Hard Rock Hotel construction site collapse in New Orleans

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leggo PE

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This is so, so terrible. I am waiting to see more information about what caused the collapse.

 

ChebyshevII PE

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Holy crap.

So, wait, is this a hotel under construction?

If anyone sees any more news, i’d be curious to know.

 

jean15paul_PE

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Yeah. Happened Saturday (10/12). A hotel under construction in downtown New Orleans on Canal Street (right on the edge of the French Quarter). 
 

The Canal Street construction of the hotel in downtown New Orleans was announced in February 2018. Hard Rock International had originally planned to open the 18-story hotel in the spring of 2019, but its opening was [previously] pushed back to the spring of 2020. The company planned to build 350 hotel rooms, four meeting spaces, two ballrooms plus 62 one- and two-bedroom units available for purchase.
As of yesterday they were still very much in search and rescue mode. Trying to get the necessary cranes to the site to get cleanup underway. I haven't heard anything about investigation of the cause yet. I'm sure that's coming soon.

 
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Road Guy

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I’ve always wondered who really checks this stuff in these big cities?

I’ve only worked for two large cities , City of Atlanta and City Of Denver, But both seemed to full of very incompetent people- especially in terms of checking high rise building calculations- maybe they just have the developer submit triple checked calcs?

 

jeb6294

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Trying to remember something fairly similar that happened years ago.  While steel was going up, they put in the bolts at the connectors to hold everything in place, but forgot to go back and tighten everything.  Wonder if this will end up being a similar circumstance?

 

Ramnares P.E.

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Looks like a case of absolute negligence by the designers/engineers...

 

Road Guy

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“Thin” metal decking is used all the time for bridge decks - but I don’t think I have seen slabs that long on bridges without supports.

But I don’t know anything about building a “building”

 

jean15paul_PE

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I'm a relatively new PE and not a civil. I have questions, that yall can probably help me with.

From my understanding, a PE would be required to review and approve the final design and stamp the drawings, right? No PE approval is required on the intermediate construction steps, like temporary supports, etc; is that correct? That's determined by the construction company?... which is often separate from the engineering firm? How is that normally done, and by whom?

 

Road Guy

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Yes that's true, however normally these would be submitted as shop drawings and would get reviewed by the engineer also (that's how bridge and large walls are) Ive only built one large building and most everything like that went through the architect- who would have them reviewed. 

There is going to be plenty of blame to go around I would imagine

 

blybrook PE

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From a structural point of view, without seeing the actual drawings, I can only guess what the design methods were. Without knowing the actual decking gauge (thickness), and the type of concrete (normal weight vs light weight); I can't even make a guess if the decking itself was adequate for the temporary loading or the type of design methods utilized.

The official "issued for construction" or 100% signed drawings would have been reviewed by the Engineer of Record (EOR), who should have signed the drawings. I am not familiar with the New Orleans building department requirements, but many building departments that I have dealt with will have a PE on staff that will review / approve the drawings prior to the start of construction. It adds a level of review by a third party that helps protect the public. Needless to say, something seriously went wrong with this project.

As for the intermediate / temporary supports, the design / use of those is typically left with the construction company who may submit the products to be utilized to the AOR / EOR for review, depending on how the contract is written. Many times, the EOR will not review this submittal themselves, they'll have the EIT review it as part of their training and hope that this individual asks the right questions about their use prior to approving the submittal. These are also typically submitted as General Information or FYI Only as the EOR does not want to take responsibility for the construction ways & means. It is a tricky situation for the temporary supports and one that several structural engineers that I know shy away from.

I have had projects where the contractor didn't feel comfortable with their ways and means on temporary supports before coming back to the firm I worked for and hired us to design their temporary supports. We then performed the design which went through the review process with the owner and visited the site multiple times while it was being constructed to verify that the contractor was installing it properly. Other projects, the contractor had a plan in place for the temporary supports and built the project with no input from the EOR.

Each contractor is likely to handle it differently. There are a lot of unknowns with this collapse and a full investigation needs to be completed. Until that time, the blame game will be in full force and every bodies name is going to be dragged into the mud.

 

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In my monthly Engineering magazine that comes from the LA Board, I'm sure there will be plenty of talk about this and investigations will abound beginning next month.

 

Dleg

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^I responded to a major typhoon last year and after the storm there was a crane about the size of those ones that was damaged and leaning against the building, and every day I had to drive under it multiple times.  I had a pretty good pucker going every time!

Had some drinks in a hotel bar with the OSHA crane inspector guy and got the story of why they weren't evacuating the area in that particular instance: the building itself had not been damaged, and the crane, although it was leaning, had been braced to the structure of the building with welded members that he found to be adequate. And ultimately it did not collapse. But still terrifying to drive under every day.

 

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