Structural Failures

A portion of a large warehouse addition collapsed under the weight of accumulated snow. Williams & Beck determined that a “drift zone” was created along the junction between the existing structure and a new addition. The addition had been constructed with a roof surface 3 feet lower and located east (downwind) of the taller existing roof. Williams & Beck also inspected the site following repairs to verify that design improvements were made to account for the drift zone conditions. We have evaluated over 150 structural failures in buildings.

Fire Suppression System Failure

Freezing water caused burst pipes in a fire suppression system at a private school. A portion of the system is a “dry system” which is located in the unheated areas of the structure and water is introduced automatically only when needed to respond to a fire alarm. Portions of the “dry system” piping were found to be installed without the proper slope to allow the pipes to drain following system tests. The un-drained pipes froze and cracked, allowing air pressure to escape the “dry system” piping, which activated the sprinkler system and inundated the building. Williams & Beck has invested many fire suppression systems including “wet pipe”, “dry pipe” and chemical suppression systems.

Mold Evaluation & Testing

Mold problems require “cause and origin” studies to determine the event or moisture source that triggered the mold growth. Testing is often required to determine types of mold involved. “Scope of Work” and Protocol plans are required to effectively remediate the mold and clearance testing is required to confirm successful clean-ups. Williams & Beck has performed more than 75 such projects.

Contaminated Product Recovery

Williams & Beck treated 390,000 pounds of plastic resin pellets that had been contaminated with sand blasting grit. The resin product was reclaimed to meet strict purity criteria for use in manufacture of plastic film. A bench scale test was conducted, two full size units were assembled on site and operated 7-days per week for two months to successfully reclaim the product valued at over $400,000. Students from a near-by university were recruited to help operate the system to reduce the treatment cost. Product Recovery has been used many times to reduce the cost of a loss-sometimes by as much as 75%.

Plumbing Failures

Recurring pinhole leaks in the copper water pipes of a new home were found to be the result of chemical corrosion. Examination by electron microscope showed chlorine residue at the corrosion points, determined to come from soldering flux containing ammonium chloride. Poor workmanship and excess flux were found to have created the conditions for the corrosion. Williams & Beck has evaluated over 75 plumbing related failures.