Mobile, AL

Mobile Press Register


The Mobile Press Register building, which houses newspaper printing and processing operations, is near the Mobile River and Mobile Bay. The owner wanted to protect their critical equipment from flooding during extreme events to avoid significant interruption to business operations and production. SGH evaluated requirements and developed flood protection options.

Although a 100-year event would have only minor implications for the building, the owner wanted to protect vital equipment, including printing presses, inserters and stackers in the packaging area, ink room equipment, electrical switchgear, and a well head providing water when municipal water is unavailable.

SGH reviewed applicable building codes, standards, guidelines, and other related documents to determine the site’s flood hazards. We considered likely effects of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s 100-year and 500-year floods, along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s sea, lake, and overland surges for Category 3, 4, and 5 hurricanes.

During our site visit, we identified vulnerabilities in the structure, including the crawlspace, loading docks, glass curtain walls, below-slab plumbing, utilities, and insufficient floor/slab structural uplift resistance that could allow floodwater to enter the building. Given the high number of potential entry points for floodwater, we determined it was not practical to prevent floodwater from entering the building. Instead, we focused on locally protecting the critical equipment.

SGH developed strategies to protect critical equipment from damage during a flood event. Our protection concepts used flood barriers temporarily installed around printing and packaging equipment, elevating key electrical equipment, sealing penetrations and joints, and installing backflow prevention devices on utility lines. We also prepared cost estimates to help the owner evaluate options.

Project Summary



Completion Date
Repair & Rehabilitation
Performance & Code Consulting
Infrastructure & Transportation
PHI Design Associates, LLC
Specialized Capabilities
Risk & Resilience Assessment

Key team members

Aaron Lewis
Aaron Lewis
Structural Engineering Region Head, East