More damaged sites discovered at Rio

Three more sites have emerged in a Rio guest tower where structural metal elements embedded in concrete may have been damaged during improper remodeling.

While inspecting Jacuzzi tubs on the 19th floor of the Rio's Ipanema tower, county building inspectors discovered three guest rooms that appear to have "post-tension cables and/or rebar broken or damaged," according to an inspection report dated Tuesday.

"These were not discovered on 18th-floor inspections" of the concrete slab shared by the 18th and 19th floors, the report reads. "These will have be addressed by an additional engineer's report."

Earlier engineer's reports assessed breaks -- or instances of damage to cable or rebar -- found in nine other Ipanema rooms, and determined the damage did not impair the slabs' ability to bear the load they are required to by code.

County inspectors spotted the latest batch of damage sites when they asked contractors to open the walls around tubs on the 19th floor to inspect hidden plumbing fittings. The holes into concrete did not run through the slab, and thus were not visible in an earlier inspection from the 18th floor, Stacey Welling, a county spokeswoman, explained.

Here is a chronological summary of other irregularities discovered at the Rio, 3700 W. Flamingo Road, since officials from the Clark County Department of Development Services or Clark County Fire Department began investigating in late September. Harrah's Entertainment has to fix all violations at the Rio.

Unless otherwise noted, listings are based on documents issued by the county's building division in Development Services, which is tracking the hotel's remodeling violations from discovery through remediation. The remediation process includes getting approval of required plans, receiving permits, performing work and passing inspections. Reports are ordered from newest to oldest. Text in parentheses provides further explanation when needed.

•In two suites on Ipanema tower's 19th floor, electrical conduits "are entering the room by first penetrating the airshafts. The electrical system needs to be rerouted and shaft repaired by approved material and methods." Nov. 7 notice of violation. (If an airshaft is not kept intact, during a fire smoke and fumes can more easily spread to otherwise safe areas of a building.)

•In four suites on 19th floor of Ipanema, handicap "accessible bathtubs were installed along corridor walls and installation does not meet the 1-hr. (fire) rating for wall." Nov. 5 correction notice.

•"New soffits will have to be constructed to house a new sprinkler line ... at bedroom entrances" on the Ipanema tower's 19th floor. Nov. 5 correction notice. (A soffit is a structure that extends out from where the ceiling joins a wall. Often the enclosure hides pipes, wiring or a rafter. The need for a new line suggests prior sprinkler arrangement was not adequate.)

•Another exposed post-tension cable found in a 19th-floor suite in Ipanema. A new engineer's report is required to verify the concrete slab in which it is located hasn't been impaired. Nov. 1 correction notice. (Such concrete-embedded cables are a construction method that strengthens concrete.)

•"Electrical components secured directly to air shaft in bathrooms" on 19th floor of Ipanema tower. "Shall be removed from shaft and installed by approved methods." Oct. 30 correction notice. (The components' location compromised the shaft's fire-resistance rating.)

•In a storage room on 18th floor of Ipanema, the fire rating of a wall shared with the corridor was compromised. Also, "electrical receptacles (plug outlets) shall be GFCI-protected within 6 feet of sinks and basins." Oct. 24 correction notice. (A GFCI, or ground-fault circuit interrupter device, prevents electric shock, such as might occur if a hair dryer fell into a sink of water.)

•In 19th floor corridor, unsealed ceiling and wall penetrations in soffits in front of all suite entry doors. Oct. 25 correction notice. (Unsealed holes allow a fire's smoke or heat to travel within a building.)

•In 11 Ipanema guest rooms, drainage piping lacks approved fitting installed by approved methods. Oct. 25 correction notice. (Improper installation can lead to leaks and growth of mold.)

•"GFCI devices not working" in 17 bathrooms or powder rooms on Ipanema's 18th floor. Oct. 23 correction notice.

•"Emergency evacuation plans are missing throughout (Ipanema 19th) floor." Oct. 23 correction notice.

•In Rio basement corridor, "ceiling ... to floor penetration near (employee) uniform room without permits or inspection. (Plumbing) line run in plastic piping not permitted in (this type of) construction." Oct. 23 notice of violation.

•In 16 Carioca suites on various floors of the Ipanema tower, "the addition, relocation and rerouting of plumbing piping and fixtures without plans, permits and required inspections." Oct. 22 notice of violation.

•In 16 Cariaoca suites on various Ipanema floors, "the addition, relocation of electrical devices, lighting and other electrical components without plans, permits and required inspections." Oct. 22 notice of violation.

•In 16 Carioca suites on various Ipanema floors, "the addition, relocation and rerouting of mechanical duct work and outlets without plans, permits and required inspections." Oct. 22 notice of violation.

•On Ipanema tower's 19th floor, all suite entry doors need to be checked for fire-safety ratings. Same applies to doors connecting rooms. Oct. 20 correction notice.

•Seven rooms on 18th floor of Ipanema's newest wing "have damage to post tension cables and/or rebar." Oct. 20 notice of violation. (The same damage affects the 19th-floor rooms above, which share the slab.)

•On floors three through 19 in all three Ipanema wings, "use of nonmetallic flex duct." Oct. 19 correction notice. (Metal duct must be used in commercial construction because it better resists flame. Unlike metal, plastic duct can give off toxic fumes when heated.)

•On Ipanema floors three through 19, "compromising air shaft with combustible materials." Oct. 19 correction notice.

•In Rio's fire command room, not all required documents are on hand -- such as approved master exiting plan, approved fire alarm plan, approved fire sprinkler plan. "Provide these items no later than Tuesday Oct. 23 by 5 p.m." Oct. 19 fire department inspection record. (Harrah's Entertainment emphasized later it had all the documents, but not all were in the fire command, or in proper order, at the time of inspection.)

•On floors in Rio's Masquerade tower where the Voodoo Lounge and Voodoo Steakhouse are located, accordion-style fire doors are not working so a fire watch is instituted. Oct. 18 fire department inspection record.

•In Rio's fire command room, not all controls are labeled. "At the time of this inspection, 52 troubles were on panel -- i.e., smoke detectors troubles, ground faults." Oct. 18 fire department inspection record. (Normal procedure is to check for possible troubles indicated on fire-safety-system monitoring panel, then clear trouble signals from the panel, usually daily.)

•"Fire doors on floors 13, 11 and 6 don't latch. Repair." Oct. 18 fire department inspection record.

•Exploratory demolition on Ipanema's 13th and 16th floor "revealed added and/or relocated electrical work at new TV wall locations." Oct. 18 notice of violation.

•On 18th floor of Ipanema tower, "a shaft wall compromised." Oct. 18 correction notice.

•On 18th floor of Ipanema, "new or relocated sprinkler heads (found) in new soffits." Oct. 18 correction notice. (Changes to a fire suppression system without a permit can eventually result in a misdemeanor or felony citation to the contractor.)

•On Ipanema's 18th floor, "in all rooms, the electrical work done above ceiling ... is not to the minimum standard." Oct. 18 correction notice.

•On Ipanema's 8th floor, "party walls (between adjacent suites) compromised." Oct. 18 correction notice.

•On Ipanema's 18th floor, corridor walls were compromised on the room side. Oct. 18 correction notice.

•"Fire watches launched for Ipanema floors three through 17 'due to (unsealed) penetrations for the data cables from the rooms out to the corridors.'" Oct. 17 fire department inspection record. ( A fire watch is a continual foot patrol by personnel with two-way communication to notify onset of a fire. Data cables refer to telephone, cable TV or Internet service.)

•Construction permits required for remodeling of 19th floor in two newer Ipanema wings. "Standard rooms on the 19th floor have been renovated into larger suites. Items include but not limited to: added doors in party walls; electrical relocation for new plasma TV locations; ... added bar with sink, lighting and electrical devices." Oct. 15 notice of violation.

•Construction permits required for remodeling in Ipanema's two newer wings. "In standard rooms, light fixtures added over tub and in closet. TV wall has added receptacle and relocated TV low voltage conduit." Oct. 15 notice of violation.

•In Rio's Masquerade tower, three suites are identified where remodeling without permits involved plumbing fixtures, electrical equipment, wiring and lighting. Also, "possible relocation and added walls." Oct. 13 notice of violation.

•"Maintain (hotel's) fire alarm panel clear of all 'troubles' that are not for remodel. ... Any discrepancies on fire alarm panel that cannot be corrected will require a fire watch." Oct. 12 fire department inspection record.

• In two Ipanema guest rooms -- one on fifth floor, one on seventh -- at bathtub locations, "the post-tension cables may have been damaged during remodel work." Oct. 12 notice of violation.

•"New tubs were installed in all rooms floor 3-17 (in Ipanema's oldest wing) ... which resulted in compromising vertical penetration seals." Oct. 11 notice of violation. (New plumbing damaged original seals of holes drilled through concrete. The seals keep a fire's smoke and heat from traveling.)

•"Observed new (unpermitted, uninspected) transformer and two new sub panels in the 19th floor electrical room" of Ipanema tower. Oct. 9 correction notice.

•"Room to room thru penetrations (of walls) and ceiling to floor thru penetrations occur thru-out the 19th floor of Ipanema tower." Oct. 5 notice of violation.

•"Concrete cores thru reinforced floor slabs made without structural review" on Ipanema tower's 19th floor. Oct. 5 notice of violation. (Core drilling removes a cylinder of concrete from the slab.)

Contact reporter Joan Whitely at jwhitely@review or (702) 383-0268.