Wind, fire, floods and sinkholes are leading causes of building damages in South Florida. Roof to building connectors, building fire rating, building lateral load resistance, building drainage system, foundation and soil conditions are critical key parameters during the damage assessment phase.  Building damage assessment should not be confused with inspection.

Opened laptop and stack of project drawings. Rolled papers. Working place. White screen
Opened laptop and stack of project drawings. Rolled papers. Working place. White screen
Opened laptop and stack of project drawings. Rolled papers. Working place. White screen

Inspection is  the process of detecting hidden structural defects. Such defects are typically caused by improper design (e.g., omitting a pile, underdesign of a concrete slab), improper construction (e.g., poor concrete mixing, presence of sinkhole, rusty or missing steel bars, etc.) and/or unnoticed conditions due to adverse impacts (e.g., untreated impact from past storm that progressed over time).  Building inspection services are offered either separately or in combination of building damage assessment.

Damage assessment is the process of investigating and evaluating the extent of known damages to the structure. Such damages are typically caused by an adverse event such as flooding, hurricane, or fire and are usually covered under an Insurance Policy. Building damage assessment includes three assessment types.

Structural damage assessment: This includes in depth inspection of building structural elements from footing to roof attachment and in depth engineering analysis to report on the building integrity.

Hurricane earthquake disaster damage ruined house

Water damage assessment: This assessment is very common especially in flood plain zones.  The impact of water damage in residential, commercial, industrial structures ranges from local superficial damage to deep global damage throughout the structure.  The assessment includes the inspection, analysis and reporting of water intrusion pathways and conditions that may lead to destruction of building elements such as wood rotting, steel rusting and/or plywood delamination.  Damage caused by flood can be catastrophic and can lead to property structural failure.  Flood damage assessment is more appropriate.

Fire damage assessment: This assessment includes visual and lab testing of burned structural elements to determine the damage extent. This particular type of damage is very common especially in wood frame structures regardless of the fire rating.

At Universal Engineering , we work with the owner (or owner’s representative) to understand the extent of the insurance coverage. We assess the general conditions of the impacted structure and the extent of the damages such as hurricane damage assessment, wind damage assessment and fire damage assessment as a first step for finding solution alternatives.  Based on such assessments, and with close consultation with the owner, a solution is selected to maximize the insurance coverage within the law while meeting work standards, and the building code (Florida building code roofing for roof repairs). A comprehensive and detailed repair plan is then developed including system and/or element replacement as well as any recommended maintenance items that should be performed on the project View our typical repair recommandation .
We document our findings supported by color photographs in a well-organized structural damage assessment report, which will identify the areas that require remedial work, as well as major corrective work and/or component replacement. These reports are based on field observations and a review of any available project documents and/or specifications on the original design. For example, flood damage assessment and water damage assessment may require the evaluation of drainage system design of the original construction document. Similarly, fire damage assessment may require lab testing of concrete samples to assess concrete fatigue and/or reinforcement failure. View previous work on damage assessment

Our top priority is to consistently maintain integrity and excellence to achieve customer satisfaction. We strive to utilize of the company’s capabilities to maximize the following client’s key benefits.

  • Sound inspection procedures performed by certified and experienced structural engineering professionals and supported by technical personnel
  • Excellent analytical, quantitative, and reporting skills.
  • Bottom line cost effective solutions on time and at budget.
  • Prompt and effective staff accessibility.

Contact us for a free consultation and an appointment