Arch 4861 Professional Practice
Case study #2 Clemson floor collapse
If I was investing the cause of collapse, the information that I would need is:
- The legal capacity of the room
- Structure research (Did it change after the construction?)
- The initial function/purpose of the room
- Construction documents (DOB)
The main responsibility would be the owner’s because he is in charge of room instructions, such as occupancy limit/ the occupant load. Also, he allowed the change of room function (from meeting to party), which concluded in floor collapse.
In case of a structural failure, the building team (architect; structural engineer) would take the responsibility.
If I was investigating the cause of this collapse, I would first need to gather information from the South Carolina DOB. Documents such as job filings, violations, list of inspections, and other pre-construction and current modification documents on file. From looking at the certificate of occupancy, I have gathered that due to the exceeding amount of people in the space, the floor trusses failed. The owner takes responsibility for making sure that the number of guests does not exceed the maximum occupancy.
Clemson Floor Collapse
In order to make a precise investigation on the floor collapse, there needs to be more information on the event. We need to examine the original plans (Specs), the occupancy limit, and what was the room used for. These factors will help us understand if the floor was able to resist the load applied during the party. There is also need to be an analysis of the structure and check for previous damages.
According to the case, the party was held in a meeting room. Is more likely that the load applied to the floor in the room was not meant to hold 30 people jumping around. I believe that the most of the responsibility falls on the owner for not enforcing the rules and regulations of the room.
If I were to investigate the floor collapse, I would go to the Department of buildings in South Carolina, and request any relevant information. Such info would include maximum occupancy of the space, any modification to the structure of the building in recent years, original plans and specification, the amount of live load and dead load the space can handle, and the rules of the building as for weather event that include dancing are allowed. After going over all the information about the building I would assess whether there was a mistake in the building plans themselves, if the builders used the wrong material or did a poor job in the actual construction. I would also check if there’s been any structural damage that would have led to the collapse. Also if the residents were not using the space as it was intended to be used. As for who’s to blame, I would deem the owner guilty for not having enforce the rules of the building such as occupancy limit, and the residents of the fraternity who had possible knowledge that the space could not handle such an event.
In order to investigate the cause(s) of the collapse, I would need to know the live load of the meeting room and what is allowed in the meeting room (activities, amount of people, equipment, etc.). I would contact the D.O.B. to obtain original floor plans, specifications and inspections to find out if they were up to date and are up to code. I would need to know the conditions of the building and if there were any errors with the original construction.
I would proportion responsibility to the structural engineer being that they are responsible for structural integrity and failure as well as the building owner/manager whoever is in charge of facilitating programs/activities within this building and meeting room. They should be aware of the occupancy load.
Case Study 02
The first step I would take when I approach this case is to find out as much information I possibly can from the South Carolina Department of Buildings. All prior history, modifications, violations, and job filings are important to know. Then I would look for the certificate of occupancy and the permissible use for the building or just the specific area of the building. I’ve concluded that the collapse was due to structural failure caused by the fraternity event. This specific area of the building was only constructed with the intention of it being a meeting room which requires light movement and stationary furniture. However, at the fraternity event 30 people dancing at the same time places a greater load on the floor which it was not designed to carry. It is the owner’s responsibility to enforce the occupant load and restrict the area to the use it was designed to accommodate.
During the initial stage of my process, I would gather all the documentation useful throughout my investigation, such as property information from the South Carolina Department of Buildings. I would then acquire specific information such as year built, Complaints, Violations, and Job/Fillings before the incident to compile a brief history and modification information. My next step is to find the certificate of occupancy to acquire Permissible Use and Maximum Occupancy such as live loads and zoning Information. Moving on to the factors that contributed to the collapse of the floor. I’ve concluded that the collapse was due to structural failure caused by the fraternity event and time or failure due to previous work that was done to modify the building but was not done properly. I think it was the owner’s responsibility to enforce, the occupant load allowed as well as the individuals responsible for planning this event, therefore both parties should be held accountable for risking the safety of the public.
An architect has a responsibility of making places both stable and safe for its occupants. If an architect believes the quality of concrete has been compromise and the owner of the project is aware of this and won’t do anything about it, then the architect must report this to the DOB.
On October 2018 the floor collapsed during a party held in a meeting room of a residential building and 29 people were injured. In order to investigate the cause of the collapse the occupant load capacity of the room is need it to compare it to how many people were in the room at the time of the collapse, also its need it to take a look at the structural plans of the room to see if the room had the capacity to support people dancing on it or if it was design to only support people seating on it since it is a meeting room after all and not a dance floor, See what materials were used to reinforce the floor in case of poor material choice caused the floor to collapse. These things will help to determine if the collapse was caused by the occupants in the room or by poor construction of the room.
If the accident was caused by the occupant’s overloading the room, then the fraternity most be hold accountable for the damage cause on the building and injures caused on the people. But if it was the structural engineer’s fault then the construction company should respond.
Information that we need: Building structure plan, concrete exam of the slab, maximum live load of the space.
- If all indicators of building structure pass. Floor collapse by overload, the person who change the purpose of the space should take the responsibility. The building owner should create a warning sign to indicate the maximum load of the space.
- If building structure is not reach the requirement, the architect team have to take the responsibility.