Case Studies

New York City Department of Design and Construction

Building America's largest city

From Times Square to Columbus Circle, the Queens Museum to the Bronx Zoo -it takes a huge investment in upkeep to keep these iconic places in greater New York City up and running. Not to mention the smaller projects not in the public eye -fire hydrants to wheelchair accessibility, sewer and water mains- everything is an important piece of the urban puzzle in NYC.

The organization behind many of the important facilities and infrastructure New Yorkers use every day is the Department of Design and Construction (DDC). Founded in 1996 by city officials as a solution to better manage the City’s plethora of construction projects, DDC is the City’s primary capital construction project manager.

DDC provides communities with new or renovated structures such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, courthouses and senior centers -all valued at a near $10 billion. “We partner with other City agencies, as well as emerging and world-renowned architects and consultants whose experience and creativity bring efficient, innovative, and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to the projects we build,” says Craig Chin, press spokesman for DDC.

Delivering vital infrastructure

The DDC staff consists of almost 1,200 employees, delivering the vital infrastructure to keep the City clean and healthy, including well-build roadways, sewer and water mains. Over the last decade, DDC has completed more than 745 miles of new roadway, 735 miles of water mains, 588 miles of storm and sanitary sewers and installed more than 42,000 sidewalk pedestrian ramps and 10,000 fire hydrants – all of which are essential to life in America’s largest city.

From essential infrastructure to libraries, museums, health care facilities, senior and day care centers, emergency stations, disaster relief projects, courts and correctional facilities -DDC serves the public. “Our projects can be seen in all five boroughs, from the expanded Bronx Museum of the Arts to the reconstructed Bloomingdale Park in Staten Island,” says Chin. “We serve the entire area with the DDC headquarters in Long Island City and a satellite office in Manhattan.”

NYC Department of Design and ConstructionA sustainable city

As green building has become less of an option and more of a standard, DDC is doing its part to ensure New York is not left behind. A division of DDC, the Office of Sustainable Design, has placed a priority on identifying and implementing cost-effective ways to promote environmental responsibility in the City and adhere to Local Law 86 (the NYC green building standard).

Since 2012, more than 65 DDC projects have been subject to this new legislation. These projects, worth more than $2 billion, are subject to LEED rating and energy-cost reduction provisions. The DDC cites that these projects have aided in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2,021 metric tons per year, reducing 5,720,322 gallons of potable water use annually, removing 7,666,800 gallons of stormwater runoff from NYC’s waterways and saving totaling $883,389 per year of energy costs.

A historic project

Part of the City’s plan vision for a greener, great New York is the restoration of the HighBridge. Designed on principles of Roman aqueduct architecture, the bridge is 116 feet in height and 1,200 feet from end to end, with the undersides of its arches 100 feet above the Harlem River. HighBridge is part of the Old Croton Aqueduct, the brick water conduit that brought New York City its earliest supply of clean water.

HighBridge construction completed in 1848 and large water pipes were added in 1862. In

1927, the City replaced five of the original 15 arches with a central steel span to ease the passage of large ships and the rest of the stone arches still stand on the Bronx side of the river.

As the oldest bridge and aqueduct in the U.S., HighBridge has never served motorists, but has been a famed attraction for New Yorkers and tourists alike. DDC has served as the prime construction manager on the restoration, tasked to rehabilitate and reopen the HighBridge for pedestrians and bicyclists, using historic preservation methods while providing safety and accessibility improvements and restoring the connection between the boroughs of the Bronx and Manhattan.

The scope of work included: repairing a brick walkway deck and supporting structural arches and stainless steel tie rods, as well as repointing, repairing and cleaning stone masonry arches and repainting steel arches. DDC also designed and constructed new safety fencing, restoring historic hand railings, viewing platforms and completed new bicycle and ADA-accessible ramps on the walkway deck. Decorative lighting was also added to showcase the bridge at night. The project also includes the rehabilitation of the Manhattan Gatehouse.

However, HighBridge is just one example of how DDC designs, deploys and builds some of New York’s favorite places. “We have begun the second phase of a renovation project, giving Times Square a facelift; this will be a major project,” tells Chin. “DDC is in the first phase of a $656 million build at the NYPD Police Academy, as well.”

In more than 10 years spent building the City of New York, the Department of Design and Construction has earned great recognition for the quality and timely delivery of construction achievements. “What we build support New York City’s business and cultural success,” measures Chin. These projects enhance community and keep people coming back to the historic city.

Published on: July 6, 2015


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