Do you remember those hair-raising stories about the Luxor, Mandalay Bay, and the doomed Harmon Tower of City Center? Our Las Vegas commercial construction company does, and it still bothers us. If you don’t remember what happened, those buildings experienced structural sinking. Here’s what you should know.
The Issue of Structural Sinking
Yes, sinking. Imagery of these colossal buildings sinking into the Las Vegas desert soil is nightmarish enough, but the reality of the situation is much worse. Unless rectified, a strong earthquake can bring these towers to the ground. If an earthquake doesn’t happen, soil settlement can cause the towers to lean and sink deeper. Over time, the structure will collapse or Las Vegas code enforcement will condemn the building.
Why Skyscrapers Start Sinking
If you remember back in your childhood stacking blocks, you learned that all construction projects need a strong foundation to build upon. If they don’t, they’ll fall over. While supporting a humongous tower in soil is much different than laying blocks on the carpet, this foundational physics principle still stands. When a foundation is not suited for the soil it’s set in, a building will start to sink and fall over.
How does a Las Vegas general contractor avoid structural sinking?
Avoiding structural sinking is complex, and it involves a variety of factors. A strong foundation in Las Vegas isn’t as simple as pouring a slab of concrete in the Earth and building on it. Creating a solid foundation involves careful inspection, called soil boring.
Soil boring is an important aspect of Las Vegas general contracting. A construction site is excavated to a specific depth, and then the soil is sent for analysis. It is the analysis’ results that determines whether a structure will stand, what type of foundation they need to use, and if it will pass state coding laws. Other results include what type of soil it is and how much potential soil settlement can happen.
In the case of most skyscrapers, foundation is laid deep into the Earth to divert force into the earth, usually the bedrock, along with raft footing, or a slab of concrete fortified with a steel structure. While the Mandalay Bay or Luxor may have these types of foundations, their sinking issue lies most likely from unforeseen soil settlement.
How to fix a settling foundation
In most cases, a reputable general contractor in Las Vegas knows how to fix a settling foundation. As long as you address the issue the moment it happens, a Las Vegas general contractor can install underpinning. This is a process in which a structure is laid into the foundation to stabilize the building. If you don’t resolve the issue immediately, however, the building may need to be demolished like the Harmon Tower was.
Don’t Let Your Las Vegas Commercial Construction Project Sink
Most construction issues can be avoided in the beginning. However, either due to inexperience or rushed work, construction issues like structural sinking or A/C leaks can happen. At our Las Vegas general contractor office, our team of design experts will safely and efficiently create the commercial construction project you want. Schedule an appointment and reach for the sky.