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Military Academies Battle Deferred Maintenance


By Dan Hounsell Maintenance & Operations
United States Air Force Academy Chapel

Deferred maintenance doesn’t differentiate when it comes to the kids of institutional and commercial buildings it afflicts. Health care facilities, commercial office buildings and hotels all face the same challenges when it comes to staying abreast of maintenance needs.

The nation’s military academies, vital education and historic buildings, are finding out this truth the hard way. Recently, deferred maintenance problems at the U.S. Naval Academy came to light.

Now, the Air Force Academy is facing its own issues, which are more limited in scope but still having a high-profile impact, according to Business Insider. The Cadet Chapel soaring over the Colorado Springs campus has leaks and corrosion linked to cost-cutting measures taken during its construction.

The building is clad in aluminum panels with striations in the surface that the architect wanted to use to reflect light at different angles. To keep the project on budget, the school left out sections of sheet metal called internal flashing that the design put under the seams of the aluminum panels to direct rain and snowmelt away from the interior. Caulk was used to seal the seams instead.

Water has been getting through the seams for years, says the academy's architect, Duane Boyle. There have been multiple applications of caulk, but they has degraded the aluminum.

Dan Hounsell is editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions, and Facilitiesnet.com.

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