Construction using concrete masonry blocks or units (CMU) is ubiquitous in the United States today, and in fact in the whole modern world. CMU blockwork is a very versatile and relatively economical building material. It is naturally strong in compression, but with reinforced, grout-filled cells, it can also withstand large shear, bending, and tensile loads imparted by lateral wind or seismic events. In this article, I will discuss the various types of CMU designs, as well as terminology, construction techniques, and application uses. (more…)
LIVE WEBINAR: 10/5/21 @ 1 pm EST “Issues with Breaching the Building Envelope” | Presented by George Sanford, P.E., Senior Consulting Structural Engineer
COURSE LEARNING OBJECTIVES
In this Webinar, we will discuss water entry through a variety of building envelope breaches. Water entry and subsequent wood decay, fungal growth and structural damages as a result from water intrusion can lead to serious property damage and major expenses for all types of property owners. We will discuss the definition of a building envelope, and look at various case studies involving breaches to the major components of the envelope. These major components include foundations, exterior walls, and roofs. The foundation case studies include issues with slabs-on-grade, crawlspaces, and basements. The exterior wall case studies involve improperly installed building wrap, leaking windows, and problems with stucco. The roof case studies look at issues with various roof coverings, vents, and penetrations. Participants will take away a thorough understanding of what defines the building envelope, how breaches to the envelope can occur, and how to identify root causes. (more…)
Construction defects can appear in many forms. The building does not necessarily have to fall down. There are many types of construction defects, including roof leaks, water intrusion into walls, as well as Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) defects.
One extreme example of this was an office complex I was called to for an investigation of the source of mold observed on the walls. The occupants complained that they could not find a temperature setting on the thermostat where they could make the office comfortable. When I inspected the office, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. A band of black mold (more…)
Scenario: A young couple is excited about buying their first home. They pick it out from a catalog of house plans from the developer of a new neighborhood in town. It will be a brand new construction starter type bungalow home on a slab-on-grade foundation. For a cost adder, which is considerable to them, they decide to upgrade the finished flooring from carpeting to hardwood laminate. Unfortunately, after only a few weeks of residency, the hardwood planks begin to buckle and separate from the slab throughout the house. They do not know what is causing it, or what to do to remedy it, (more…)
Flashing is a hot-button topic amongst residential designers, builders, and claims adjusters alike. In fact, currently one of the most prominent construction defect claims that we see involves moisture intrusion around improperly flashed window openings in wood-framed structures. Other trouble spots include the roof penetrations at chimneys and vent pipes. (more…)