Project Type: Evaluation

 The Vital Structure: 

New Building Forensic Masonry Evaluation

Issue

 

Vital Structures was retained by the owner to perform a forensic investigation into the condition of the mortar joints, for the recently installed brick masonry façade at this new building. Our services were requested, due to the owner having concerns that their hired contractor installed the masonry on several days in February 2023, where the ambient temperatures may have been below the acceptable range and limited cold weather construction methods were noted to prevent freezing of the mortar.

Diagnosis

 

Vital Structures traveled to the site to extract multiple wall veneer samples from the masonry façade. While on-site, we also made note of any visual defects in the masonry which may be indicative of poor workmanship or freezing. Additionally, Vital Structures contracted the services of a third-party petrographic testing agency to perform petrographic examination and chemical analysis of the mortar joints, in an effort to determine overall condition and whether the mortar had frozen.

 

 

Solution

Following our on-site review, and completion of third-party testing, it was determined that the masonry samples extracted from the wall did not show evidence of freezing. Furthermore, Vital Structures’ visual review of the mortar joints did not identify specific locations where symptoms of mortar freezing was evident.

Result

As a result of our forensic examination, repairs or replacement of the masonry façade was not required by the owners. This allowed the project to be completed within the allotted schedule, without the concern that newly installed masonry/mortar joints were deficient.

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