We have over 23 years of Canadian structural design experience, which includes residential, commercial, heavy industrial and mining facilities. We are equally at home using reinforced concrete, structural steel, masonry and wood (both sawn lumber and engineered wood) as building materials.
The bulk of our experience is in new constructions. However, we have also tackled additions to existing structures, including heritage (historical) facilities. We have been called when it became necessary to lower a basement floor, resulting in a higher headroom; when a doorway or window was required in a load-bearing masonry wall; when a retaining wall was needed; to check an existing structure for additional loads; and when hazardous materials contaminated a location and it became imperative to underpin a structure and replace the affected soil. And we have successfully accomplished all those assignments.
See the ‘About Us’ page for the additional services we offer homeowners.
We have the expertise to pinpoint the cause(s) of a structure’s distress and the steps required to remedy the problem. We investigate all structural aspects of the following buildings: residential (both single and multi-family), commercial, heavy industrial and petrochemical. The construction materials include reinforced concrete, structural steel, masonry and wood (both sawn lumber and engineered wood). We investigate foundation settlements, cracked walls, distressed columns and beams, sagging and cracked floor slabs, and damaged roof members.
Our experience in the design of non-building structures allows us to undertake the following assignments: overhead transmission lines; supports of PCS and dish antennas; signage supports, both free-standing and attachments; pipe racks and towers; retaining walls; industrial silo foundations; and supports of elevated chillers, vibrating equipment, industrial bins and conveyors.
Building Condition Assessment
A Building Condition Assessment (BCA), also referred to as a Property Condition Assessment (PCA) or a Facility Condition Assessment (FCA), involves a systematic inspection and report on the condition of a commercial or multi-unit residential property. (Some practitioners attempt to distinguish the three, saying that FCA assessments entail a more thorough accounting. Whatever name one chooses, our investigations are always thorough. For the sake of simplicity, we will use BCA throughout this introduction.)
A Building Condition Assessment is not the same as a home inspection, nor are the two comparable in scope or set of skills required to accomplish the task. (At Northern Engineering Design & Forensics we don’t offer home inspection services.) A Building Condition Assessment may be requested by property owners, to help them determine the short-term as well as long-term repair requirements; by a financial institution, as a condition for a commercial property loan approval; and by a business that intends to lease a property. (Once, the owner of a daycare centre in Toronto asked us to examine a property after she had signed a long-term lease. We found a number of deficiencies that made the building unsafe to occupy. By that time, she had incurred a great deal of expense, including fulfilling other regulatory requirements. The two ended up in a costly lawsuit.)
A comprehensive Building Condition Assessment addresses the following:
• Site Conditions – Exterior stairs, rails and fences, retaining walls, curbs, paved plaza, parking lots, landscaping, surface drainage and catch basins, exterior lighting, signage and other exterior facilities.
• Structural Components – Load-bearing walls, columns, beams and joists, slabs and foundation. The survey is limited to visual observations of accessible items. It does not address concealed deficiencies—it does not involve exploratory probing or the use of special equipment to access a hidden structure.
• Exterior Enclosure – Exterior walls, roofing system, doors and windows.
• Interior Systems – Walls, doors and finishes.
• Mechanical & Electrical Systems – Property-owned electrical installations, plumbing; heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC); and conveyance systems—elevators and moving walkways.
• Regulatory Compliance – Architectural audit, including fire code & accessibility compliance.
• Environmental Safety – The presence of hazardous building materials and indoor air quality
A comprehensive Building Condition Assessment is a multi-disciplinary effort. It requires the combined inputs of structural, mechanical and electrical engineers; architects and environmental scientists. Unlike some firms that rely on an in-house staff, we prefer bringing together the best experts in every field. The firms that collaborate with us not only have decades of experience but also a well-trained workforce.
The BCA report that we produce complies with the industry standard, ASTM E-2018-15, and outlines the short- and long-term repair requirements and associated costs.