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The Importance of Structural Investigations

After the tragic collapse of the Miami Surfside Condominium last year, a huge focus has been placed on cracks and uneven floors within many existing buildings around the United States. Sadly, this event has become an example that shows the importance of structural investigations - and as a result, we, along with many other SE firms have received an overwhelming amount of these calls since the tragedy from building owners and tenants as a result.

As structural engineers, safety is our main concern. While our focus is not only to create structures that withstand the test of time in accordance with the architects' beautiful visions but also to find solutions and repairs to those structures that are existing, so they may continue to exist safely for those living and working in them.

Cuono Engineering is currently investigating the existing conditions of a 1926 building, in which the building tenants have informed us of uneven floors and cracks in the walls above. In order to investigate, our team went into a 3'x3' wide crawl space opening to verify the existing framing conditions underneath the area of concern. The original 1926 drawings had shown an unexcavated area at that location, but at some point, there was an addition built on top of the unexcavated area, which was not recorded on the original drawings.

This project includes the structural investigation and design of repairs to the framing at the crawl space below one unit, the adjacent crawl space areas, and other units, as needed. It also includes the structural investigation and design of repairs to the floor framing at or adjacent to the bathroom of another unit where sloping floor conditions have been reported.

Based on a preliminary review, the noted floor sloping and wall cracks appear to be related to poor framing conditions in the crawl space. Cuono, working together with EnviroSpace Architecture, is currently investigating and documenting the existing framing conditions, developing structural repairs, and will provide filing and construction documents.



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