Part of a Miami condo building collapsed overnight...

Marvin the Martian

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just saw this video posted: CCTV footage of the building collapsing. If I didn't know better, I would have guessed this was a routine controlled demolition.
I see people making the controlled explosion claims in the comments. My first guess is that the emergency lighting tried to kick on, but of course, it doesn't even work once the collapse destroys the lighting. That might well account for "flashes".
 
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Ohio Guy

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I see people making the controlled explosion claims in the comments. My first guess is that the emergency lighting tried to kick on, but of course, it doesn't even work once the collapse destroys the lighting. That might well account for "flashes".
Yeah, I saw that too. And to be clear, when I posted that 'if I didn't know better...' post, it wasn't me suggesting a conspiracy theory about this.

I honestly have no idea what might've caused this - my very uneducated guess is a sinkhole or something like that.
 

JamieDimonsBalls

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Yeah, I saw that too. And to be clear, when I posted that 'if I didn't know better...' post, it wasn't me suggesting a conspiracy theory about this.

I honestly have no idea what might've caused this - my very uneducated guess is a sinkhole or something like that.

Florida is known to have sinkhole issues/risk

wss-gw-sinkhole-karst-map-us.jpg
 

CO. Hoosier

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As an answer, that makes a lot of sense. But someone is about to make a lot of money off of the cottage industry of "controlled explosion".
The prep work for a controlled explosion is significant and obvious. It isn’t possible to prepare a building for that and not have it noticed.

The pancake nature of the collapse should be important. Everybody whose DNA is on that building are lining up their forensic engineers at this moment.
 
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CO. Hoosier

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so scary and sad
It is. How would you like to be a resident in a similar building? These things are supposed to withstand hurricanes. So many questions. Hard to imagine this happening.

Indeed sad in so many ways.
 

Marvin the Martian

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It is. How would you like to be a resident in a similar building? These things are supposed to withstand hurricanes. So many questions. Hard to imagine this happening.

Indeed sad in so many ways.
If it is a structural failure, and not something like a sinkhole, anyone in buildings built by that contractor and/or architect is going to be worried.
 
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CO. Hoosier

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If it is a structural failure, and not something like a sinkhole, anyone in buildings built by that contractor and/or architect is going to be worried.
Yeah. The human caused failure could be bad design, bad engineering, bad construction, bad specs, or cheating on materials and methods. All of that happens more than it should. Often it shows up in other problems besides catastrophic collapse.
 
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mcmurtry66

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Yeah. The human caused failure could be bad design, bad engineering, bad construction, bad specs, or cheating on materials and methods. All of that happens more than it should. Often it shows up in other problems besides catastrophic collapse.
i did some chinese drywall cases down there. FIng miserable. there's so much bad construction, bad materials and methods down there. fla's a mess. 15 million dollar mansions sitting on reclaimed water ponds that smell like shit. landfills burning and smelling like shit right next to gorgeous communities. on and on.
 
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SqueakyClean

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For the sinkhole theory: It will depend upon how the structural engineer designed the foundation. In wet coastal areas, for high rise buildings like that, you usually have piles that support the building framework that are driven down deep deep into the ground (think 75 to 150 feet). They base those designs off of a Geotechnical report that is prepared early in the design process that involves boring down into the ground and taking samples of the soil from multiple levels. The purpose of those structural piles is to avoid this very situation (a sinkhole developing underneath a corner) by making sure those pile bases are below any point where the water table can erode out a section.
So that is the very first area where the lawyers / engineers are going to look. Did the structural engineer follow the Geotech report (assuming one was done)?

If the structural design checks out, the next most likely vector of investigation will be material analysis. During construction of buildings like this, you need to have samples / tests of your concrete slump to prove that you are using the correct mixture (ie, when you have too much water or some material that doesn't belong, a measured blob of wet concrete will "slump" faster / larger than it is supposed to and be an indicator that something is wrong with the mixture). They are going to pour over any documentation to figure out if all those tests / procedures were followed correctly. You can also retro-test concrete to see if it was mixed correctly.

If all that checks out, they will start looking at usage considerations. Was the building designed for load conditions that were not conservative enough? Structural designs are based upon expected usage occupancy (for example, if the top floor had a pool, you expect a larger amount of weight per square foot because not only are you accounting for the water, there can be a large amount of people up there as well). If someone messed up the expected load conditions, that could potentially account for a failure like this.

It's a sad situation, but as an engineer who works in building design, it will be interesting to see where the problem occurred.
 

mcmurtry66

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For the sinkhole theory: It will depend upon how the structural engineer designed the foundation. In wet coastal areas, for high rise buildings like that, you usually have piles that support the building framework that are driven down deep deep into the ground (think 75 to 150 feet). They base those designs off of a Geotechnical report that is prepared early in the design process that involves boring down into the ground and taking samples of the soil from multiple levels. The purpose of those structural piles is to avoid this very situation (a sinkhole developing underneath a corner) by making sure those pile bases are below any point where the water table can erode out a section.
So that is the very first area where the lawyers / engineers are going to look. Did the structural engineer follow the Geotech report (assuming one was done)?

If the structural design checks out, the next most likely vector of investigation will be material analysis. During construction of buildings like this, you need to have samples / tests of your concrete slump to prove that you are using the correct mixture (ie, when you have too much water or some material that doesn't belong, a measured blob of wet concrete will "slump" faster / larger than it is supposed to and be an indicator that something is wrong with the mixture). They are going to pour over any documentation to figure out if all those tests / procedures were followed correctly. You can also retro-test concrete to see if it was mixed correctly.

If all that checks out, they will start looking at usage considerations. Was the building designed for load conditions that were not conservative enough? Structural designs are based upon expected usage occupancy (for example, if the top floor had a pool, you expect a larger amount of weight per square foot because not only are you accounting for the water, there can be a large amount of people up there as well). If someone messed up the expected load conditions, that could potentially account for a failure like this.

It's a sad situation, but as an engineer who works in building design, it will be interesting to see where the problem occurred.
good post. interesting.
 

CO. Hoosier

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the sinkhole theory: It will depend upon how the structural engineer designed the foundation. In wet coastal areas, for high rise buildings like that, you usually have piles that support the building framework that are driven down deep deep into the ground (think 75 to 150 feet). They base those designs off of a Geotechnical report that is prepared early in the design process that involves boring down into the ground and taking samples of the soil from multiple levels. The purpose of those structural piles is to avoid this very situation (a sinkhole developing underneath a corner) by making sure those pile bases are below any point where the water table can erode out a section.
So that is the very first area where the lawyers / engineers are going to look. Did the structural engineer follow the Geotech report (assuming one was done)?

If the structural design checks out, the next most likely vector of investigation will be material analysis. During construction of buildings like this, you need to have samples / tests of your concrete slump to prove that you are using the correct mixture (ie, when you have too much water or some material that doesn't belong, a measured blob of wet concrete will "slump" faster / larger than it is supposed to and be an indicator that something is wrong with the mixture). They are going to pour over any documentation to figure out if all those tests / procedures were followed correctly. You can also retro-test concrete to see if it was mixed correctly.

If all that checks out, they will start looking at usage considerations. Was the building designed for load conditions that were not conservative enough? Structural designs are based upon expected usage occupancy (for example, if the top floor had a pool, you expect a larger amount of weight per square foot because not only are you accounting for the water, there can be a large amount of people up there as well). If someone messed up the expected load conditions, that could potentially account for a failure like this.

It's a sad situation, but as an engineer who works in building design, it will be interesting to see where the problem occurred.
One of my last cases involved a bad PEMB. We specified a 35# snow load. With the margin for safety, we should have had a 47# building. We ended up with a 17# building with no margin for safety. We traced the error to a misuse of a computer program by an inexperienced staff engineer that nobody caught. Fortunately we didn’t have a catastrophic failure. The error was found when a heavy snow deflected part of the roof. The whole building was torn down and rebuilt.

Edit: The same builder made the same mistake at a Dulles airport hanger. That did collapse, no injuries.

dulles-5.jpg
 
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SqueakyClean

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Structural HVAC?
Well, for the record, I am currently an HVAC engineer.... :)

But I've also had a couple decades worth of large machinery design where i've had to work side-by-side with structural engineers who were designing the buildings that were supporting my heavy-arse machinery.

So I couldn't crunch the numbers for you, but I know enough of the process to be able to say where the problems could come from.

It's like that for most engineers. Even though we have areas of study, we generally know a bit about all the other disciplines. It would be like if I had a slice up my arm and my two options for someone to help me were a veterinarian and a plumber, I'd go with the guy who at least knows some biology and wound treatment versus the guy who would grab the pvc glue kit.
 

CO. Hoosier

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Well, for the record, I am currently an HVAC engineer.... :)

But I've also had a couple decades worth of large machinery design where i've had to work side-by-side with structural engineers who were designing the buildings that were supporting my heavy-arse machinery.

So I couldn't crunch the numbers for you, but I know enough of the process to be able to say where the problems could come from.

It's like that for most engineers. Even though we have areas of study, we generally know a bit about all the other disciplines. It would be like if I had a slice up my arm and my two options for someone to help me were a veterinarian and a plumber, I'd go with the guy who at least knows some biology and wound treatment versus the guy who would grab the pvc glue kit.

B1DBWbloIpS._CLa%7C2140%2C2000%7C61D0RqgaMlL.png%7C0%2C0%2C2140%2C2000%2B0.0%2C0.0%2C2140.0%2C2000.0_AC_UL1500_.png
 

Stuffshot

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Well, for the record, I am currently an HVAC engineer.... :)

But I've also had a couple decades worth of large machinery design where i've had to work side-by-side with structural engineers who were designing the buildings that were supporting my heavy-arse machinery.

So I couldn't crunch the numbers for you, but I know enough of the process to be able to say where the problems could come from.

It's like that for most engineers. Even though we have areas of study, we generally know a bit about all the other disciplines. It would be like if I had a slice up my arm and my two options for someone to help me were a veterinarian and a plumber, I'd go with the guy who at least knows some biology and wound treatment versus the guy who would grab the pvc glue kit.
What if he grabbed the super glue to seal your arm instead of the PVC glue? 😬

 

SqueakyClean

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What if he grabbed the super glue to seal your arm instead of the PVC glue? 😬

Well, as I said, it's about the options. If I was sitting in a trench in Vietnam and my options were Don the Plumber and his super glue or the Viet-kong......

Why do I suddenly have Gary Oldman's voice going through my head...
"Because he's the plumber Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now."
 

SqueakyClean

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Whats it like to intimate discussions about HVAC systems?
Well, I'm a mechanical and she's an electrical, so the few times where we've had an HVAC issue at home, I tell her what the problem is, describe to her how we should fix it, draw up a quick plan (if necessary), go out and buy the materials needed, collect all the tools from the garage, get on my PPE, go down to the basement to start the work, and see that the wife has already fashioned a new bypass out of duct tape and walks away with a smug look on her face saying "works now".
 

outside shooter

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My expert opinion is that a bunch of people screwed up somehow and a building collapsed that shouldn't have.

But you guys will probably blame CRT. The building had too much white privilege
 
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Stuffshot

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Well, as I said, it's about the options. If I was sitting in a trench in Vietnam and my options were Don the Plumber and his super glue or the Viet-kong......

Why do I suddenly have Gary Oldman's voice going through my head...
"Because he's the plumber Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now."
It's not in the story I linked but, as I recall, the US Army surgeons in Vietnam knew superglue would work and knew that Canada labs produced a sanitary surgical grade of superglue. However, the US did not produce such a surgical grade, and the US did not permit importation of the Canada product.

So, as the story went, the Army surgeons went off-label and asked their friends and families to send them hardware store superglue from the US to their hospitals in Vietnam. Then, they just shot up their patients with extra antibiotics after saving their lives with the non-sterile superglue.

I've wondered what kind of germs etc. can even live in something toxic like superglue, but apparently the powers require sterile superglue to be used in medicine.
 

SqueakyClean

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I did read something on another forum (MSU) that a current theory is that a common practice back in the 70's and 80's in Miami construction projects was to use beach sand as opposed to construction sand in their concrete mixture. Beach sand supposedly has a higher concentration of salt molecules, which could lead to premature rusting of the rebar in the concrete bases / columns.

I would have dig in to this a bit to see if it is even a remotely viable theory, but as a FYI...
 

Noodle

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What if he grabbed the super glue to seal your arm instead of the PVC glue? 😬

Super Glue (cyanoacrylate adhesive) is still used extensively for skin and wound closing. It is highly preferred, however, that you use the medical form, particularly to ensure sterility and because conventional Super Glue as some deleterious materials as compared to the medical form (see below). Having said that, I have personally used the non-medical form on a couple of occasions to close small wounds. Worked like a charm.

 
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Noodle

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I did read something on another forum (MSU) that a current theory is that a common practice back in the 70's and 80's in Miami construction projects was to use beach sand as opposed to construction sand in their concrete mixture. Beach sand supposedly has a higher concentration of salt molecules, which could lead to premature rusting of the rebar in the concrete bases / columns.

I would have dig in to this a bit to see if it is even a remotely viable theory, but as a FYI...
Story out now claims that they've known this building was sinking since the early 1990s. The sub-headline in the linked story ("was determined to be unstable a year ago") does not appear to be explained in the article. I would take all of his with a big grain of salt. As you know, it is way too early to know for certain what happened.

 

jet812

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For the sinkhole theory: It will depend upon how the structural engineer designed the foundation. In wet coastal areas, for high rise buildings like that, you usually have piles that support the building framework that are driven down deep deep into the ground (think 75 to 150 feet). They base those designs off of a Geotechnical report that is prepared early in the design process that involves boring down into the ground and taking samples of the soil from multiple levels. The purpose of those structural piles is to avoid this very situation (a sinkhole developing underneath a corner) by making sure those pile bases are below any point where the water table can erode out a section.
So that is the very first area where the lawyers / engineers are going to look. Did the structural engineer follow the Geotech report (assuming one was done)?

If the structural design checks out, the next most likely vector of investigation will be material analysis. During construction of buildings like this, you need to have samples / tests of your concrete slump to prove that you are using the correct mixture (ie, when you have too much water or some material that doesn't belong, a measured blob of wet concrete will "slump" faster / larger than it is supposed to and be an indicator that something is wrong with the mixture). They are going to pour over any documentation to figure out if all those tests / procedures were followed correctly. You can also retro-test concrete to see if it was mixed correctly.

If all that checks out, they will start looking at usage considerations. Was the building designed for load conditions that were not conservative enough? Structural designs are based upon expected usage occupancy (for example, if the top floor had a pool, you expect a larger amount of weight per square foot because not only are you accounting for the water, there can be a large amount of people up there as well). If someone messed up the expected load conditions, that could potentially account for a failure like this.

It's a sad situation, but as an engineer who works in building design, it will be interesting to see where the problem occurred.
Refreshing to read a lengthy post with actual information. Well done.
 

Mas-sa-suta

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I did read something on another forum (MSU) that a current theory is that a common practice back in the 70's and 80's in Miami construction projects was to use beach sand as opposed to construction sand in their concrete mixture. Beach sand supposedly has a higher concentration of salt molecules, which could lead to premature rusting of the rebar in the concrete bases / columns.

I would have dig in to this a bit to see if it is even a remotely viable theory, but as a FYI...
That theory was offered to explain numerous building collapses in Communist China. Beach sand being much cheaper than quarried sand.
 
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