Characteristics of the building relevant to its seismic performance shall be obtained for use in the building evaluation. This shall include current information on the building's condition, configuration, material strengths, detailing and foundation type. This data shall be obtained from:
- Review of construction documents;
- Destructive and nondestructive testing and examination of selected building components; and
- Field observation of exposed conditions to verify that field conditions substantially match the construction documents in accordance with data collection requirements in the California Existing Building Code Section 303A.3.5.3, or equivalent provisions in later editions of the CEBC.
The characteristics of the building shall be established, including identification of the gravity- and lateral-load-carrying systems. The effective lateral-load carrying system may include structural and nonstructural elements that will participate in providing lateral resistance, although these elements may not have intended to provide lateral resistance. The load path shall be identified, taking into account the effects of any modifications, alterations or additions.
The owner or the owner's authorized agent shall submit the following to the office for review and approval:
- Complete set of construction documents.
- Field test report(s) in accordance with Section 188.8.131.52.
- Field observation report, which shall verify that field conditions substantially match the construction documents.
Where the available construction documents do not provide sufficient detail to characterize the structure, the evaluation may be based on field surveys, summarized in as-built drawings. These drawings must depict building dimensions, component sizes, reinforcing information (for concrete and masonry elements), connection details, footing information, and the proximity of neighboring structures. All parts of the building that may contribute to the seismic resistance or that may be affected by the seismic response of the structure must be identified. The field survey shall establish the physical existence of the structural members, and identify critical load bearing members, transfer mechanisms, and connections. The survey shall include information on the structural elements and connector materials and details. Performing the field survey will entail removal of fireproofing or concrete encasement at critical locations to permit direct visual inspection and measurement of elements and connections. Nondestructive techniques such as radiographic, electromagnetic and other methods may be used to supplement destructive techniques.
- Steel elements. Steel elements shall be classified by structural member type (e.g., rolled or build-up, material grade, and general properties). The survey shall note the presence of degradation or indications of plastic deformation, integrity of surface coatings, and signs of any past movement. For degraded elements, the lost material thickness and reduction of cross-sectional area and moment of inertia shall be determined. Visual inspection of welds shall be per American Welding Society D1.1, "Structural Welding Code-Steel." Structural bolts shall be verified to be in proper configuration and tightened as required in the AISC Steel Construction Manual. Rivets shall also be verified to be in proper configuration and in full contact, with "hammer sounding" conducted on random rivets to ensure they are functional. Nondestructive testing methods, such as dye penetrant and magnetic particle testing, acoustic emission, radiography and ultrasound shall be used when visual inspection identifies degradation or when a particular element or connection is critical to seismic resistance and requires further verification. For buildings in which archaic cast and wrought irons are employed, additional investigations to confirm ductility and impact resistance shall be conducted.
- Concrete elements. The configuration and dimensions of primary and secondary structural elements shall be established. The configuration and condition of reinforcing steel shall be assessed, through removal of concrete cover and direct visual inspection, and through nondestructive inspection using electromagnetic, radio-graphic and other methods. Critical parameters of the reinforcing system, such as lap splice length, presence of hooks, development within concrete, degree of corrosion and integrity of the construction shall be established in sufficient detail to perform the structural evaluation.
- Masonry elements. The configuration and dimensions of masonry elements shall be established. The configuration and condition of reinforcing-steel shall be assessed, through removal of masonry cover and direct visual inspection, and through nondestructive inspection using electromagnetic, radiographic and other methods. Critical parameters of the reinforcing system, such as lap splice length, presence of hooks, development within concrete, degree of corrosion and integrity of the construction shall be established in sufficient detail to perform the structural evaluation.
- Wood elements. The configuration and dimensions of wood elements; the connections between wood elements; and the connections between wood and other structural components or elements such as concrete or masonry walls shall be established. The configuration and condition of wood members, including size, type, grade, condition and quality shall be assessed, through removal of finish materials, and examination of unfinished areas such as attics, crawl spaces and basements. Critical connections and elements shall be visually inspected, using invasive procedures or removal of finishes where necessary. For shear walls, select locations shall be exposed to allow evaluation of sheathing material, nail size, spacing and installation (e.g., overdriven or nails that miss or split the framing members). The base connections of shear resisting elements shall be inspected and evaluated for their adequacy to connect the base of the structure to the foundation or structure below.
- Foundation elements. In the absence of dependable construction drawings, determination of the size and detailing of the foundation system requires invasive procedures. The evaluator shall select representative footings for exposure to establish footing size and depth. Conservative assumptions regarding the reinforcement may be made considering code requirements and local practice at the time of the design. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, it may be assumed that the foundation elements were adequately designed to resist actual gravity loads to which the building has been subjected.