Institutional Buildings: Water Intrusion Investigations
GeoInsight performed separate, but similar, projects for three public school systems in Connecticut. In each case, infiltrating water was causing problems that warranted investigation and remedies. We were contacted for these projects based upon our expertise with building and utility construction; methods of controlling accumulated precipitation, runoff, and groundwater; and delivering cost effective solutions. Conditions included water and moisture intrusion within existing utility tunnels, boiler rooms, under slab areas, against exterior walls, and/or in courtyards. These conditions were causing: degradation of utility components (such as rusting of pipes, valves, and equipment) in tunnels and basement areas; degradation of structural features (due to foundation concrete spalling and/or cracking from increased frost action); damage to flooring (such as delamination and buckling); and/or the growth of mold.
Met with School staff and municipal parties to evaluate the existing conditions. We worked with the school staff to help evaluate the existing water intrusion conditions inside the schools and develop a comprehensive study.
Conducted comprehensive field investigations. We developed and conducted detailed intrusive investigations to evaluate building construction, sub-grade foundation and footing waterproofing systems, footing drains, soil type and characteristics, and groundwater elevations.
Developed engineering plans and performed construction oversight. We worked closely with school personnel and other parties to develop engineering plans and oversee contractors performing the work.
Evaluated low-cost or environmentally friendly alternatives for the engineering solutions. As part of our work, we evaluated any lower cost or low impact design options for these projects with our clients.
Scope of Services
- Field Investigations
- Engineering and Technical Studies
- Tailored Recommendations and Engineering Plans
- Construction Oversight
- Public Outreach
Evaluation and technical procedures – Understanding the cause of the issues in each case required detailed research and careful pre-planning to identify what assets were being adversely affected, how (submersion or prolonged humidity), and when (constant or intermittent). We needed to understand what systems were in place to prohibit or control moisture intrusion and if there were any, why they were failing. Our evaluations included: reviews of historical plans; visual assessment of grounds, basements, crawl spaces, utility trenches, and storm drain systems; conducting intrusive explorations to characterize soil types and seasonal high water levels; installing groundwater monitoring wells and collecting fluctuation data; exploring subsurface conditions to observe for the presence and condition of water-proofing, collection drains, and conveyance piping; and surveying elevations.
Tailored recommendations – In each case, GeoInsight used the data obtained and our engineering common sense to provide specific recommendations tailored toward addressing the most significant aspects of the intrusion first (such as allaying health concerns and communicating interim mitigation measures), and then presenting additional options that would provide reliable and long-term corrections to the intrusion issues. We favored the identification of solutions that had multiple benefits, used materials safe for the environment, and incorporated LID options when feasible. Where significant new infrastructure was required, we prepared formal designs and bid packages to help the schools obtain competitive pricing from selected contractors, and then we provided focused oversight to promote completed work consistent with our designs.