An 18-story commercial office building, constructed in the 1960s in Albuquerque, New Mexico had a curtain wall comprised of precast concrete panels, punched-opening windows, and 1” by 1” gold-colored ceramic tiles. In the winter of 2013, some of the tiles began to fall off the building, endangering passersby, below. Rimkus was retained to inspect the façade and prepare a repair design.
Suspended from a swing stage, the west, south and east sides of the building were examined from top to bottom. Tiles were mechanically probed to determine the nature of the assembly and to establish the extent of the problem. The tiles were adhered to the building a thick-set Portland cement bed. Over time, the significant diurnal temperature-variation of the southwest caused expansion and contraction stresses on the tile assembly, resulting in the tiles coming loose.
Following the inspection, a repair design was developed to include design details and specifications.