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Innovations in Crawl Space Technology

A Variety of Crawl Space Technology

Today, the remarkable variety of innovative architectural designs has given rise to a shift in crawl space technology. Both commercial buildings and residential properties typically include these passages. Some crawl spaces permit easy access; others do not.

If you own a home, it usually proves helpful to learn details about crawl spaces on the property. Request periodic inspections of these locations by a trained expert in order to make certain these areas remain clean, dry and secure. Inventors immersed in crawl space technology recently developed some tools  to assist waterproofing companies in carrying out this assignment.

Some Unusual Crawl Spaces

Two startling news items demonstrate the surprising diversity of crawl spaces in modern buildings. While these stories remain exceptional, they do highlight the importance of periodic inspections. Most people rarely (if ever) access these sites in residential structures. Yet as the two media reports demonstrate, crawl space technology can impact buildings profoundly:

An Unexpected Solution to an Unusual Problem

During the excavation of a commercial development in Miami, Florida, builders uncovered some surprising discoveries. The site sits adjoining a area where archaeologists in 1998 uncovered centuries-old artifacts along the northern bank of the Miami River. They retrieved objects manufactured by the Tequesta, people residing there when Spanish explorers first arrived in Florida. The planners responsible for building multistory Met Square, an office tower, apartment complex and cinema scheduled to open in 2018, decided to revise their plans in order to incorporate an innovation: in addition to a Gallery operated by a local historical museum, the development will contain a specially designed underground crawl space. The passageway will permit ongoing archaeological excavation. Archaeologists plan to use this location to continue researching the Tequesta settlement.

Completely Unforeseen Damage

The potential for infrequently utilized crawl spaces to factor into unanticipated events also became evident a few years ago in downtown Denver, Colorado. In 2014, an unfortunate situation occurred when a man secretly began living above the ceiling of a popular local restaurant. His presence became known when he fell through the rafters into a crawl space inside a wall containing water pipes and HVAC equipment. He sustained injuries and broke some of the pipes, turning on a fire sprinkler system and causing extensive property damage in the restaurant and an adjoining hotel before emergency crews rescued him by cutting away a portion of the drywall. The police later arrested the man for burglary.

High Tech Tools For Investigating Crawl Spaces

Fortunately, most crawl spaces don’t generate news stories. Yet since these structures may occur in variable sizes and locations, relying on some high tech surveillance tools often assists waterproofing experts. Unless they house HVAC or electrical equipment, most crawl spaces lack lighting. Builders and homeowners can assist the process of checking these areas by installing motion or voice activated battery-powered LED lights. Try and place the light in a dry location close to the top of the entrance of the crawl space. It may enable you to determine the need for professional waterproofing assistance rapidly if an emergency occurs.

If crawl spaces don’t allow ready access, technicians today can often use technology to assist them in checking extremely narrow or inconveniently located crawl spaces. For instance, Dewalt has developed a waterproof inspection camera with an attached manually held display screen. It supplies a camera affixed to the end of a long metal hose. The unit costs a few hundred dollars. It offers assistance checking and documenting the condition of crawl spaces, pipes, drains and chimneys.

Robotic Tools

Some manufacturers have also recently developed sophisticated robotic tools to check crawl spaces remotely. The Japanese firm Daiwa House utilizes a robot called “Moogle” (pronounced “Moggle”) to conduct crawl space inspections on the properties it warranties. The home builder relies on the 30-pound mobile machine to check out and document conditions in these locations. Moogle operates on miniature tank tracks and offers two cameras, wireless connectivity and even a laser for measuring distances accurately. Available for lease in Japan for the equivalent of $500, or for sale at $2500, the compact robot can fit comfortably into very restricted spaces.

Although still expensive, robots today prove very useful in investigating potentially hazardous crawl space environments. For example, in cases in which the stability of an overlying structure remains questionable, they may help prevent tragic accidents. It seems likely the use of automated inspection technologies will increase rapidly during coming decades.

Further Assistance

If you require skilled professional help checking and maintaining your home or business crawl spaces, call on us. We offer expert waterproofing assistance and consultations about the latest in crawl space technology. Ask us to address problems involving crawl spaces, basements, foundations and retaining walls.