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Rome's Coliseum is Sinking - A Lesson Reminder


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I often see 100+ year old buildings that are not level or plumb especially at inside floors. I used to take the naive position that it's probably OK. The sagging has likely stopped. What do you expect from a 100 yr old building?

The sagging Coliseum ("Hey, it's 2,000 years old. I'm sure it's fine.") is just a reminder to me that my ass was lucky not to get sued many years ago when I assumed that age somehow equals structural integrity.

http://www.canada.com/life/Rome+famous+ ... story.html

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I often see older buildings having "taken a shape", and when I see it, I point it out and recommend finding a way to add some helper support. So many ways to skin cats, but crooked old buildings will always be so, and about all you can do is try to arrest that development.

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They're all different, and they move for different reasons. Sometimes the reasons are interrelated, sometimes it's a single thing, sometimes very simple, sometimes not.

I do not agree when folks make blanket statements about how old structure moves.

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Interesting that one possible cause of the sinking of the Colosseum is vibration from traffic. I checked it out on Google Maps. They've got a major highway circling around it like an Italian race track.

To think it has withstood umpteen tremors and earthquakes, but 21st and 22nd century traffic is threatening to bring it down. Amazing.

I see some pretty decrepit foundations under the 100 year olds around here. Sometimes I can picture a guy with a shovel and a wheelbarrow, mixing a bit of concrete with a bit of gravel he dug out of a pit somewhere, maybe a bit of sand off the beach. [:)]

Sometimes they have wooden corner posts with concrete poured in between. Then there are the ones built on bedrock. There will be some moisture there. There will be beetles in the wood, so they will crumble, but they are not going to sink. Yes, they are all different, and the worst ones have already rotted away, which is a blessing for inspectors out here on the wet coast.

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Drought or ground water removal is a fairly common cause of subsidence under old buildings.

About 25 years ago, I toured several historic buildings in New Orleans that were severely leaning. Some had sloped floors at about 2/12. The owners/occupants weren't the least bit bothered by it. The owner of a 1-story bar with a 4 story building leaning over it was a bit concerned.

Amsterdam has many sinking, twisted and leaning old buildings. Much of the city was built on marshes that were drained.

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tn_2012731193838_amsterdam.jpg

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Drought or ground water removal is a fairly common cause of subsidence under old buildings.

About 25 years ago, I toured several historic buildings in New Orleans that were severely leaning. Some had sloped floors at about 2/12. The owners/occupants weren't the least bit bothered by it. The owner of a 1-story bar with a 4 story building leaning over it was a bit concerned.

Amsterdam has many sinking, twisted and leaning old buildings. Much of the city was built on marshes that were drained.

Click to Enlarge
tn_2012731193838_amsterdam.jpg

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And aggravated by clay deposits. NOLA is famous for that.

Marc

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