Revelations with reversible repairs

When designing repairs to existing buildings and structures, emphasis is typically on durability, with the goal of achieving the longest-possible service life. However, there are some cases in which it is desirable to design repairs that are reversible or removable.
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Avoiding mistakes with radon

As an odorless, colorless gas, radon is often overlooked and underestimated, but it has potentially fatal consequences when left unmanaged. It is a radioactive gas believed to be the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers, and has also recently been linked with blood cancer in women.
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Framed (in concrete)

Repairing and restoring historic concrete often involves dealing with concealed conditions contributing to distress. This 1920s Pacific Northwest building features cast-in-place concrete façades finished with facing mortar.
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One thing leads to another…

During a visit to review curtain wall assemblies on a project under construction, we noticed something unrelated—brick ties supporting a cantilevered through-wall flashing drip plate at a window opening in the exterior masonry. This unusual condition invited further examination of the cavity wall construction.
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Caveat emptor

Condition assessments are conducted to evaluate existing conditions, identify distress, determine appropriate repairs, and assist property owners in understanding possible future repair and maintenance costs.
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Life safety testing to failure

Suspended scaffolding is used for cleaning windows and performing exterior maintenance on multi-story buildings. This equipment tends to be rented when needed, but some taller buildings have built-in, permanent components for such access.
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If it’s too hot…

When specifying and installing air and moisture/vapor barriers, consideration is often given to cold-weather limitations of those materials to better ensure proper application and long-term performance.
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Keeping unitized curtain walls dry

Unitized curtain wall systems offer many benefits when used for the building enclosure. They can increase quality control of the overall system, as the units are largely shop-fabricated under controlled conditions rather than field-assembled.
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Installation limitations

The importance of selecting an appropriate weather-resistive barrier (WRB), given project-specific conditions such as substrate types and anticipated in-service environmental conditions, has been emphasized in several past Failures articles by these authors.
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