Miguel posted this Tweet:

I will be the first to admit that I am not a civil or structural engineer.

I am a Materials Engineer with a PE and a decade and a half in forensic engineering.

Poor engineering?

The building was built in 1981.  It is 40 years old.  Buildings do not stand for 40 years, withstand multiple hurricanes, including a couple of Cat 5 hurricanes, and then collapse at middle age because there was poor engineering.

Things that fail due to poor engineering generally fail right away like the FIU bridge or the Kansas City Hyatt Regency walkway.

Florida does a lot of beach repair to keep the beaches nice for the tourists.  Florida won’t allow a beach to erode.  Saying the beach eroded due to global warming is ridiculous.

Sinkhole?  Maybe.  Florida is known for those.

I want to wait until the debris has been examined.

Until then, everyone can shut the fuck up.

I’m happy to answer failure analysis questions in the comments.


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By J. Kb

14 thoughts on “Everyone needs to STFU about the Champlain Towers”
  1. I retract my comment on the other post about this surely being poor engineering. I didn’t know the building was that old.

    That said, NEW condos in South Florida are real bargain basement pieces of shit. Again, spoken as one with much experience in the building design & construction industry.

  2. “The building was built in 1981.”
    Exactly what I was wondering, but couldn’t find in a cursory search this morning.
    Can’t rightly blame Woke engineering standards for that one.

  3. I don’t know the reality, but I know Florida has some of the tightest building codes around. We know that graft happens, but if it was built to code, I think modern buildings should stand. (My hubby calls me “Pollyanna” and “Guppy,” so maybe that’s in play here.)

  4. My thoughts too. Poor engineering doesn’t make sense, but I didn’t know how old the building was so didn’t comment. I was more wondering about inspections, maintenance, recent upgrades, etc. Sinkhole is a good one, but who knows right now.

  5. The WSJ has an article that speaks of concrete and salt air:
    The condo owners’ association and the building contractor were in early discussions with the town of Surfside about restoring some of the concrete on the 40-year-old building, according to Walter Keller, a civil engineer and the town’s consultant planner.

    Mr. Keller said in an interview that it is important to restore concrete buildings that face the ocean to counteract corrosion of reinforcing bars, primarily made of steel, caused by exposure to salt air and water. “They were starting a major concrete restoration program for this building,” he said. It was scheduled to start soon, Mr. Keller said.

    1. That id something that does occur and I have seen. Corrosion of the rebar inside the concrete. As the steel corroded it expands. This both detaches the concrete from the rebar and experts internal stresses on the concrete. Construction concrete isn’t impenetrable. You frequently see this in bridges over salt water. That is a potential here.

  6. I have information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of Hillary Clinton.

  7. I don’t care how early it is in the analysis; I will laugh at the mindless twits that dare to say global warming.

  8. S. Florida building codes were fairly lax in the 80’s. After Hurricane Andrew in 1992 things got strict.

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