Baltimore County officials ordered a Pikesville office building closed this week due to “possible structural integrity issues,” and renovations taking place without required permits.
The building was closed Monday and will remain closed until a structural engineer certifies it as safe, said Travis Francis, a spokesman for the Baltimore County fire department.
The building’s owner, listed in property records as Michael Snider of Plaza Investors LLC could not be reached for comment.
The building, located at 600 Reisterstown Road, houses Dougie’s Barbecue and Grill, in addition to a number of law offices and other companies.
Matthew Gawel, Baltimore County’s chief building inspector, said evacuations like the one in Pikesville are “few and far between,” and occur when inspectors find “major issues with structural members.”
“Like I’ve been telling constituents, if you notice that you have a window that’s not opening properly anymore all of the sudden, or doors that are rubbing on the floor that never historically rubbed on the floor before, that’s something of concern,” Gawel said.
In the wake of disasters such as the collapse of Surfside, Florida’s Champlain Towers South condo building, which left at least 97 people dead, officials like Gawel are urging residents to report problems they discover in large buildings: new substantial cracks that appear on walls, caving entryways, and more.
Often, reports from constituents are merely cosmetic issues, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, Gawel said. The county aims to send an inspector within 24 hours, and if structural issues are discovered, a structural engineer inspects next.
The issues at the Reisterstown Road building, though, were discovered during routine inspections by the fire department, Gawel said.
“I think right now Baltimore County has a very good process,” Gawel said. “If there’s issues in the buildings we work closely with the fire department, fire marshal’s office and the constituents of Baltimore County. We respond to constituent complaints on a daily basis.”
County residents can report issues by calling 410-887-3953, visiting the county’s website or downloading the “BaltCoGo” app.