Canadian Consulting Engineer

Halifax structural engineers assessing hurricane damage

Structural engineers in Halifax are being kept busy assessing building damage after Hurricane Juan hit the area on...

October 8, 2003   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Structural engineers in Halifax are being kept busy assessing building damage after Hurricane Juan hit the area on Sunday, September 29.
“It’s not the type of work we wanted to do,” said Skip Ferguson, executive director of Consulting Engineers of Nova Scotia.
The Class 1 hurricane blew winds of over 145 kilometres an hour, causing sweeping incoming waves that uplifted wharves along the waterfront and shifted a gantry crane off its tracks in the port areea. Eight days after the storm, many areas were still without power due to transmission lines that had been brought down by falling trees and 18 schools are still closed.
Though most public buildings survived the blasts fairly well, several low-rise wood frame apartment buildings had their roofs completely ripped off, and one seniors residential complex in Dartmouth caved in. The cladding of an industrial building in Dartmouth was unzipped from its anchors, and at Dalhousie University a 34-storey residential building had 40 windows smashed.
Structural engineers are being called out by owners to monitor the safety of buildings and to do assessments for insurance purposes. Roy McBride of BMR Structural Engineering, for example, says he has assessed about 20 different projects in the last week or so.
McBride also spent the weekend coming up with a solution to fix the roof of the Centennial Wing of Victoria Hospital in downtown Halifax. The large institution lost part of its built-up roof, leaving the existing roof structure exposed.
The biggest transformation in the city was said to be the loss of huge trees, some several feet in diameter. The iron railing round the famous Halifax Public Gardens near the Citadel was damaged during the storm, and live ammunition from the Second World War later washed up along the shores.


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