Structural Condition Assessments

One of the more interesting and physically difficult services we provide are structural condition assessments. This is when you evaluate a structure to determine how suitable it is for its current use, or for a proposed use, or to determine the cause of damage. A lot of work we do is evaluation of existing structures, in particular for the movie industry that is coming into Georgia. They are repurposing existing warehouses and they need to support lights, props on the existing roofs and sometimes they want to remove interior columns to open up sound stages. We’ve also worked with the studios to make sure props that they are putting up are structurally sound. Unfortunately, we can’t post pictures of the better projects we’ve done for copyright reasons, but here’s a couple of interesting photos:

Lifting the beam into place

Lifting the beam into place.

On the above project, we’ve worked with the Owner to extensively modify the existing warehouse to be an open sound stage.  We’ve also worked on the same building to open up walls, and check it to determine if they could hang different props from the ceiling.

This one is a warehouse that will become a sound stage in the near future:

Measuring Truss Members

Measuring Truss Members

Sometimes when you are evaluating a structure, you don’t have the luxury of structural drawings.  In this one we had to get up and physically measure the roof trusses in order to determine how much they can carry.  Our business is not a good one to be in if you are afraid of heights!

Fallen Ceiling - Bishop Hall

Fallen Ceiling – Bishop Hall

This was Bishop Hall at Fort Valley University.  The building is over 100 years old and was built by students at the time it was constructed.  It is a large brick building with a very large open area.  It was undergoing renovations when the ceiling fell and the roof began to arch out causing the brick on the sides to crack.  The only real way to figure out what was going on was to get up in the rafters:

Up In The Rafters

Up In The Rafters

Really, as projects go, this wasn’t a big deal for heights, but was one I have a good picture from. The problem that we found was that the ceiling joists were spliced using nails.  The ceiling was a plaster ceiling that obviously was very heavy.  The disruption during a renovation caused the ceiling to fall down, and when that happened the nails that held the ceiling joists together at the splices were insufficient to resist the arching force, and the walls on the exterior began to bow out.  You can’t find this type of stuff without personally going into the structure and seeing what’s happening.

Fortunately, our work up high balances out with work down below:

Getting Under a Floor

Getting Under a Floor

This picture was taken in a very old structure (about 100 years old again) and we had to get under a floor that was having structural issues.  The work under a building is in our experience more dangerous than up high on the building.  Often the conditions are very unsanitary and there are rats, mice, and insects.  I got a very bad staph infection in my middle finger on one job, and it was bad enough that the doctor thought seriously about amputating it.  That explains the personal protective equipment that we use.

We’ve been performing Structural Condition Assessments for 15 years, and we will be happy to help you with your project, whether you are buying an existing building or are having problems with the building you own.