The Flood of 2008 forever changed Cedar Rapids, Iowa. When the Cedar River crested on June 13, 2008, it extended well beyond the 500-year floodplain covering more than 10 square miles of the city. The water overtook neighborhoods no one ever dreamed would flood; it flowed through nearly every downtown business and most public buildings, displacing city and county services. The historic Federal Courthouse Building, listed on the National Historic Register, received significant damage during this flood event. Water reached a height of 52” above the first floor of the building, entirely submerging the building’s mechanical equipment and destroying many of the finishes.

substance worked as a “first responder” to develop a detailed schedule to expedite the design and procurement of the equipment necessary to stabilize the interior environment of the building. Once stable, the public spaces of the building were cleaned, repaired, and returned to their original condition consistent with the Historic Building Preservation Plan. As a result, this renovation removed more than flood damage, it removed over seventy years of insensitive renovations that had stripped away much of the building’s original grandeur. The original construction documents were carefully researched to understand the original character and finish of the public spaces. Restoration included replacing interior trim and marble panels, refinishing interior paint treatments, patching original plaster walls, coffered ceilings, and coves and reconstructing historic mailboxes and transoms. In addition, the exterior was faithfully cleaned and repaired.

The successful delivery of this project relied on the delivery of multiple, concurrent, fast-track packages that were competitively bid by pre-qualified contractors allowing for expedited delivery while maintaining cost control. All phases of the work were delivered on-time – meeting an extremely aggressive design and construction schedule.