Engineers say Kinkead Building safe ... unless

It probably won't fall down - unless there's an earthquake.

That's the conclusion of a study of the Kinkead Building, 505 E. King St. in Carson City, where engineers say substandard concrete and failure to properly pre-stress the steel reinforcing it are responsible for floors that slope as much as 6 inches.

The study was completed by the Reno engineering and architectural firm of Blakely, Johnson & Ghusn in May 2004. Properly designed and constructed, those floors shouldn't be more than an inch and a third out of level across the entire building, the report says.

The study says despite sagging floors and other problems in the 30-year-old building, "we do not anticipate a catastrophic failure in the floors; specifically we do not anticipate that the floors are subject to collapse."

"We do anticipate that more cracking will occur at the thickened slab sections and over time additional pieces of concrete can be expected to break loose," the report states.

But those same engineers said all bets are off if there is a major earthquake.

"Our opinion is that a moderate earthquake in the vicinity of the Kinkead Building could result in significant damage which might be substantial enough to label the building 'unrepairable.' A major earthquake could result in severe damage including partial or complete collapse."

Engineers tested the concrete in the building's floors by drilling core samples and concluded it was only half as strong as it was supposed to be. They also found that pre-stressing the reinforcing steel in the concrete was only 50 percent of designed specifications.

As a result, the engineers recommended occupants be very careful "not to significantly increase or change the floor loads with large concentrated loads such as file cabinets or storage."

The problem, according to the report summary, is that fixing the problems would cost up to 90 percent of what it would cost to replace the building.

Kinkead is a six-story building with just under 80,000 square feet of space. It was completed in 1975.

The building houses the Department of Information Technology and several divisions of the Department of Human Services including the Health Officer, Vital Statistics, Bureau of Community Health, Rehabilitation and the Bureau of Health Planning.

n Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.

Who's it named after

The state building at 505 E. King St. housing the Department of Information Technology and several divisions of the Department of Human Services was named after Gov. John H. Kinkead a Republican who served from 1879-1883.

Kinkead was elected as Nevada's territorial treasurer in 1861.


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