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Flooding of High-Rise Buildings Investigated


When flooding occurs in a multiple level structure, the damage can be extensive as it can easily extend beyond a single floor.  Walls, ceilings, floors as well as electrical and plumbing and HVAC can be affected.  A thorough investigation by an experienced engineer can answer the question, “What was the cause and origin of the flooding?”  Whether damage involves a small condominium or a large commercial office building, an investigation as to its cause will have a clearly defined scope where a methodical review of the conditions, parties, designs, parts and procedures that may have contributed to the loss are explored.  CED has extensive experience investigating such cases where the damage can migrate to property and equipment owned or controlled by multiple parties. Below are a few examples of potential investigations and the issues they may focus upon:

1) Multi-unit building under construction – the potential failure of a pipe fitting on an incoming water service line. The investigation may include:
o Human factors engineering to examine potential difficulties with assembly procedures and limitations/constraints placed on workers during the assemblage of plumbing components.  Including recreating jobsite conditions via the use of exemplars and models.
o Mechanical engineering review of the components within the service line to determine if appropriate components were specified for the application.
o Examination and review of materials/components actually employed by the contractor and sub-contractors to insure they were as specified by original architectural/engineering firm who designed the building/system.
o Review and examination of component part installation procedures to insure compliance with component part manufacturer’ guidelines for assembly and installation.
o Review of contract documents to clarify the scope of responsibilities of participating parties.

2) Commercial office building – the possible pump housing malfunctioning due to over pressurization. The investigation may include:
o Evaluation of upstream and downstream pumps, valves, lines which could contribute to pressure surges or spikes
o Review of specifications to insure all components in the water circuit are properly rated for anticipated loads as well as the environmental they will be operating in
o Review of third party testing and/or recommendations
o Review of original construction plans, and as-built documentation

3) Housing condominium – a frozen water line bursts. The investigation may include:
o Review of conditions contributing to freezing of pipe, i.e. insulation, pipe routing, actual installation configuration, upstream and downstream conditions.
o Review of human factors which may have contributed, i.e. thermostat set at low setting.
o Review of building configuration, HVAC configuration, natural and forced convection patterns.
o Review of testimony, first responder, affected parties.
o Review of building safeguards, monitoring systems, utility/service line access and configuration.

Extensive water damage on one floor may flood through to multiple floors and rooms.  An experienced engineer can conduct a thorough investigation toward pinpointing the exact cause and origin. Please call CED Technologies today at 800.780.4221 for additional information.

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