Since our company’s founding, Fuller has conducted thousands of engineering investigations related to structural failures resulting from natural or man-made events. Based in the Southeast, we are intimately familiar with the structural challenges faced in marine, coastal, and seismic regions. In the aftermath of a catastrophe or during a routine forensic investigation, our engineering experts perform cause and origin analysis to evaluate damaged buildings and structures. We then produce conclusive opinions, providing a clear and informed assessment of the loss. As a “nimble” group of widely respected design practitioners, we seek out the best balance among aesthetics, creativity, function, constructability, schedule, and budget for our repair designs and temporary shoring solutions. For our attorney and insurer clientele, we provide litigation support and expert witness testimony through the production of comprehensive expert reports, presenting objective and impartial opinions.

Beach Vacation Condominiums

Myrtle Beach, SC

  • Atlantic Oceanfront
  • 4-story building with ground level parking garage
  • Single-story common Clubhouse and pool
  • Originally constructed in 2005
  • 30 condominium units
  • Wood framed construction

Residents of the building began experiencing multiple issues, including improper walkway waterproofing and deflection of structural beams. Fuller Group was retained on behalf of the Homeowner’s Association (HOA) to perform an investigation and provide a report summarizing our findings. We additionally served as an expert witness for the plaintiff while the project was in litigation against the developer, general contractor, and other defendants.

During the visual surveys conducted at the property, our design professionals identified locations at exterior walkways and balconies that exhibited water staining at metal soffit splices, deflection of beams, and compressed terminations at beam bearing points. Proceeding with destructive testing at these localized areas, our team determined that the beams were severely water damaged, notably along the bottom where the continuous metal soffit was installed. Many of the wood beams were nearing the point of collapse and were considered a life-safety hazard, prompting us to recommend that the building be vacated until shoring could be implemented. We immediately coordinated with the HOA and a qualified general contractor to design and implement temporary shoring at the elevated walkways and balconies.

With the HOA reaching a successful settlement in 2014, Fuller provided full architectural and structural engineering design services to repair the deficient elevated walkways and balconies. Repairs included reframing of walkways and balconies to provide proper slope, replacement of rotted beams, application of waterproofing, and addition of trench drains along exterior hallways.

Low Rise Golf Condominium Complex

Longs, SC

  • 3 separate 3-story condominium buildings
  • 45 condominium units
  • Wood framed construction

Fuller Group’s design professionals for both architecture and structural engineering were retained to perform a property condition assessment and provide expert witness testimony for the Homeowner’s Association (HOA). During our assessment, we identified multiple locations at exterior, elevated walkways and individual condominium balconies that exhibited excessive deflection of beams and compressed terminations at beam-to-column bearing locations, causing the vinyl fascia to bulge and ripple.

After removing the cladding and inadequate waterproofing along the beams and columns, Fuller determined that deficiencies in the construction of the walkways and balconies resulted in substantial damage to the wood structural framing. The damage was extensive enough that Fuller recommended temporary, emergency repairs be implemented at one building. We coordinated with the HOA and a qualified general contractor to design and install temporary shoring along the elevated walkways and balconies until more permanent repairs could be completed. We also monitored a second building that experienced similar damage to the walkway and balcony deck framing over a period of several years, and eventually required similar shoring repairs.

Following Fuller’s review of project documents and destructive testing at exterior and interior shear walls and inside attic spaces, our structural engineering experts concluded that deficiencies existed with the buildings’ framing. This compromised the structural integrity of the buildings, making them more susceptible to failure during a high wind event. Our findings during the condition assessment led to the HOA pursuing a construction litigation case against the original developer and other defendants. We continue to provide litigation support and architectural and structural engineering services for the HOA.