In March of 2008, over 400 renters were evacuated from the Archstone Westbury luxury apartments located in Long Island, New York due to widespread leaks and mold growth. The Archstone complex including 20 three story wood framed apartment buildings was said to have had “catastrophic damage.”
Water intrusion caused deterioration and mold proliferation throughout the building envelopes. The complex was less than 4 years old and complete reconstruction of the exterior façade was required valued at over $25 Million Dollars.
Retained as the resident waterproofing and engineering experts, Engineered Building Inspections, P.C. was on site every day and performed multiple services from pre-construction evaluation of the 20 buildings to inspections of critical construction components.
During the initial demolition phase of construction, the serious nature of the problems became apparent. After the siding was removed from the buildings, mold was observed on most of the 3-story gypsum board sheathing necessitating its removal. That was only the beginning. After the sheathing was removed it was discovered that wood decay spread to much of the buildings wall framing.
Remarkably, it took less than 4 years for these 3 story buildings to be devastated by mold and wood rot. The rot threatened the structural integrity of the buildings forcing EBI engineers to mark-out degraded framing elements requiring replacement. In many instances complete wall sections were replaced requiring temporary shoring of the surrounding structure.
During the two year project, EBI continued to identify original building construction deficiencies uncovered during the demolition process. Weekly reports were generated with photographs documenting conditions observed.
As the buildings were put back together, EBI field representatives worked with the owner to provide critical inspections of key elements of construction.
Continuous inspection by EBI engineers was done to ensure that waterproofing systems and drainage layers around the building envelopes were installed properly, including deck coatings and window flashings. Engineered Building Inspections, P.C. performed careful verification that the reconstruction was in compliance with project specifications.
As this project proved, the installation of moisture resistant barriers and flashings are critical in wood framed structures. Wind driven rainwater will penetrate deficiencies and can cause extensive damage – quickly.