Buildings subjected to extraordinary forces (such as wind, fire, earthquake, and explosions) often have salvageable structural and building elements remaining. The challenge is to determine the severity and extent of the damage.
While the capacity of some of the elements can be ascertained by visual inspection, laboratory testing may be required to determine whether some construction systems are retrievable. Occasionally, the damage to the structure is surficial. The specification for returning the structure to service must include instructions for removing and replacing damaged material.
- What caused the damage?
- What was the pattern of the devastation (as in the propagation of a fire or the path of a tornado)?
- What is the extent of the damage to the structure? This may not necessarily coincide with the path of devastation.
- How badly is the building damaged?
- Will removing and replacing damaged material restore the damaged structure?
- Have any of the materials been chemically altered by the catastrophic event?