"Insight: to see into and understand; an item of knowledge gained by this power"

RRJ Insight newsletter features RRJ experts' knowledge, technical tips, and challenging case studies for the construction and legal industry. Coverage of our staff professional activities and accomplishments are highlighted.

RRJ Expands Historic Restoration Expertise

Lurita McIntosh Blank, a historic restoration enclosure architect, joins RRJ expanding the firm's enclosure capabilities in restoration, preservation, and adaptive reuse of historic and landmark structures. 


Welcome Our New Principals

The Board of Directors welcome our new Principals, George Mulholland, Sarah Flock and Patrick Reicher. Each are recognized experts who have demonstrated project leadership and excellent client service across our national expert structural engineering and architectural practice.

Meet our New Associate Principals

Recognized experts in their respective fields, George Mulholland, Sarah Flock and Patrick Reicher have been promoted to Associate Principals.


When It Comes To the Building Enclosure, RRJ Has It Covered

RRJ’s building enclosure services are comprehensive, ranging from peer review and repair design, to field quality testing and forensics, to provide clients with quality assurance expertise for their building enclosure performance.

RRJ Opens New Chicago Office

The new Chicago office location expands RRJ's presence in the Chicagoland market to better serve its clients.

RRJ Celebrates 50th Anniversary

RRJ celebrates its 50th anniversay by honoring its Founder, Charles Raths, S.E. for his guiding principles that positioned RRJ as one of the early forensic engineering practices in the country.

Preventing Condensation in Healthcare Environments

Achieving proper enclosure performance requires an understanding of the specialized interior operating parameters and program types of an healthcare environment. RRJ Building Enclosure Specialists, Sarah Flock and Andrea Baird's article in the Jan/Feb 2106 issue of Medical Construction & Design magazine addresses the unintentional effects of these environmental conditions on the potential for condensation formation.

RRJ Offers Building Enclosure Commissioning (BECx) Services

RRJ brings decades of experience and forensic knowledge of building enclosure performance to the BECx process. Our certified commissioning professionals are licensed architects with expertise in evaluating, designing, testing, and repairing of building enclosure systems and components for both new construction and renovation.

RRJ Expands Building Enclosure Expertise 

New Architects, Andrea Baird and Carole Ceja bring extensive building enclosure experience to RRJ expanding the firm's expertise in the area of roofing and wall systems, repair / replacement approaches, design peer review, thermal modeling analysis, and enclosure commissioning.

RRJ Leadership Transition | New Marketing Staff

RRJ announces the leadership transition of Chuck Guedelhoefer who led the firm since 1995 to Kurt Hoigard as new President, along with the addition of new senior technical and marketing staff to support the firm's growth.

Designing Plaza Hardscapes

Plaza construction typically incorporates various products from different manufacturers intended to provide the thermal resistance, water management, structural capacity, and wearing surface needed to meet a particular project's requirements. "Designing Plaza Hardscapes" featured in The Construction Specifier discusses the importance of evaluating the strength and stiffness characteristics of a plaza system, particularly when heavy loading is anticipated.

Grain Elevator Collapse Investigation

Investigation of the partial collapse of a grain storage facility caused by a wind storm that resulted in a complete collapse of the elevator and conveyor system and collateral damage to the grain storage bins. RRJ identified several failure mechanisms not previously considered by other parties that either contributed to or caused the collapse.


Plaza Construction: What Lies Beneath

Plaza construction over occupied space is made of a combination of products hidden below the surface. The plaza article provides constructive information for all professionals involved with plaza construction, and discusses the meaningful changes being made to the design values of visually graded Southern Pine dimension lumber and proposed changes to the International Building Code.

Issue 29
Stucco Cladding on High Rise Buildings

This issue covers RRJ investigations of stucco cladding distress which identified recurring problems associated with a popular method of installation; an update on facade inspection ordinances in major US cities; and an article discussing issues related to air control in buildings.

Issue 28
University of Chicago Mansueto Library Dome Construction Quality Assurance 

RRJ provided independent quality assurance activities and documented the installation of the glazing and gasket components of the library's dome. This issue also includes the Masonry Society TMS Responds article titled "The Gap Between The Wythes and Masonry Wall Type Distinctions" and summary of topics in ASTM SPT 1489, "Dimension Stone Use in Building Construction."

Mansueto Library at University of Chicago
Coastal Condominium Restoration

Cause and extent of water intrusion, structural concerns, and durability issues investigation and repair design solutions for this coastal condominium. This project is discussed along with condensation control and one of RRJ's many involvements with ASTM.

Ocean Place Condominium
Light Frame Wood Construction

An example of distressed tile floor / poured underlayment system highlights a number of issues which can occur due to the additional demand on a conventional wood light frame structural support system. Another wood issue is decay fungi and we discuss how understanding the moisture content of wood construction helps avoid this problem.


Issue 25 - Light Frame Wood Construction Issues
Stone Cladding Anchorage Stiffness

Successful dimension stone cladding designs must address aesthetic considerations of stone color, finish, and panel size in conjunction with engineering requirements, including applied loads, material strength, and attachment to the building. RRJ has investigated numerous stone cladding failures and discusses one in this issue.

Issue 24 - Stone Cladding Anchorage Stiffness

Importance of Condensation Control in Cold Climates

With building trends creating tighter exterior wall systems, eliminating condensation formation within the wall cavity is a significant concern to be addressed in both design and repair projects. In this issue, condensation is discussed and RRJ reviews concerns with installation details and their impact on wall construction.

Structural Restoration of a Historic Chicago Landmark

Structural evaluation and analysis of numerous owner modifications to the existing,132-year old Delaware Building led to the structural failure of the main elements.

Issue 22 - Structural Restoration of Historic Chicago
Indian Prairie Public Library Ice Damming

Every year ice damming causes untold damage to roofs and interior finishes on buildings with sloped roofs. Flat roofs can have their own problems with ice choking of roof drains. The good news is that the problems have remedies. In this issue, we discuss ice dam basics and present a successful remediation case study.

Issue 21 - Indian Prairie Public Library

Experian Headquarters Window / Curtain Wall Testing

Facade failure at this headquarters facility lead to the use of specialized field performance testing of windows and curtain walls as part of a quality assurance program. This issue discussed the tests that allowed actual in-place construction to be evaluated for conformance with project-specified air infiltration, water penetration, and structural performance requirements.

Issue 20 - Experian Headquarters Testing
Performance Criteria for Weather-Resistance Barriers

Water penetration resistance of Weather-Resistance Barriers is discussed in this issue. From our research and testing, RRJ found that some significant water penetration mechanisms are not addressed by current test methods and standards. Strategies to design exterior walls which minimize potential for water leakage and mold growth are presented.

Issue 19 - Performance Criteria for Weatherresistive Barriers

Hampden Green Condo Facade Replacement

This 22-story Chicago lakefront condominium was suffering from ongoing water infiltration problems and failure of a spandrel panel during a high wind event. RRJ's investigation of the window system deficiencies resulted in a fast-track repair program involving the replacement of the strip windows and spandrel panels while the units were occupied. The featured tech tip in this issue addresses more bad news about gypsum-based grouts.

Issue 18 - Hampden Green Condo Facade
Rain Control for EIFS

Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS), also called synthetic stucco, are a popular cladding material for both commercial and residential buildings. This issue focuses on the fundamental rain control strategies that distinguish many of the systems. The dry-out potential of materials in EIFS-clad walls are reviewed.

Issue 17 - Rain Control for EIFS
Vintage Timber Truss Roofs: Collapses Waiting to Happen

From 1920 to the 1950s, manufacturing facilities, grocery stores, bowling alleys, and roller rinks were commonly constructed with timber roof trusses forming large open spans, frequently longer than 70 feet. Couple this with long-term deterioration that weakens and deteriorates the wood components and you have a recipe for failure.

Issue 16 - Vintage Timber Truss Roofs

Terra Cotta Restoration of Two Mellon Bank

RRJ investigated and restored an early 20th century high-rise office building featuring intricate terra cotta mansards and ornamentation. This issue addresses why close-up examination and proper investigation is necessary for these types of structures and how severe corrosion of hidden anchors can be detected.

Issue 15 - Two Mellon Bank Center Terra Cotta Restoration

Wall Condensation Problems Case Study

RRJ presents a case study of a computer center to explore humidity and condensation problems on the exterior building envelope. Both a vapor retarder and an air barrier are needed for proper control of condensation, and the absence of one defeats the function of the other.

Issue 14 - Case Study of Wall Condensation Problems

Grouted Stone Facade Kerf Failures

RRJ discusses the effects of using the wrong grout in exterior applications, such as, railing pockets. RRJ's investigation to determine the cause of stone spalling in an exterior facade is highlighted. Finally, we show the expansive results of combining gypsum and portland cement based grout materials.

Issue 13 - Grouted Stone Facade Kerf Failures

Using Precast to Restore Vintage Limestone

RRJ discusses the major causes related to the restoration of a vintage facility. The restoration design utilized precast concrete formed to the identical proportions and color to replace the steel beam and portions of the limestone, while retaining most of the original intricate carvings.

Issue 12 - Using Precast to Restore Vintage Limestone
Field Testing of the 1892 Historic Memphis Bridge

This issue highlights two examples of RRJ’s bridge experience related to our expertise for developing methods for combining field testing with analytical techniques to solve unusual problems. How vertical lift bridges work, and RRJ’s approach to balancing these immense structures is featured.

Issue 11 - Field Testing of the 1892 Memphis Bridge

Coastal High-Rise Rehab

In this issue, we highlight project work, services, and professional activities related to the firm’s expertise with building facade evaluation, testing, and renovation design. An article on water leakage tests to showcase RRJ’s applied building sciences expertise, and announcement of the new ASTM symposium proceedings

Issue 10 - Coastal High-Rise Rehab
Miami International Airport Garage Construction Evaluation

Problem solving techniques employed by RRJ to assist a contractor in evaluating the construction of a new parking garage as part of the expansion to the Miami International Airport. The investigative approachtion revealed that cracking found in post-tensioned beams was a symptom of radically displaced tendons.

Issue 9 - Miami International Airport
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Headquarters Facade Repairs

We take a look at RRJ's services related to stone cladding. RRJ developed customized nondestructive instruments to find defective anchors hidden within the cladding system at the NRC. Due to this investigative approach, repairs were limited to a small subset of stones resulting in significantly lower repair costs.

Issue 8 - NRC Stone Facade Repairs

Technical Services for New Project Development

We take a look at RRJ's technical expertise and testing services to assist manufacturers in product development, and our use of three-dimensional CAD models and how they help solve and communicate design and construction problems.

Issue 7 -

The Warrington Condominium Restoration

Restoration design of a historic masonry condominium tower in the Baltimore area and the typical problems found in these structures are presented. Hose testing tools used by RRJ in the investigation of water leakage in building facades is discussed.

Issue 6 - The Warrington Condominium Restoration
Issue 5 | Brief History of RRJ

A look back at the beginning of RRJ in 1966 founded by Charles Raths and insight into the philosophy of our firm.

Issue 5 - A Brief History of RRJ
Insurance Industry Consulting Services

Highlights RRJ's consulting services to the insurance industry and the benefits of considering RRJ when engineering expertise is required.

Issue 4 - Consulting Services for the Insurance Industry
Communications Demonstrative Models

Communications and visualization techniques used by RRJ to demonstrate and enhance comprehension of technical concepts and building problems to a nontechnical audience.

Issue 3 - Communications & Demonstrative Models
Metra University Park Commuter Rail Station Rehab

Transit related structural engineering projects are featured in this issue: a commuter rail station rehabilitation, bottom chord deflection problems occurring in wooden bowstring trusses; and full-scale dynamic load testing of Chicago's elevated train system.

Issue 2 - Metra University Park Commuter Rail Rehab

Lake Front High-Rise Tower Water Leakage Rehabilitation

In this premier issue of RRJ Insight, we discuss water infiltration problems: assessment and repair design to a lakefront high-rise residential tower to correct leakage problems; a technical tip on architectural details that contribute to condensation in walls; and RRJ's laboratory findings on water pressure generated during standard curtain wall hose tests.