BE-CI has been involved in a number of projects in the Caribbean from St. John’s island to Aruba, providing independent engineering design services and assisting a stateside architect on major building restoration projects as a moisture consultant. In one such project in Aruba, we provided the design and managed the construction of a permanent staging access system for deferred maintenance and damage repairs. As in many modern beachfront hotels and condominiums, the balconies were an important part of the aesthetic appeal but became an obstacle when workers needed to access the wall areas for maintenance and repairs. Normally, the only way to get such access is by placing weights and beams to support scaffolding in the condo unit itself, or placing steel scaffold supports right outside. In addition to ruining the view, these supports tend to severely damage landscaping. Instead, we provided an engineered system that’s hidden away in the attic space until used and that doesn’t interfere with guest’s use of their balconies.
In another case, we were asked to investigate the premature failure of metal roof panels due to corrosion. Normally, standing-seam roof panels with a polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF) finish hold up well even in coastal environments, but we observed that the base metal of these panels was severely corroded. Anyone who’s been to Aruba is aware of the constant trade winds that keep you cool on a hot day. BE-CI discovered that these trade winds were responsible for the premature failure of the metal roof system. The battens that supported the previous clay tile roof had been left in place to attach the anchors for the new standing seam metal panels. Wind blowing through the unsupported space between battens created excessive vibration in the panels and eventually cracked the PVDF protective finish.
BE-CI provided construction documents that included plans, specifications and details for the replacement of the roof and battens with a new system attached directly to the decking.