CONRAC Consolidated Rental Car Facility Expansion Joints from Emseal

Logan International Airport, CONRAC Parking Garage, Boston


Date: 2012-2013

LEED Gold doesn't come easily when large structural expansion joints split the building.You don’t get LEED Gold while having socking great gaps in your walls. Yet socking great gaps are just what structural expansion joints are.

In order to do their job, structural expansion joints bisect buildings from roof to foundation with a gap big enough to absorb seasonal thermal changes as well as handle shakes from seismic events. So how, when LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) is based substantially on the miserly use of energy, do you keep HVAC from pouring out through the expansion joints while minimizing the aesthetic impact on the building envelope?  The answer lies in careful design and careful expansion joint system selection. And that’s just what was done on Boston Logan’s consolidated rental car facility (CONRAC).

How to Make Big Wall Joints Hard to See

Curtainwall expansion joint sealed with Seismic Colorseal, hidden by wall system

We’ve written before on how the visual impact of expansion joints can be minimized through careful placement, shadows, color selection and other methods of concealment. Simply covering them up with cleverly-crafted sliding elements of the façade systems is another perfectly effective way to hide the gap.

Here is how it was done at Logan CONRAC’s front façade:

Concealed behind sliding sheet metal of the facade, the structural expansion joint is virtually invisible.

When you look across the facade of the back of the building, it’s virtually impossible to pick out the location of the expansion joint.  You have be right on top of it to see where it is.

Seismic Colorseal peeks out from under the wall cladding on the back side of the Logan CONRAC service building.

Here’s how the expansion joint was hidden on the back side of the building:

In both cases, the joint opening itself was sealed with Seismic Colorseal (yes, that’s it peeking out at bottom in the foundation). And, the Seismic Colorseal is doing the real work—sealing, insulating, resisting air-pressure differentials, blocking sound etc. And doing it all while having been installed without drilling into the substrates.

Cover Plates that Don't Bust Up the Concrete?

SJS-System from Emseal at CONRAC pedestrian bridges.

Cover plates that are bolted into the concrete on one side of an expansion joint inevitably bend, or break loose of their drilled-in anchors. This causes plate clatter and breaks up the concrete. Where cover plates are desired, the better bet is SJS System from Emseal. Why use SJS? SJS (Seismic Joint System) is available for joints from 2-18″ (50-450mm), feature no-drill/non-invasive anchoring, is watertight at the deck surface, and perhaps above all, is quiet. Installed with Emcrete elastomeric concrete as a sound absorbing leveling-bed, SJS System is rattle and bang free and puts no stress on the supporting concrete slabs.

Seismic expansion joints resistant to snow and ice. SJS from Emseal.
SJS System with Emcrete nosing material. Resistant to de-icing salts.

Suitable to harsh climate of New England and resistant to de-icing salts, SJS System is capable of lasting performance in the most demanding environs.

More than five years of service later, the Emseal suite of expansion joint solutions is providing Massport with lowest-total-cost of ownership expansion joints and, as importantly, a disruption-free user experience for its patrons.

You could spend less up front on expansion joints, but you’ll never spend less in the long run with Emseal.