Venice Beach, Los Angeles,
Our initial survey of the building revealed that the west elevation facing the ocean was the most severely deteriorated, not a big surprise given the salt-laden marine air constantly enveloping the building.
When making exploratory excavations at locations of bulging brick veneer, the cause was always related to iron-jacking of internal mild steel structural elements.
The inner steel reinforcement usually displayed the typical pattern of decay, in this case delamination of the original material. Even steel can peel apart under the right conditions.
The most intriguing sign of decay and failure was this 40-foot long section of horizontal facade above the storefronts on the west elevation. Sections of this area were bulging outward as much as 6 inches in places.
The structural implications of such widespread failure were not reassuring and it was determined that the primary steel I-beam should be exposed completely for proper mitigation.
Removal of the red common brick confirmed our blind analysis and gave an impetus for the preparation and repair phase in this area.
Here, the various aspects of mild steel decay under stressful salt-laden moisture exposure are clearly evident.
Aggressive surface preparation included grinding, sanding and some abrasive blasting in order to remove the rust scaling on the surface back to sound steel. Then the whole prepared area was coated with an epoxy-based anti-oxidant coating.
This image shows the treated and coated surface of the primary supporting I-beams
In the course of executing these repairs, we also came up with a new reinstallation scheme for the salvaged and new glazed brick veneer. The concept was based upon the principal of avoiding the reinstallation of common brick in the I-beam web area to reduce the weight in this part of the building. We welded new steel tabs to the original I-beam then proceeded to install a contemporary steel-framed wall with cement backer-board support.
Here the various layers of new wall can be seen, up to and including the waterproofing over the backer-board support.
Per the directions of our engineer, we also welded new steel plate stiffeners to various portions of the original steel column at the corner of the building.
Once all these structural upgrades were completed and coated, we could then proceed with installation of new matching glazed brick to complete the column profile.
Completion of this area involved not only reinstalling bricks, but extensive patching and grouting of original bricks.
The work we completed will allow this structure to be kept in a more sustainable condition as time goes by.