Sinkhole testing for larger buildings
Question: I am on a condo Board of Directors for our condo, where we had a sinkhole investigation completed. In reviewing the report from the engineering company, it seems to me that they only studied one side of the building.
Are there special rules for larger, multi-unit buildings like apartments or condominiums when it comes to sinkhole investigations?
Sinkhole testing changes depending on building size
Sinkhole investigations very much relate to the size and complexity of the buildings. The larger the building or lot, the more sinkhole testing is required. If you have a condominium complex where a sinkhole investigation is being completed, the investigation should relate in some way to the size of the building.
Ordinarily, most engineering firms will conduct 3 standard penetration tests on a standard home site. Using this as a baseline, while not an exact comparison, I would expect a larger condo property to have considerably more borings on the property.
How many borings should you expect?
We find that some sinkhole engineering firms will do only a limited number of borings, even if the property itself is larger. If a condo or apartment building is 3 times the size of an average lot, you would expect 3 times as many borings.
However, engineering firms may be limited to the amount of testing due to budgetary restrictions. When we get questions about these issues, we will usually ask an independent engineering firm to review the report, not always to challenge the conclusions, but simply to assure that the investigation meets the minimum requirements for larger properties.
Ultimately, if you believe the testing failed to meet your expectations, either as a condo association owner or a member of a board of directors, your feelings are probably warranted. It is important as a member of a board that you act in the best interests of your members, and consider a second opinion to resolve your concerns.