Floor Flatness and Floor Levelness can be critical to the safety of people and equipment, especially in areas with high foot and equipment traffic. Imagine walking on a rough, uneven sidewalk. You might stub your toe, scuff your shoes, or trip and fall. The same is true on a larger scale for concrete floors in industrial structures. When personnel are working on rough, uneven floors, workers might hurt themselves, equipment takes on unnecessary wear, and dangerous accidents become far more likely.
Warehouses are one example where the quality of flooring can have a significant effect on safety and productivity. Having flat, level floors allows lift trucks to operate at higher maximum speeds, reduces potential for damage to stock, and creates a smoother environment to reduce wear on lift trucks and similar equipment. Well-made floors also help reduce health and safety risks such as driver fatigue or tilting equipment, resulting in falling machinery or products.
Both Floor Flatness, denoted by an FF number, and Floor Levelness, denoted by an FL number, are evaluated through regulated procedures, and compared to standard allowances to determine if variations are at an acceptable level.
Floor Flatness is the measure of how bumpy or smooth the finished surface of a floor is. The flatness is a statistical measurement of how wavy or bumpy a concrete floor is. Individual measurements are taken at points every twelve inches along a line, and the differences between each adjacent point are calculated, along with the mean and standard deviations of the differences. A bumpy or uneven floor can result in injury to personnel, anything from a stubbed toe to a dangerous fall. It can also result in damage to equipment or damage to product from jarring motions created by the uneven floor. For these reasons it is critically important to ensure that floor flatness is at an acceptable level.
Floor Levelness is the measure of the inclination of the floor compared to its design inclination. The levelness is measured by using the difference in elevation between two points far apart. It is critical to ensure that floors are level within reasonable variation, especially in situations involving tall equipment and narrow aisles. Even a slight variation in floor levelness could result in tall equipment losing its balance or colliding with shelves in a narrow aisle, potentially causing harm to personnel or damage to products and equipment.
There are detailed standard procedures for these evaluations to help ensure the safety of personnel, equipment, and products. These testing procedures can help prevent hefty lawsuits or expenses due to equipment and product loss.
Encorus Group offers high quality testing services for floors, as well as many other aspects of construction and industry. If your construction site has floors that require flatness and levelness testing, contact Jeremy Lake at (716) 592-3980 ext. 133, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to our summer intern Mara for providing this article!
Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) are procedures which have been developed by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) to evaluate environmental issues at a real estate site. These assessments are usually performed when land is changing ownership or usage, but are also occasionally performed for an existing property owner who wants to know the toxic history of the property, or if a regulatory agency suspects toxic conditions on the site.
Environmental Site Assessments are usually performed as part of due diligence requirements. These requirements are regular parts of corporate law. Additionally, these assessments help protect potential property owners. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) holds land owners, lessors, and lenders to be responsible for resolving environmental issues, even if the hazards were the result of activities from a previous property owner. This makes an ESA critical in ensuring that a potential new property does not provide an unexpected risk of liability for decontamination.
A Phase I ESA is a quick, simple, noninvasive report used for the identification of potential or existing environmental contamination liabilities for real estate properties. This assessment is completed by reviewing records, completing a surface-level site inspection, and interviewing owners, occupants, neighbors, and local government officials. The goal of a Phase I ESA is to determine the likelihood that any Recognized Environmental Concerns (RECs) are present, which may then be further investigated through a Phase II ESA. The RECs could be contamination from activities which took place on site or contamination from adjacent properties. Essentially, the Phase I ESA is intended to determine the history of the property and ensure that there are no obvious concerns.
The Phase II ESA is a more invasive assessment which requires collection and testing of soil, groundwater samples, and/or building materials. While the Phase I ESA is more purposed to determine presence or absence of environmental concerns, the purpose of a Phase II ESA is to determine the scale and details of the discrepancies found by the Phase I investigation. This phase of investigation can take a significant amount of time to allow for sampling and testing, as well as any monitoring activities deemed necessary by the Phase I results.
While a Phase II investigation is not always required, performing a Phase II ESA is a good practice, especially for those considering purchasing real estate. Without a Phase II ESA, it is possible that environmental hazards on the property could go unnoticed, and the cost of dealing with removing those hazards often greatly outweighs the cost of the Phase II ESA. This makes the examination extremely helpful in allowing potential real estate buyers to fully understand the liabilities of the property before they make their purchasing decision.
Environmental Site Assessments are unique in their ability to allow property owners and buyers to make more knowledgeable decisions. These activities can prevent massive liabilities for buyers and allow property owners to catch potential problems before they cause massive damage or become harder to resolve.
Encorus Group provides a variety of environmental services, including Phase I and Phase II ESAs. If you need Environmental Site Assessment services, contact Encorus’s Geologist, Andrew Kucserik, at 716.592.3980 ext. 149. or email@example.com.
Inspections are a key part of any commercial facility, and an important part of maintenance for many personal properties as well. It’s important to ensure that equipment, safety measures, and other important aspects of a structure are in adequate condition to continue to serve their intended purposes. Risk-based inspections are a useful form of evaluation that provide a property or facility owner with insight into the probability and consequences of failure associated with each piece of equipment.
Risk-based inspections are included in the category of business practices known as optimal maintenance, which are procedures designed to maintain systems in ways which maximize a company’s profits and minimize its costs. Risk-based inspections and other optimal maintenance procedures are useful in operating a business as efficiently as possible. Many procedures for risk-based inspection are based on the American Petroleum Institute’s recommended practices, and are performed via nondestructive testing.
A risk-based inspection usually involves 2 key components: a probability of failure analysis and a consequence of failure analysis. Each of these serves a unique role in developing a plan to maximize efficiency.
Probability of Failure (PoF) is the likelihood of a piece of equipment to break at a given time. This information can be important in determining the risk posed by the condition of the equipment and in deciding what inspection intervals to set in order to best monitor the condition of the equipment as time progresses. PoF is calculated using a generic failure frequency based on industry averages, a management system factor based on how well management and labor force are trained to handle both daily activities and emergency procedures, and the overall damage factor, which is the combination of all of the various damage possessed by the equipment at the time of evaluation.
Consequence of Failure evaluations are another part of risk-based inspections, and give the critical aspect of determining the significance of damage that could potentially occur if a piece of equipment were to fail. The evaluation acknowledges all important possibilities, including potential safety hazards, economic damages, and environmental damages. This allows engineers to understand how dangerous a piece of equipment could be when nearing the end of its lifespan.
A major benefit of a risk-based inspection is that it categorizes each piece of equipment by its risks and risk drivers, and is able to better prioritize further inspections and safety measures. Knowing how and when equipment may fail allows employees and management to make safe and educated decisions about how to continue operating equipment at all times, but especially when equipment is approaching the end of its usable lifespan.
If you are in need of a risk-based inspection for your business’s assets, contact Keith Taylor, Director of Mechanical Integrity with Encorus Group, at (716) 592-3980 ext 143 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special thanks to our summer intern Mara Gilmartin for this article.
Encorus is in Leeds! Massachusetts, that is.
Employees traveled to the Northampton VA Medical Center in Leeds, MA to assess the condition of masonry, exterior walls, and roofs. The objective of this project is to design for the correction of deficiencies in order to prevent safety issues or service interruptions, and to stop any structural deficiencies from becoming more severe. Vince Roberts and Dan Sullivan are pictured here performing inspections.
Vince Roberts gives a thumbs up as he and Dan Sullivan perform inspections of the roof, masonry, and exterior walls at the Northampton VA Medical Center in Leeds, MA.
One of the lesser known services that Encorus Group offers is control systems engineering design. This discipline is relatively broad, so Senior Electrical Engineer Tom Gilmartin elaborates on when control systems engineering is widely used, which is in the manufacturing process.
A manufacturing process can be thought of as a lineup of equipment in a factory used to produce a product. The product can be anything, from orange juice to airplanes. The process usually includes equipment such as pumps, motors, fans, robots, conveyors, and the like. Typically, a process engineer designs how the system is to function, determining how much of which item (water, chemicals, parts, powder, etc.) has to move where in the system.
Once the process engineer has defined the process, mechanical and electrical engineers step in and design a system to perform the process. This might include sizing equipment, designing electrical feeds, laying out the process physically and fitting it into a building.
With the process defined, and the power and mechanical equipment selected, the controls engineer is called in to finalize the process. The controls engineer, with some help from others, selects instruments necessary to make measurements on the process, such as flow, pressure, temperature, etc. The controls engineer designs communications and wiring to allow all the instruments and devices to communicate to an industrial computer. The computer is programmed to run the process, and to monitor its operation. This often includes a “human machine interface” (HMI), typically a computer screen and keyboard, which provides a visual representation of what is happening in the process as it runs. Controls engineers will start up and test the process, adjusting programming as needed to produce the product correctly.
After the process is functional, it is turned over to plant personnel and run by plant operators. Normally the system will operate for 10 years or more, cranking out its intended product. Once the system begins to fail, the procedure of creating a new manufacturing process begins again.
If your company has a requirement for control systems engineering design, contact Director of Engineering Design Services Tom Gilmartin, PE, PMP, LEED AP, at (716) 592-3980 ext. 124, or at email@example.com.
Encorus Group’s Director of Mechanical Integrity Services, Keith Taylor, has had an article published in “Uptime” magazine. Read it here: How to Use Mechanical Integrity Inspections