LEFT: A fully compressed piping expansion joint; RIGHT: A screen grab of the Forensic Information Model of the mechanical riser piping.
During routine inspection of this 68-story commercial building, expansion joints in large-diameter riser piping were discovered to be completely compressed. Further investigation revealed that pipe anchors, pipe supports and other structural elements had failed, putting the piping system at risk of failure.
The building owner sued the design team and installation contractors for $33 million for replacement of mechanical equipment. Attorneys for the architect’s insurance companies hired us for litigation support and to conduct a full forensic investigation of the equipment, including pumps, mechanical and fire protection piping, expansion joints, piping supports, anchors, structural elements, heat exchangers and cooling towers.
We provided mechanical modeling and analysis and developed mechanical and metallurgical test programs to analyze and compare failed components with equivalent replacement equipment. As a result of our findings, recommendations and testimony, damages were significantly reduced and the owner was awarded $10 million.
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