There is a purposeful degree of routine to façade inspections. For building owners within the City of Milwaukee, Facade Inspection Ordinance (sec.275-32-13 Milw Code of Ordinances Vol.II), requires buildings five stories or higher to have a critical exam conducted by a professional, followed by a written faced condition assessment. These regular inspections for building envelopes help maintain the City of Milwaukee’s unique and historically eclectic architecture.
In the aftermath of the Miami Champlin Towers South collapse, a renewed focus was placed on building inspections to prevent disasters. “Façade inspections play an essential role in determining if buildings are in safe and functional condition,” says EXP’s Project Architect Samantha Garrett, AIA, who alongside Project Manager John Stryker, AIA, has worked with the City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works to inspect several of their city-owned buildings.
“Every building is different, and each inspection brings its own unique sets of challenges,” she continues. “In Milwaukee, the Department of Public Works has developed a thorough process for façade inspections, with a focus on identifying and preventing potential issues. With regular inspections, professional architects, engineers, and trained professionals can recognize distress and deficiencies in the façade construction. These elements can potentially shift a building owner’s approach from reactive to proactive, saving owners money and providing increased safety for building occupants and passersby. We are inspecting the building façade at close range and providing a detailed report to inform our clients of the best practices, mitigation measures and short and long-term maintenance suggestions.”
While the façade inspection pertains to the building’s exterior, EXP’s professionals are also trained to assess the entire building envelope, as well as supporting mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems. These assessments help inform recommendations for potential energy savings and identify areas at risk for water intrusion. For building longevity, facade inspections are essential in helping to determine cost-effective maintenance and repair solutions.