Structurally Sound

It’s a dreaded scenario: revitalizing an outdoor facility only to have Mother Nature blow through town and damage the updated structure. Although damage may not be apparent on the surface, many parks and recreation agencies have been through the rigors of inspecting structures manually to ensure they withstood hurricane or tornado winds and damage from debris. Thanks to the latest technology, 3-D laser scanning may make the process less arduous and save time and more important–money.

Practical Yet Purposeful

In the densely populated urban city of Elizabeth, N.J., open space is at a premium. In 2010, the city embarked on the revitalization of the Mickey Walker Recreational Facility, a park with an aging pool that was to be transformed into a water-efficient, cost-effective, ADA-accessible, water spray park with seating areas. Designed by Maser Consulting P.A., the spray-park project was to include an open steel shelter where friends and family can sit in the shade but still monitor their children’s activities. Another dimension was added when

A laser scanner records 50,000 independent measurements per second, making it a more accurate means of capturing the structure's physical components, including the various structural steel shapes, sizes, and lengths. Photos courtesy of Maser Consulting P.A.

A revitalization of the Mickey Walker Spray Park created an open steel structures where friends and family can sit in the shade and still monitor their children’s activities.

Photos courtesy of Maser Consulting P.A.

elderly patrons from the adjacent senior center also visited the spray park to sit under the shade structure and watch the children play. This unexpected—yet positive—revelation eventually led to the expansion of the initial building-structure design to approximately double the original size.

The structure was constructed with galvanized steel columns to avoid corrosion along the ground level. The remaining building was constructed of structural steel shapes of varying sizes. All hardware was stainless steel that will provide longevity and minimal maintenance. The roof panels were screwed into tubular steel to avoid screws penetrating the corrugated-steel roof, and a cupola was installed to improve the aesthetics of the overall structure.

Hit By A Hurricane

After the park’s reconstruction was completed in the summer of 2011, the city was subjected to the effects of Hurricane Irene, as well as an earthquake shortly afterwards. Concern for the park—particularly the shade structure—from the effects of the hurricane’s high winds and potential damage from the earthquake prompted the engineers to revisit the park. While confident that the building would withstand the effects of both events without damage, the engineers performed a post-storm structural-building analysis to assess the member stress levels and quantify the effects of the storm and earthquake.

To accomplish this, they implemented the latest technology in 3-D laser scanning. The open design of the structure was the perfect subject for using laser-scanning technology rather than the traditional method of manually gathering existing measurements of a building. The laser scanner records 50,000 independent measurements per second, making it a more accurate means of capturing the structure’s physical components, including the various structural steel shapes, sizes, and lengths. Fewer professionals also are required to take the measurements, and data can be gathered in one field visit, thereby eliminating the need for costly return site visits.

Starting The Scan

Engineers utilized on-the-ground 3-D laser scanning in conjunction with STAAD.Pro software to provide a structural analysis based on a real-life representation of the building. The 3-D scanner created a

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