The North Building at Gateway Condominiums in Beverly, MA has suffered from masonry deterioration at balcony columns since shortly after its original construction. The brick columns have exhibited widespread cracking and spalling, creating a maintenance problem as well as a potential safety concern.
Large cracks in the brick masonry required temporary banding and netting for safety.
Over the course of the last 2 years Copeland Building Envelope Consulting has worked with the condominium association to determine the cause of the masonry deterioration and design a comprehensive repair program. Building envelope repairs are now underway and will continue through 2021.
The Problem: Corroding Steel and Differential Movement
Previous masonry repairs at the building focused on the symptoms of the problem: the cracked and spalled brick. Cracks were patched or sealed and in some cases entire columns of brick masonry were replaced in kind.
But the root cause of the problem remained and the problems kept recurring, year after year.
To break this cycle, Copeland Building Envelope Consulting performed an investigation and determined that the existing column construction itself was contributing to the masonry deterioration. The columns were constructed of structural steel tube sections with a brick masonry cladding, or veneer, and the brick cladding was installed tight to the steel. The steel was corroding and expanding, imparting outward force on the brick and causing cracking.
The column’s brick masonry veneer was installed tight to the steel structure—which was severely corroded.
We also discovered that the brick masonry veneer at the columns was stacked 7 stories high without intermediate relieving angles or soft joints. The brick veneer was typically installed tight to the underside of the balconies at each floor. These conditions resulted in stress buildup within the brick due to expansion and structural movement.
The Solution: Composite Metal Panel Rainscreen
Copeland Building Envelope Consulting designed two conceptual approaches to address the masonry deterioration and underlying construction problems: an improved brick veneer system and a rainscreen cladding comprised of metal composite (MCM) panels. The association ultimately selected the MCM panel approach.
The scope of repair work includes the following:
- replacement of existing structural steel columns with new hot-dip galvanized columns
- sheet membrane and fluid-applied weatherproofing applied to the new columns and existing steel to remain
- installation of a new MCM panel rainscreen cladding system
- new balcony deck fluid-applied waterproofing
- new balcony railings
Construction started in the spring of 2020 and is anticipated to continue through fall 2021 with a break over the winter of 2020-2021.
We have been privileged to work with a talented and professional team on this project.
In addition to the dedicated Trustees of Gateway Condominiums we are grateful to be working with Tripi Engineering Services, LLC (structural engineer) and Knollmeyer Building Corp (general contractor). Key subcontractors include Lawton Welding and Crocker Architectural Sheet Metal Co., Inc.
For more information or to discuss a building envelope repair project at your property please contact us at any time.