Case Study

Fire-Related Damage to a Food Processing Facility

Food Facility Damage

Production at a dry cereal food processing facility was interrupted due to a fire. 

The Assignment

EDT was asked to assess the damage at the facility and prepare repair, replacement, and/or reconstruction estimates.

EDT Analysis and Findings

The facility was comprised of nine adjoining buildings, constructed over a period of several decades. Construction of the buildings incorporated a wide range of materials (e.g., bricks, concrete masonry units, cast-in-place concrete, precast concrete, steel beams, steel joists and metal roof decking). Overhead doors for forklifts provided access between the buildings closest to the origin (Buildings 4 and 5). 

Structural Integrity

An assessment of the materials used in construction revealed that the damage had not compromised the overall structural integrity of the buildings. Yet due to the location of specific processing equipment and stored dry cereal product on wood pallets, discrete structural elements around the equipment and stored product were damaged beyond repair.

Building 4 Damage

In Building 4, and as a result of elevated temperatures, concrete was cracked and spalled, exposing high strength steel reinforcing strands in several of the concrete double tees, one inverted tee and two precast columns. Due to the expected adverse effects of corrosion in the strands from contact with water during fire suppression efforts, the damaged precast concrete sections were replaced.

Building 5 Damage

In Building 5, elevated temperatures resulted in sagging or downward displacement of steel joists and the attached metal deck. Replacement of the deformed steel was required. At the perimeter of Building 5 and in the area above the steel header, cracks in the CMUs were observed and attributed to the fire. A recommendation was made to replace the CMU wall with an equivalent fire-rated steel partition wall, which resulted in a significant reduction in the weight supported by the underlying steel beam.

Roof Coverings 

For the roof coverings of both buildings, a cost analysis confirmed that replacement, as compared to removal and repair of noncontiguous damaged sections, was appropriate. In effect, the scope of roof repair coincided with the location of the parapet walls that separated the adjoining buildings. Upgrades to the materials used in reconstruction of the roof coverings were noted, but not included in the estimated cost of repair.