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I. Purpose of Investigation: 2 of 4
At the request of the owner, Thomas R. Price P.E., of
Structural Solutions LLC, inspected the motel building in KY, in
the attempt to determine the cause of drywall cracks, and apparent settling and raising
of the building over time.
II. Description of Building:
The building is a two storey hotel structure, with load bearing walls supporting the
2nd floor slabs, and wood truss framed roof. Age is approximately 20 years. The facility
is currently in operation as a hotel.
Problems with the ground floor slab were encountered some years ago, and portions
of the slab were removed and replaced. The subgrade fill was found to contain organic
material, and mold had grown sufficiently to bow the floor upward.
IV. Field Observations and Notes: 3 of 4
The inspection took place on August 29, 2006. A drywall gap was observed, in a number
of rooms, between the wall and ceiling. These gaps typically tapered from zero to as
much as an inch, across the width of the room.
Our best information is that only every other interior wall is bearing load down to a
footing. This may explain the pattern of tapered gaps. If the non-load bearing walls are
inadvertently carrying load, they will tend to sink, since there is no footing.
If the non-load bearing walls are not carrying load, the tapered gaps might be explained
by the load bearing walls sinking, due to inadequate soil strength.
Or, it could be that the non-load bearing walls are being pushed up, while the load
bearing walls are not, due to mold pressure building up under the slab. The weight of
the footings, and their deeper bearing, may be holding the load bearing walls down, while
the non-load bearing walls are more free to move upward.
The adjacent lot has a grade level approximately 8 ft. lower than the grade level at the
building perimeter. It is reasonable to conclude that the building has been constructed on
V. Recommendations: 4 of 4
Normally, building movements of this type would point to inadequate soil bearing
capacity, and the appropriate repair would be to utilize some sort of foundation
improvement (underpinning, widening footings), or soil stabilization procedure.
It must be determined whether mold growth is the cause of building movement, because
Foundation or soil strengthening would not likely solve the problem.
In order to determine the best repair procedure, a local soils testing engineering firm
should be involved, as well as a contractor familiar with foundation work. Information
from these sources will be necessary in order to proceed with the structural design
aspects of any repair procedure.
- 1200 Troon
- Grand Rapids, MI
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2012 Structural Solutions LLC, 1200 Troon Ct. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546 Kent County