Renovation of Atlanta's 120-year-old brick Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill was already well under way in April 1999 when a nearby trash fire suddenly ignited the building's timber, trapping a crane operator 250 feet in the air.
For Jollay Masonry Contractors, a phoenix rose from the ashes. "We would have had no involvement in the project save for the fire," says David Jollay, owner and president of the Avondale Estates, Ga.-based company.
In addition to installing 310,000 new bricks, crews salvaged and palletized more than 50,000 bricks from the wreckage and used them to construct interior walls. Some sections of the building had no structural walls, so Jollay used electric mast-climbing work platforms that could freestand up to 70 feet. Paint, soot, and other buildup on the brick was cleaned by high-pressure application of baking soda using a soluble media blaster.
Building up from the original multiwythe brick walls, workers had to install inner wythes of concrete block before placing the exterior and interior brick faces.
As many as five scaffold towers were used on the project, leapfrogging around the building as work progressed.
The project was completed late last year, with an overall delay of just 4 months as a result of the fire. "We were pleased and proud to have been involved," says Jollay.