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BigLogo.gif UN Member States on the Record

15 March, 2010: General Assembly Building: Shrink-wrapping the leaking dome

[New  York | Author: Department of Management]

The doors of the General Assembly Hall have been locked for days.  Peeking through the glass doors, one can discern a block of seats and desks in the middle of the hall that are covered with plastic sheeting, because once again the General Assembly Hall has been affected by water leaking in from the dome and damaging the plaster on the ceiling.

While the iconic United Nations Headquarters is well-designed and was built with great care, the copper dome that crowns the General Assembly Hall has been a weak spot for a long time.  It has been leaking for many years, and especially when snow melts on the roof.  Water penetrates between layers of the copper cladding covering the dome.  With successive freezing and melting the seams of the copper cladding are forced open and water leaks into the roof.
In order to ensure that for the next two years the General Assembly  can use the Hall without water leaking or plaster falling from above, the Capital Master Plan  (CMP) and Facilities Management Service  (FMS) will resort to a temporary roof containment system.

The dome will be shrink-wrapped in the same white plastic material that boaters use to protect their crafts from the elements during winter.  Such material has been used for over 15 years to protect buildings. It will provide a drum tight, seamless and fire retardant containment for structures until corrective work can be taken on the roof deck of the General Assembly Building. Then the temporary wrap material will be removed and recycled to be used on another project.

The renovation of the General Assembly Building under the CMP will begin in early 2012, after the completion of the renovation of the Conference Building, and the temporary relocation of the General Assembly to the North Lawn Building. Then the historic copper dome will be fully repaired in a way that corrects the original design flaws.