Morton Makeover


Back in April we had a tractor spontaneously catch fire inside our Morton building. The tractor was a total loss, and the building was damaged. To ensure it was repaired correctly, we wanted Morton (the original manufacturer and installer) to assess the damage and do the necessary repairs.

You can see the charred area of this truss from a photo a few days after the fire.

Morton worked directly with our insurance company regarding both cost and scope of work. They determined that some of the roof purlins and all of the roof deck needed to be replaced. Only about half the roof was badly damaged, but they no longer use the same kind of deck, and the roof wouldn’t tie together correctly if they didn’t replace the entire thing.

As a structural engineer, I was concerned about adequate repairs, so I did some research about fire damage assessment of wood structures. I found that the only way to determine structural adequacy was to determine the depth of the char on each member.  Here is one resource I found.

This is the same truss after the repairs. They replaced many of the purlins (members that connect directly to the roof deck and carry the load to the trusses…the smaller, newer members here). You can see where they scraped the truss chord to determine the depth of the char, and apparently they determined that it was adequate.

Morton didn’t want to do roof repairs in the heat of summer, so they scheduled the repairs for September. They delivered the materials earlier in the month and finally completed the roof last week. There are still signs of the fire, but after the repairs, the roof looks great!!

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