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Apartment Block: Crumbling balconies

Apartment Block: Crumbling balconies

Apartment Block: Crumbling balconies

(OP)
I am not an engineer but I need an experts opinion so that I know what to do from this point. If my concerns are confirmed, I can force a new structural engineers report to be compiled.

I was asked to be a project manager overseeing building renovations for a student accommodation project. It seems the owner was hoping I would not question him with regards to municipal compliance, building structural integrity etc. He tried to bs me but I eventually learned what had to be done when I went against his wishes and questioned the building inspector for our area, as well a getting insight from a buddy who knows what is what in construction etc.

The one thing they pointed out was the crumbling balconies, pictures attached. The BI said that they needed new building plans etc and owner said, hey I submitted that and a structural engineer signed off on it. And even a 2nd one said all was OK, according to him. I resigned at this point but now he wants me back on the project. How do I know if this building really is structurally sound and that he is not bs'ing me or paying the SE to give a fraudulent report? If it is not, I'll have ammo to get things done correctly.

Do these photos represent any structural problems? It is a 3 story apartment block and it is as derelict as one can expect. They have already covered up the cracks from the foundation (although I think some are still visible).





The cherry on the cake is that the building owner says that he does not expect me to understand construction, and that it is simply plaster that has fallen off.

RE: Apartment Block: Crumbling balconies

This looks all kind of bad. You're at risk for working on this and not doing anything (even though you did) about it. If there was a disaster, it would be a lot of finger pointing and you would be on the same side as the sleazy owner. I'd retain counsel and follow his/her advice. Alternatively, write a registered letter to the owner with a copy to the Building Department.
I wouldn't go back to the project, although I'd consider writing a letter about it effectively burns any bridges in that regard.
Without looking at the design I couldn't say for certain, but I wouldn't be surprised that the brick was added without a structural review.

RE: Apartment Block: Crumbling balconies

You should rely upon a local, reputable structural engineer and if you have already read copies of the reports already submitted, perhaps some comments from this site will allow you to understand a bit more about the situation and have a discussion with the structural engineer.

Photo 3 - This appears to show delamination and spalling of the concrete due to corrosion of the embedded steel reinforcing bars along the outer edge of the balcony. This is not uncommon in my area. At the early stages, this should not affect the overall structural capacity of the reinforced concrete slabs. However, if left too long, it can become problematic. One other significant issue in the photo is that there appears to be at least one large chunk of delaminated concrete hanging. If this were to fall, it could hit someone, or something. In the short term, a construction crew could be hired to 'scale' the balconies and remove any loose concrete and reduce any safety hazards related to falling chunks of concrete. Of course, proper concrete repair techniques must be employed to repair all these areas, it will only get worse and more expensive to repair over time. Other than the scaling loose concrete, it does not look like an immediate, urgent repair, but it should be addressed.

Photos 1 and 2. I am not sure what is going on there, but that is a significant crack. It needs to be investigated and reported on by a local structural engineer.

RE: Apartment Block: Crumbling balconies

The spalling is a serious issue, but may be repairable. It requires assessment by a genuine structural engineer...unfortunately, we are not all genuine.

That is not just plaster falling off, so the owner cannot be trusted.

Agree with JedClampett that the brick bulustrades are suspect. If they are unreinforced, they would not likely meet the requirement for lateral load on balustrades.

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