Structural Damage

Considerable structural damage to roof, wall, and/or floor framing members/systems can be caused by a variety of circumstances.  National design standards and state building codes require framing systems to be designed to withstand forces generated from specific vertical and lateral loads without incurring damage.  Unfortunately, events occur that result in framing members/systems becoming damaged structurally.  These events may include impact from fallen trees and tree limbs, vehicular impact, water infiltration, fire, blasts/explosions, improper modifications to the framing members, improper design and/or construction, and exceeding the design loads (e.g., excessive wind, water, snow, or ice loads).  Damaged framing members jeopardize the integrity of the structure and potentially create conditions where consequential damages (i.e. water damage) can occur if there is significant movement in the structural framing system.

Assessing damage to framing members/systems typically requires a determination and evaluation of the following:  load history on the structure, material of the affected structural members (i.e. wood, steel, concrete, concrete masonry unit, etc.), and physical properties and conditions of the affected framing members and connections (i.e. cracks/breaks, gaps, distortion, char, water damage, etc.).  As previously indicated, the physical conditions of the framing members and connections may be influenced by many factors.

Information collected during an inspection should be analyzed to determine the answers to the following questions:

  1. What was the extent of the structural damage?
  2. What was the cause of the structural damage?
  3. What damages to the framing members/systems were pre-existing?
  4. What framing members should be removed/replaced or reinforced versus those that require no remedial action?
  5. What was the extent of cosmetic damage to the finished surfaces?
  6. What damage to the finished surfaces was pre-existing?