Although many industry resources for the design and selection of effective and durable coating systems are available to coating specifiers and manufacturer's technical representatives, too often the wrong surface preparation and/or coating system are specified and completed during construction and rehabilitation projects. This results in less effective coating systems and costly future remedial work. A case study of a project in a seacoast environment will be reviewed to illustrate an installation which resulted in significant remedial work on the existing structures. As a result of poor project specifications, limited or improper technical support, and deficient construction, the structural framing on this project deteriorated prematurely and required extensive remedial work. The project specification and construction deficiencies resulted in widespread coating failures and deterioration of the structural framing. In addition, the various field and laboratory techniques utilized to determine the cause(s) of the coating failures will be discussed. The scope of the completed project and remedial work will also be reviewed. Based on the findings related to the project, general recommendations, and practical steps to avoid such deficiencies that could be used by coating specifiers and manufacturer's technical representatives will be reviewed for the case study.
Although the form and function of a well-designed building are important, it is the long-term performance and durability of a building and its components that will be important to the owner(s) and occupants. Therefore, during the design of buildings, the selection of the appropriate materials and understanding the long-term performance of the specified materials exposed to various site-specific environmental conditions is critical in avoiding the potential "failure by design". The case study presented will focus on the coating failure by design, that could have been avoided by the original design and construction team and resulted in costly litigation and eventually the complete removal of a key architectural element on two high-rise condominium buildings located along the Florida coastline (Figure 1).