What happen to this Leslieville Fallen Home?
You might have heard about the Leslieville fallen home on the news or read about it in the paper(Star Article Link) We thought that, given this happened right in our own backyard so to speak, it presented a perfect opportunity to explain to everyone what really happened here and how this could very well happen again. We are actually surprised it doesn’t happen more often given the way most new homes and additions are framed or left once framing has been completed.
With this Leslieville fallen home, it all came down to lack of proper framing techniques and how the materials were not designed to withstand those high wind forces on their own. At the end of the day, this was completely avoidable if a little more care had been taken with the framing of the building itself.
We will walk you through a site photo and list off the various areas that failed due to improper workmanship. Each item is numbered so you can fully understand what we are referring to.
Leslieville Fallen Home Explained
5 Key Factors
As you can see we have highlighted 5 key factors that contributed to the home falling down. They are by no means the only factors but I do believe they were the main ones. Now we must keep in mind that I am not putting these in any particular order and of course none of these would be a factor at all without the high winds of that night.
1. Pieces of OSB ply used around windows and doors. I see this everywhere and it is a very bad practice indeed. An opening for a window or a door is a hole in your wall. The more holes or the bigger the holes are, the weaker the wall becomes. As you can clearly see there is nothing really left of the ground floor rear exterior wall once you take out the openings. What was left was clad with thin strips going perpendicular to each other. That type of application provides zero shear resistance and was probably the single largest contributing factor to this building falling over. Without shear resistance built into the framing on large openings, any building can topple. I can’t speak to the mindset of the contractor involved but this was careless and should never of happened. OSB and ply are cheap in comparison to what has to be paid for now. Ask for engineers to design shear walls if you have large openings at the rear of your building. Make sure external ply is one solid piece that has the window and door openings cut out of it. It is not worth the risk at all.
2. Again a mistake with the installation of the exterior ply. Not only should you use full pieces around windows and doors but you should also overlap ply between floors. Good practice is min 12″ but we like to go around 16″ where we can. Joints should also always be staggered and small pieces should be avoided as much as possible. Your exterior ply is the skin that holds you building together and if it weak so is the rest of the structure underneath it.
3. Improper window framing and or nailing. As you can see at the bottom of this window, things have fully separated but at the top they have just shifted. If this window was framed properly and nailed together it should not have separated like that. Also there are no cross bracing pieces anywhere around that opening or on the first floor for that matter. It is good practice to always cross brace large openings until you can get some windows in them. If cross bracing had been installed, it would have probably stopped all this from ever happening .
4. This one leads into number 5 and is another major mess up. No overlap onto ground floor framing. Again no ply even installed this time and as you can see the same goes with the Densshield Gold installed down the side of the building. There was literally nothing to stop this building from falling over or tying it to the ground floor or foundation properly.
5. The wind force acting on what seems to be a relatively decent installation of the Densshield Gold down the side of the building. In normal situations this would have been ok but with the weakened rear wall structure, this was the final nail in the coffin. Once the force of the wind hit hard against the solid surface of the side of the building, the force proved too much for the framed building to withstand. A framed home is a fragile box until everything is completed and this was a great example of why the entire box has to built with attention and care.
Woodmsith Construction hopes this article has been helpful in clearing up what went wrong in Leslieville. There seems way too much poor construction going on in our community. We want to make sure our community is better informed so this doesn’t happen in the future. Your home is the biggest investment you will ever make and we need to make sure that investment is safe. If you ever have any questions or concerns about how a construction project is being done in your area. Or if you are looking for a quality construction company that won’t take short cuts with your home.
Please don’t hesitate to give us a call anytime @ 416 937-5874