WAUKESHA, Wis.— Just 24 hours after building inspectors and first responders in Waukesha evacuated a condo building facing an "imminent threat of collapse," inspectors continued to look into what had potentially compromised the safety and security of the building's structural integrity.
"Engineers and architects need to follow a lot of standards," Dr. Baolin Wan, an associate professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering at Marquette University's Opus College of Engineering, said. "Those standards are normally retained by federal, state and local governments. Also, many standards are retained by engineering societies. For example, for [concrete,] we need to follow the standards for concrete structures— design and calculations— which is retained by the American Concrete Institute."
Now, roughly five months after 98 people died when a condo building collapsed in Surfside, Florida, and in the wake of Thursday's evacuation, Dr. Wan acknowledged that many people living in condos or apartment buildings may be wondering what red flags to watch for when it comes to their own safety going forward.
"First, when you look at an older building, pay attention to whether there's any tilt or unbalanced settlement— that means one side's settled significantly [more] than the other side," Dr. Wan added. "When you walk in the building, pay attention to see whether there are any deterioration signs. For example, in a concrete building if there are any concrete beams or columns, if there's significant concrete-exposed steel inside— is that steel corroded or not?"
You can watch the entire interview with Dr. Wan above.