Façade Assessment & Repair

Unique remedial designs to restore envelope integrity, prolong structural lifespan, and minimize disruption for occupants

Whether a building dates to the late 1880s or 2015, envelope problems present huge challenges—not just in the cost and staging of repairs, but also in how they impact the day-to-day utility of the structure and occupants’ ability to conduct business or live without disruption. At Davidson & Associates, we expertly calibrate the competing demands of necessary repair and reasonable access. Our decades in the profession mean we have detailed knowledge of legacy systems and the contemporary options for repairing or replacing them.

Remedial Architectural Designs

As forensic architects, we have long experience in designing and implementing solutions to building-related problems. From replacing a roof or waterproofing system to restoration of an historic limestone façade or contemporary masonry veneer, to repair of multiple building components, we offer a complete range of project management services.

Powered by DAAD, we provide analysis and remedial design approaches that are notably more cost-effective and less intrusive than those recommended by other advisors, often on the same projects. We then prepare construction documents uniquely formatted for the type of remedial work, and we oversee the bid solicitation and contract negotiations when needed. Our distinct time-effective construction administration program assures the contractor’s understanding of proper installation procedures and confirms compliance at critical benchmarks. We are proud that no other firm has ever been called on to follow up after we have completed a restoration based on our accurate diagnosis of the original problem.

Occupant-sensitive Solutions

Our restoration projects are almost always performed on occupied facilities that must remain in operation while corrective work is performed. It’s essential to maintaining relations with occupants or residents…as well as to allowing the building to be usable and generate income without interruption. Davidson & Associates has extensive experience in coordinating the contractor’s activities with the needs of the facility manager. This ensures that all work is completed properly and cost effectively, while minimizing disruption.


Samuel E. Wheatley Elementary School – Restoration and Addition to Historic Building

The District of Columbia Public Schools engaged Davidson & Associates to assist its project team in the renovation of a 70,000-square-foot school built between 1908 and 1920 with an 18,000-square-foot addition containing a gymnasium/performance space, a food service kitchen, and ancillary facilities. The project cost was $30 million. +

The historic restoration of the facades had to comply with the Department of Interior standards. D&A was commissioned to evaluate the condition of the masonry, windows, and slate roof to inform restoration of the historic façade. Then we developed a detailed scope of renovation work that was also used to aid in budgeting. Our review of the construction documents prepared by the Architect of Record identified several opportunities to enhance building performance and reduce costs for initial construction and long-term maintenance.

D&A provided construction phase services to assist the contractor in coordinating the work of subcontractors. We also provided technical support to address concealed conditions related to the façade restoration. Unique technical challenges included resolution of thermal and vapor transmission issues through the historic walls in the lower level space that was previously unconditioned. D&A’s construction phase services augmented but were exclusive of typical Architect of Record responsibilities. -


630 Indiana Ave NW – Stone Façade Renovation

Built in 1889 to the design of James G Hill, Supervising Architect of the Treasury, this structure is located opposite the Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue; it was included in the Downtown Historic District National Register in 1984. The building’s west wing features a stone façade comprised of random length blocks. About 30 years after its construction, a renovation continued the stone veneer and slate roof onto the east wing, which was an older wood and brick structure. +

The excavation during construction of an adjacent office building caused the east wing to sink and pull away from the building. The resulting structural damage included stress cracks in the stone façade, especially at the junction of the east and west wings. Other damage included interior wall cracks, floors pulling away from the load-bearing walls, and distortion of the slate shingle roof planes. Where the two wings had pulled apart, a vertical crack several inches wide had developed in the stone façade.

It was required that the repairs to this historic building be undetectable from the exterior. The forensic architects of Davidson & Associates evaluated the movement and structural damage. We recommended a plan to stabilize the east wing with a design using needle piles from the interior side through the basement slab, which was then implemented by a structural engineer. Instead of conventional underpinning, this approach was able to rapidly stabilize the precarious condition without introducing additional stress. It also avoided the bureaucracy involved with excavating the public sidewalks. The crack through the stone façade where the two wings has separated was up to two inches wide. Repairing this so that the damages were undetectable was a major challenge. After carefully determining the original construction of the two wings, D&A devised a creative approach. We recommended removing the wider stones adjacent to the wide crack, splitting them parallel to the face and reinstalling them with laminated concrete backs to replicate the original dimensions. The “harvested” sections were then shaped to replicate the original faces and installed to replace the narrower stones, filling the separation between the wings. After years of service the location of these repairs is still undetectable. -


The Residences at Springfield Station – Window, EIFS & Hardboard Siding Façade Restoration

This 15-year-old apartment complex consisted of two concrete frame six-story buildings with EIFS and brick facades and seven wood-framed, four-story garden-style buildings with brick and tempered hardboard exteriors. The EIFS and windows were leaking on the midrise building and the tempered hardboard siding was badly deteriorated, requiring total replacement on the garden – style building. +

The forensic architects of D&A evaluated the causes of water infiltration as well as the patterns and scope of resulting deterioration, much of which was concealed within the exterior walls. Our restoration program for the midrise buildings included replacement of vinyl windows with those of a higher performance rating to resist wind driven rain and installation of a new drainage EIFS in place of the failing barrier system. At the garden-style buildings, the siding was replaced with a water resistant fiber cement siding, and low-maintenance vinyl trim. D&A’s unique challenge was to maintain watertight conditions throughout construction and to minimize disruption for occupants of this rental community to minimize resulting vacancies. During construction, we were called upon to identify deteriorated sheathing, framing and other conditions and to provide specific, rapid repair methods to avoid construction delays. We successfully completed the project at a cost of $4.9 million and without any construction or water-damage claims by residents. -