Tuesday, May 16, 2023

What is the life expectancy of the Empire State Building?

We are so used to seeing weathered ruins, that we forget that maintenance is all about protection.  So yes, and particularly concrete based post and slab constructure can last forever.

In fact, the slab has replaced outright land as a store of real estate value.  After all, it is no trick to do in and gut a suite  or floor and then redo the works to the most modern standards.

This is now a global standard and all those crumbling areas will ultimately be cleaned out and replaced with condo builds akong with parks.

The surprise is just how potentially permanent it all can be.  we now preserve antique facades in order to sustain street views.  Pretty matters today..

What is the life expectancy of the Empire State Building?

Ben Levy

Building Repairer

Well, you've asked the right person. My company just finished some work at the foundation. I have been up and down that place, I know it well.

The Empire State Building, and buildings like it, will last as long as there exists a civilization capable of maintaining it and willing to do so. Every component, every steel beam, brick, and Indiana Limestone block can be individually repaired or replaced as needed, and many already have been.

The elevators upgrade was very recently completed. The second time. In 1966 they went from manual to automatic operators. All the exterior lights were recently replaced with a new automated LED system. All the windows and the air conditioners were also replaced.

Of course there is a philosophical side to the question. If every part is replaced, is it still the same thing? I say, yes. "Continuity of Identity".

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Update! A number of you have asked how a steel beam or column can be replaced in a building. I covered this in one of the comments. The important part is the installation of the temporary shoring and bracing. This is a shoring plan for a corner column presently being replaced at an NYC building.

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