Transworld, Inc. Electrical Contractors has been working alongside Richard Marks Construction on renovating the historic Fireproof Building in Downtown Charleston into a museum. The Fireproof Building is a National Historic Landmark and is the oldest fireproof building in the United States. The building was constructed in 1827 and was originally named the District Record Building. The Fireproof Building is characteristic of the work of Robert Mills, the first native-born American to be trained as an architect, and a Charleston native. Mills was also responsible for many public buildings throughout the United States including the Washington Monument. No flammable materials were used during construction so The Fireproof Building consists primarily of solid masonry, with windows sashes and shutters made of iron. The Fireproof Building has survived numerous hurricanes in Charleston and the 1886 earthquake. The building is currently the headquarters for the South Carolina Historical Society, a private non-profit organization founded in 1856.
The Fireproof Building is a unique project because every step in the construction process requires extensive preplanning and numerous meeting with the architect, general contractor, owner, electrical engineer and sub-contractors. Since the Fire Proof Building primarily consists of solid masonry, the ceiling and walls are all two to five feet thick. This requires our electricians to cut through the walls or use specialized techniques to install the electrical system, fire alarm, data/voice and security camera systems. A typical building of this size uses 5,000 linear feet of conduit but the Fireproof Building required over 15,000 linear feet of conduit due to its complexity. The solid construction also required our electricians to get resourceful with installing electrical equipment. For example, we installed an 800 amp panel board with only 1.5 inches to spare. It is important that everything is installed correctly and exceeds the owner’s expectations the first time because nothing can be changed once the walls and ceilings are finished. Our electricians and project managers have extensive knowledge working in historic buildings in Charleston and we are honored to assist with the renovation of the historic Fire Proof Building.
The Fireproof Building is estimated to finish construction by next summer and the museum will be accessible to residents and visitors.
We have shared some photos below that have been taken throughout the renovation.