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The Rising Use of Drones in External Building Inspection

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 27, 2019 10:00:00 AM / by John O'Rourke

The process of inspecting the façade or roof of a building is changing.  Advances in programming and battery technology have made unmanned aerial vehicles or “drones” both viable and affordable. Engineering and architectural companies are incorporating these tools into the practice of inspecting the façade and roof of structures, surveying large landscapes, and monitoring construction progress. The drone can be used as a tool, in the aforementioned tasks, that can safely produce visual and or thermal data faster at less cost than using tradition means and methods.

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To repair or replace an existing roof?

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 31, 2019 8:30:00 AM / by Kenneth R Quigley, PE

The decision to replace an existing roof may be the result of an ongoing issue such as water leakage, or proactively replacing it as part of building maintenance.  Additional decisions need to be made regarding roof repairs or full replacement including whether or not to over-clad the existing roof or to completely replace it.

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Moisture Damage to Electronics

[fa icon="calendar'] Jul 24, 2018 10:00:00 AM / by Philip B. Terry, Sr. Vice President

 

Moisture gets into electronics even in the best of systems – it is inevitable.  To name a few, electronic equipment whether personal electronic equipment, or specialized equipment isolated in server rooms, in moisture resistant enclosures, in aircraft avionics bays, and even in sophisticated autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV).  Such AUVs meticulously designed to stay dry a thousand feet underwater are susceptible to moisture related damage.   Moisture finds a way into your electronics and can wreak nuisance or havoc – sometimes intermittent, sometimes catastrophic.

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Why hire a forensic architect?

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 5, 2018 10:00:00 AM / by Kenneth R Quigley, PE

Forensic architects can serve multiple purposes throughout and after a construction job is complete. Most commonly, forensic architects are brought in to investigate the root cause of construction defects or building issues after a project is complete. However, forensic architects are also often hired onto a job during the design and construction phase to help identify any unforeseen issues that could be avoided. In these cases forensic architects are often hired as an unbiased 3rd party and act as an additional set of eyes based on the specialized experience they can bring to a job.

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The Connection between Air Conditioning Systems and Mold

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 25, 2018 2:00:00 PM / by Dudley Smith, PE, CEM

Mold spores are everywhere in the outdoor and indoor environment as a natural part of our world and they cannot be eliminated. Certain conditions are necessary for the growth and proliferation of molds into a problem area within a building. Controlling indoor moisture and humidity levels are key to controlling indoor mold growth. Air conditioning equipment and duct systems are very common locations for the development and amplification of mold in commercial properties. Property owners and managers need to be vigilant in inspecting and maintaining these systems, to minimize the frequency and magnitude of any exposures to occupants from hidden sources of mold.

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Everything Leaks: Testing & diagnosing roofing leaks

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 15, 2018 11:00:00 AM / by Clark Griffith, AIA

Most roofs are not watertight all the time.  Roofing systems, both low-sloped (flat) and pitched, will most likely eventually spring a leak, even with the proper recommended maintenance and inspections.  But what about newly installed low-sloped roofs, can one expect those to be watertight?  Typically, on a newly constructed building, any minor leaks that turn up during construction can be dealt with immediately by the installer.  Also, newly installed roofs on new and old buildings will undergo inspections and sometimes specified testing of seams and components for issuance of the manufacturer’s and installer’s warranty of water tightness for a specified period of time.  However, ensuring that your newly installed roof is absolutely watertight becomes more critical if it is being covered by rock ballast or a landscaped greenspace or if the roof protects valuable artwork or irreplaceable property.  Determining the location, origin, and extent of wet substrates is also critical for existing buildings when trying to determine if repair or complete replacement is more appropriate. 

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Built to burn: Thousands of buildings worldwide are wrapped in combustible panels

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 4, 2018 11:00:00 AM / by Clark Griffith, AIA

A high school in Alaska, a National Football League stadium, a Baltimore high-rise hotel and a Dallas airport terminal are among thousands of structures world-wide covered in combustible-core panels similar to those that burned in June's deadly London fire.

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After Years of Decline, Asbestos Use is on the Rise

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 11, 2017 11:00:00 AM / by Mark McGivern, CSI, Aff. M. ASCE

Do not believe that asbestos is not being used in building products that you specify or construct.  Contrary to popular belief asbestos is not illegal in the U.S.  According to the EPA many building products can be manufactured with asbestos.

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Hurricanes and Construction Cranes - Look Out Below

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 5, 2017 10:00:00 AM / by Kenneth R Quigley, PE

 

During Hurricane Wilma a tower crane at a high-rise condominium construction site in Hallendale, Florida suffered a collapse.  The building, a 28 story concrete structure, is situated between the Atlantic Ocean and Route A1A, and was under construction at the time of the collapse.  The crane was situated on the west side of the building and was connected to the building at the tenth and twentieth floors.  The crane was over 300 feet tall.  The crane broke at the twentieth floor; the top of the crane fell to the ground while the lower portion was damaged but remained attached to the building.  CCA was requested to review the circumstances of the collapse of the crane and provide opinions as to the cause. 
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Stricter Building Codes Saved Florida’s Commercial Buildings from Irma’s Wrath

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 28, 2017 10:00:00 AM / by Mark McGivern, CSI, Aff. M. ASCE

Hurricane Irma bore down hard on single-family homes, severely damaging many. At the end of September residential insurance claims had been cited around a half-million. The story, however is quite different for commercial and industrial buildings where insurance claims had been cited around 25,000.

This is mainly due to the stricter building codes that were put in place following the wrath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. “Designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane with winds of 175 mph, the Florida building code is the accepted benchmark for hurricane protection nationally.”

“Florida significantly strengthened its defenses after hits from past major hurricanes, and those improvements were instrumental in helping the state weather this potentially devastating storm,” Levy notes. “As a result, damage to Florida commercial real estate is relatively minor outside of the Keys.”

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