Surfside Condo Collapse

Ulu

Redtail Catfish
MFK Member
Dec 13, 2018
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The Sunny San Joaquin
I know that most all of you have seen photos or videos of the 12 story building which collapsed in Florida.

I don’t watch much msm TV so I don’t know everything they are telling people. I do watch a channel for structural engineers and is very interesting, if you worked in structural engineering for decades, as I did.

The way things appear from the historical documents this building had design errors 40 years ago.

Over the years the building has been Surveyed by structural engineers, patched up by building contractors, and approved by the city, but the original design errors are buried well within the structure and were never addressed. It may be that they were not truly understood until after the collapse.

This building is owned by the people who live in it as an association and they had secured $15 million to rehab the building. Structural engineers drew Complete plans for the rehabilitation, they had been partially approved for work at the roof level, and contractors had been on the job with the structural engineer for about a month.

The engineer of record was on the roof of that building, with members of the design team and the rehab contractors, about 8 hours before it collapsed.

I have never designed a job that failed or collapsed, I never worked on a job that collapsed, and I have never been in a structure that later collapsed (to my knowledge.)

But as an engineer I would have been sweating bullets over this.

Since this building was designed over 40 years ago, it’s quite possible that most of the people who were involved in the engineering and inspection, are deceased.

Eventually, I think someone will come forward about detail and construction errors that were made four decades ago.

There is almost no reason to blame the original structural engineers for this collapse, as the construction situations and methods were well known at the time and had been for decades.

But this appears to boil down to mistakes in swimming pool and garage detailing, which allowed continual water intrusion into the structure where it was uncontrolled and causing corrosion.

I think the collapse will eventually be attributed to both minor long-term undermining of the mat foundation, and very corroded rebar which, caused concrete to crack apart and fail, at major column to beam connections in the basement garages.

I did see forensic photographs taken before the current rehab began, and clearly this building had lots of concrete visibly spalling away from columns and floors, and it had been patched unsuccessfully in many many places.

There must have been major spalling underground, that was completely undetected. Deciding exactly where it started could be difficult as under such pressure these connections can literally explode.
 

esoxlucius

Potamotrygon
MFK Member
Dec 30, 2015
2,598
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The dust has literally not even settled yet but I bet anyone, still alive, who has had a hand in design or subsequent ticking the boxes regarding remedial work, will be absolutely shi**ing themselves over this.
 

BIG-G

Goliath Tigerfish
MFK Member
Dec 12, 2005
3,640
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NC
I know that most all of you have seen photos or videos of the 12 story building which collapsed in Florida.

I don’t watch much msm TV so I don’t know everything they are telling people. I do watch a channel for structural engineers and is very interesting, if you worked in structural engineering for decades, as I did.

The way things appear from the historical documents this building had design errors 40 years ago.

Over the years the building has been Surveyed by structural engineers, patched up by building contractors, and approved by the city, but the original design errors are buried well within the structure and were never addressed. It may be that they were not truly understood until after the collapse.

This building is owned by the people who live in it as an association and they had secured $15 million to rehab the building. Structural engineers drew Complete plans for the rehabilitation, they had been partially approved for work at the roof level, and contractors had been on the job with the structural engineer for about a month.

The engineer of record was on the roof of that building, with members of the design team and the rehab contractors, about 8 hours before it collapsed.

I have never designed a job that failed or collapsed, I never worked on a job that collapsed, and I have never been in a structure that later collapsed (to my knowledge.)

But as an engineer I would have been sweating bullets over this.

Since this building was designed over 40 years ago, it’s quite possible that most of the people who were involved in the engineering and inspection, are deceased.

Eventually, I think someone will come forward about detail and construction errors that were made four decades ago.

There is almost no reason to blame the original structural engineers for this collapse, as the construction situations and methods were well known at the time and had been for decades.

But this appears to boil down to mistakes in swimming pool and garage detailing, which allowed continual water intrusion into the structure where it was uncontrolled and causing corrosion.

I think the collapse will eventually be attributed to both minor long-term undermining of the mat foundation, and very corroded rebar which, caused concrete to crack apart and fail, at major column to beam connections in the basement garages.

I did see forensic photographs taken before the current rehab began, and clearly this building had lots of concrete visibly spalling away from columns and floors, and it had been patched unsuccessfully in many many places.

There must have been major spalling underground, that was completely undetected. Deciding exactly where it started could be difficult as under such pressure these connections can literally explode.
Its a shame and I’m saddened for the loss of live and home for the people involved.

Like everyone I’ve been watching news reports and saw a report that quoted some tenants as witnessing the pool start to drain just before the collapse.
My first thought was a sinkhole, I know Florida is prone to this.
Having read over your post and the mention of long term water damage and corrosion of rebar makes perfect sense, that hadn’t occurred to me.
Thanks for posting.
 
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Ulu

Redtail Catfish
MFK Member
Dec 13, 2018
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The Sunny San Joaquin
Some residents reported that there was up to a foot of water in the basement garage on occasions.

Being on the seaside, a sinkhole would always be considered right away, but this building evidently sits over bedrock.

What???

The thing is, I don’t think it sits on the bed rock with pilings. I think it sits on a thick concrete mat foundation, floating on sand, over the bed rock. I am not sure about this and it could be a hybrid foundation design with both.

But in my mind this is going to turn out to be a plain old case of rusty steel causing the concrete to separate from the pressure of expansion, and falling into a void below the garage.
 

TwoHedWlf

Redtail Catfish
MFK Member
Mar 2, 2017
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New Zealand
The dust has literally not even settled yet but I bet anyone, still alive, who has had a hand in design or subsequent ticking the boxes regarding remedial work, will be absolutely shi**ing themselves over this.
Not ****ting themselves nearly as much as the people living in the 4 identical buildings nearby that presumably have the same fault. Or at least look similar from the pics.
 
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skjl47

Goliath Tigerfish
MFK Member
May 16, 2011
4,335
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Tennessee
Hello; I own my home. It is a single family house on a small lot. If my house has structural issues it is my problem. If I were to try to sell it the law here requires disclosure of known problems. Am I correct in that people living in the buildings own the apartments they live in in much the same way I own my home? I get the units are part of the whole buildings, but think each unit is privately owned.
I ask this because it is not like renting an apartment. If you were a renter then you could just move out. If you own a place on the eighth floor and want to leave, what may be the chances of selling right now.

the people living in the 4 identical buildings nearby that presumably have the same fault. Or at least look similar fr
 

Potato Patatto

Dovii
MFK Member
Nov 11, 2020
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I’m interested to see the development of the investigation. I can’t add anything to the conversation from an engineering standpoint but I did live in Miami briefly and the contractor nightmare stories are a dime a dozen from residential to commercial. To call that city corrupt is an understatement,
it’s all pay to play. The building was constructed in the early 80s when miami was exploding, a place literally built off financial fraud & money laundering. Unfortunately, i also imagine the original engineers and inspectors are no longer alive.. lots of blame will be passed around for this massive failure.
 

skjl47

Goliath Tigerfish
MFK Member
May 16, 2011
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Tennessee
https://www.washingtonpost.com/inve...592282-d98e-11eb-ae62-2d07d7df83bd_story.html residents knew the building was in bad shape but they couldn't come to terms on repair cost, can't blame engineers for that.
Hello; You are correct. Any structure has a lifespan and when needed repairs are not done in time bad things can happen. Often the damage just get more expensive to repair but in this case the repairs were just too late.
Another report has stated the lower levels would flood often. I do not know if it was seawater.

Thanks for the link.
 
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