TECH NOTES | Excess Salt Not Good for Our Bodies or Buildings
Coastal environments are some of the most severe for building materials such as reinforced concrete. Winds can carry ocean-borne chloride-based salts considerable heights and distances for deposition on structures in their path. Together with moisture, chlorides soak into concrete and stimulate steel corrosion that tears it apart from within, skyrockets maintenance and repair costs, and diminishes overall building health and life. While building codes now severely limit the amount of chlorides that can be mixed in new concrete as was once more practiced, older codes had no such provisions, even further setting the stage in some structures. SKA combines knowledge from different facets of our engineers’ experience to provide restoration methods commensurate with level of contamination, corrosion and deterioration so that wise money can be spent. This includes damage repair, strengthening, limiting future salt and moisture penetration and arresting ongoing corrosion to save long-term dollars.
Case Study: Dockside Condominiums
Constructed in 1978, Dockside Condominiums is a 19-story residential reinforced concrete structure on the bank of the Charleston Harbor in South Carolina. As one of the last high-rise buildings constructed in Charleston prior to city-imposed height restrictions, preservation of the structure is of utmost importance to its residents.
Corrosion-related distress and deterioration were identified at reinforced concrete balconies and walls, and in the post-tensioned concrete parking deck located under the building during earlier surveys. As the concrete distress progressed, loose concrete pieces fell from balcony nosings and parking garage ceilings. The condominium homeowners realized the need to remedy the falling hazards and extend the useful life of the building. Due to strict city ordinances, maintenance of the aesthetic qualities of the building were important during work that included repair of the parking deck, building balconies and walls, and installation of new handrails.
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