Assessment and Remediation of Geotechnical and Structural Deficiencies at a 5-Story Hotel Experiencing Large Differential Settlements


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by Gregory L. Hebeler, P.E., Ph.D., Golder Associates Inc., 3730 Chamblee Tucker Rd., Atlanta, GA 30341, GHebeler@golder.com.,
Rafael I. Ospina, P.E., Golder Associates Inc., 3730 Chamblee Tucker Rd., Atlanta, GA 30341, ROspina@golder.com.,
Darren K. Howard, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., 2915 Premiere Parkway, Suite 100, Duluth, GA 30097, DHoward@wje.com,
Ralf Leistikow, P.E., Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., 2915 Premiere Parkway, Suite 100, Duluth, GA 30097, RLeistikow@wje.com,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Forensic Engineering 2009: Pathology of the Built Environment

Abstract: This paper presents a case study of a forensic investigation and subsequent geotechnical and structural remediation of an operating 5-story hotel experiencing large differential settlements. The hotel construction consists of concrete masonry unit (CMU) load bearing walls and concrete hollow-core plank (HCP) floor framing founded on shallow strip and spread footings bearing on variably thick structural fill over sloping residual soils. Survey data 4 years following construction showed maximum settlements of 11 inches over the thickest fills, with trends indicating the potential for continued settlements. The building had experienced significant distress and concerns about its structural stability and life safety were raised. By working closely with the owner and each other, the geotechnical and structural consultants developed an effective and feasible approach to stabilize the foundation system and repair the structural elements while allowing the hotel to remain operational. This case study highlights the benefits of joint geotechnical and structural participation throughout the forensic and remediation process, and stresses the need to identify the full extent and root causes of building distress and to identify potential construction defects or omissions that may affect the available remediation options.

Subject Headings: Commercial buildings | Remediation | Structural settlement | Differential settlement | Case studies | Structural stability | Construction management | Fills | Concrete | Forensic engineering |

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