Richard Herschlag, P.E., is the CEO and driving force behind Turn-key Structural. He has twenty-seven years experience as an engineer, the past eighteen of which have been as an independent consultant. He holds a Bachelor of Science and Engineering degree from Princeton University (1984) and currently holds a license to practice professional engineering in the states of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. During his career, he has developed a specialty in analyzing and addressing residential and commercial buildings with structural problems.
These include, most recently 57 Reade Street/287 Broadway, New York, NY. Construction of a basement and sub-basement across the street from New York’s City Hall precipitated pronounced leaning of the adjacent landmarked building at 287 Broadway. Complex shoring was built and rebuilt in stages as excavation continued and, ultimately, construction of the originally planned high-rise proceeded. This was a three-year process resulting in no significant damage to 287 Broadway or the three additional buildings adjacent to the site.
YMCA Aquatic Center, Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Construction of an Olympic–size swimming pool in a new sub-basement posed significant difficulties. Along the east end of the lot, a 100-year-old five-story walk-up building had to be underpinned and tied back in two stages. Along the south end, the existing YMCA consisted of several heavily loaded structural columns. Underpinning of these columns required complex and nuanced planning in stages in order to prevent settlement during approach excavation. This was a two-year process resulting in no significant damage to either building.
Residential Buildings at 33rd Street and Third Avenue, New York, NY. Severe deterioration of roofs and parapet walls at seven residential buildings built in the early 1900s required detailed sequencing to allow asbestos abatement and structural work while minimizing disruption of occupancy.
The Sheffield, New York, NY. This study was a comprehensive engineering inspection of a thirty-year-old 52-story residential building prior to conversion from rental units to condominiums. The report included detailed breakdowns of all required structural, mechanical, electrical, and abatement work necessary to meet the current NYC Building Code and developed estimated costs for the same work.
West Village Houses Drainage Study, New York, NY. West Village Houses consists for forty-four residential buildings spread across six sites along Manhattan’s lower west side. As these buildings are situated at or near sea level, chronic flooding has occurred during severe rain events. This comprehensive study analyzed both the historic results from real storms and the physical characteristics of the storm and sewer system to determine which buildings were most vulnerable to flooding and which solutions were most cost effective. Potential solutions included check valves, below ground storm water retention, and green roofs.
Mr. Herschlag often takes on projects that are “out-of-the-box,” involving considerable risk and a multidisciplinary approach. This includes an extensive amount of public advocacy work for such groups as Canal West Coalition and Coalition for a Livable West Side. His major studies include analyzing a controversial proposal to add a dozen floors to a nine-story residential building, demonstrating the feasibility of a new public park at the location of a large sewage regulator valve along the West Side of Manhattan, and performing a comprehensive study of actual residential water usage in Manhattan.
Throughout his career, Mr. Herschlag has relied on his ability to communicate—not simply in writing thorough reports and studies, but also in championing positions that have been in certain cases counter-intuitive yet provable.
From 1991 to 1994, he served as Chief Borough Engineer for the Office of the Manhattan Borough President. He authored a major value engineering study on New York City’s $55 million odor control program for the North River Water Pollution Control Plant and performed intensive design and environmental impact statement review for Riverside South (Trump City), then a 72-acre newly planned development in Manhattan. During his tenure as Chief Borough Engineer, he also headed interagency task-forces for the reconstruction of 6th Avenue, 14th Street, and Riverside Drive, with specific attention given to sequence of operations, traffic maintenance, and concrete quality. He was responsible for the official street mapping system for Manhattan and signing mapping changes into effect.
In 1995, he established a business as an independent engineering consultant. Since that time, he has become a recognized leader in the field of building renovation and stabilization in the Greater New York Area. He has completed hundreds of structural renovation projects. From 2005 to 2007, he was the engineer of record for the complete structural rehabilitation of 701 West 135th Street, a 25,000 SF abandoned railroad structure ultimately converted to restaurants and commercial space.
From 2007 to 2010, he was the shoring and stabilization engineer for 287 Broadway, a 120-year-old landmarked building subject to severe leaning and settling due to excavation for the new high rise at 57 Reade Street, adjacent. Mr. Herschlag’s professional achievements have been reported on by The New York Times, The Journal of Light Construction, The New York Post, The New York Daily News, Newsday, The Westsider, The Amsterdam News, The Sun, and The Village Voice.
Among several other published books, Richard Herschlag has written The Interceptor, a full-length novel published by Ballantine in 1998. Based upon a true personal story, the novel chronicles the adventures of a city engineer who finds himself up against a politically tainted Borough President and a cutthroat billionaire developer. The Interceptor was reviewed favorably by The New York Times, The New York Daily News, and The New York Post.
In addition to designing complete solutions, Mr. Herschlag offers expert structural assessments of residences and commercial buildings with clearly written, itemized reports typically complete within 5 business days of inspection. The narrative includes a full explanation of all relevant findings, conclusions, and recommendations. Cost estimates and preliminary drawings may be developed depending upon the purpose of the report. These detailed reports are useful for a wide range of purposes ranging from negotiation during sales, planning for future work, response to municipal violations, and litigation.