Dakota Evans Hired to Fortify Building Where 15,000 Pound Panel Fell in Northfield

In late July, Dakota Evans Restoration was tasked with a project where a concrete panel fell four stories to the ground in an office complex, which was documented in the Chicago Tribune. The project was completed less than ten days after the event, and business is up and running again.

Dakota Evans Restoration was recently involved in a fascinating project. As documented by an August 5, 2015 article in the Chicago Tribune, the Village of Northfield closed a building to the public and removed the occupancy permit after a concrete panel weighing 15,000 pounds fell four stories from a building in Northfield Plaza, located at 570 Frontage Road.

The panel was discovered July 29; the date it fell is unclear and most definitely happened during non-business hours. It is unbelievably fortunate that no one was injured, because the arePicture Summarya where it lay was in the vicinity of pedestrian entrances and walkways in this busy, business complex.

Dakota Evans was brought in by the structural engineer hired by the Village, who would provide specification for a steel retrofit to achieve stability for all seven panels that hang over entrances and walkways in the complex at 1 and 2 Northfield Plaza.

The difficult process of implementation and installation of the retrofit anchors was completed by Dakota Evans. This process involved a major piece of steel reinforcement both at the inside of the top office floor space and at the roof level. Both were secured by pre-drilling into the concrete roof deck and spandrels over the top floor windows. Building ownership assisted with removing ceiling tiles at the inside office space, and roofers had the task of removing roofing materials to expose the concrete roof deck.

All of this work was completed the weekend of August 8-9 to assist in getting the office complex back its occupancy permits, so that business there could continue – only ten days after the panel was discovered.

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The Serious Importance of Maintaining Structures

Could the building ownership have done anything to prevent this? Preventative maintenance may have kept this panel from falling in the first place, though many variables can contribute to such a serious event. One thing that is sure-the simple process of replacing sealants that protect steel from moisture infiltration and deterioration of steel connections on a regular basis is most definitely best practice to avoid what could have been a real disaster, and possible loss of life if the timing of this event specifically, were different.

A final thought, and something that we at Dakota Evans continually advise for. General building façade maintenance is an absolute necessity. Buildings are very similar to the human body; if you don’t take care of it, you increase your chances of it falling apart, or becoming a victim of unintended/unwanted circumstances.

For more information, please contact Dakota Evans Restoration at 847-439-5367 or email inquiry@DakotaEvans.com.

Article written by Mike Landry, Senior Project Manager at Dakota Evans