A beautiful oceanfront condominium located in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida is home to luxury million-dollar condominium units, a grand lobby with marble floors, fine dining, and grand glass elevators. Residents here have high-end taste and expectations. A main HVAC riser line ruptured, affecting approximately 15 common areas, 46 units, and 2 stairwells. The property manager expressed how important it was to avoid relocating the building’s tenants and minimize their inconvenience. The ornate wall coverings, custom molding, and fine marble needed to be rescued and restored to their previous state. Electrical and mechanical systems had to remain operational. After an assessment of the damage, it quickly became clear to FIRST ONSITE project management that the biggest challenge would be the stairwells.

• Both stairwells were impacted and were the only means of emergency egress.
• The stairwell walls were constructed with multiple layers of gypsum wallboard (GWB).
• Residents would use the stairwells regularly, thus interfering with the drying chamber.
• Cost associated with replacing the wall assemblies would be exorbitant.

“Thanks for your services and professionalism. You and your crew did an amazing job.”
― Katya Legott, LCAM, Project Manager


FIRST ONSITE designed a new drying strategy for the stairwells. It required expert around-the-clock teams and over 10,000 CFM’s of desiccant dehumidification. FIRST ONSITE Project Managers worked closely with Property Management and local building officials to ensure that the building occupants still had a means of emergency egress.

After installing two 5,000 CFM desiccant dehumidifiers (one for each stairwell), crews began to perforate the walls to allow for inner wall ventilation. Air movers were positioned in all landings, where the largest floor space existed, to eliminate tripping and falling hazards. Lay flat ducting was installed by suspending it in an upward spiral over the heads of patrons to avoid any visibility restraints. FIRST ONSITE teams identified moisture impacted materials on each level using infrared thermography and perforated holes into lay flat to allow for directional airflow to impacted materials.

In less than 7 days, the Industrial Hygienist certified the property dry and free of excess moisture that would pose any microbial risks. Most importantly, not one person had to leave their home for even a single day. Mitigation cost savings are estimated to be over $500,000 for the stairwell alone.

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