Author Archives: Linda

Windham High School will undergo a major renovation this year. Led by Robert Ricard, P.E., RZ Design teamed up with Friar Architecture Inc. to provide the MEP and Fire Protection engineering and design covering all the major areas of the 221,428 SF building including the auditorium, boiler room, kitchen, cafeteria and temporary classrooms as well as a 7,268 SF addition.

Energy conservation is at the forefront of the electrical and lighting planning and designing with systems being designed in accordance with Connecticut’s High Performance Building Regulations and the new energy code program.

High efficiency LED lighting has been designed for all areas of the building including the interior, walkways, parking lots and football field lighting. The lighting systems in the regularly occupied rooms will be controlled by occupancy/vacancy sensors, but will have override switches for local control. This design will help to achieve greater energy efficiency by reducing power consumption to half of what is permitted by the IECC.

On the HVAC side, all early childhood and Pre-K classrooms will have hydronic radiant heating floors. This form of heating is more efficient than baseboard and forced-air heating methods since it eliminates duct losses and the distribution of allergens.

RZ Design On Board at The Boat Building for Engineering and Design Services

New tenant CGI, Inc. will occupy the fourth floor of Hartford‘s infamous 13-story high-rise known as The Boat Building. RZ partnered with Moser Pilon Nelson Architects for the fit out of the 4,700 SF space, contributing mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection and telecom engineering and design services.
About The Boat Building – Completed in 1963 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005, The Boat Building was first occupied by The Phoenix Companies. Building remains an icon located in the capital city of Hartford‘s downtown and, in 2016, was acquired by Nassau Reinsurance Company who has since made it their headquarters.

Welcome, Satish Molleti, PE!

Satish Molleti, PE recently joined RZ Designs as an electrical engineer in our Rocky Hill, Connecticut office. His experience working in India and, most recently, in-state, designing a multitude of large and complex projects within the hospitality, industrial, warehouse, and commercial building sectors will be invaluable to the firm. He will collaborate with our MEP, Fire Protection and Structural engineers and designers on multi-disciplined projects using his technical excellence to help underscore the RZ Design’s exceptional quality we continuously strive to provide all of our clients.

Satish holds a master’s degree from the University of New Haven and a bachelor’s degree from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological, India, both in Electrical Engineering.

In the Wake of Disaster: RZ’s Engineers Stand Ready to Serve

Since 2010, structural engineers Bruce Perrone, P.E. and Christopher Zajda, P.E. have been volunteering with the Connecticut State Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security’s Urban Search and Rescue Team, Connecticut Task Force (USAR CT-TF1).

Committed to being deployed 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist with structural collapse rescue and recovery anywhere in the state of Connecticut, they are required to report for duty within 90 minutes after receiving a call.

Chris recently sat down with Marketing’s Linda Colón to recall one such mission he was deployed on shortly after being sworn in by the Task Force.

Around 11 a.m. on Feb. 7, 2010, one of the coldest days of the year with temperatures hovering around zero degrees Fahrenheit, there was a natural gas explosion at the Kleen Energy Power Plant in Middletown, Conn. The USAR CT-TF1 put out the call to all Task Force members. Residing 15 miles from the disaster site, Chris was the first engineer to arrive on the scene joining dozens of first responders.

They assembled at one of the construction trailers to be briefed. The plant, which was still under construction and deemed about 90 percent complete, consisted of a tall, structural steel frame with numerous levels, pipes and equipment. Chris saw sections of pipe and structural steel members all over the area with many bent and completely out of shape. Large, wide flange structural steel building columns were also bent and some of the column’s dozens of 1-inch diameter splice connections bolts had been completely sheared off.

Tasked with helping to assess sections of the structure for stability and for potential secondary collapse, he was assigned to the first team to enter the building. Their assessments would help ensure rescuers could safely enter and search for victims. Since natural gas had been used at high pressure to purge the lines prompting the initial explosion, there was concern that a second explosion could occur at any time. This was something Chris would learn later.

They entered with search and rescue dogs doing their best to step around mounds of debris that were strewn everywhere and made it through most of the facility. Chris and another engineer had the team shore up a few locations to allow safer entry and outlined areas that rescue personnel should avoid.

Unfortunately, the mission went from rescue to recovery as the team did not find any live victims. As the night set in a team from Massachusetts arrived and Chris and his team reviewed their observations and recommendations with the newly arrived structural engineers.

At around 1 a.m., the Task Force completed their final paperwork, held a debriefing and were able to head home. Despite the intensity of the mission and the inability to locate anyone alive, Chris remains grateful his team, including the canine members were uninjured. He has also gained a special appreciation for first responders saying, “I have such respect for them and our entire team. Everyone wants to immediately rush into buildings to rescue people often with little consideration for the risks they face. I am glad I have the opportunity to identify those risky areas prior to sending rescuers in.”

Thinking back to the day he was sworn in, Chris says he was told by the state employee performing the ceremony, “Don’t worry, nothing ever happens in Connecticut.” Ironically, in addition to the Kleen Energy Power Plant explosion, Chris has also been deployed to disasters within the state including tornadoes, floods, Hurricane Sandy, house explosions, heavy snowfall collapses even searching for people who have gone missing. “It’s been quite a ride, but I wouldn’t take back a single minute of it. I have grown as a person and within my profession while finding a way to give back and, for that, I am grateful,” he says.

He also reflects on the comradery he has experienced, “I definitely bonded with my team the day of the power plant explosion as we saw unspeakable things and that bond has continued to deepen over the last 10 years. We are all here to support one another and to do our tiny part to help others. I know they would do the same for my family and me. I love being a member of the team.”

About the USAR

Established under the authority of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 1989, the USAR is a framework for organizing federal, state and local partner emergency response teams as integrated federal disaster response task forces. The System’s 28 USAR task forces can be deployed by FEMA to a disaster area to provide assistance in structural collapse rescue or they may be pre-positioned when a major disaster threatens a community. To learn more:

Bristol Memorial Boulevard Intradistrict Arts Magnet School

As a member of QA+M’s a/e/c team, RZ Design’s engineers and designers are moving full speed ahead designing MEP and Fire Protection systems for the revitalization of  the Bristol Memorial Boulevard Intradistrict Arts Magnet School in Connecticut.

Recently featured in High Profile Magazine, the project consists of restoring five levels totaling 107,000 sf of the existing building and is slated to receive an additional 17,000 sf to accommodate a gymnasium, kitchen and theater support spaces. Read more here:

RZ Design’s Lucas Espinosa Tapped for MEP Modeling Panel Discussion

RZ Design’s BIM Manager, Lucas Espinosa, will be a panelist for ATG USA’s Town Hall, “Do I Really Need to Model That?” on Wed., Feb. 10, 2021, at 12 p.m. (EST). The annual MEP event will be virtual this year and features an open panel discussion hosted by Don Rasmusson, Director of MEP Services, for ATG USA.

The hour-long discussion will allow for questions and cover such topics as:

  • How the expert panelists approach modeling
  • When to model and when data is better served
  • Exploring the reasons and benefits for modeling
  • How to leverage data rather than a modeled element when modeling is unnecessary

To register:


ATG USA is a specialized Autodesk Platinum Partner with a record of providing high quality technical and customer service to companies in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction industry.

RZ’s Structural Engineering and Design of The Residences at Quarry Walk Shows Progress

Exterior of The Residences at Quarry Walk in Oxford, CT

The Residences at Quarry Walk, the luxury living section of Quarry Walk’s $70M mixed-use space in Oxford Connecticut, are moving full steam ahead. With 150 units planned, the project is developing in phases —76 units in the first phase and 74 units in the second.

After an accidental fire in July threatened to delay the project’s timeline, the development team consisting of QA+M Architects, RZ and Haynes Construction hustled to get the project back on the rails. “We jumped in with the team to rework the structural integrity of that section of the units,” says Christopher Zajda, PE, RZDA’s Principal in Charge for the structural engineering and design of the units. “It’s all about teamwork and handling the unexpected. Events happen but staying focused on the overall results is how we deal with adversity and I’m happy to be a part of a committed team,” he adds.

The residential units are designed to attract families looking for an all-inclusive option that offers a hub of necessities such as a medical office, grocery market, bank, pharmacy, variety of restaurants, community green post office and walking trails.

Destined to serve as Oxford’s town center, Quarry Walk – literally once a stone quarry – spans 30 acres and was created from extensive rock blasting and rock cut slopes. Retaining walls and additional design elements are made from upcycled blasted rock. (Images: QA+M Architects)

Saratoga County’s Paul E. Lent Public Safety Facility Earns Design Awards

Exterior Shot of the Front Entrance of Saratoga County's Paul E. Lent Public Safety Facility in Ballston Spa, NY

It’s another win for the Saratoga County’s Paul E. Lent Public Safety Facility and this time it’s a gold award in the Special Projects category for Engineering Excellence from the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York!

Prior to this honor, the design team earned a bronze 2020 Law Enforcement Design Award for Public Safety Centers. Such a great opportunity for us to partner with H2M architects + engineers to provide the MEP and Fire Protection engineering and design for this 64,000 sq. ft. building.

Partnering with H2M architects + engineers, RZ’s engineering and design team consisted of Principal in Charge Ken Hipsky, PE, LEED AP for mechanical and plumbing, Brian Ziegler for electrical and George Lape for the Fire Protection systems. Congratulations to all team members!

(Image: H2M architects + engineers)

Welcome, Michael Wurm!

Head Shot of Michael Wurm of RZ Design Associates, Inc. in Rocky Hill CT

RZ Design welcomes the newest Senior Plumbing & Fire Protection Designer, Michael Wurm, to our Rocky Hill, Connecticut office.

He brings two decades of design experience in K-12 and Higher Ed, hospitals and healthcare, public safety, commercial tenant and historic building projects. Michael will collaborate with our MEP/Fire Protection engineers to support various projects.

Outside of RZ, he volunteers as an EMT/Firefighter at the North Branford Fire Dept. Welcome, Michael!

New Dollar General Opens Doors in East Lyme, CT

exterior of Dollar General store

The new Dollar General in East Lyme, CT is open for business! RZ partnered with CORE to provide the engineering and design for this 7,150 sf new construction project.

With project management by Ramón Paguada, this store is the latest of nearly 100 Dollar General projects RZ has in its retail engineering portfolio. (Photo: CORE)