Sunday, February 28, 2016

Updated: Fairhope City Hall Has "Structural" Problems

Fairhope, Alabama

Update Feb. 29: This morning at the special, emergency council meeting, the city council approved spending up to $40K for the engineer to closely examine the problem and come back with a full report by the next council meeting; the remaining bricks will be removed by contractors on the south side and at the utility payment window -- and protective covering (paint?) applied to protect the exposed block walls.  

The engineer (Jade Consulting) was not sure if just the brick veneer was affected or the building's internal structure itself, since a row of bricks remained strangely-attached at the top. 

Unofficial total repair estimates ranged from $100K - $200K.
engineer addressing council

Rusting metal straps holding the bricks in place apparently expanded (they do that as they rust), pushing them away from the block wall.  High-wind intrusion behind the bricks during last week's storm may have been a factor as well.

The straps themselves may also have been defective in some way, according to the engineer.

He warned that in today's "litigious society" it would be advisable to "cover all the bases" and do a complete inspection -- or risk lawsuits if something similar happens in the future and someone is hurt.

end of update

west side city hall complex


A special city council meeting will be held tomorrow morning at 10AM to deal with the unexpected collapse of the bricks on city hall's west-side, likely precipitated by the high winds and heavy rainfall from last week's big storm: emergency funds to hire a a structural engineer and make the repairs will be appropriated.

utility drive through
City officials say the masonry between bricks has deteriorated in places allowing water to get through -- and some of the the metal straps holding the bricks onto the 1960s-vintage building probably had rusted through over time.

The building was originally a Delchamps grocery store.

The area near the utility drive-up window at the southeast corner also shows signs of sagging and has been roped off.

The west end of the complex (the old library) is being leased by the USA Nursing School; it is not known how classes there may be affected.

So far, no injuries or damage to vehicles have been reported.

A structural engineer will have to be hired, according to the notice of tomorrow's meeting:

"Declare an Emergency for the City of Fairhope's
Administration Building at 161 N. Section Street;
authorize Mayor Kant to hire a structural engineer
to assess the damage; and to appropriate money
necessary to secure and/or make emergency repairs
to the building."


Anonymous said...

imagine that structural problems in Fairhope

Anonymous said...

a suitable metaphor?

Anonymous said...

Don't take any money away from the flower clock maintenance budget.

Anonymous said...

$40k for a structural survey? The engineer must have friends in high places.

Anonymous said...

I've hired structural engineers, good ones, never paid more than $2k.

Publisher said...

Not to exceed $40K was appropriated to hire the engineer, take down remaining bricks, stabilize and install temporary covering to prevent more water intrusion damage.

Covered walkways may also be needed, above emergency exit doors.