"They perform wonderfully, they really do," says Jim Palumbo RLA, landscape architect and project manager at Klepper, Hahn & Hyatt (KHH). "And it’s not just that they’re good drains. The ease of construction and the adjustability were just as important on this project."
Palumbo is referring to the robust filtering and secure seal of custom drains created by EJ for rehabilitation of the Crouse Hospital emergency room parking deck, in Syracuse, New York.
A parking deck rehabilitation sounds like it could be routine, but this project was anything but; "This is an active parking deck with a constant flow of emergency vehicles, and our construction windows were short," he explains. "And the deck is directly over operating rooms and sterile storage areas, which of course have to be clean and dry at all times."
Storm drains were an important detail to get right. Stormwater is drained by a network of pipes that pass through a membrane waterproofing system, and then through operating rooms and storage areas.
The original drains clogged and ponded, which was bad in itself and threatened to overwhelm the drainage network during storm events.
Palumbo identified four features that were mandatory for replacement drains.
Palumbo reviewed existing drain solutions, but found nothing that was quite right; "Everything I saw was kind of a hodgepodge, and I realized that this project needed a custom solution," he says. "That’s when I reached out to Tim."
EJ Facility Manager Tim McKernan, who met with Palumbo, evaluated the project requirements, and returned a conceptual sketch for approval two days later. He wasn’t working entirely from scratch.
"Our 43610230 cast iron grate was the right look and size, and sturdy enough for the traffic requirements," McKernan says. "But the adjustability was custom and the strainer system was specially designed for the Crouse Hospital project — we have literally never made anything like this before."
"Installation was fast, and the look and performance of the drains is just what I specified."
Jim Palumbo, Registered Landscape Architect and Project Manager at Klepper, Hahn & Hyatt
EJ supplied four custom drains within three weeks, a blistering pace for custom-fabricated products. The round grate looks conventional from the parking deck, but below the grate is a highly visible strainer basket that is easy to remove and clean. "I wanted the strainer to be self-explanatory, and it is," Palumbo says. "You can see when it’s full, and it’s simple to remove and empty—just what I asked for."
To facilitate rapid installation, EJ fabricated the drains with three-foot pipe extensions, a rubber boot, and set screws. On installation day, the pipe extension was cut to length and the boot and set screws held the grate at final grade while the membrane system was lapped around the drain joint and new concrete was poured.
"Installation was fast, and the look and performance of the drains is just what I specified," Palumbo says. "After one year, they are holding up perfectly, with no rust stains, and the owners and I couldn’t be happier. We deal with similar situations all the time, and I will definitely be using these drains again."