Results 1 to 20 of 20
  1. #1
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default High Rise Apartment Building

    Any info would be great guys. Got a call from a Property management Company out of L.A. They have a Multi Unit Apartment Building in Down San Jose Ca. The area is about 40 Mils. Inland But they do get a cold off shore wind from the pacific ocean. Its been Raining on and off for the past month.

    The problem. Moisture Intrusion. Interior ceilings and walls and flooring. adjacent to windows and balconies with sliding glass doors. The exterior of the building is old standard hard coat stucco. I do not have any information of the framing. ( Stucco over ply-wood ) ( over 2x6 wood studs ? )

    My Job Starting with 12 units. Inspect the Interior walls and ceilings and floors of 12 units with water stains and know leaks. ( Windows and Balconies and adjacent exterior Stucco ) Find the areas that water/moisture is penetrating the building. According to the on-site Building Maintenance Manager the water is not coming in from the windows or the balconies. He thinks its from the stucco. I'm thinking the balconies. He says when it rains with a hard wind the water comes in though the cracks in the stucco.

    These are random exterior/outer rooms on different floors.

    I will be going in with Moisture meters and Infrared Cameras.

    I'm not going in as a Home Inspector.

    FYI....This is a WDO (Moisture Inspection) With Infrared and Moisture meters.

    See the attachment for views of the building.

    Your thoughts Guys...

    Best

    Ron

    Similar Threads:
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Ron Bibler; 12-31-2009 at 03:14 AM.
    2018 ASHI InspectionWorld

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Rockwall Texas
    Posts
    4,519

    Default Re: High Rise Apartment Building

    Ron,

    What is the maximum coverage you have on your E&O insurance?

    rick


  3. #3
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: High Rise Apartment Building

    Not a problem Rick... I do a lot of condos..100, 200, 300, unit complexes.

    Best

    Ron


  4. #4
    Chuck Lambert's Avatar
    Chuck Lambert Guest

    Default Re: High Rise Apartment Building

    Ron,

    I am envious!! I love jobs like that! Sounds like the windows, sliders and balconies may not be properly flashed.

    Please keep us posted on your findings.

    Chuck


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Snowbird (this means I'm retired and migrate between locations), FL/MI
    Posts
    4,086

    Default Re: High Rise Apartment Building

    I'd start review at the top of the building first, roof accessible. Since all overhang protected could be from the top, the interior gutter drains camera'd & tested if nothing noticed from above.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 12-31-2009 at 10:05 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Chicago IL
    Posts
    1,984

    Default Re: High Rise Apartment Building

    Based on water coming in at multiple locations and units, I would also start from the top down. Granted since everything was essentially built at the same time, all the caulk joints and flashings could be going at the same time but highly doubtful. Especially with the balconies being set into the building like that. I would concentrate on intrusion at roof flashings and possibly the stucco.
    For the interior wall areas to be wet, that would be substantial water intrusion. Unlikely to come from a bad caulk joint around the balcony door, unless of course the joint is really wide open.
    I would also suspect the balcony floors and drains. Are they cement, wood over rubber? Is there even a drain?
    If the stucco cracks are sucking in water hopefully you'll see some darkening around the crack areas. Not like it really matters since you are an IR superstar. Good luck.
    Did you word your proposal that invasive work may need to be done, that you would spec locations and their guys would make the holes, etc. Usually what I do, unless it is a good client with a track record then I'll consider making the holes.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  7. #7
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: High Rise Apartment Building

    Markus and H.G.... I have not been on site yet. The inspection is set for this Monday... I was thinking about the roofing. They want me to start with these 12 units... And see what information I can get... And then move on and cover the complete complex.
    As the problems are not limited to these 12 units.

    Yes If you look at the Balconies you will see drains from each deck/balcony.

    Its going to be fun trying to find the points of moisture entry. It will either jump up and hit me in the face or I will be doing so long staring at areas.

    There could be an extensive water damage and Fungus infection behind the stucco if these leaks have been going on for some time.

    Best

    Ron


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    St Paul, MN
    Posts
    1,628

    Default Re: High Rise Apartment Building

    I had a similar situation with these two buildings in Minneapolis. Ended up being lack of flashing at windows and patio doors.

    They've spent over $4 million on repairs to date.

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
    ASHI #242887 mnradontesting.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,251

    Default Re: High Rise Apartment Building

    The most frequent cause in high-rise buildings is because the balconies were constructed with the top surface at the same level as the interior floor.

    Adding to that is the lack of slope on most balconies.

    And, when they do construct in a slope, the post tension tendons pull the edge of the balcony and curl it upward, as does floor warping from construction loads (dead loads of the building, not construction activities per se). Someone (I forgot who and which link it was) recently posted a link to very good information explaining that phenomenon.

    First, though, is probably that the top of the balcony floor is at the same level as the top of the interior floor, so it does not matter if the balcony is sloped or not, there will be a problem. Adding to that is adding tile or ANYTHING to the balcony floor, which raises the balcony floor higher than the top of the interior floor slab (and water has a tendency to run downhill, which would be inside).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    869

    Default Re: High Rise Apartment Building

    I would plot out the entire complex. Floor by floor. unit by unit. Look for similarities... look for differences. Although it is possible, it is improbable that if there are 27 different leaks, it is due to 27 totally unrelated problems.

    I would also like to be there when it is raining so I could see what the building is doing.

    It may even be necessary to do mock testing.

    Steven Turetsky, UID #16000002314
    homeinspectionsnewyork.com
    eifsinspectionsnewyork.com

  11. #11
    Daniel Leung's Avatar
    Daniel Leung Guest

    Default Re: High Rise Apartment Building

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Bibler View Post
    ......Its been Raining on and off for the past month.
    The problem. Moisture Intrusion. Interior ceilings and walls and flooring. adjacent to windows and balconies with sliding glass doors......
    .......According to the on-site Building Maintenance Manager the water is not coming in from the windows or the balconies. He thinks its from the stucco. I'm thinking the balconies. He says when it rains with a hard wind the water comes in though the cracks in the stucco......
    Ron, please consider the negative air pressure caused by the exhaust fans in the building. It will suck the moisture in through the cracks on the exterior wall. We saw many new high-rise create positive pressure in the building to prevent leaking. They are using air blowers on roof and in basement to blow the air into hallways in the heating season (Vancouver has rainning season in winter). I would try to pressurize 1-2 leaking units to see the different.


  12. #12
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: High Rise Apartment Building

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Leung View Post
    Ron, please consider the negative air pressure caused by the exhaust fans in the building. It will suck the moisture in through the cracks on the exterior wall. We saw many new high-rise create positive pressure in the building to prevent leaking. They are using air blowers on roof and in basement to blow the air into hallways in the heating season (Vancouver has rainning season in winter). I would try to pressurize 1-2 leaking units to see the different.
    Thanks Dan... That is an excellent point something to think about... Do you know of a little on site test for negative air pressure. ?

    I found the Link. very good info on this issue. ( Controlling Stack Pressure In High-Rise Buildings by Compartmenting the Building (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) )

    Best

    Ron


    Last edited by Ron Bibler; 01-02-2010 at 03:19 AM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    869

    Default Re: High Rise Apartment Building

    The "Stack" or "Chimney" effect" is caused more by natural convection and wind pressure. While the lower units are suffering from negetive pressure, the upper units will have positive pressure, and there is also a neutral point. Points can change with weather/season/barometric changes.

    When holding unit doors or closed stairwell doors slightly ajar you can feel the pressure. Watch your fingers.

    Steven Turetsky, UID #16000002314
    homeinspectionsnewyork.com
    eifsinspectionsnewyork.com

  14. #14
    Daniel Leung's Avatar
    Daniel Leung Guest

    Default Re: High Rise Apartment Building

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Bibler View Post
    Do you know of a little on site test for negative air pressure. ?
    I don't know, but I think you can use a digital barometer to measure the air pressure indoor and outdoor. Please read more from the following links:
    Measuring Air Leaking in High-Rise 2008
    University of Waterloo Test Hut and BEG Projects
    Air Pressure Problems in High-Rises 2007
    Stack Effect in Light Well of High Rise Apartment Building 1997
    Characteristics of air pressure fluctuations in high-rise drainage stacks 2009

    Last edited by Daniel Leung; 01-02-2010 at 08:27 AM. Reason: Year of the articles added

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: High Rise Apartment Building

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Bibler View Post
    Do you know of a little on site test for negative air pressure. ?

    Since you will be inside individual rooms which will likely be on different sides and floors of the building, you might just think about using smoke sticks or powder "puffers" around doors, outlets, etc. and just diagram whether the smoke goes in or out at each location. Make a diagram of the entire building exterior with positive and negative zones marked taking into account the prevailing wind and temperatures the day of you inspection. Then overlay the water damage areas to demonstrate a relationship (if any.)

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,251

    Default Re: High Rise Apartment Building

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Leung View Post
    I don't know, but I think you can use a digital barometer to measure the air pressure indoor and outdoor.

    I use a digital manometer.

    Dwyer Instruments - Manometers Table of Contents

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  17. #17
    Joao Vieira's Avatar
    Joao Vieira Guest

    Default Re: High Rise Apartment Building

    sure, a digitam manometer is da bomb.

    Sometimes the moisture intrusion issue can be in the assembly of the windows or doors too...For an older building that suddenly had problems a manufacturing defect does not seem likely.
    When in doubt for this call for a leak test (negative pressure). It can be quite expensive. Normally these test should be done at the construction phase to save everyone's but.


  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,251

    Default Re: High Rise Apartment Building

    Quote Originally Posted by Joao Vieira View Post
    When in doubt for this call for a leak test (negative pressure).

    Are you referring to the water spray test with the water spray rack set up outside and the air chamber set up on the interior?

    These case be set up for either positive or negative pressure, although the negative indoor pressure (which is used to replicate positive outdoor pressure) is MUCH easier to set up then to try to controllably set up a positive outdoor pressure - can be done but is much more difficult to set up and much more difficult to control, thus making it cost considerably more. Besides, the negative indoor pressure chamber is a recognized test method.

    Don't just test windows and doors if there is a concern, also test the wall assembly, then test the wall assembly with the window assembly in it (to get the full effect - if needed).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  19. #19
    Joao Vieira's Avatar
    Joao Vieira Guest

    Default Re: High Rise Apartment Building

    Are you referring to the water spray test with the water spray rack set up outside and the air chamber set up on the interior?
    Yes


    a positive outdoor pressure - can be done but is much more difficult to set up and much more difficult to control, thus making it cost considerably more. Besides, the negative indoor pressure chamber is a recognized test method.
    yes, but I never seen an outdoor one since normally requires more logistics when testing upper floors.

    There is a third, the plain ol spray hose against whatever surface you are trying to test. Not sure about it's justification but can almost guess .

    Anyhow,
    Don't just test windows and doors if there is a concern, also test the wall assembly, then test the wall assembly with the window assembly in it (to get the full effect - if needed).
    people often overlook this. If testing the window/door Ask the client upfront if the assembly to the wall is to be tested and get it in the contract. The window manufacturer does not want the liability of the assembly to the wall, unless the manufacturer employs the crew that installs windows/doors. The owner normally wants to test the window/door assembly and the assembly of the window/door to the wall.

    Interior leaks can be caused from a variety of variables, incompatible finishes with sealants, manufacturing defects, field conditions, etc.


  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,251

    Default Re: High Rise Apartment Building

    Quote Originally Posted by Joao Vieira View Post
    There is a third, the plain ol spray hose against whatever surface you are trying to test.
    I know an inspector who made quite a bit of money doing that absolutely useless test, even though he was thoroughly convinced he was doing something beneficial, and likewise convinced his clients of same. No, he was not "doing it for the money", he actually thought it was of some use.

    Not sure about it's justification but can almost guess .
    Oh you know what the justification is for those people ... at least most of those people ... $$$$$

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •