Summit Anchor Installs Anchors on
Historic Watergate Building
The roof anchor installation project on an historic building whose name is synonymous with political scandal
Spying on political rivals, a web of intrigue and a cover-up leading all the way to the top of United States government — the tantalizing details echo stories blanketing today’s news headlines. But Summit Anchor Company’s latest project involves a building in the shadow of an infamous political scandal of yesterday: installing anchors on top of one of the Watergate buildings.
Summit Anchor recently installed a rope descent system on the roof of the Watergate office building at 600 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, in Washington, D.C. The anchor project involves designing around the original guardrail, considered historic, and a new guardrail as part of the rooftop renovation of the 309,000 square foot building, owned by Washington, DC-based WashREIT.
New Summit Anchors Installed in Front of Historic Guardrail:
“I’m pleased to be given the opportunity to be part of a historical building project such as the Watergate,” said Gus Strats, Summit Anchor Company owner. “As a very young child I heard about the Watergate scandal but never thought that I’d run a business that designs, manufactures, installs and certifies equipment for one of the buildings at the famous Watergate complex.”
Current political headlines involving intel on political opponents and impeachment are reminiscent of 1970s political scandal involving the Watergate Office Building at 2600 Virginia Ave. NW, part of the same complex as the Watergate 600. In 1972, thieves burglarized the Democratic National Committee headquarters, then located on the sixth floor of the Watergate Office Building. The investigation into the burglary implicated high officials in the President Richard Nixon administration who ordered the break-in and then tried to cover up their involvement. The ensuing Watergate scandal, named for the complex, led to impeachment proceedings and President Nixon’s resignation two years later. The 1976 movie “All the President’s Men,” unwinds the political scandal, with Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman playing The Washington Post investigative duo Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.
Today the 12-story Watergate 600 is one of the six buildings built between 1963 and 1971. The complex includes a mix of commercial real estate, apartments and a hotel, with the Foggy Bottom buildings situated just north of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Interestingly, the buildings make up the first mixed use development in Washington, DC.
Apart from the name “Watergate” being synonymous with scandal, the complex is an architectural touchstone in its own right. Designed by renowned Italian architect Luigi Moretti, the Watergate 600 is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Watergate 600, which is not the site of the infamous office break-in, has been home to prominent organizations in research, architecture, law and business.
Given the building complex’s historic nature, there were unique challenges to working on the Watergate 600’s roof. For one thing, contractors worked around a historic guardrail that workers could not remove. Summit Anchor laid out a plan to preserve the guardrail but also install two anchors for workers, such as window washers, to attach their equipment.
Summit Worker Marking Anchor Fasteners as Safe for Use:
Additionally, Summit Anchor employed quality control measures that involved numbering each anchor, deforming the threads so that the hex nut cannot be removed, and then testing them to 2,500 pounds. Summit Anchor installation manager Michael Smith then prepared a written report for each anchor passing the test. The Watergate 600 project took about a month to mobilize, set up and install, but designing the anchor system took about a year. Smith said the installation team also faced frequent power outages as anchor installers, welders, roofers and other contractors simultaneously using heavy equipment zapped power. The building needed an updated breaker to handle the demand.
Deforming the Bolt Threads:
Gus Strats gets a kick out of working on buildings with such historical significance. “I never imagined that I’d be putting anchors on buildings like this,” said Strats, who also washed windows at the former Washington Post building at 15th and L Street NW, and installed Summit Anchor Company’s first anchors on the Post’s building.
Summit Anchor Company, based in Frederick, Maryland, provides fall protection solutions for clients in the Washington, DC Metropolitan region, and works with clients nationwide across the United States. For installation of your next fall safety anchor system, contact Summit Anchor Company.
Trust Summit Anchor Company, safety from the top down.
Written by Keisha Winston