Just curious, as to how many of you take your company or department members out to view renovation or construction projects? I know alot of times firefighters grumble when we say we are loading up to head down to "so and so's" place to complete a familiarization tour. Never once have I ever in my career, been to one of these tours and not learned something new. Everytime I have increased my personal education or experience which greatly helped my career. This is exactly why I force the grumblers to load up and get on the road.
During a recent "field trip" we toured a commercial / residential mixed occupancy that temporary holds alot of people who are passing through our region. On this particular renovation project, we uncovered some very interesting contractor work. Some of which is very old and others not so much. We were told by the GC that this occupancy had been renovated twice before to upfit, different tenants in this large building. The day we stopped to tour the facility, they were still in mid-demo mode. Walls and ceilings were opened up. Perfect time to see how the actual structure was built.
When we think heat tape for plumbing, we usually think mobile homes or trailers in the colder climate of the US. Well here we have heat tape and a "special outlet" which was hidden behind a sheetrock ceiling with power protecting a 6" pipe.
As we continued on throughout the remainder of the structure, we came upon some interesting plumbing fixtures that had an overzealous plumber who made holes for his work in pre-stressed concrete panels. This was hidden by a sheetrocked ceiling as well.
You will note the steel cable which actually creates the PRE-STRESSED feature for providing the strength in between the plumbing trap. This was in the first floor ceiling. The concrete is the actual floor of the second floor.
This last shot is actually a breach in a different section of the same pre-stressed contrete panel and the hole was 12"x 24" in size. The hole was made so a cold air return plenium could bring the room air back to the heating system. This was hidden by an air grate in a drop ceiling grid system.
Did you note that there is only one steel cable? The second appears to have been cut to make the hole unobstructed. Many have seen this type of work with the new lightweight TGI beams, but this goes to show that even though it's concrete, contractors who need to get their work done in the quickest or shortest route will breach the hardest of construction materials.
Make sure you and your crew go out and tour renovation projects, meet the GC and ask if you can have a tour of the construction site. This is the only way you can obtain valuable information about the construction type in the older pre-existing occupancies.
Take care and stay safe.