on to the next one.”

Solid Foundation

Just 10 blocks away from where it superstructure crew is working on 125 Greenwich Street, StructureTech NY’s foundation division is just finishing work on 130 William Street in Manhattan. The new luxury condominium project has required the company to bring in heavy equipment to drill its deepest foundation ever.

“Drilling large diameter piles 200 feet to bedrock on 17,000 square feet in lower Manhattan poses a lot of challenges,” Scully says. “We made good use of our drill equipment by having three of our largest rigs with skilled operators complete the project on time.”

StructureTech NY just recently started this project and will begin the superstructure on the 65-story building. The contractor set an aggressive 52-week schedule to complete this project, so Structure Tech expects to be completed around April 2019.

British architect David Adjaye designed the 244-unit residential tower in lower Manhattan, which marks Adjaye Associates’ first foray into residential architecture in New York. “The design for 130 William acknowledges the tower’s location on one of the city’s earliest streets,” Adjaye told Architectural Digest. “I was inspired to craft a building that turns away from the commercial feel of glass and that instead celebrates New  York’s heritage of masonry architecture with a distinctive presence in Manhattan’s skyline.”

Brick by Brick

StructureTech NY was awarded four block-and-plank public housing and urban development construction projects last year. “We have carved a good niche in the block-and-plank market and had about 150-plus masons working on those types of jobs. This type of work takes up about half of our masonry crew,” Cormican notes. “All four of those jobs had 100,000 blocks and we put in plus or minus maybe 75,000 man-hours on each project.”

The biggest challenges StructureTech NY’s masonry division faces were having the manpower to hit targets of placing 12,000 to 14,000 blocks per week. “A lot of logistics are needed here with truckloads of grout and mortar, and the volume of materials needed is tough to get in New York City because you don’t have a lot of space to put cranes and material around the place you are working,” Cormican adds. “It’s just-in-time type of construction and the material has to come in a flatbed truck into the work zone and onto the working floor in the same day.”

StructureTech NY maintains close relationships with a small number of select suppliers to ensure it gets the materials it needs to stay on schedule. “We know when we need them to perform they do,” Scully says. “If something goes wrong, we can call and cancel a truck or call and have the resources to pull something together at the last minute. Our partnerships are very important to us.” 

Bring It All Together

In addition to its commercial projects, StructureTech NY also performs high-end residential work. “It’s working in a different type of environment and pooling our resources from all three divisions,” Cormican says. “We have pooled our manpower, resources and heavy equipment in the past to build a small division that handles only townhouse work and that division has been successful.” 

StructureTech NY’s townhouse division is renovating the basement of an existing residence on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. “We dug 29 feet into the cellar to give the homeowner a subbasement with a swimming pool and home theater,” Scully says. “We used interior steel bracing to allow them to remove all the floors in the townhouse to change the floor height. We installed a lot of beams to fully brace a five-story façade on all four sides so the entire floor assembly could be removed and reinstalled.”

StructureTech NY’s crews carried out the demolition, steel work, waterproofing, rock excavation, concrete and brickwork that will extend the home back on its lot. “It is a beautiful combination of all our skillsets,” Cormican says. “What I like about the townhouse division is it works in a specific niche in the industry, but draws on the well-organized resources from the larger commercial side of our operation to deliver a tremendous result.”

Moving forward, StructureTech NY plans to continue focusing on its foundation, superstructure and masonry divisions while developing its curtain wall company. “We keep hearing people suggest that this boom is coming to an end, but we are not seeing any signs of that and we are the foundation guys so we see it first,” Cormican notes. “We are quite confident in the future.”

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