H&R Block Headquarters

Restoration of the North & South Plaza Decks

The H&R Block Headquarters was constructed between 2004 and 2006 and is located in the Power and Light District of Kansas City, Missouri. The complex is comprised of an 18 story high rise and an adjacent low rise structure housing the KC Repertory Theatre, with parking space underground. Several thousand square feet of granite plaza, planter basins, and water feature span the entry points of the building, most of which is located over occupied conditioned space or parking garage. Isolated areas of water infiltration through settlement cracking in the structural concrete became apparent soon after construction and continued to worsen over time. The water infiltration was presumably (later confirmed) caused by poor installation of the original waterproofing membrane beneath the plaza areas. This prompted the owner to solicit bids for a comprehensive restoration project in which the concrete overburden and waterproof membrane were removed and replaced, and the granite pavers were salvaged and reinstalled.

Project Challenges

MCR was awarded the project in March of 2019 and work began right away. The condition of the concrete substrate was somewhat unknown during the design and bidding process. This made communication between MCR and the project engineer, Thos. Rewerts LLC, absolutely critical so that design modifications could be made quickly and the schedule could be maintained.

As with all construction conducted in a downtown metro area, space and access were very limited. MCR was provided very little laydown area and was not permitted to have a dumpster on site. This meant that all of the materials, concrete overburden, pavers, etc. had to be shuttled to and from downtown to an offsite laydown area. The project was performed while the building was occupied and during normal business hours due to residential noise ordinances in the area. The fire marshal also required that at least one entrance on each side of the building remain open during construction for egress. Consequently, in order to minimize the impact on pedestrians, coordination between work activities and building management was absolutely critical throughout the course of the project. Logistically, neither plaza could be feasibly accessed with heavy equipment, and the larger south plaza was approximately 25’ above street level, only accessible over thin granite stair treads. Therefore nearly all work was performed with hand tools, and all material was transported by conveyor belt or labor.

Outcome

Despite the challenges mentioned, the project was safely completed on time and within budget later that November. MCR maintained a positive working relationship with the ownership group and design team which has allowed us to continue to work together on multiple other projects.