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  1. #1
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    Default Quonset Hut Inspection

    Next week I have an inspection of an unusual property. The main building was a builder's sales office. This building was donated to a church which had the building moved (in two pieces) to its current location. This building is on a crawlspace and will be simple enough to inspect.

    To the rear is a quonset hut. The main building and quonset hut are connected by an enclosed "breezeway" built on a crawlspace. The quonset hut is divided into a few rooms including bathrooms and a kitchen. The inside of the quonset hut's corrugated steel shell has been sprayed with several inches of insulation (cellulose I believe).

    This will be my first quonset hut inspection. Any words of advice on what I should be looking for?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Quonset Hut Inspection

    Bruce,

    The total number of quonset huts that I have inspected is 1. So, I guess I am way more experienced than you. But you will soon pull-up even with me.

    These are just metal panels over a framework. With the foam insulation, you are not going to be able to see the underside of the panels, so disclaim. You will probably not be able to get on the roof (I would discourage walking on that stuff, for safety reasons). I would also generally disclaim the entire structure as nonstandard and find some good CYA statements. The one that I inspected was on a weird raised platform that had inadequate clearance, so I could not get underneath. Most of the rest should be standard stuff. If there are windows on the sides, look for leaking. As a matter of fact, look for leaking everywhere. Any penetration is likely done wrong. Corrosion around the base might also be a concern.

    Since it is a metal building, I would also recommend bonding the entire structure to the grounding electrode system. <bzzzzt>

    Maybe someone else will have more suggestions.

    Good luck.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Quonset Hut Inspection

    My understanding of the history of these structures may not be accurate, so feel free to correct me.
    Are these structures not intended to be cheap temporary structures that are usually army surplus?
    Why would anyone make a building for permanent occupancy out of one except for a barn or mechanics garage?

    Jim Luttrall
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Quonset Hut Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    Are these structures not intended to be cheap temporary structures that are usually army surplus?

    My understanding is that they were not necessarily designed as "temporary" structures, but as you said "cheap" structures which were easy to manufacturer, easy to ship, and be even easier to assemble with unskilled labor.

    The one not used by the army were sold off as surplus.

    Eventually, many of the used ones were sold off as surplus because the army no longer needed the structures.

    That was the case with many army structures. In South Florida there were many army barracks which were surplussed and sold to people who turned them into apartments after the war and the army no longer needed the land or the structures, most of which are still standing and in use today, still as apartments or condos (having been converted from apartments to condos). Granted, these structures were not Quonset huts, but Quonset huts met the same fate.

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Quonset Hut Inspection

    Typically the same issues as metal pole buildings. Condensation, rot of the wood supporting structure, condensation issues, etc.

    And the additional issues of lead (paint, seam solder, etc.), asbestos containing finishing/insulating materials, etc.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Quonset Hut Inspection

    Hi, All &

    Good point on the "unskilled labour" !

    I'd be watching out for poor workmanship - bad flashings /under-lapped joints, etc.

    What about "old" windows /doors ?

    Lack of mechanical ventilation ?

    Otherwise - the usual inside stuff...


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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Quonset Hut Inspection

    i have permitted and inspected several of these that are used for garages or shop buildings. they have to be engineered for snow ,wind and seismic design. the foundations require engineering also. they can be built by joe the homeowner but it is a challenge. i have assembled several and it required some head scratching. look for leaks especially if penetrations have been cut in the roof portion, look for foundation bolting ,grouting etc. it would be a benefit if you had the installation instructions for the inspection!


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Quonset Hut Inspection

    All of what Brian said is true. If I may add to that, these buildings (just another style of pre-engineered steel) are still being manufactured, sold and erected by limited manufacturers, as well as resold and moved.

    Foundations and anchoring should always be engineered for them and for your specific location, weather, soil type, etc., even if relocated by the "church". This was probably not done and you should bring this to their attention. I also agree that the structure should be bonded. Additionally, ventilation may become a concern depending on what the structure is used for, and whether or not it is to be storage or occupied. So much to consider....?

    You might want to exclude it, with exception of the electrical systems???


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Quonset Hut Inspection

    There seems to be some confusion with this inspection. The main building was relocated to the site by the church but the Quanset hut was not. The Quanset hut was erected circa 1995. This Quanset hut was new (when erected), not WWII surplus.

    The Quanset hut has been and is intended to be occupied. It has two offices, two restrooms, a kitchen and a large open room as well as a small mechanical room and a furnace closet.

    The bonding concern was a very good suggestion (Thanks Gunnar. I had not thought of that. And I did not find any bonding.)

    Below are a few photos of the Quanset hut. It turned out to be an interesting - and educational - inspection. I am no longer a Quanset hut virgin.

    The last photo shows the spray-applied cellulose insulation. That prevented viewing the inside of the structure. I noted two apparent leaks (stained insulation).

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    Default Re: Quonset Hut Inspection

    The end walls proved to have more problems than the steel structure/exterior. The contractor (or, more likely, handyman) installed hardcoat stucco. But the stucco was only half the thickness of "normal" hardcoat stucco - ~1/2" of base or scratch coat and the color coat. The stucco did not have any expansion joints; it had numerous cracks and was completely failing above the breezeway roof. (The installer used drywall cornerbead instead of stucco stop.)

    A hole was cut through the wall so a window unit air conditioner could be installed. This left a large gap around the A/C.

    And on and on.

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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Quonset Hut Inspection

    Bruce,

    Thanks for the update. So, I wonder what they do in that building for ventilation and natural light (other than the windows at the end).

    Don't you just love this business?

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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Quonset Hut Inspection

    And a few more photos.

    "Roof" penetrations need to be sealed. The cap at the B vent has hail damage and the kitchen exhaust hood vent pipe does not have a drip collar.

    The joint at the bottom of the panels was caulked but the caulk has failed.

    The two fiberglass skylights are weathered but otherwise appear to be functioning fine. I did note rust streaks below the two skylights.

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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Quonset Hut Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Bruce,

    Thanks for the update. So, I wonder what they do in that building for ventilation and natural light (other than the windows at the end).

    Don't you just love this business?
    Ventilation is apparently provided by the large gaps around the windows and A/C unit in the end wall.

    Other than that I did not find any ventilation. I will recommend ventilation in the report.

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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Quonset Hut Inspection

    A few more photos. That's Pikes Peak off in the distance in the first photo.

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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Quonset Hut Inspection

    I have another question. I noticed that some bolts had a rubber washer below the bolt heads but most did not. The rubber washers should make the bolted connections water-tight so why not use them at all the bolts? Should I report this?

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Quonset Hut Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Breedlove View Post
    Ventilation is apparently provided by the large gaps around the windows and A/C unit in the end wall.
    Well, that's good. At least ventilation is not a problem. Those gaps probably provide the natural light as well.

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    Default Re: Quonset Hut Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Breedlove View Post
    I have another question. I noticed that some bolts had a rubber washer below the bolt heads but most did not. The rubber washers should make the bolted connections water-tight so why not use them at all the bolts? Should I report this?
    I'll bet the rubber washers were meant to be used in the low spots as opposed to on top of the ridges. That would explain why there were only a few ($$$) supplied with the package. I would report it.


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