Wohl Diversified Services featured in Construction Today Magazine

Jonathan Wohl knows the sort of projects his company takes on aren’t exactly glamorous, but he doesn’t mind. “We’ve always been involved in difficult projects,” says Wohl, the president of Lawrence B. Wohl Inc., which is doing business as Wohl Diversified Services. “We get the hard jobs and the dirty jobs.”

Examples of the company’s work include fireproofing underground train stations such as the Downtown PATH Restoration Project at Ground Zero; the Eastside Access Project, which connects the Long Island Railroad with Grand Central Station; and Fulton Train Station in Lower Manhattan. Wohl is also experienced with spraying K-13 (brand) black cellulose acoustic insulation in restaurants like STK and Bill’s Burgers, and added a custom midnight blue K-13 to the WTC Memorial Museum.

“Our work is very specialized,” he adds. “There may be other companies that say they can do this sort of work, but we do it all the time.”

The Port Chester, N.Y.-based company specializes in spray applied acoustic plaster & soundproofing, thermal insulation, and fireproofing. Wohl works on commercial, office, retail and infrastructure projects in New York City and the tri-state area.

While the company’s jobs may be complex and “dirty,” its work is a vital component of many high-profile buildings and projects. The company sprayed five inches of K-13 insulation on the underside of the two pools at the World Trade Center Memorial and has been involved with many of the projects at the 9/11 Ground Zero site. Its involvement with the World Trade Center dates back to its participation in the fireproofing repair of Tower One’s five underground levels, including a fully operational chiller plant, after it was bombed in 1993.

Wohl also in recent years has partnered with other companies on major fireproofing projects notably the Grand Avenue bus facility in Long Island City, Queens – a $4.7 million project for Granite Construction; and the WTC Memorial, a $4.9 million Project for Bovis Lend Lease. Wohl has self-performed acoustic insulation for JP Morgan Chase’s Park Avenue Corporate Conference Center, performed acoustic caulking and firestopping services to Jazz at Lincoln Center for Turner Construction and installed acoustic insulation to Kaufman Astoria Studios for E.W. Howell.

Current projects include a number of acoustical insulation and acoustic plastering jobs in offices such as Plaza Construction’s boardroom, the General Contractor’s Association (GCA) offices, the German Consulate’s cafeteria and new television and movie studios for MTV and Nevin Street Studios. Other projects slated include a church, a museum and fireproofing of multiple locations for Costco and intumescent fireproofing at LCT3 Lincoln Center. Next year, Wohl will fireproof the Transit Hall commuter station at Ground Zero.

Wohl’s father Lawrence B. Wohl and grandfather Maurice Wohl founded the company in 1961 as Lawrence B. Wohl Inc., a painting and decorating company, later diversifying into coating, fireproofing and insulation services. This is the company’s 50th anniversary.

Building Relationships

Many of Wohl’s Ground Zero projects came about as a result of its positive reputation among general contractors. “I’ve been lucky to be involved with people who have been getting work consistently,” Jonathan Wohl says. “Because I do these kind of projects and use specialized products, I tend to be the guy people come looking for. They know my name and know what I can do.

“Most of why we’ve been in business for 50 years has to do with the relationships we’ve built over time,” Wohl adds. “We follow our clients rather than hunting for work. Leads provided by the manufacturers have played a huge role, by recommending us as their premier installer.”

The company was among the first in the country to use intumescent fireproofing products in the early ’70s, and was the first authorized applicator of SonaKrete in New York State. SonaKrete is a spray-applied acoustic plaster produced by International Cellulose, the makers of K-13. Wohl installs International Cellulose’s full range of products and uses all types and brands of fireproof coatings as well.

K-13, SonaKrete and SonaSpray – a spray-applied acoustical texture – are all manufactured using pre-consumer recycled paper products, making them environmentally friendly. Wohl frequently uses these products on projects seeking LEED certification.

Another advantage Wohl says he brings to the table is his over 30 years of job related experience paired with his company’s ability to digitally read and estimate every job he tackles. This gives him the ability to provide clients with accurate and competitive pricing, he adds.

Industry Involvement

Jonathan Wohl is involved with a number of professional organizations within his industry, including serving on the board of directors of the National Fireproofing Contractors Association (NFCA).The association develops both standardized practices for the fireproofing installation industry.

The NFCA is in the process of creating a certified fireproofing contractor program that seeks to create a level playing field for all spray fireproofing contractors by setting standards of design responsibility and quality control. Wohl has completed the first level towards certification by having passed the UL Designated Responsible Individual exam.

Each year, Wohl leads a six-credit continuing education credit course approved by the American Association of Architects.

The training course, provided by the Plaster and Spray Fireproofing Contractors of Greater New York Industry Advancement Program fund, instructs architects about spray fireproofing, spray acoustic, acoustic plaster and spray insulation.

Wohl also serves as vice president of the Plaster and Spray Fireproofing Contractors of Greater New York, a union association, and is a member of the apprenticeship training board for the Local 79 Mason Tenders Union and a board member of the Building Contractors Association of Westchester and Putnam.