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SMT Saving the Leaking Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at UBC

SMT is currently part of the project in saving the long leaking Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at the University of British Columbia.


LOCATION: University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC


AREA: Conventional: 28,500 Sq. Ft.; Inverted: 2,250 Sq. Ft.

SENSOR CLASS: Building Intelli Live Monitoring for both conventional and inverted roofs with DigiStars and Moisture Detection Sensor Tape (MDS).

INDUSTRY: Mission-Critical

MOA, designed by the renowned Arthur Erikson, was constructed and opened in 1976. The building has been suffering from leaks and floods in the past few years. “Staff at the Museum of Anthropology are used to the leaky roof that follows every Vancouver rainstorm.” (Joel Ballard, CBC News) According to a CBC news report, the ultimate solution MOA staff was using to survive during the long “Raincouver” seasons was to place plastic buckets around the building to catch the water dripping from the roof. (Read the full story on CBC News here)

Even though MOA stated that not a single artifact or artwork had been damaged from the leaks, yet, the invaluable collections are still at stake while the critical mission of a museum is to provide the best preservation for cultural heritage.

The news about MOA’s $8.8-million seismic upgrade project has been big, but the further $8.2-million renewal project including the replacement of roofs and skylights has been kept low profile. As equally important as seismic solutions in response to potential earthquakes, the need to have leak-free roofs comes more urgent - Vancouver rains and storms are almost an everyday, all-year-long issue that has already been put the Museum at lingering risk of damages anytime possible.

Being a leader in leak detection and moisture monitoring solutions, SMT’s technologies have been in place of the new roofs to protect the Museum at real time. Live moisture monitoring systems are being instrumented on both inverted and conventional roof assemblies, which means moisture sensors are being installed to provide real-time data on the moisture level and DigiSCAN 360° leak detection will be used for quality assurance at every stage of the re-roofing project.

The project is ongoing, expected to be completed in Winter 2019.

Stay tuned for more updates on this project.

On this project:

Architect: Nick Milkovich Architects Inc.

General Contractor: Smith Bros. & Wilson

Building Science: RDH Building Engineering

Roofing: Mack Kirk Roofing

Photo credits:, CBC News

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