The failure of 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 can occur that result in the failure of framing members/systems. These events may include, long-term water infiltration, improper modifications to the framing members by unqualified individuals, improper design and/or construction, and an exceedance of design loads (e.g., excessive wind, water, snow, or ice loads).
Determining the cause of failed framing members/systems typically requires a determination and evaluation of the load history on the structure, construction materials (i.e. wood, steel, concrete, concrete masonry unit, etc.), physical properties and conditions of the framing members and connections (i.e. cracks/breaks, gaps, distortion, water-damage, etc.), and original framing orientations/configurations and connections.
It is important to consider all possible scenarios when determining the likely cause of the failure/collapse of the structural framing members/systems being investigated. Most often, the unlikely cause of the failure can be eliminated by reviewing the information gathered during the inspection, weather data, building codes, industry literature, and/or result of an analysis, and a convergence can be made as to the most likely cause of the failure. The key factor of many structural failure investigations is to compare the actual loads at the time the failure occurred to the in-place capacities of the structural framing members/systems.
EES’ engineers and professionals have the education, training, and experience to perform investigations and provide reliable conclusions as to the likely cause of failure for a wide variety of structures.