Manganaro MidAtlantic LLC

When the JBG Companies selected Manganaro MidAtlantic LLC to restore the brick exterior of its Dominion Towers apartment building in Arlington, Va., they didn’t realize at that time how fortunate their choice had been. During the course of the project, Manganaro not only handled the originally planned masonry work, installation of relieving angles, roofing modifications and custom aluminum exterior finishes, but it also performed some unexpected and very necessary drywall and framing.

Manganaro’s ability to bring in and coordinate its own crews of skilled workers in diverse trades under a single manager — part of its One Voice, One Team management system — saved JBG Companies hundreds of thousands of dollars and kept the project on schedule.

Built during the 1950s, Dominion Towers is an eight-story, red brick building, home to more than 330 individuals and families. But the X-shaped building was showing its age. The brick façade, which had been laid originally in common bond without relieving angles to help carry their weight, was beginning to crack and sag from years of that stress under expansion and contraction.

JBG worked with Fox Architects and Kramer Consulting (structural engineers) to develop a restoration plan for Dominion Towers. Under the terms of the original contract, Manganaro was required to remove 16-inch-high bands of brick (five-courses) at each level of the building to reveal the eight-inch floor slab.

It then installed relieving angles at each floor to help support the brick. After installing a through-the-wall flashing system along the relieving angles to keep water out of the face of the building, Manganaro’s job was to replace the five rows of original red brick with a contrasting white brick that defines the building’s exterior with a new architectural presentation.

As the project progressed, the original activity plan met challenges. There were no flashings in places where Manganaro thought there would be, and the slab edge conditions were not per the original documents. In addition, the existing brick was further out of tolerance from the years of expansion and contraction than they had expected.

“When we started the initial survey ports at various slab edge locations, we found that the distances from the face of the slab edge to the face of the existing brick wall were much greater than anticipated,” continues Jonathan Lane, the senior project manager at Manganaro. “That meant there were huge differences in the size of all the structural angles that needed to be used to support the brick. The job was originally assessed with only two different size angles, but we ended up needing 12 various sizes.”

Innovative Solutions

The X-shape of the building formed four V-shaped quadrants, and Manganaro repaired two quadrants at a time. Crews worked in a floor-to-floor sequence, scaffolding two faces of a V simultaneously with platform scaffold systems. This approach caused minimal disruption to the building’s tenants.

“The flow of work was more predictable,” says John Livingston, Manganaro’s manager of business development. “We could let residents know that this week we were going to be on the fourth floor south side of the building so that they could prepare for it. In fact, prior to the start of any work, we partnered with JBG, Fox Architects and Kramer Consulting to host a resident pre-construction session to inform everyone of what to expect and provide the opportunity to ask questions and meet our team.”

Working Better Together

Although the technical aspects of the restoration were challenging enough, Manganaro also had to cope with working around tenants in a building that was 98 percent occupied. To prevent any window breakage, the company covered all the windows in the complex with a protective film.

When they were working on a floor, rigid insulation was used to cover the windows on that floor and protect tenants’ privacy.

Manganaro helped to ensure the safety of the tenants entering and exiting the building by carefully controlling access zones and setting up overhead protection. The work crews carefully maneuvered heavy equipment through parking lots that served more than 500 vehicles.

JBG was pleased not only with the aesthetics but also with the way that Manganaro was able to solve whatever problems came its way. “Manganaro was extremely fair, reasonable and proactive,” says Jim Klein, JBG vice president. 

“That was the best thing about them. We hit a lot of stuff, but they kept figuring out ways to keep the project moving. All in all, I am extremely happy with Manganaro.”

Managers at Manganaro attribute their success with this project to the company’s adoption of the One Voice, One Team management style. “We’re showing that we work better when we work together as a single entity under our One Voice, One Team management system,” Livingston says.

“This provides a real service to our clients and a real advantage in our ability to successfully complete jobs on time and on budget,” he says. “They appreciate the fact that they will get skilled, experienced workers with expertise in several different areas  — and they appreciate that with our One Voice, One Team management system we’re able to provide all those services with a single point of contact.”

“Our flexibility, our problem-solving abilities and the knowledge that we have here in the company were all definitely components in helping us meet the challenges of this project,” Lane explains. “Our expertise in both masonry and drywall gave us the ability to develop and implement solutions that worked for everybody.

“In addition, it was a very good team environment working with JBG, Fox Architects and Kramer Consulting. Everyone was very direct and transparent as to what they were expecting and striving to achieve.”

The successful restoration of Dominion Towers has encouraged other property managers in the area to contact Manganaro about similar repair and restoration opportunities. In addition, JBG has recommended Manganaro for several new projects, including the masonry and drywall on Rosslyn Commons in Arlington County, Va., and work in Washington, D.C., on a 300-unit building at 14th and U and on Wardman West, and a 257-unit building in the upper Northwest part of the city.

“The project at Dominion Towers really gave us a confidence factor with Manganaro’s performance and fairness,” Klein says.

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