Earthquakes, Floods, and Wind Storms
caption under image Every truss was compromised in some way. Shear fractures above resulted from the roof weighing down, pushing out the bearing walls and literally pulling these bottom chords apart.
DENNIS KOWAL ARCHITECTS have been busy making house calls after a string of disasters. It began in January when wind and snow loads contributed to the near collapse of the sanctuary roof at the Glen Rock Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. Dennis Kowal was asked his opinion about some hairline cracks in the plaster ceiling that had been developing over the years in a building designed by others. After a trip through the attic truss structure, Dennis asked everyone to leave the building because the roof structure was completely compromised. What did he find? Every one of the wooden roof trusses was split or fractured leaving very little holding up the gabled roof and heavy plaster ceiling which perched over the 200 worshippers. “Either under-design or overloading caused the roof structure to fail. This was a frightening find. I wasn’t even sure the structure would hold me walking across it. Never was there a clearer condition for immanent danger to the occupants. God protected everyone … this could have been catastrophic.” Fortunately, a truss repair contractor was a member of the congregation and the church was closed for nine months while new steel trusses were slipped between the failed existing wood trusses. The stabilized sanctuary will reopen 23 October.