Wildwood Estates Condominium

Fort McMurray, Alberta

These facilities were two four storey apartment buildings over a single underground level parkade, nine three storey townhouse condo complexes with parking areas below, and an amenity centre built in 1977 for 321,300 square foot total living area.

The main structural system for the two four storey apartment consisted of precast double Tee’s, upstand reinforced concrete beams and columns, perimeter concrete walls and wood framed superstructure. The nine three storey townhouses structural system was steel beams, truss joists, reinforced columns, perimeter concrete walls and wood framed superstructure.

The whole complex was badly damaged by the 2016 wildfire that affected Fort McMurray. All combustible materials within the complex were complete burned with only non-combustible materials remaining within the parkade areas with portions of the fire affected standing concrete walls and interior columns.

Extreme fire damage was observed within each structure with extensive calcination, thermocracking and thermospalling at the exposed parkade walls. Other signs of heat effect such as deformation of the structural steel and melted material were observed. Based on the investigation, Snihur Engineering recommended the complete demolition and removal of the remaining fire damaged structures.

As part of the reconstruction process, Snihur Engineering were retained by the owners to provide the structural redesign of the complex to provide like kind and quality, including any required code upgrades. After two years of substantial effort from the restoration team, the condominium apartments and townhouses were rebuilt and ready for owner’s occupancy.

One storey shop building (Van Hienen Shed)

Plainearth County, Alberta

This building was a recent designed one storey structure designed and was under construction when it was affected twice in a 30 day period by wind. The building was approximately 56’ wide by 100’ long by 20’ high and consisted of metal roof with dimensional lumber strapping supported by pre-engineered wood trusses, interior metal ceiling, metal cladding at the perimeter, interior liner, and dimensional timber posts supported by a pre-cast concrete foundation system. The interior concrete slab on grade had not been installed at the time of the wind events.

As part of the investigation, Snihur Engineering reviewed the events and the restoration made after the first damage, performed a survey on the building to confirm the building displacements at various levels and locations, and if the structure was built as per the structural drawings issued for construction.

Wind recorded data was obtained to confirm peak wind speed and direction, and a review of the design parameters from the latest Alberta Building Code was performed. Several structural analysis were completed with different conditions that indicated that the structure was affected by a wind slightly below the design wind load, that the lateral displacement of the structure was exceeded by twice the maximum allowable by code, and that the displacements were consistent with not having an adequate horizontal and lateral bracing.

As a result of this analysis, recommendations to avoid future damages by wind were provided since the integrity of the structure has been compromised by movements in excess of the design allowable lateral movements, which would not be expected to happen with wind gusts equal or less than the design wind.

Chateaux at Whitemud Ridge - Wood Rot and Water Damage Investigation/Restoration

Edmonton, Alberta

Have you ever thought while enjoying a barbeque or a good sunny summer day on your balcony that the floor you are standing or sitting on was not safe? Did it cross your mind that the nice finishes on your balcony contains nothing but rotten wood members. Snihur Engineering Inc. (SEI) was retained to investigate a similar situation where damage occurred to a four-storey condominium building.

The insured filed a claim in which they reported staining, cracking, and bulging of the “Exterior Insulation and Finish System” finish (EFIS). A contractor was retained and arrangements were made together with SEI to expose the framing members for a single series of three stacked balconies. When the EFIS was removed, extensive wood rot was identified to numerous beams, columns, and decking members. Contrary to the exterior walls of the building, a waterproofing membrane was not installed to protect the wood members from water damage. The exterior insulation was installed by means of horizontal glue strips and mechanical fasteners. Water penetrated the EFIS finish and was entrapped behind the insulation causing the non-protected wood members to rot.

SEI reviewed the architectural and structural drawings of the building. It was found that a detail for a waterproofing membrane was not provided for the balconies. Column and beam flashings and tie-ins were poorly designed, and installation criteria for EFIS were not provided. Damage to the balconies was attributed to the missing waterproofing membrane and poor design.

SEI was further involved in quantifying the structural damage to each set of balconies and provided structural repair recommendations. Damage and construction inspection reports were provided for each balcony, and compensation and coverage required from both the insurance company and the condo board were determined. In 2017, SEI also prepared detailed building envelope drawings with new tie-ins, flashings, and cant wood strip details to facilitate water drainage were provided.