Withstanding the Forces of Nature: 6 Ways to Improve a Building’s Structural Integrity

Building structural integrity is the most important consideration when buying an existing building or when an architect and contractor are designing and building a new structure for a client. No one wants a building unable to withstand normal weather and environmental conditions. A new worry is about catastrophic events like earthquakes and hurricanes or tornadoes. Some buildings fair better than others and engineers and other building professionals are studying why this is so. they want to learn lessons on what helps a building keep its structural integrity under the worst conditions.

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Before Purchasing a Commercial Building Have It Inspected

When considering purchasing a building or having one built, have the plans or actual building inspected by an engineering company. A company such as cochraneng.com has options for designing buildings or for adding structural support to existing buildings. This type of company can save the building owner a lot of money and grief by pointing out deficiencies in an existing building or in building plans.

Look for a company that offers services including civil engineering, architecture, construction supervision, environmental guidance, land surveying, and other needed services for the planning and construction of a project or the retrofitting of an existing building. Some of the types of buildings and projects that need this type of engineering expertise include commercial and retail buildings, government buildings and construction projects, transportation industry, institutional buildings, industrial projects, residential building projects, and water resource type projects.

Important Considerations Before A Building Project is Started

Before the ground can be broken, there are things to accomplish. Land must be surveyed as needed. some types of surveys include Land Title Surveys, Property Boundary Surveys, Subdivision Platting, Easement surveys, Construction Stakeouts, FEMA Elevation Certificates and LOMA’s, Surveyor’s Real Property Reports, Topographic Surveying, and more. The building must be planned and constructed within the property lines with required distances from property lines and so on.

Then there are environmental considerations to handle. A large building needs proper support. A building should not be built on unstable ground such as sand or swampland. The engineering company professionals will test the building site for stability and other factors that determine site feasibility, soil type, stability and treatment recommendations, and more.

Some New Ways to Build Structures For Disaster Stability

Though no one can prevent natural disasters architects, builders, and architects can do their best to make buildings more able to survive them. Some innovative new technologies include:

1. a self-healing concrete that can fix itself. The concrete is infused with capsules of sodium silicate. when a fracture happens the capsules open, releasing a gell that hardens to fix the crack. Other methods rely on glass capillaries, polymer microcapsules and bacteria to provide self-healing properties.

2. Virtual and Augmented Reality systems to help workers or inspectors examine a building before it is finished to catch structural issues in the construction process when they can be repaired.

3. Prefabrication involves constructing many building parts off-site under controlled conditions where quality control is easier. Then, the components are trucked to the site and installed.

4. Boom Pumps are becoming more popular for mixing and moving concrete to where it is needed with less labor and more efficiency. This method improves a building’s structural integrity.

5. Carbon Nanotubes are a new product that can be inserted into other building elements such as concrete, metal, glass, and other materials to increase their strength a lot.

6. Anti-Seismic Bricks or sisbicks specially designed to resist earthquake damage. They can be used in partition walls and be added to traditional buildings.

What Makes Buildings Structurally Fail?

Structural integrity is a building’s ability to support the structural load without breaking. it is the ability of a component or material to hold together under a load and perform its designed function. Structural failure is the loss of this structural integrity or the failure to keep load-bearing capacity. Types of structural failures consist of many things such as collapsing roofs, manufacturing errors that can cause building collapse, materials that corrode or break down making them unstable, the use of defective materials that fail over time, and the lack of planning for unexpected problems such as sabotage, vandalism, and natural disasters.

Structural failure can also be caused by improper placement of a building on unstable, or improperly prepare ground that has not been stabilized and supported. Failure can also be caused by a building being used in a way that it was not intended to be used such as moving too heavy equipment. Buildings can collapse, causing death and injury. Bridges and other structures can collapse.

Building integrity can be corrected in some cases if the defects are discovered in time and appropriate steps are taken to stabilize the building. Building maintenance is an important tool in helping buildings remain stable and safe for long periods of time. When a person is considering moving a business to an existing building, they should have an engineering firm inspect the building and advise them if their business can be supported by the structure. The engineering company can also devise a remodeling plan that will make the structure able to handle the proposed loads.

All buildings and other structures should have regular inspections and maintenance to maintain structural integrity. Cracks and movement of walls or other building elements should be taken seriously. Buildings should be well-designed with adequate support, then maintained on an ongoing basis. Whenever a catastrophic event happens, all buildings must be inspected for damage caused by that earthquake or other event. Then repairs must be made to keep them safe.

The goal must always be to build and maintain structures to be structurally sound over time and safe for the public to use. Buildings that are found to have structural defects that might make them unsafe should be unoccupied until they are repaired or in extreme cases storm down and replaced by a structurally sound building or structure. Engineering companies are a necessary part of the commercial construction industry because they have the experience and knowledge to prevent building defects and disasters in the future.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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