As a building owner or real estate developer, you know just how big of an investment owning a building can be. While disasters can strike just about anywhere, Taylor Devices provides a unique solution to protect your building through the use of viscous damping devices.
Originally developed for NASA in the 1960s, fluid viscous dampers have successfully transitioned to the civil engineering community for use in protecting buildings, bridges and other structures worldwide. Fluid viscous dampers, or seismic dampers as they are sometimes referred to, are hydraulic devices that, when stroked, dissipate the energy placed on a structure. This includes everything from earthquakes if you like on the West Coast, to wind buffering for high-rise buildings in major cities along the East Coast and Midwest.
Learn more about fluid viscous dampers below and how they can help protect your building based on your needs.
While living in an area without any threat of natural disasters is nearly impossible, living somewhere that is prone to seismic activity creates a unique situation. Most natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, or floods, are typically associated with a certain season or can be somewhat forecasted. Earthquakes, on the other hand, are not. These natural disasters can happen suddenly and without warning. While earthquakes may occur less frequently than other natural disasters, they can be the most destructive and costly when they do.
Fortunately, building codes continue to be improved so we can be better prepared against the massive destruction these events create. In California for example, building codes have been modified after nearly every major earthquake.
Earthquakes & Code Improvements
Code improvement: concrete detailing
Code improvement: wood frame and soft story issues
Code improvement: welded steel frame detailing
While it is important to continuously update codes and make our buildings safer, this can take time. Several cities have begun implementing seismic ordinances requiring the upgrade of certain structures, but improvements can still be made. Did you know that current California Building Codes only require that buildings avoid collapse for people to evacuate safely? Current codes allow for your building to be designed for damages to occur, meaning it may not be functional or habitable after a moderate or large earthquake. And it’s not just California. Be sure to check your own state’s building codes to find out just how much damage can occur to your building. More importantly, as the building owner, you are responsible for life safety during and after construction is completed.
California Civil Code Section 1942 allows a tenant to break their lease without prior notice when the property is uninhabitable, such as if it has become damaged after an earthquake.
One method building engineers use to meet the required codes is to stiffen the building, which will make the structure stronger than the earthquake. While this will keep the building from collapsing, extreme shaking can still occur, leading to additional problems such as broken pipes and vents, toppling shelves and light fixtures, water damage, and more. These damages can lead to unsafe living conditions for tenants and you with expensive repairs.
An alternative and more efficient solution is to add seismic dampers to the building to absorb the energy of the earthquake. Similar to how shock absorbers work on your car when driving on a bumpy road, dampers can be added to a structure to limit the shock and vibration during an earthquake.
Taylor Devices makes it easy to retrofit existing buildings as well as protect new buildings from the harmful effects of earthquakes. Our devices allow for immediate occupancy after even the worst predictable design level earthquakes allowing your tenants to reenter their home or workplace after an event. Our seismic dampers will be immediately ready for the aftershock or next seismic event and will last the lifetime of the building.
These seismic dampers are a fraction of the cost it would take for major repairs, or even worse, the need for your building to be demolished because it is structurally unsound.
While fluid viscous dampers are great for protecting buildings from seismic activity, they can also be used for many other applications including reducing wind motion. Tall buildings will often experience unwanted swaying during high winds which can add stress to a structure and even cause motion sickness for tenants. Traditional methods are to stiffen the building, but this can come with added costs and weight. An alternative is a damped outrigger system that uses fluid viscous dampers. This solution is also superior to a tuned mass damper, which can be extremely expensive, very heavy, and takes away valuable floors at the top of a building.
You can read more about the benefits of a damped outrigger system by clicking here, or read how these dampers were used in the 250 West 55th Street building in Manhattan and the 181 Freemont building in San Francisco, CA in the following case studies.
Benefits of adding dampers to a building:
To learn even more about how these devices can protect your building, please download our building owner’s brochure below. For any other questions or concerns, feel free to contact us to speak with someone from our skilled technical staff.
The following update is from company president, Alan Klembczyk.
March 20, 2020
To the Customers of Taylor Devices:
Due to the ongoing dynamics of the situation with respect to the Coronavirus, I feel that it is necessary to update our customers yet again. As of today, there has been a significant development for us, so I want to convey our current status.
The Governor of New York State, Andrew Cuomo, today updated his Executive Order mandating that 100% of their workforce stay home, with certain exceptions.
Before explaining how that impacts us, please allow me to clearly state that we continue to monitor and adhere to the advice of the appropriate public health agencies. Our Executive Management team is in continuous communication with each other and we are reacting accordingly to minimize any possible impacts that this situation may cause in satisfying all our customer’s needs.
We continue to follow the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and the Niagara County Health Department for news and advice on steps that should be followed. We are following the recommendations of those agencies.
Because Taylor Devices provides products and services for defense and national security-related operations supporting the U.S. Government and is a contractor to the US government, we are continuing our operations on a limited basis to support our requirements. This allows us to maintain at least a minimal workforce, including some office staff and some personnel who are supporting manufacturing, assembly, and testing operations.
We have taken substantial measures to allow certain other employees to work from home if their job function allows. Therefore, we are fortunate to be in a position that allows us to maintain many functional aspects of our Company while still practicing cautious measures to inhibit the spread of the Coronavirus.
Please continue to be assured of the following points:
Our Purchasing team is in continuous communication with our suppliers so that we can be updated on any delays that may occur. To date, there still have been no delays in receiving our raw materials, purchased components or outside services that affect our final product.
We are managing this crisis with plans and protocols, which includes the ability for many of our employees to work remotely and seamlessly to support our customers while keeping our employees safe.
Our cleaning service at our factory has stepped up cleaning and disinfecting, especially in high-use areas such as bathrooms and lunchrooms.
We have eliminated non-essential travel.
We have put into place a policy of reporting any personal travel by staff or family members outside of Western New York to Human Resources to determine if any quarantine measures will need to be taken, especially if the travel is to high-risk exposure areas or on cruise ships.
We have added a formal visitor pre-screening process that we now require all visitors that enter our facilities to complete.
Please be assured that Taylor Devices continues to hold a very high standard for all our customers while ensuring the safety of all our employees and our professional associates. Our Sales Staff is always available to answer any questions that you may have, and we will continue to support our customers to the absolute best of our abilities.
Thank you very much for your confidence in us to manage this challenging situation.
Please stay tuned for more updates to come.