After 20 years in the same Lower Manhattan building, international law firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP (HHR) faced a tough decision as their lease came to a close: relocate to a new space and start fresh, or stay in the building they called home and embark on a restacking program, upgrading their traditionally-designed office floor by floor. They chose to stay, enlisting Structure Tone and the design team to plan a series of four six-month phases to renovate the firm’s eight floors, including conference centers, practice floors and a full-service cafeteria and kitchen. Two additional floors served as swing space, where staff moved during the demolition and renovations. Employees returned to the renovated floors and the process repeated for the next phase.
A major focus during the project was ongoing operations; construction couldn’t impede the firm’s business. Mechanical, electrical, HVAC, fire protection, data infrastructure and other systems needed to remain operational and not be impacted by the renovations. One challenge was installing a new IT system and backbone through all eight floors. The existing system was largely based on analog equipment and the plan included upgrading to digital. Our project team maintained the existing system so staff could keep working while they built the new data center and digital infrastructure, which was woven through occupied floors.
Even with a consistent design plan, not every floor was identical. Obtaining point cloud survey data from each floor allowed the team to make slight alternations based on what they could see. This and other virtual construction technologies helped the team document on-site conditions and improve the process as they moved into each phase.
The four-phase effort at HHR took just under two years to complete. But the firm and the project team understood that timeframe right from the start, which helped manage expectations and ensured business continuity throughout the program.