Don McMican, Engineer with DGM Consultants, P.A., provided the City of Ellinwood with his report on his visit to their property located at 102 N. Main Street, and his subsequent recommendation of how to proceed with the demolition of the building in a way that puts the neighboring building, 104 N. Main, owned by Mark and Cassie Batchman at the least amount of risk.
The report, dated Aug. 21, stated that the city’s building was constructed circa 1860, and the Batchman’s building was constructed in the late 1880s.
The exposed second floor of 104 N. Main was constructed on top of the original north wall for 102 N. Main.
Previous efforts to demolish the building by Nelson Stone were detailed. After demolishing the building at 100 N. Main using normal demolition procedures, work began on 102 N. Main, where the building met the Batchman’s at the southwest corner.
Though more care was used at this point, “roof framing fell and pulled out of the wall damaging the first pocket that was mechanically tied to the wall.” Then, to make things worse, the first floor of 102 N. Main collapsed into the shallow crawl space below it, prying upward on the south face of the common wall above, and caused failure the southern most wythe, vertical section of masonry one unit in thickness, much like a veneer, not a structural part of the wall. McMican noted there appeared to be evidence of fire damage on the north wall of 102 N. Main’s foundation, which may have led to the collapse. That’s when Stone halted the demolition.
How demo will proceed
McMican’s proposal offers hope for what previously looked like an impossible job. He recommended work progress slowly, using an excavator with a bucket and thumb combination to hold the roof and ceiling framing, while a man using a chain saw cuts each member within two feet of the wall. The larger portions of each section can then be removed gradually, and later, the remaining short pieces will be removed from the pockets in the north wall of the Batchman’s building.
The same procedure will be used again to remove the floor, only with the excavator holding up the floor framing and gradually removing it from the area.
Once the framing is removed, the loose bricks can be removed. McMican recommended a mason be on site as work progresses to assess any are uncovered that needs to be stabilized, especially at the base of the wall.
The remaining sections of the south wall of 102 N. Main will be removed slowly, ensuring the south wall continues to be supported adequately.
Other technical details on anchoring each wythe of the south wall was also included.
A concern raised previously by DW & Associates, one of the consultants that examined the damage earlier, was dismissed by McMican. Because the contractor intends to move forward in the outlined controlled manner, no temporary shoring will be needed on the north side of the common wall. And, if all goes well, the wall will not need to be completely removed as DW & Associates recommended.
“Given the condition of most buildings this age it is seldom that we find rebuilding a viable option,” McMican wrote. “If that were the case then the entire town would need to be rebuilt to today’s standards to provide the best long term solution.”
Still, Cassie Batchman expressed concern about being able to keep her salon open during the demolition, despite DGM’s assessment that it could remain occupied, provided unforeseen conditions are not identified.
Other concerns addressed
The McMican report also recommended the city remove the foundations from 100 and 102 N. Main to facilitate construction of any new structures in the area. Cracking, visible on the face of 104 N. Main was also determined not to have been caused by the demolition work, and it was recommended the wall be repaired to bond with the original construction joint between the two buildings so the corner is adequately supported once the framing from 102 N. Main is removed.
Some excavation work and possible underpinning and cement coating may need to be applied to the foundations walls, depending on what conditions are found.
Once the demolition is complete, the report recommends tying what is left of the interior wall of the city’s building to the south wall of the Batchman’s building using dryfix anchors. Holes are drilled every couple of feet in a diamond grid along encompassing the exposed area of the wall. Then, long pins are inserted into the holes, holding the wythes of the wall together. Finally, colored mortar is used to seal the holes.
Finally, it is recommended that at least the lower half of the north wall of 104 N. Main be covered in a galvanized wire fabric, and a 2-inch layer of shotcrete be applied to provide a plaster-like surface, followed by two coatings of an elastomeric coating to provide a moisture barrier.
It should be noted, also, that McMican’s report comes with standard disclaimers and qualificatons, and addressed only the condition of the masonry walls that were readily accessibler and observable at the time of his visit on Aug. 17.
Council approves expenditure for wall coating
According to Ellinwood City Manager Bud Newberry, the city is in agreement with McMican. While approval by the city council was not required to resume the demolition, the recommendation to apply the exterior coating to the wall following completion of the demolition did require council approval.
At the Tuesday, Sept. 8, city council meeting, an executive session was called for the purpose of attorney and client privilege. Upon resuming open session, the council approved a motion to hire Pickens Restoration for the price of $17,500 to place concrete on the south exterior wall of the Main Street demolition project as soon as possible.
After the meeting adjourned, Newberry explained that while normally the work would require bids be let, the work required was so specialized, that only one contractor could be found in a reasonable area. Pickens was also recommended by at least two other firms, he said.
As of Thursday evening there was no word exactly when demolition would resume.