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Historical McLauthlin Elevator Building: Facade Restoration

Over 100 years ago, the McLauthlin Elevator Building was constructed with an iconic cast-iron facade that is a beautiful and rare building material in New England.  The ravages of time have made many elements of the facade unstable and increased the possibility of falling hazards.

Converted from an elevator manufacturing plant into apartments in the 1970s, the building is one of two remaining cast-iron buildings left in Boston.  There are several challenges to working with historic buildings clad with cast-iron:

  • There is no “off the shelf” replacement, broken pieces must be replaced with customized pieces.
  • Welding and brazing of architectural cast-iron has become something of a lost art with fewer mechanics specializing in its production.
  • Compared to modern and commonly used structural steel, cast-iron is relatively brittle, needing on-going maintenance and attention.
  • Because of its age, often the coating on cast-iron buildings contains lead that is hazardous and requires proper handling from hazmat specialists, which can add further time and cost to a project.

CBI Consulting, Inc. (CBI) has been engaged by the building management company to undertake dismantling of the facade to assess the extent of deterioration.  CBI will be working with the General Contractor and their subcontractor for cast iron repairs to determine how to bring the project’s facade back to its original splendor.

The first phase of the façade repair should be completed in 2017.