Beyond the Build

Construction Trends

Technology’s Role in Adaptive Reuse

We are currently involved with the rebuild of a major United Way campus. This involves bringing an existing multistory office building constructed in the 1950s to current standards, including a new skin.

Most of our projects that have a new curtain wall as a component are structural steel frames, but this project is reinforced concrete. Any type of investigative work involving the concrete frame had to be completed using ground penetrating radar (GPR).

GPR uses radar pulses to image the subsurface, and in this case, provided us with a three-dimensional map of the rebar beneath the concrete. This technology has been a game changer for the industry, both for this application and others outside the building as well. GPR mapping allowed the cutting tools to miss the critical concrete reinforcement hidden beneath the surface. It’s another tool in the “tool box,” with less risk to the structure, at a lower cost and faster.


Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.