Local structural engineers helping move forward

Protecting life a priority

T-R PHOTO BY EMILY BARSKE Pictured is an aerial photo taken Sunday of the extensive damage in downtown Marshalltown east of Center Street that resulted from last week’s EF-3 tornado.

Critical to Marshalltown’s ability to recover and move ahead from last week’s tornado are local structural engineers Randy Bishop and Kyle Lacina. Bishop is owner of Bishop Consulting. Lacina is president of Structural Engineers, P.C.

The two have been working seemingly non-stop with clients and others analyzing structural damage to buildings not long after the tornado lifted-off.

They are giving critical advice on buildings that can be saved, either through moderate to major repair, or should be torn-down and rebuilt.

A number of them are owned by well-established businesses who helped put Marshalltown on the map.

Relative to their work, Deputy Marshalltown Fire Chief Chris Cross emphasized a key point in a telephone interview earlier this week with the Times-Republican.

“Owners are responsible for ensuring their buildings are safe,” he said.

That is where Bishop and Lacina come in.

The men are seasoned veterans. Bishop has been an engineer 38 years, while owning his business 30 years.

Lacina purchased Structural Engineers from previous owner Larry Olson in 2012. Lacina had worked for Olson, and only Olson, beginning in 1992, shortly after graduating from Iowa State University.

(Olson remains a consultant with SE).

Bishop said he has evaluated approximately 15 properties since Thursday.

“Our primary job is to make sure a building is safe for occupancy,” he said. “We also determine if there exists a safe path for entry and exit.”

Bishop said some of the examinations are cursory. This is necessary because many of the buildings remained covered in debris, and will be for some time.

“We are giving owners basic evaluations based on what we can see and what we know about their properties,” he said. “Even in the best of conditions, roof joists and other elements of a structure are covered with ceilings. If visible, we look for cracks and fractures.”

Kyle Lacina said he too, has been busy checking on clients and others.

Complicating Lacina’s job is his right leg was placed in a immobilizer two weeks ago following surgery. Office manager and spouse Kindra Lacina has been chauffeuring since he can not drive.

“Within two hours of the tornado, we were at JBS and Lennox, two of our established clients,” Kindra said. “Friday began with us at the fire station to offer his services to the city. We also stopped to see Thompson True Value because of our work with owner Dave Thompson since late May to keep their roof up and business open.”

Another trip to Lennox was necessary to help the company remove all essential equipment out in a safe manner. Then to RACOM where SE committed to helping line-up a temporary roof.

“On Saturday we were back at Lennox to walk through the facility with their insurance agency’s engineers. Monday saw Kyle climb to the roof of the Masonic Temple to complete an assessment – very physically demanding – and an assessment for local attorney Paul Peglow. We are currently working with the Marshalltown Water Works for an assessment, and plans are in place for him to also work with Public Works Director Justin Nickel to assist with city structural assessments.”

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com