Review Category : Structural Failures

It was a time of celebration at the Kansas City Hyatt on July 17, 1981, 35 years ago. Between 1,500 and 2,000 people were in attendance at the Tea Dance, enjoying the band, the music, the food, the drink and the dance contest. Unfortunately, what began as an evening of celebration would be remembered for the tragic deaths resulting from the most catastrophic failure of a structural connection in the United States.

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A snowstorm in November 2014 hit Northern Oregon and was subsequently followed with freezing rain and arctic temperatures of -20° F. This event caused a large manufacturing plant’s roof to collapse, resulting in extensive structural damage to the facility. Of the 400,000 square foot plant size, approximately 80,000 square feet (20% of the facility) collapsed and shut down the plant’s operations.

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In the wee hours of August 24, 2014 (3:20 am to be precise), most of the Bay Area was awakened by a 6.0 magnitude earthquake that lasted a lot longer than those sudden, one or two second jolts that happen from time to time and that residents have become accustomed to, if one can actually get used to such things. Most people probably thought, “Is this the big one?”

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Many failures occur in concrete structures because of inadequate detailing of reinforcement in joints and connections. The failures of perimeter vehicular barriers in concrete parking structures offer grim examples where numerous parking patrons have died or have suffered bodily injuries as their vehicles plunged down to the street during the past several years.

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