Case Studies

Schnell Contracting Services

Waterproofing and restoration services in New York and New Jersey

John Slazyk and Steve Gattoni established Schnell Contracting Services in 1999, recognizing a void in the market for high quality, specialty restoration and waterproofing services. As seasoned professionals in the construction supply industry, the partners brought with them knowledge of products and best practices unmatched by other contractors. After more than 15 years in business, the company has grown significantly, providing expertise and high-quality materials to projects throughout New York and New Jersey.

Schnell Contracting employs more than 50 union members, each bringing the experience, training and attention to detail necessary for the diverse and complex projects the business takes on daily. “We have a great team of employees,” Slazyk explains. “They have helped us expand the business and build strong relationships with our customers. Most of our employees, in the office and the field, have been with us since the beginning. We make it a goal to employ professionals who fit our niche and share our mission as a contractor. Because of that, we have very low turnover, almost none. We develop our leaders from within and all of our foremen and superintendents have come up through the ranks with us.”

Lasting solutions

The Schnell Contracting crew has been involved in a number of high-profile projects in recent years. Recent work includes work on the new Meadowlands Stadium, a three-year project. “We did all the seismic expansion joints and a ton of sealants and caulking in various locations throughout the facility,” Gattoni recounts. “There were several challenges on this project. For one, this was a brand new system we were installing. On top of that, the joint sizes were quite large, 8 to 14 inches in size, which is unusual.  System components included 18-inch to 24-inch wide-by- 3/8-inch thick SS cover plates.  Each weighed close to several hundred pounds.”

“Finally, with the seismic aspect, we were working between steel and concrete, installing expansion joints as well as fire barriers,” continues Gattoni “The fire barriers are 3 or 4 feet wide and our team had to find a way to drape them through the openings and create a way of fastening them to the steel.  This included some creative scaffolding solutions which had to be produced in house.”

For the Dulles Transportation Center project, the crew worked on Metro transfer stations between Washington, D.C. and the airport. “We did the caulking between all of the precast panels for 14 train stations and service buildings,” Slazyk elaborates. “The biggest challenge was that we had three or four buildings going at the same time. All of the work was either on the railroad tracks or in the middle of a very heavily traveled roadway near Tyson’s Corner. On top of that, these stations have no addresses, so access was difficult and material delivery was very difficult. This project required a lot of coordination.”

Schnell Contracting is currently working on Prudential Towers in Newark, New Jersey , ongoing since early 2014. The scope of work consists of below grade waterproofing  and vapor barrier, vertical wall air/vapor barriers, caulking, large seismic expansion joints, urethane coatings, sheet metal flashings, specialty wall coatings and confined space secondary confinement systems. The large project continues to progress even with many ongoing and challenging design changes.

Princeton University has been a location for many of Schnell Contracting’s more unique and high-profile projects.  A partial list of completed jobs includes the Boiler House Renovation, Theological Seminary, Neuroscience and Psychology, and Lewis Library.  Each project highlights a different aspect of Schnell Contracting’s capabilities.  The Boiler House had a large existing plaza deck which needed to be scarified and waterproofed with a hot-applied plaza and green roof system.   The scope at the Theological Seminary involved an interior, penthouse-level waterproof coating system that involved a great deal of sheet metal work.  The membrane system protected a large, valuable library directly below the penthouse.  The Neuroscience and Psychology building was a large, below-grade waterproofing project with many challenges including winter conditions and deep excavations.  The company’s project at the Lewis Library tackled an irregularly shaped building with abnormal rooflines.  The job provided very challenging scaffolding and access situations.

Staying ahead

Despite the recent economic downturn, the Schnell Contracting crew has remained busy over the course of several years. One contributor to this is the amount of restoration work the company has been involved with. The company also has strong ties to general contractors. These partnerships brought the company in on the ground level for many new and restoration contracts ongoing in the area.

Slazyk says now that the market is turning around, the business will have more opportunities to grow. “There is quite a bit of new construction going on, particularly in the commercial sector,” he explains. “We see continued growth over the coming years.”

While financial stability and resources offer a competitive advantage, Slazyk says the driving force behind his team’s success has been expertise. “One thing that sets us apart is that we spend the time and money sending our guys to get certified,” he elaborates. “Working with a certain expansion joint requires you to be certified by the installer. We do a lot of outside training with manufacturers to get our employees specialized in skills. Over the coming weeks we have three guys going to Michigan for training and then a few more people going to Scottsdale, Arizona for another program.”

On top of this expertise, all of Slazyk’s employees go through 40 hours of safety training. These sessions address rigging, working from swing staging, aerial boom lifts, forklifts and driver safety training. “A big part of doing work efficiently is doing it correctly and safely,” Slazyk explains. “We are not looking to cut corners where someone could get hurt.”

Expertise and experience go a long way to build and maintain strong relationships with clients. The business has a growing target market and Slazyk and his partners will continue to build rapport in growing construction sectors throughout the area. With leading safety, materials and qualifications, Schnell Contracting Services remains a leader in the Mid-Atlantic market for waterproofing and restoration work.

Published on: July 7, 2015


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