Expansive soils can often cause great loss to residential and commercial property. Numerous Canadian cities and towns are located in geographic areas with soils that are classified as clays having medium to high plasticity. This means that these soils are capable of absorbing water and will expand and contract as the moisture content changes. Activation of highly plastic clay (also called heaving or swelling) can cause damage to a building structure, a concrete slab on grade and/or surrounding landscaping.
Do you notice excessive moisture in your basement in the form of water infiltration or the appearance of molds or whitish marks at the bottom of your foundation walls? The foundation drain could be the cause! Humidity problems in basements are more common than one might think. When basements are used as living space, a problem of excessive humidity can quickly become an irritant and cause significant health problems.
When you enter a condominium or commercial building you will often see wet sprinkler heads located in the walls or hanging from the ceiling. These water suppression systems will extinguish fires involving wood components, couches (polyurethane foam) and other plastic materials, and are effective at controlling or extinguishing fires. But how do we control fires involving grease or other flammable chemicals, like paint?
Most vehicles on the road today have an event data recorder (EDR), and the number of EDRs is only increasing as newer vehicles replace older models. EDRs are modules that will record data related to an incident (i.e. a collision). This technology has been around for over 20 years, so now is a good time to look back at how these black boxes have changed the way we investigate collisions.
During firefighting, the attention is mainly focused on the health and safety of building occupants and first responders. Damages to property and the environment are most of the time a secondary issue. When the fire is over, damages to property and structures are often visible and rapidly under control. However, damages to the environment usually worsen and risk of exposure to many contaminants remains a concern.
Whether it is kitchens or bathrooms, we have all experienced or heard of damages to cabinets linked to humidity. As an example, let's just consider cabinet panels that swell or coating shell (veneer or thermoplastic) that delaminates. This type of degradation usually occurs as a result of long term usage, when the cabinetry components "get old". However, there are many cases where this type of millwork suffers from premature degradation. For instance, when similar damages are visible over multiple units of a building/condominium, it seems obvious that they are not independent and isolated cases.
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