Bartow, FL

Polk County Justice Center


The Polk County Justice Center comprises a ten-story tower with three-story wings on either side.  The exterior walls are clad with brick veneer and have casement windows, and the roofs were covered with clay tiles.  Shortly after construction of the Polk County Justice Center, the building experienced several serious issues, including interior humidity levels that exceeded eighty percent, heavy roof and wall leakage, and brick veneer that cracked and bulged.  The occupants complained of health problems related to poor interior air quality.

SGH conducted a building enclosure investigation and coordinated work with the HVAC consultant.   Highlights of our work include the following:

  • Determined the causes of water leakage, including roofing and flashing defects, and dampproofing defects on the backup wall
  • Concluded that the HVAC system was oversized and that the infrequent cooling of air in combination with air leakage failed to control humidity
  • Designed new copper roofing, wall reconstruction, and extensive structural repairs
  • Presented expert testimony on behalf of the county’s legal claim resulting in a jury award that covered all repair costs
  • Provided construction administration services and conducted periodic testing of the air/vapor/weather seal at windows and other building enclosure details

Project Summary



Completion Date
Failure Investigation
Building Enclosures
Specialized Capabilities
Building Science | Condition Assessments

Key team members

Dean Rutila
Dean Rutila
Building Technology Division Head, Houston, and Safety Director