A Chicken and Broken-Egg Problem

The list of natural enemies includes not just Montagues and Capulets, and roadrunners and coyotes, but plumbers and wood framing. This is a bearing wall in a building in Greenwich Village and a plumber with a saw did a number on those studs. In case it’s not obvious from the wood lath, this is a …

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Scar Tissue

The work at Castle Clinton moves along, with the occasional surprise. The picture above shows a short piece of a large steel beam embedded on the fort’s wall. Given that the fort was constructed shortly after 1800 and steel beams this size weren’t rolled until after 1900, we either have evidence of a time machine …

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Constructing A Narrative, Part 2

Yesterday, I described some relatively minor peculiarities of a building I saw, and left it as a cliff-hanger (with a curb-height cliff) as to what I believe was the cause. The building, above, is overall a reasonably normal piece of Park Slope. One comment on yesterday’s post that threw me for a moment was the …

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Constructing A Narrative, Part 1

There are various ways for an engineer to investigate a building. They all involve looking at it, looking at available records, perhaps materials testing, and so on. That’s not what I want to talk about. Collecting information is relatively straightforward, but that does not mean you’ve completed an investigation. An investigation leads to a meaningful …

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Three! Count ’em! Three!

Probe at a loft building in Brooklyn to find the size of the floor joists above. The contractor did exactly what I asked: he cut open the ceiling. Except… The figured tin ceiling, which was the one I asked the contractor to remove, was the third ceiling in the space. If you look at the …

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