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UER Forum > Rookie Forum > Judging structural integrity? (Viewed 523 times)
Rimographan 


Location: In a room filled with National Geographic, Ottawa, Canada
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Judging structural integrity?
< on 7/5/2018 2:47 PM >
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Hello, just wondering if there were ways to quickly judge structural integrity on the fly while in an abandonment Eg. Sagging floors and cracked support structures.




NeuroticMatt 


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Re: Judging structural integrity?
< Reply # 1 on 7/5/2018 3:41 PM >
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Totally depends on each location.

If the floor is question is a wooden floor that is sagging I stay away. Ive seen wood that looks good, but would fall apart under any kind of load.

Steel or concrete I would investigate closer before continuing.

I work as a structural designer at an engineering firm with 23 years experience. I have done numerous structural integrity audits over the years. I feel like this gives me an advantage to determine if an area is "safe" to venture into. If a person is not experienced along those lines I would always suggest erring on the side of caution.

If the floor is grating, and it does not look to be in the best of shape walk along the beams supporting the grating. I've seen grating give way under workers. If it is concrete and the rebar is exposed and rusted I would give it a hard second guess. If the structure like a catwalk is supported from concrete and the anchors show excessive rust, hard second guess.

There have been plenty of places I have bypassed. Best two pieces of advise I can give is to always investigate upper floors from the floor below before going futher up and if there is any question about an area, dont go.

At the same time I have walked on structures where the supporting steel members bottom flange and web were completely gone due to corrosion, but the floor was welded checkered plate, it was rather like a trampoline though.

Looks can be misleading. I remember a time I was sketching an existing structure, there was material build up on a steel beam, I took my trusty chipping happer to clear it off so I could get to the steel below it, took one whack to find out there was no steel below it, all it was was the hollow shell from bauxite build up. I got down quickly.




blackhawk 

Not an expert.


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UER newbie

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Re: Judging structural integrity?
< Reply # 2 on 7/5/2018 5:42 PM >
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Posted by Rimographan
Sagging floors and cracked support structures.


You already have your answer.
Unexpectedly pulling zero G's is a very bad feeling until it stops... then it really hurts.




Just when I thought I was out... they pulled me back in.
Aran 


Location: Madison, WI
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Combining form and functionality

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Re: Judging structural integrity?
< Reply # 3 on 7/5/2018 5:59 PM >
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Here's some things I've picked up over the years:

  • Avoid darker spots on wood floors. These spots are indicative of water damage, which accelerates molding and rotting

  • Walk on pieces of floor directly over support beams if it's possible to tell where the beams are. The beams are more likely to be able to handle your weight.

  • Stay close to walls when support beams are not easily located. The farther out you go, the less likely the floor can support your weight.

  • Avoid areas of warped hardwood flooring. These are indicative of extensive environmental damage, and could cause the underlying flooring (the stuff the hardwood rests on) to be damaged as well.

  • Give ladders a good shake before climbing to make sure they are well anchored. Test each rung before you put your weight on them, in case they are corroded into hollow rust tubes.

  • Test each stair in a staircase before putting your full weight on it, to make sure they aren't rotted through.

  • Test each step on canvas covered rooftops (which are quite common). The structural part of the roof may have given way without damaging the canvas, leaving a canvas- covered hole that you can't see until you step in it.





[last edit 7/5/2018 6:00 PM by Aran - edited 1 times]

At the end of the day, we're all just archaeologists who jumped the gun.

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YotaMan20 


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Re: Judging structural integrity?
< Reply # 4 on 7/5/2018 11:31 PM >
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Good advice Aran.

I personally access the situation on a case by case basis and usually add about a 25-30% decrease in structural stability. I don't think it hurts too be too cautious. Even concrete can buckle beneath you.




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2Xplorations 


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Re: Judging structural integrity?
< Reply # 5 on 7/6/2018 3:07 AM >
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Like Neurotic Matt said it depends, An entire book could be written on this about rust and decay an visible fractures etc.

Different materials and construction make it nearly impossible to prescribe rules for this, common sense and an understanding of basic physics goes a long way.


As I ascended a set of sturdy looking steel stairs in a grain elevator the whole affair busted loose from the wall bolts and swayed about 2ft out from the wall. I nearly shat myself and I was only 2 floors into it. Glad I wasnt up 7 or 8 floors when it happened it my have collapsed.


Take it slow until youre sure.




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Aran 


Location: Madison, WI
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Combining form and functionality

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Re: Judging structural integrity?
< Reply # 6 on 7/6/2018 3:59 AM >
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Posted by 2Xplorations
Like Neurotic Matt said it depends, An entire book could be written on this about rust and decay an visible fractures etc.


Quite so. And on that note, trust nothing in a fire damaged building. Even if it looks fine, thermal stress and high pressure water damage (from the fire department's hoses) can take its toll. Even concrete can and will crack and distort under that kind of stress. As someone else here once said, "exploring burned buildings is to urbex what cave diving is to Scuba divers."




At the end of the day, we're all just archaeologists who jumped the gun.

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Rimographan 


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Re: Judging structural integrity?
< Reply # 7 on 7/6/2018 12:47 PM >
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Thank you all for the advice, I will keep all this in mind while exploring my next abandonment!




stealthwraith 


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Re: Judging structural integrity?
< Reply # 8 on 7/6/2018 3:23 PM >
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Personally cement structures worry me the most. They can appear completely safe to cross the floor or climb the steps but the hidden metal structure could have been rusting away for years leading to the whole thing falling out from under you.




Stealth: adj. designed in accordance with technology that makes detection difficult. Wraith: n. A wisp or faint trace of something
jeepdave 


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It's also a gun.

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Re: Judging structural integrity?
< Reply # 9 on 7/12/2018 12:11 AM >
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Posted by stealthwraith
Personally cement structures worry me the most. They can appear completely safe to cross the floor or climb the steps but the hidden metal structure could have been rusting away for years leading to the whole thing falling out from under you.


This soooo fucking much. Concert structures can let go and let go really fucking fast with zero warning.




Ezekiel 25:17
mookster 


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Re: Judging structural integrity?
< Reply # 10 on 7/16/2018 3:58 PM >
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I usually let whoever is heaviest go first.




Yes that's right I'm an actual real-life British person.
jeepdave 


Location: Anderson, SC
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It's also a gun.

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Re: Judging structural integrity?
< Reply # 11 on 7/17/2018 1:52 AM >
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Posted by mookster
I usually let whoever is heaviest go first.


I usually end up going first.




Ezekiel 25:17
UER Forum > Rookie Forum > Judging structural integrity? (Viewed 523 times)


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