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Cinamon Building: It’s Not About the Spice!

Wed, 07/31/2019 - 11:01

Congratulations to our clients Jim & Rebecca Henry, represented by Josh Soley of Maine Realty Advisors, on their recent purchase of the Cinamon Building at 1 Pleasant Street in downtown Portland, Maine. The historic structure built in 1900 is named not for the aromatic spice, but instead for the longtime owners—the Cinamon family—with a slight variation in the spelling. An historic view of the building from 1924 is available on the Maine Memory network.

Just prior to the recent sale,Criterium Engineers performed a structural inspection on the historic four-story brick structure, located on the corner of Pleasant and Center Streets. Criterium’s Nate Powelson, P.E., performed the inspection. The Cinamon Building is managed by Soley and currently houses a popular restaurant as well as several businesses.


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Accelerate Depreciation for Your Commercial Real Estate

Thu, 07/25/2019 - 10:25
What property types benefit most from accelerated depreciation with a Cost Segregation Study?


Many of the costs embedded in a new or existing building can be segregated into categories that also allow for more rapid — or accelerated — depreciation. Many items inside the building – furnishings, fixtures, flooring and the like – can be depreciated more quickly, over 5 to 7 years; and the site improvement components can be depreciated over a 15-year period.

Best suited for:
  • Real estate construction valued at over $1 million
  • Building acquisitions or improvements
  • New buildings under construction
  • Existing buildings undergoing renovations or expansions
Best savings potential:
  • Office buildings
  • Shopping centers
  • Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Warehouses and distribution centers
  • Manufacturing and industrial plants
  • Medical facilities

Learn more about accelerated depreciation and cost segregation studies. The CSS can be done independently or conducted in parallel with a Property Condition Report, an Environmental Site Assessment. The IRS has detailed information on cost segregation techniques, as well.

For investors considering whether to purchase a commercial property and for real estate brokers trying to make a marginal transaction feasible, a Cost Segregation Analysis may be essential and Criterium Engineers is uniquely qualified perform it.
Request a Proposal!

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Lewiston Gateway: Congratulations to MH Properties

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 10:16

Congratulations to our client Matt Hancock of MH Properties LLC, based in Maine, on his recent purchase of three adjacent properties in Lewiston, Maine:

  • 475 Lisbon Street
  • 491 Lisbon Street
  • 500 Canal Street

Criterium Engineers was hired to perform Commercial Building Inspections, conducted by Jack Carr, P.E., on all three buildings, known as the Lewiston Gateway Complex. The buildings are adjacent to one another in the center of the city’s downtown district.


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Congrats to Our Client Connecticut River Capital

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 13:33

Congratulations to our clients at Connecticut River Capital for their recent purchase of 465 Congress Street and their plans to get Portland’s first skyscraper ‘back to where it should be,’ as mentioned in the Portland Press Herald.

Criterium Engineers was engaged to perform a Property Condition Assessment, which was conducted by Campbell Grant, P.E., prior to Connecticut River Capital’s purchase of this iconic building. A PCA is the gold standard for building inspections, conforming with national standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), and Standard and Poor’s.

Portland’s first high-rise—at ten stories tall—was built in 1910 and is historically known as the Fidelity Trust Building, but more recently called the People’s United Bank Building. It is located in the center of downtown Portland, Maine, at Congress and Preble Streets, near Monument Square. Criterium Engineer’s corporate headquarters was once located across from this property.

We look forward to seeing the work Connecticut River Capital will do to create the next rendition of this historic Portland property. .

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Hurricane Season is Here—Are You Ready?

Fri, 05/31/2019 - 15:56

The engineers at Criterium encourage residents, homeowners, condo/apartment owners, and commercial property owners to prepare for the hurricane season which begins each year on the first of June.

This year’s seasonal forecast was recently announced by NOAA’s Climate Prediction. They predict a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season this year with a range of 9 to 15 named storms. Dr. Gerry Bell, Lead Seasonal Hurricane Forecaster at NOAA, provides this season’s outlook.

Now is a good time to prepare your home or business for such an event. FEMA provides a wide array of hurricane tips—including what to do before, during and after a hurricane at

It’s also a good time to take photos of your residence or commercial property in its current state. That way, if your property is involved in a hurricane—you have photos to use as a basis of comparison. When it comes to insurance companies and FEMA, more is better for documenting any hurricane damage. That way you will have “before” and “after” photos to document your property’s situation.

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Paving Isn’t Sexy: But Proper Maintenance is Essential

Tue, 02/26/2019 - 21:45
Engineering Advisor | Volume 26, Number 1

When was the last time you thought about your parking lot? The honest answer, probably, is not in recent memory.  It’s not a question of ‘out of sight –out of mind.’ Parking lots and other paved areas are highly visible, but they aren’t all that interesting.  There is nothing sexy about asphalt.

A well-designed, nicely manicured landscape will get your attention; a nicely-paved parking lot – not so much.  As a result, paved areas don’t always get the maintenance attention they need, and that is a potentially serious problem for both the owners of commercial properties (shopping malls, for example) and the homeowner associations that manage residential condominium communities.  A poorly maintained parking lot is not only an eyesore, detracting from a property’s curb appeal; it is also a liability risk:  Customers or residents who trip over cracks or whose cars are damaged by potholes are going to sue the property owner.

Paved areas, if well-constructed and well-maintained, can last between 25 and 30 years or more, depending on where they are located and how they are used.  Unfortunately, parking lots, sidewalks and driveways are often afterthoughts — the final items on a construction checklist, undertaken near the end of the project when funds are low and the developer’s attention is waning.

Doing it Right

Pavement isn’t complicated.  It begins with good soil compacted properly to create a stable base that should be covered by two layers of asphalt ― a base course on bottom and a wearing course on top. There is some disagreement about the desired thickness, but no question that the thicker the asphalt layers, the longer their life.  The industry standard calls for a combined thickness of between 2.5 and 5 inches, with the top layer thicker than the bottom.

Only about half of the parking lots we inspect meet that standard.  Most fall short and many fall well short, with both layers sometimes totaling less than 2 inches.  If the asphalt layers are too thin, if the underlying soil is poor, or if the area isn’t paved uniformly the surface will form holes, crack and split, requiring constant repairs and premature repaving.

Harsh winters and the damage inflicted by the steel blades of snow plows take a toll in New England and other cold climates; extreme heat and exposure to the blazing sun do the damage in the south and southwest.  Pavement in hotter areas may require the application of a sealant (to smooth over holes and cracks) in less than a year after being laid; pavement in colder climates may not need sealant for five years, and possibly not all, but it will benefit from efforts to mitigate the damage inflicted by snow and ice.

You can’t skip the snow plowing or the application of de-icing materials, but some of those materials are harder on asphalt than others. It’s worth asking your snow removal contractor for recommendations.  Proper application of the material is also essential; adding more salt won’t necessarily improve its effectiveness, experts say, but it will increase the cumulative damage to paved areas and reduce their useful life.

Poor drainage can also accelerate deterioration. Even the best-laid surface will be compromised over time if water “ponds” on it instead of draining properly. You can spot evidence of ponding even if it isn’t raining. Areas of discoloration (shadows) and collections of dirt, twigs and other debris are red flags indicating a drainage problem.  A decent slope and catch basins, on the other hand, suggest that the contractor was thinking about proper drainage

Maintenance Guidelines

All pavement, however well or poorly-constructed, requires proper care. The maintenance schedules will vary ─ some paved areas will require attention sooner or later than others — but the protocols will be essentially the same.

A few small cracks here and there will be the first sign of wear. They will usually appear between the three- and five-year marks, and filling them will be the first line of defense. The important thing about cracks is, small ones will quickly become larger, so you don’t want to ignore them. They represent both a safety hazard (people can twist their ankles or trip over them) and a structural concern. Water can seep through the cracks causing damage below the surface of the asphalt. In warm climates, the water will unsettle the soil, pushing the clay up against the asphalt and accelerating the deterioration process. In New England, water will trigger a destructive freeze-thaw-freeze process in the winter, which will also shorten the asphalt’s useful life.

You can deal with small cracks by filling them in. Contractors typically use a melt-in substance that won’t shrink after application. This is the product highway crews use because of its durability and ease of application. It is sold under several retail brand names, all variants of “hot-applied crack sealant.” Experts suggest that you fill cracks every two or three years, as part of a regular maintenance plan. If cracking becomes more widespread, you can take the next step, which is to apply a sealant to the entire paved area.

Resurfacing and Replacing

As asphalt ages, one or more sections may begin to break up or flake, indicating that the surface is beginning to deteriorate. Patching will probably take care of the problem, at least for a while. But you don’t want to just pave over the failed area ― a shortcut some contractors might suggest; you want the contractor to cut out the area, fill in the subsurface and then pave over that. This will give you a sturdier, longer-lasting repair, but it is still a temporary fix ─ a band aid, not a cure.

At some point — and the hope is it will be later rather than sooner in your pavement’s life ― deterioration will accelerate, repairs will become more frequent requiring more aggressive and more expensive responses.

One option is to resurface the area ─ either lay a new surface over the existing one, or remove the old asphalt and pave the area anew. These options make sense if the underlying soil base is stable. But remember Einstein’s definition of insanity (doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result). If the old surface failed prematurely because the underlying soil wasn’t’ stable, a new surface laid over that unstable soil won’t wear or fare any better.

It’s time to start over. The contractor should remove the old asphalt, scoop out the bad soil, replace it with gravel and stone to create a solid base, and then lay the new pavement over it. That’s the traditional approach. A newer technique calls for pulverizing the old asphalt and using it as a base for the new pavement. In addition to creating what contractors say is a “super-solid” base, pulverizing the old asphalt eliminates the cost of trucking it away and disposing of it at a hazardous waste site. Either technique will give you nice, new pavement that will last another 25 or 30 years or more.

 Volume 26, Number 1 | December 05, 2017 | Copyright © 2017 CRITERIUM ENGINEERS

The Engineering Advisor is intended to enhance your knowledge of technical issues relating to buildings.  For additional information on any subject, please feel free to call us.  Our commitment is to provide you with timely, accurate information.

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Water Intrusion | Volume 25, Number 1

Thu, 12/22/2016 - 12:33

“Water, water everywhere” is not what you want to be thinking as you’re staring through the windows of the restaurant, drug store and appliance shop that are tenants in the building you own. 

read more

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Cost Segregation Studies

Wed, 03/18/2015 - 08:53

Depreciation enters significantly into the financial performance of commercial buildings. Typically, property, exclusive of land, is depreciated over 39 years.

read more

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Don’t forget the roof!

Tue, 02/10/2015 - 15:41
Building owners and managers: add roof to your snow removal checklist.

Several areas of the US are currently experiencing heavy and frequent snowfalls.

read more

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Multifamily Radon Testing and Mitigation Requirements

Fri, 01/09/2015 - 15:54
What does it mean to building owners, investors, and property managers?

US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

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Engineering Advisor Bulletin

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 14:14

National Engineers Week, founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers in 1951, is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understan

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Snow on the Roof

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 13:44
The Basics

What this means for building owners is that snow is a concern in most areas, yet unpredictable from year to year.

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Recovering from Hurricane Sandy; It's More than Just Cleaning Up

Thu, 11/15/2012 - 14:44

In the wake of the damage and flooding of Hurricane Sandy, Criterium Engineers encourages residents, homeowners, condo/apartment owners, and commercial property owners to have a th

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Building Envelope Commissioning

Mon, 10/24/2011 - 11:52

Building Commissioning is defined as “a quality-oriented process for achieving, verifying, and documenting that the performance of facilities, systems, and assemblies meets defined objectives a

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Energy Performance Ratings

Fri, 03/11/2011 - 16:04

Buildings consume 40% of our total energy requirement (heating, cooling, lighting). 

The idea of rating building energy performance has been around for many years.

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Snow on the Roof

Thu, 10/07/2010 - 14:03

The winter of 2009/2010 was remarkable in some ways and quite average in others. Remarkable in that measurable snow fell in 49 states.

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Energy Audits

Thu, 10/07/2010 - 13:36

Energy audits are popular again. They were first offered in the ’70s and ’80s, but owners and consumers lost interest as fuel prices stayed low relative to income.

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Chinese Drywall

Thu, 10/07/2010 - 13:29

So-called Chinese drywall refers to a product imported from China to be used in the construction of walls and ceilings of homes and other buildings.

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Thu, 10/07/2010 - 13:21

Elevators make modern buildings possible.

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