Structural Inspection and Repair: Densely Populated Repairs

May 12, 2022 | By: Owen Kavanagh

Structures deteriorate. Water, cracks, changing loads, insect infestations, and more, affect the structural integrity of buildings, and may necessitate repairs. Some repairs simply have to happen. However, many buildings are located in densely populated areas with enormous amounts of traffic around and through them, and that traffic must be considered when executing a repair.

Open or Closed

Will the building remain open as it is repaired? Will it close? This consideration can greatly impact the length, difficulty, and cost of your repair. Some buildings and structures must close due to safety concerns while being repaired, such as parking decks, and structurally unsound buildings, but others may remain open depending on the repairs and structure.

Building operations may continue during a minor repair, but there are still a few important things to consider when planning the repair. Is there traffic through the affected area? How loud repairs be?

Do they need to occur during, or after business hours? Safety and sound can greatly impact the operations of a structure during repair, and exterior foot traffic can factor in as well. If the repair could disrupt tenant business, it may need to occur outside of building hours, necessitating further operational hours and cost to the building.

While under repair, a structure may need extra supports, and the load these supports can take is not infinite. In a parking deck, each layer must be supported while being repaired, and the additional weight of cars parked in the area can increase the time and cost for the repairs.

The same is true in a building. Remaining open can cause tenants to come into close contact with construction, which can have health concerns with both falling objects and dust. Indoor air quality is an important part of building health, and one that has come to the forefront of many minds recently. Tenants negatively impacted by the construction may request rent reductions, and they may even find a new building should the construction impact them too much. Tenant comfort is an important consideration when planning and timing your repair.

Downtime and Cost

What is the cost to keep the building running during repairs? What is the cost to close it? These are important questions to ask when planning a repair. Calculating the cost of closing or remaining open will help all parties, from structural engineers to building owner and managers, understand all options on the table.

Knowing the cost and impact a repair will have is paramount in making decisions on your building’s structural integrity.

“The more empowered you are with [inspection and repair], the more able you are to make informed decisions on cost and running the project.” States Evan Moore, PE, SE, of Engineered Restorations Inc.

Engaging with a Structural engineer through both the inspection and execution of your building repairs will help in explaining the length and cost necessitated to keep a building safe and sturdy. When there are concerns about a structure, from buildings to parking decks, your best bet is to contact a structural engineer, and listen to what they have to say. This article is but a brief overview of the many considerations that go into building inspection and repairs. Always consult with a licensed engineer regarding building inspections and repairs. For more information, check out the Structural Inspection and Repair Guide, available for free under Books / Blogs on CRE Insight Journal.


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