Clever of the British to give a posh name to a common problem. But London’s Regent Street Disease* affects buildings, not people.
Whatever the name, this phenomenon is the same on either side of the Atlantic. When structural iron or steel corrodes, it expands (up to eight times its original size) causing cracks, spalls, or wholesale failure in the surrounding masonry and calling into question the member’s ability to sustain the load it was designed to carry.
Compounding the problem in New York City, our buildings are also subject to more freeze/thaw cycling than their English counterparts, exacerbating masonry deficiencies with time and the seasons.
While there’s no panacea for Regent Street Disease, early, proactive detection and restoration can mean the difference between a building that’s right as rain (though resistant to it) and one that ends up on life support.
*This prestigious street in London’s West End lends its name to a form of facade deterioration common in certain 19th-century buildings of the area.
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