10C — November 19 - December 23, 2021 — Professional Services — Owners, Developers & Managers — M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal


P rofessional S ervices

By Alexis Herr, PE, ECS Mid Atlantic Slabs on Grade (SOG) Analysis Increases the Longevity of Data Center Infrastructure


Prior to installing the heavy telecommunication equipment needed to expand services, an engineering evaluation of the slab which is to support the equip- ment becomes paramount to ensuring the facilities longevity. How can this be accomplished without draw- ings? Engineers start with a simple field survey which includes limited destructive testing. Ground penetrating radar (GPR), core drilling and concrete compressive strength testing and soil sampling to determine the material the slab bears on all must be considered. The weight, size, and placement of the equipment in the space is also required for analy- sis. A visual assessment for existing conditions, the location of joints, and other discontinuities need to be documented as well. The most common issue which prevents a slab from accepting a new load is thick- ness. Since many slab on grades are designed as un- reinforced sections intended to maintain stresses below the rupture strength, thick- ness of the concrete tends to be paramount. Other common issues include low compressive strength of the concrete, poor soils below the slab, proximity to joints, or voids below the slab identi- fied during the GPR scan - ning. Solutions exist for each of these, including grout injection below the slab or installing the equipment on steel platforms designed to spread the load. Sometimes, simply increasing the spac- ing between rows of equip- ment is enough. ECS Mid-Atlantic, LLC has partnered with a major telecommunications pro- vider to successfully install new equipment in dozens of locations across seven states. The outcome allows your data to continue flow - ing smoothly. ECS has also performed similar analyses to help tenants and building owners successfully upgrade industrial racking systems in warehouses and repurpose aging spaces for wheel loads from military grade vehicles without reducing the expect lifespan of their slabs. Alexis Herr, PE, ECS is principal engineer for ECS Mid-Atlantic Facilities . MAREJ

elecommunications is a rapidly growing mar- ket sector. While new

make telecommunications possible on a local level. These small outposts are aging, and their construction documenta- tion has long been misplaced. As weighty equipment is added, evaluations of the ex- isting slab on grade to support the new systems are critical to ensure these properties last. Slabs on grade, or slabs on ground (SOG), are the concrete floor of a building which bears directly on the soil instead of spanning be- tween beams or walls. Most slabs on grade are ‘floating’ or

are independent of the build- ing’s structural and founda - tion system. Design of slabs on grade isn’t sexy. In many cases, slabs on grade aren’t engineered for a specific site or usage and are designed empirically. However, slabs which support heavy loads, racking systems, and wheel loading require special care and attention during design. If the slabs are not designed with an adequate thickness, accelerated deterioration and a shortened life span of the slab will result.

Failure of a slab on grade isn’t generally catastrophic. There isn’t a complete col - lapse. Instead, when a slab on grade is under designed, cracks from tension loading may slowly appear. These small cracks may allow mois- ture penetration into the slab and reduce the concrete’s load carrying ability causing further cracking and eventual deterioration. Slab on grade failure is typically a durability issue which results in costly repairs, shortened lifespan, or a potential tripping hazard.

data centers a r e b u i l t f r e q u e n t - ly, there is value in re- furb i shing and expand- ing existing telecommu- n i c a t i o n s

Alexis Herr

centers. Servicing remote lo- cations, dozens of nondescript commercial buildings house the servers and batteries that

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