On Tuesday, January 26th, two members of the Thornton Tomasetti Building Performance practice, Sam Cooper (below right) and Vince Aleo (below left), associate and senior engineer, respectively, put their boots on the ground in earthquake-ravaged Haiti evaluating buildings for an insurance company client.
On behalf of our Property Loss Consulting service, Cooper and Aleo evaluated the structural stability of four buildings for express mail and logistics company DHL in and around Port-au-Prince. Although DHL leases the space, it wanted the buildings evaluated before its employees returned to work. “DHL is helping out with the relief effort, and they want to get their people back into the facilities as soon as possible,” Aleo said. “We went down there to determine if the buildings were safe and to give the employees peace of mind.” The engineers investigate DHL’s main facility, comprising a warehouse and retail store near Por-au-Prince airport, and two retail offices in the city.
The investigation included evaluation of the building structural and nonstructural elements such as beams, columns, masonry walls, ceilings, slabs, foundation and mechanical-electrical-plumbing systems.
Both Cooper and Aleo said that food and water is getting through, but many people are living in makeshift tents that won’t provide much shelter when the rainy season begins this month. They also observed a general state of calm in Port-au-Prince. “The security concerns portrayed in the media are generally exaggerated,” said Cooper. “We didn’t see any signs of violence or civil unrest. That’s not to say that people aren’t rushing in when there’s a food drop, but if so, it’s localized and not indicative of what we saw across the city.”
About Thornton Tomasetti (www.ThorntonTomasetti.com)
Thornton Tomasetti provides engineering design, investigation and analysis services to clients worldwide on projects of every size and level of complexity. We fulfill the needs of our clients at every stage in the building life cycle through seven integrated practices in Structural Engineering, Façade Engineering, Forensics, Renewal, Construction Engineering, Property Loss Consulting and Sustainability. Founded in 1956, today Thornton Tomasetti is an 800-person organization of engineers, architects and other professionals collaborating from offices across the United States and in Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.
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