Envista’s Building and Engineering Teams Investigate Hurricane Michael’s Devastation

April 07, 2020

Hurricane Michael Hits

In October of 2018, Envista was called in to provide engineering and building consulting services for a loss involving multiple structures owned by the Port of Panama City caused by a colossal catastrophe – Hurricane Michael, the first Category 5 hurricane to strike the U.S. since 1992.  This massive disaster destroyed the entire Port of Panama City in Florida, and significantly impacted the rest of the southeast coast and surrounding areas.  One of the costliest hurricanes to hit the United States, Michael’s aftermath was estimated at more than $25B USD in damages alone, not to mention the economic and agricultural losses.

Envista in Action: The Investigation

Just nine days after the storm hit, a claim for the Port was filed, Envista was selected, and our engineering and building consulting teams assembled and reported for duty.  Envista was called on-site to investigate the 138-acre Port of Panama City, which included more than 21 buildings, high-tech equipment, and specialized cranes – an integral part to the Port’s operations.

Envista had continuous on-site engineering and expert teams, including marine, mechanical, electrical, and structural, as well as building consultants and technical equipment restoration specialists.  We comprehensively scoped the extent of damage to each building, provided detailed cost estimates of the damages, and expedited the funding and recovery effort for the Port’s facilities.

Specialized Port Cranes

Envista’s mechanical engineering team assessed the Port’s large damaged cranes and in doing so, identified the cost of the damaged components to be much less than the originally believed $100,000 USD during the claim’s assessment.  Envista’s civil and structural engineering teams worked with the Port’s identified contractor and were able to develop a repair plan that saved the Port an estimated $6M USD.  Additionally, our civil and structural teams investigated and identified design and construction defects that contributed to the partial collapse of the Port’s distribution building.  Overall, Envista determined total damages for the claim to be approximately $17M USD to repair.

East Terminal Warehouse

One of the newer structures in the Port, the East Terminal Warehouse, valued at $8M USD, was displaced by the wind during the hurricane.  The structure collapsed back onto itself, destroying the front portion of the building, and was racked out of plumb, leaning approximately 4 inches.  Envista’s engineering and building consulting teams worked hand in hand with the Port and their original contractor, and together were able to develop a working plan to bring the building back to its original construction specifications, saving time and money for both the Port and their insurance provider.

AREPA in Action: The Restoration

Along with the forensic consulting services Envista provided, the Port was also in need of technical equipment restoration to get back in business.  The Port’s critical systems needed to get back up and running as soon as possible to avoid hindering the continuation of ship traffic.  Soon after the disaster, AREPA, our equipment restoration division, was hired to work on decontamination and restoration of the Port’s computer equipment and servers – an essential to the heart and soul of the Port’s operations.

The Outcome

Our team’s commitment to being on-site daily provided a level of comfort to all the parties as it showed consistent progress and management of the claim.  By the end of Envista and AREPA’s efforts, the extensive damages Hurricane Michael caused to the nearby structures were all able to be repaired and restored to their original condition.  The joint efforts of our structural, mechanical, restoration, and building consulting teams brought a large claim to an unprecedented closure efficiently and produced substantial cost savings for the Port and their insurer.


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