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Pipe Failure, High-Rise Building, United States

A mixed-use high-rise building on the West Coast of the U.S., consisting of residential and commercial units, experienced a failure of their domestic water piping system. This caused major disruptions and the need for temporary re-housing for their tenants.

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The Problem

The client needed to investigate multiple miles of pipe to identify what factors contributed to the failures. They also needed help coordinating the many investigative parties and the contractors responsible for the decommission and rebuild occurring concurrently.

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The Solution

We performed on-site assessment activities including pipe identification and tracking, system flow and pressure measurements, evidence movement and preservation and mechanical systems evaluation. We also conducted extensive laboratory examinations to pinpoint the root cause of failure.

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The Results

Our examination, along with an exhaustive evaluation of other factors of the pipe system, confirmed that degradation of the pipe was likely caused by copper catalysed thermo-oxidation. These factors contributed to the failure of the pipe. The building was refitted, in conjunction with our investigation, with a new potable water system. The concurrent work required a coordinated effort which ultimately allowed tenants to safely return to their units.