Inadequate foundation was one of the three reasons of the failure as reported by investigators. In an interview the engineer heading the working group stated that the foundation “couldn’t support four storied complex at all… Transversal beams used to construct the building were too weak.”
The growing need for commercial and residential buildings led to construction boom in hundreds of cities worldwide.
A crack in a pre-cast concrete panel put the structural integrity of the building under question for weeks to come.
Some of the hob beams on Level 10 and Level 4 were overloaded — they did not have the bearing capabilities required by recognized standards. It is reported that the core of the problem was the changes made to the original design of the building.
Many bought their homes in Sydney’s Olympic Park with high hopes for future, but ended up in temporary accommodations and questioning whether they will ever be able to sell their property. Some of the apartments, by the way, were originally valued at $2.5 million.
It’s a known fact: designer’s decisions impact the health and safety of everyone involved in constructing, using, maintaining, refurbishing, and demolishing the building. Any changes to the original design of a construction have to be weighed thoroughly.
Hundreds of houses in the Bucks County
Location: Philadelphia, USA
Canadian building scientist Gus Handegord said it best: “The three biggest problems in buildings are water, water, and water”.
When the Mulnixes decided to sell their house, more than a decade had passed after their purchase on Valentine’s Day.
However, a moisture inspection test left them facing grim news: incorrect or missing installation of water-diverting flashing caused water “drain directly into the stucco” – a cement-based plaster applied to walls.
The Mulnixes are among numerous families in Pennsylvania who bought houses since early 2000s – during the housing boom.
Years later, they would find out that the damage caused by water was of epidemic proportions. Hundreds of families were left in a shock: their homes “would not last through their mortgage”. Their properties were decaying from within. The moisture damaged window sills and insulation – to the extent that some of the houses suffered structural damages.
A house in the Bucks District shows what the water damage looks like.
Experts say occupants can’t see the deterioration in most of the cases. And when an inspection test reveals the reality, it is usually too late. Tens, even hundreds of thousand dollars are now required to repair the damage by water.
Climate peculiarities must be taken into account in the earliest stages of design. This information is critical when it’s time to choose construction methods and building materials. If builders fail in this task, nature’s response does not keep them waiting for long.
4. Fire Safety Deficiencies.
Location: London, England.
On June 14, 2017, fire broke out in a flat in Grenfell Tower – a 23-storey building in London. The worst disaster in the UK’s modern history took the lives of 72.
To shed light on fire safety issues of Grenfell, we need a glance back in time.
Grenfell Tower, a social housing complex of almost 1,000 homes, was built in 1974 of reinforced concrete. It had proper fire safety features; in particular, the design of the building should have prevented fire spreading in case it occurred in one of the flats.
A major refurbishment was done on the complex in 2016. The building received a new cladding and windows, which, eventually, would prove to destroy the fire protection system of Grenfell.
Construction textbooks and official codes dedicate entire chapters to fire safety — from smoke alarms and emergency exit routes to fire separation and fire-resistant materials. Fire safety is a major part of the overall design of buildings and should never be overlooked.
Additionally, we must take every past occurrence seriously. Has Knowsley Heights incident been studied properly and preventive measures taken, chances are Grenfell disaster could have been prevented.
The Genoa Bridge collapsed on August 2018, killing 43 and leaving 600 homeless. The bridge, constructed in 1967 was one of the longest concrete bridges in the world. It was also known as Morandi Bridge — named after its renowned architect Riccardo Morandi.
The reason of the collapse was reported to be insufficient maintenance of the construction.
However, the state of deterioration was notorious. The concrete cables of the bridge were heavily corroded. The situation called for a solution.
Finally, to retrofit the bridge, there was a call for tender in April 2018. The bridge collapsed in August leaving the whole nation in devastation and mourning.
The Morandi Bridge collapse reminds us that constructions are like any other goods or vehicles. Without proper maintenance, they won’t serve for long.
It’s not only the climate peculiarities that must be taken into account. The environment should also be given a deep consideration. Decay and corrosion can cause structural deterioration and lead to major failures.
6. Damage by Termites.
Veterans Memorial High School
Location: Texas, USA
If you don’t take care of them in pre-construction stage, they will take care of your house.
Buildings may crack or collapse, they may be caught up by fire or rot because of water. But they may also be eaten down by pests.
An example of what the damage by termites looks like.
The stakes are high for everyone. Every single aspect of construction should be analyzed, risks must be identified, and control measures must be taken early in the construction phase. Otherwise, you compromise the safety of the building and put additional stress and strains on your budget.