In 2021, Technical Assurance was engaged by the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis to provide a forensic leak investigation of their Dinosphere exhibit.
This is a spherical structure that was originally built in 1996 with ongoing persistent leaks. On-site evaluations revealed that previous remediation work to precast concrete sealant joints was performed along with previous repair attempts at transition from precast concrete to vertical wall cladding surfaces. There was deterioration of interior substrate assembly and interior finishes.
Spray testing and destructive testing was undertaken to identify the source of the leakage. Primary focal testing locations were in the northwest and southwest corners of the Dinosphere. Testing operations produced leaks at, or overtop of, the previously active (and reported) reoccurring leaks inside the facility. These manufactured leaks (as the result of the testing effort) were found to be consistent in nature, location, and severity with reported conditions, examined conditions, and interviews conducted while on site. Water infiltration was occurring at the (sealant covered) precast panel-to-panel joints, and at the (sealant covered) precast panel to flat-seam copper siding panel transitions.
Analysis and Remediation
Based on information gathered, and on-site forensic testing, we believed that the primary source of current (and most significant) leakage into the interior space was due to the deterioration and failure of the construction sealant joints. Construction sealant had been applied to all vertical and horizontal precast concrete joints, along with precast concrete to flat-seam copper siding panels; the condition of these sealants, along with some construction detailing at transitions/terminations, was resulting in a breach of the waterproofing assembly.
The remediation included sealant joint replacement, washing the precast concrete façade and waterproofing. The existing horizontal and vertical sealant joints were removed to allow for the proper application of new sealant joints. Upon completion of the sealant joint replacement, the precast concrete was power washed/cleaned with a water repellent applied to finish the exposed surface conditions.
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