Did Manmade Climate Change Cause the Surfside Condo Collapse?

by Anthony R. Lupo

In the middle of the night on June 24, 2021, two major sections of Champlain Towers, a 12-story residential condominium in Surfside, FL, just north of Miami, suddenly collapsed. Waking up to the news was surreal, evoking memories of other building disasters from the last 30 years.

On July 4, the remaining part of the building, which had become unstable, was demolished to provide safer working conditions for rescuers. As of July 7, the death toll was 46, with 11 injured and 103 unaccounted for.

Buildings collapses seemingly out-of-the-blue are rare, but they have happened before. Often, the causes can be linked to the degradation of building materials by natural weathering, or age. Sometimes they may be due to the underlying ground shifting or subsiding. It is well known that land can subside and compact under the weight of large buildings, or if moisture evacuates from beneath the surface.

Some experts say it might be years before the immediate cause of this building failure is known. That did not stop others from immediately speculating that climate change may be the reason for the building collapse, specifically pointing to global or local rises in sea level.

Some, like E&ENews.net, National Geographic, and Time, were cautious, reporting that climate change and sea-level rise driven by it might have played a role while adding that the true cause remains unknown. Yet they treated it as an opportunity to warn afresh of the dangers of rising sea levels. U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm quickly connected the event with climate change. Though she stopped short of direct blame, she immediately faced accusations of using the tragedy for political purposes.

Others were less reticent. In an article headlined “Sea level rise due to climate change eyed as contributing factor in Miami-area building collapse,” Yahoo News Senior Editor David Knowles wrote of “the possibility that sea level rise caused by climate change may have contributed to the disaster.” USA Today was less cautious, headlining “Rising seas are dangerous. Florida collapse is a tragic wake-up call.”

Attributing tragic events to climate change is almost a default response these days. Additionally, a few scientists and politicians repeatedly claim that global sea level may rise 20 feet or more by the end of 2100. Such sea-level rise could be the result of extreme changes in climate projected to occur by 2100, due to emissions of greenhouse gasses by human activity.

Such extreme climate change projections are meant to frighten the public into supporting more and more regulation of the economy. But they lack solid scientific basis.

Let us set the record straight, first by distinguishing global from local sea-level changes. Global sea level has risen and fallen in the past due to thermal expansion or contraction as the global ocean warms or cools. These changes can also occur due to growth or melt of land-based ice. Local sea level changes can be due to land compaction or rebound as weight is added to or removed from it, e.g., as glaciers grow or shrink. Sedimentation also makes local sea-level change differ from global.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Reports have tracked global sea level changes over the years. The Fifth Assessment Report was issued in 2013–2014; the next is due in 2022. In the interim, the IPCC released a Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. This reported global sea-level rise of 1.4 millimeters annually for most of the 20th century—about six inches in total. It also reported that the rate for the decade leading up to the report was almost 2.5 times faster, or 14 inches per century. However, it is difficult to compare the mean change of a quantity over the course of a century with short-term changes over the course of a decade because the long-term rate includes short-term faster and slower rates. It follows that it is fallacious to project a more rapid long-term future rate based on a short-term recent rate.

Further, this same report offers no support for claims that global sea level could rise 20 feet or more in this century. Instead, it projects about 17 inches under the lower-end climate change scenarios, and about 33 inches under the highest-end scenarios. The latter could be problematic for coastal areas, but the IPCC has less confidence in the higher end scenarios. Further, peer review journal articles have shown that climate models can’t reproduce past temperatures without ad hoc adjustments, entailing that they don’t properly misrepresent the climate system, and those that project high-end warming are plagued by theory bias and other errors. Meanwhile, observed changes in climate are at the lowest end of the model-projected changes in climate.

Historically, sea-level changes have been faster than today. Researchers believe they have not been constant, and may have been very little during some centuries, but as much as 7–15 feet in others. If sea levels rose at a constant rate from the end of the last ice age to today, that increase would be about one to two feet per century, depending on when the end of the ice age was identified.

Sea level itself has always differed over time as well. For example, during the last interglacial period (about 120,000 years ago), sea level could have been 20 to 30 feet higher than today. During the last ice age, when vast amounts of water were bound up in glaciers covering large parts of the Northern Hemisphere, it was likely about 390 feet lower than today.

Sea level rise may be faster now than a century ago, but it has been faster before, and we have the means and technology to adapt to it now.

Anthony R. Lupo, Ph.D., is Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Missouri, a Research Fellow of the Independent Institute, a Contributing Writer for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, and co-author of the third edition of Hot Talk, Cold Science: Global Warming’s Unfinished Debate. 

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Tom Halla
July 7, 2021 6:08 pm

Champlain Towers is much more likely to be some combination of bad maintenance, bad design, and bad constriction than climate change.
Claims otherwise are pure pandering.

MarkW
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 7, 2021 8:37 pm

When all you have is a hammer …

Mike McMillan
Reply to  MarkW
July 7, 2021 10:29 pm

We also have systemic racism, but I tend to land on the bad maintenance side. Champlain Towers North is four buildings up the street, and has a similar floor plan and nervous tenants.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 8, 2021 1:27 am

There is enough evidence to make some attempts at figuring out what exactly happened, and why, and how.
The pool deck collapsed several minutes prior to the building collapse.
Long enough for at least one lady to hear loud noises and bangs, run hundreds of feet from her unit to the front desk and report it, turn to see the pool deck collapse, run back to her unit and grab her two kids, and run several blocks away before it fell.
The video from the building next door shows that the part of the building adjacent to the pool deck collapsed from the bottom, and the rest of the structure failed due to a progressive collapse.
Building plans that have been obtained show very small columns in the parts of the building that fell, and far larger columns in the part that remained standing. The elevator shear wall also arrested the progression of the collapse.
Clear photographic evidence of column/deck punch through failures show that this was the proximate cause of the initial failure, almost surely precipitated by poorly designed deck drainage, failed waterproofing between the pool deck surface and the concrete slab underlying it which was also the roof of the underground parking structure, lack of proper communication between the engineers hired to survey the building and design a repair plan, lack of urgency from the owners and managers of the property that went on for many years, and possibly suboptimal concrete, poorly placed rebar, salt drift from the ocean, etc.

Spalling was abundantly evident years before the failure in amounts and locations that indicate it was widespread, probably much worse than was evident (even though what was evident was pretty bad), and was associated with severe corrosion of the very rebars which give all such structures the ability to remain standing.

This type of structure has no ability to arrest any type of support column failure. once it has begun. Progressive and sudden collapse is almost a certainty when damage gets beyond a certain point, and it is generally impossible to know when that point is reached by even a careful visual inspection.

In addition to the people who saw the deck collapse from inside the building, which included at least one women who had time to call her husband in another state, and was telling him she was looking at a sinkhole which had opened under the pool deck when the line went dead as the building collapsed and she was killed, there was at least one couple swimming across the street in a outdoor pool and heard the sound of the roof of the parking garage under the building falling down.
They recorded video of fallen concrete covering the ramp of the underground parking lot, and ruptured pipes pouring water from the ceiling.

There were numerous cameras on the pool deck of the fallen building, and doubtlessly many such cameras inside the building on every floor as well.
There is no way that there were not many cameras that recorded the collapse, from inside and outside the collapsed building, and together they are surely able to tell much about the exact sequence of events as the collapse proceeded.

But we do not need to see any more, to discern a plausible scenario related to a tragic and fatal design weakness of the structure: There was no break between the deck of the pool area, and the bottom of the building adjacent to the deck.
So when the pool deck collapsed, it would have placed severe stress on the columns under the building, and possibly rotated the portion of the floor slab and caused it to pull away from and cause punch through of the slab from those columns, pulled them out of alignment, and possibly knocked them askew altogether.

My guess is no one realized that corrosion of rebars under the outdoor pool deck would cause it to collapse suddenly, and that this slab was connected to what appears to be a shockingly small number of shockingly small columns which held up the entire building.
Those columns look like toothpicks compared to the building they are supporting.
I know of low rise parking structures in cities all over the northeast US which have massively heavier support columns, as well as massive beams between the columns.
This place had apparently no beams at all.
The only support was the tie in of the rebars in the slab to the support columns.
No redundancy.
No protection from corrosion on the rebar.
No sense of urgency when severe corrosion was discovered and pointed out, likely stemming from no knowledge of what holds such structures up amongst the laypersons who ran the board and made management decisions.

Given the lack of design redundancy whatsoever, apparently minimal column sizing, and a single slab that underlaid the pool deck and was also the ground floor of the building, once corrosion or some other event (maybe a car hit a column that was already weakened) caused rebars to begin to fail at the junction of the floor/pool deck slab and the columns supporting it, which is very possibly what the woman who escaped with her children was hearing (she lived on the ground floor right beside the pool deck, and so her actual condo floor was the part of the structure that failed first), at that point the failure of the structure was inevitable.
Like the twin towers, once a building that is that heavy and constructed in the manner it was constructed in begins to fail, nothing can stop it. Even a slight downward motion of a significant part of the building is plenty to lead to a progressive collapse.
The forces caused by even a small release or gravitational potential energy in kinetic energy, is far beyond what the adjacent parts of the building can withstand.
When it happens at the bottom and the amount of mass that moves is an entire building face and everything supported by a row of columns, no other factors need to contribute.
The thing simply has no ability for adjacent structural members to take up the increased loads of a failure of sometimes even a single support column.

Here is a video detailing much of this scenario. The difference in column sizing is evident, and it includes animated simulations, photographs, and the two known videos.
https://youtu.be/hynHiWE818c

Here is an engineer who has experience in reinforced concrete structural repairs, going through much of the recent history of the ongoing efforts to repair the building.
When I see all of this and think about 149 people killed while sitting or sleeping in their homes on the beach, and then consider how many similar structures exist, many of a similar age, similar design, similar location, etc, as well as many that are older, far larger, and possibly equally vulnerable or at the very least questionable, I cannot help but think that this is going to lead to a lot of inspections in the immediate future, changes in codes, changes in requirements for recertification of inhabited structures, etc:
https://youtu.be/TrP-Zl7NHzE

This type of thing is kind of but not exactly rare.
The mall in Canada that collapsed because of a parking garage on the roof, lack of waterproofing, and salt clinging to vehicles in Winter causing corrosion of rebars.
The building in South Korea that had a similar failure several years back.
And many others in various places.
Existing structures and those under construction.

The best thing I can say about this is, at least it seems most of those people died instantly without ever knowing anything about what was happening, still asleep in their beds.
But not all. At least one women was alive for about a day and was pleading through a concrete wall and debris for the first responder to get her out.

Last edited 19 days ago by Nicholas McGinley
Duane
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 2:59 am

And you are the World’s Greatest Expert in Forensic Structural Engineering .. which is why you published your dissertation and long researched analysis here at WUWT?

Wow, we’re so honored.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Duane
July 8, 2021 4:31 am

Come talk to me on Twitter where I can tell you what I think of you in plain language.

Duane
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 10:14 am

I don’t give a shit what the asshole who pretends to be an expert investigating engineer writes in one of the longest and most inane comments ever posted on an internet site thinks about me. I know that you are a self-absorbed dolt, dolt.

Joseph Campbell
Reply to  Duane
July 8, 2021 11:07 am

Holy Cow, Duane! Take it off somewhere. I don’t agree with McGinley all the time, but I surely enjoyed reading what he published above…

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Joseph Campbell
July 8, 2021 1:33 pm

The child is obviously unhinged.
I doubt he read more than a word or two, because like everyone else here he is screaming at, I said about what he did, although I added detail and context, and took the time to express some sympathy for the people who died.

Greg
Reply to  Duane
July 9, 2021 5:03 am

Duane, you are a self-absorbed asshole and no one gives shit what you think. 😉

Dave Yaussy
Reply to  Duane
July 8, 2021 6:08 am

Why the snark? I found it to be interesting information. Time will tell if it’s accurate, but he didn’t claim it was the final word, just his thoughts on what happened.

JLawson
Reply to  Dave Yaussy
July 8, 2021 7:46 am

And they seem a lot closer to what actually happened than ‘Muh glowbal Warmz destroyed thuh bildin’!’

Corrosion never sleeps – and salt water/spray will seep into the smallest cracks. Once the rebar ‘rotted’, the building was dead – it was just waiting to collapse.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  JLawson
July 8, 2021 8:22 am

JLawson,

It seems to me that there are awful lot of bridges, piers, marinas, tide/wave revetments, etc. that have used—and even today are being constructed using—reinforced concrete that is continuously immersed in ocean/estuary/intercostal saltwater.

I guess you need to sound the alarm about this, since the associated civil engineers must have missed your point.

MarkW
Reply to  JLawson
July 8, 2021 9:01 am

Corroded rebar can be repaired.

IAMPCBOB
Reply to  JLawson
July 8, 2021 11:24 am

Pure, untreated iron is the most easily deteriorated metal. It doesn’t take very much to do it, either. One the rusting begins it can’t be stopped. Or, at least,it is VERY difficult. If the iron is buried deeply within the concrete, there is ‘some’ safety. But the bars are often easily exposed during the cement pouring phase. Once the cement hardens there is NO WAY to properly seal it. This was a sad comedy of errors! People died due to incompetent construction techniques! It can easily happen again! It had NOTHING, whatsoever, to do with ‘climate change’! Sea level rise has only been present in the range of millimeters! Certainly not enough to cause THIS! The entire structure was poorly designed and POORLY constructed. It was an accident waiting to happen! The problem was identified several years ago and nothing was done about it!

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  IAMPCBOB
July 9, 2021 11:53 am

Rebar is almost always steel, not iron. They are not the same, by a long shot.

Duane
Reply to  Dave Yaussy
July 8, 2021 10:16 am

His thoughts don’t matter. The only thoughts that matter are expert thoughts produced as the result of an actual professional investigation of the collapse of this building. All the other assholes who are now pretending online to be forensic engineering consultants is approximately equal to the number of assholes who are global warmists and pretend to know science when they don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground on any actual science.

TonyG
Reply to  Duane
July 8, 2021 12:01 pm

I have no position on any of this, but I’m curious why you are so angry about people expressing their thoughts? It’s coming across as if it’s something very personal. Did you know someone who died in the collapse?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  TonyG
July 8, 2021 1:40 pm

He is acting really nuts, isn’t he?
But one thing I have not seen is a single word of sympathy for the victims from Daune.
I am more inclined to believe he has some personal liability at stake.
Mostly he is just telling everyone to shut up and stop commenting.
Then saying no one knows what happened until years and millions are spent studying it, while adding his own declaration of what will then be found.

In any case, he obviously has no ability to discuss anything with anyone.
He does not respond to anything specific, offer counterpoints or dispute anything in particular.
I think he is probably very young and terribly miseducated.
Grew up getting told he was the smartest little boy in the world and getting participation trophies and such.
IDK.
Kids!

Loren C. Wilson
Reply to  Duane
July 8, 2021 6:42 pm

And your qualifications are? At least he sounds like a civil engineer. Like the bridge collapse at Florida International University, some of the early analyses turned out to be correct. No sense being so hostile.

MarkW
Reply to  Duane
July 9, 2021 12:23 pm

So only those recognized as experts by you are allowed to express their thoughts.

Good to know. I’ll remember that the next time you express an opinion on global warming.

Ruleo
Reply to  Duane
July 8, 2021 2:09 pm

You are worth less than any words used to dismiss you.

James Snook
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 6:24 am

When I saw the photographs of the building before and after collapse I felt that column sizes, numbers and consequent floor spans were pushing the envelope in comparison with a number of similar sea front multistories with which I am familiar. Potentially a pack of cards waiting to collapse in the manner you describe.

From the BBC, who would normally jump on any climate change bandwagon:
What caused the 40-year-old Champlain Towers South to crumble remains unclear. A 2018 inspection, however, warned of “major” design flaws in the original design.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  James Snook
July 9, 2021 3:04 pm

James,
I had the same thoughts about the size and spacing of those columns before I knew anything else about what had occurred.
Those columns are no bigger than what is used to hold up some single homes in places where they are resting on piles to elevate the structure.
And one report after another talks about corrosion and damage to “the support columns in the parking garage”, without noting that these are the support columns for the entire building!

I think this is a scale drawing of the columns and floor plan of the lowest level of the structure.
Is is plainly evident that the parts that stayed standing have far larger columns than the parts that fell.
But it may be one single design specification that mattered: The slab that was exposed to the weather and that made up much of the pool deck area, was continuous with the slab comprising the floor of the ground level of the building interior in that area, and so was tied to the columns that held up that side of the building.

Buildings can be designed so that a failure of one or even several structural members, will not lead to the inevitable collapse of the entire structure.

Floor plan of lower level of Champlain Towers South..PNG
Last edited 17 days ago by Nicholas McGinley
Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 8:12 am

Nicholas stated in his first sentence above: “There is enough evidence to make some attempts at figuring out what exactly happened, and why, and how.”

Everything following is so much fluff for the simple reason that the building structure (parking garage and tower complex residences above) nearest the outdoor pool did not collapse. It was the tower complex furtherest away from the pool that finally collapsed, following the 2-3 second-earlier collapse of a portion of the building’s central structure.

The value of evidence can depend greatly on the ability of the one interpreting it.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 8, 2021 10:09 am

Gordon,
You have to look at what was observed more carefully, I think.
And what I am relating is not fluff for that reason: These are observations, not speculations.
Witnesses saw the pool DECK collapse, not the pool.
Did you miss that detail?
Video shows the garage ramp under the collapsed portion littered with concrete debris and with pipes shattered and gushing water, minutes before the rest of the structure collapsed.
Not one but several independent lines of evidence/witnesses attest to this sequence of events.
I can only think you have not paid any attention to what was actually said, or any of the evidence that the observations are based on.

Why are you going on about the pool?
No one said anything about the actual swimming pool.

Duane
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 10:20 am

As any actual professional investigator knows, including most especially expert forensic structural engineers, is that eyewitness accounts are always unreliable. Because humans are totally fallible, they see what they expect to see, or they “remember” stuff they never saw, but because they think they can make themselves look relevant, or please someone else by saying they saw something they didn’t actually see, they advertise themselves as “eyewitnesses”.

You pretend to be an expert, but you aren’t. If you were truly an expert, you would say what all the other actual experts are saying, which is that nobody knows today what caused this building to fall. Yet you pretend otherwise, unmasking yourself as a true fraud.

Gary K Hoffman
Reply to  Duane
July 8, 2021 12:49 pm

Nonsense. Eyewitness accounts are not “always” unreliable. They describe what actually happened more often than not, especially in situations where the eyewitness is not personally under a great deal of stress.

Ruleo
Reply to  Gary K Hoffman
July 8, 2021 2:34 pm

Duane is an idiot, but I too give no credence to eyewitness statements.

“Hands up don’t shoot!”

Look how many people, with their own eyes, still believe Chauvin had his knee on George Kirby’s* neck.

*if you don’t get the joke… look up what Pelosi said.

Last edited 18 days ago by Ruleo
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Gary K Hoffman
July 8, 2021 2:53 pm

One account may be implausible if it is contradicted by other information.
But in the case of the initial collapse of the pool deck, several people said about the same thing.
And one couple that we know of actually took a video of the garage where the deck had collapsed into it, after that failure but before the building came down.
Those two people heard it while swimming across the street and pulled out a phone and recorded the video I am linking to.
Those two had to run for their lives minutes later when the building fell.
They describe how people were on their balconies looking down at them in a panic as the collapse occurred.

“Roberto and Adriana Castillero of Tampa tell WTVJ they were staying at a hotel near the Champlain Towers South beachfront condo and said they were sitting by the hotel’s pool when they felt the ground shake.
Adriana grabbed her cellphone and started to record a TikTok when they saw the building gushing water.

“You could see all the rock, and then the pipe, the pipe with a lot of water coming out,” Roberto Castillero said. “My wife said, ‘Oh baby, I think that building is gonna collapse.’ I said, ‘Are you crazy? Honey, this is America; that’s not gonna collapse, don’t worry about it.’”
The couple said they stopped filming and saw people come out to their balconies.
“They’re looking on the bottom, but when they’re looking at the bottom everything was fine, because everything was in the garage,” Roberto Castillero said. “People on the balconies, they didn’t see.”

He said they stopped filming and a couple minutes later, the building collapsed.
“The next thing, we are running for our lives — that was something — I almost died just because I heard the, it’s like a bomb, you know, like an explosion, a big explosion,” Roberto Castillero said.
Moments after the collapse, the couple filmed the building with the collapsed wing in a pile of rubble and rescue workers responding.
“The building was not there; that’s when I realized that those people are missing,” Roberto Castillero said. “I remember that I couldn’t hear anything, you don’t hear any voice. It was very quiet and a lot of smoke, dust.””

Watch: Tampa couple’s video shows fallen debris and gushing water minutes before Surfside collapse | WFLA

Video, images and interviews deepen questions about role of pool deck in condo collapse (msn.com)
And all of that comports closely with what is known to have transpired prior to any of this happening, going back several years:

“Speculation about the collapse has centered on the pool deck area because the 2018 engineer’s report found that the slab under the deck was not sloped to drain properly and had suffered damage as a result. The engineer, Frank P. Morabito, was hired by the condominium association to inspect the building as part of requirement that it be recertified 40 years after construction. He said the building required timely and expensive repairs, which had not begun by the time of the disaster.
And it also comports with the video of the building collapse from the security camera just south of the collapse.”

““You can see the failure came from the bottom,” said Kit Miyamoto, a veteran structural engineer and the chairman of the California seismic safety commission.”

“Experts urged caution and some structural engineers said they doubted that a collapse in the deck slab would have jeopardized the beachside building’s overall integrity. But Allyn E. Kilsheimer, a veteran engineer hired by Surfside to investigate the collapse, told The Post that such a failure could have set off a wider catastrophe.”

“Mike Stratton was on the phone with his wife Cassie, who was on her fourth floor balcony overlooking the pool and called him when she saw it cave in.
She was talking to him when the line went dead.”

“Sara Nir, a resident, told The Post that shortly before 1 a.m., she noticed loud “knocking” noises that she assumed were caused by construction work. Around 1:14 a.m., she heard a noise that she thought sounded like a wall crashing down, and she left her ground-level apartment to complain to a security guard in the lobby.
She estimated that about a minute later, while she was in the lobby, she heard a very large boom and saw that part of the surface-level parking area — and part of the pool deck — had collapsed into the underground parking garage. She and the two of her children who were home at the time then ran from the building.
Nir’s son called 911 at 1:19 a.m., he said, a time that he said he confirmed by checking the time stamp on his phone. About a minute later, a dispatcher with Miami-Dade County Fire and Rescue called for an engine to respond to an alarm at the building, audio shows.”

Mother Escaped With Children Right Before Surfside Tower Fell (collive.com)

https://img-s-msn-com.akamaized.net/tenant/amp/entityid/AALAYi4.img?h=768&w=1366&m=6&q=60&o=f&l=f

I also was on firm ground when I said that there is some evidence that the pool deck was attached to the main structure:

“Jason Borden, a Fort Lauderdale-based structural engineer who examined the Champlain building last year while his firm prepared to bid for work there, said that sustained corrosion of the slab “could have impacted the overall integrity of the building” because it joined with a main external wall. “It may be one of the factors that contributed to the collapse,” Borden said.”

In any case, neither I nor any of the people I linked to in my original comment said anything declarative or definitive.

Engineers and experts from every corner of the country are weighing in on what can be gleaned and what is uncertain.

This is what we do here…we discuss.

And as always, anyone telling people to shut up or that they have some special authority to limit the scope of such conversations, are speaking out of turn.

If there was a huge car wreck, and several different people said they saw a wheel fly off a car prior to the crash, I would not be one of the so-called experts saying not to pay any attention to that.
The Nirs did run out of that building minutes before the collapse because they saw the pool deck falling into the ground.
That women was in the lobby when she saw it because she heard loud noises and banging minutes prior to the pool deck collapse.
The architectural and constructions plans are right there for anyone to look at in the second video I linked to in my first comment.
According to someone who would know, these plans show the deck was attached to the structure at the exact place that, minutes later, the whole building started to collapse, which can be seen on a video of the scene.

Even if I had no specialized knowledge of such things, I could simply infer from an analytical perspective that a plausible scenario appears to have been arrived at by the architect named Mike Bell who created the simulation of this scenario.
While explicitly stating this is a speculative scenario based on reported information at an early stage.

When accounts do not jibe with observable facts or contradict one another, they tend to lack credibility.
But when they do add up to a coherent picture which comports with the totality of the available evidence, that tends to lend credibility.

It is possible that years of investigation will turn up nothing that causes the investigators to believe they know what occurred.

Or it may be that what appears to have happened is what indeed did happen.
There are people that are engineers who think particle beam weapons brought down the twin towers, and that the planes everyone saw did not actually exist, that they were mystery planes, or guided missiles disguised as planes.
But most people think that what they saw was what happened.

I can recall people saying not to form any opinion of what happened on 911.
I did not let them stop me from thinking about what I could glean either.

The planes caused what occurred next, but they were not the whole story.
There were also details relating to the way the towers were built.
But we knew what happened pretty quickly.
That has not stopped me from reading and watching stuff about that day for years on end right up to the present

We may possibly but not necessarily have the key details of this collapse in front of us even at this early time.
And I will continue to be interested in looking at this from many angles and soak in all the information as it is released.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Gary K Hoffman
July 8, 2021 2:55 pm
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Duane
July 8, 2021 1:51 pm

Bullshit. Stop lying about what I said, thank you very much.
Lie all you want about yourself.
You are the only one who said they know what will be found.
I know exactly why you are going off on unhinged rants, while not even looking at what I actually did say.
It is because you have for years made one factually inaccurate assertion or downright untrue statement after another, and I have had to several times point out exactly where you went wrong and point you at sources of verifiable info.

You could say what you think anyone has said that you know to be untrue, or tell why you doubt something or anything specific.
But you never do anything like that…you know, like what adults do when they exchange information.

I am not the bully who stole your lunch money Daune, and it was not me who gave you wedgies every day in front of the girls.
But I am starting to understand why he might have done so.

Last edited 18 days ago by Nicholas McGinley
MarkW
Reply to  Duane
July 9, 2021 12:36 pm

First off, eye witness accounts are not always unreliable. Sometimes they are, especially in instances where there is a lot of stress or emotion.
When the eye witness testimony differs from the physical evidence, then one would usually go with the physical evidence. However physical evidence can also be incomplete or hard to interpret.

A smart investigator takes all of the evidence and uses it to reach a conclusion. Looks like you have never known any “professional investigators”.

An expert is someone who says what all the other experts are saying. Really. Once again, I’ll remember this the next time you have any comments on global warming.

Drake
Reply to  Duane
July 10, 2021 5:03 pm

“Eyewitness accounts are always unreliable”

After the Battle of the Little Big Horn, the investigators discounted the natives’ (you know, those who survived the battle) eyewitness accounts.

Much later at the turn of THIS century, there was a grass fire that burned the area to the ground. The park service employees walked the hills around the monument and noted the location of numerous cartridge casings at the locations indicated by the native eye witness accounts. These locations were different from the OFFICIAL account..

So I guess your dedication to and admiration of any “authority” would cause you to call the NEW evidence BS and you would still believe the Official record??

BTW: Those eye witnesses were not historians so how could their accounts be worth anything? I mean, no college, etc. Heck, they probably couldn’t even read or write.

JCalvertN(UK)
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 1:57 pm

The west side which stayed upright probably did so because it housed the lift/stair core. Such buildings are heavily reliant on the lift/stair core for stability. The columns can only resist vertical forces – and then only with lateral bracing-like support from the floors to stop them from buckling. And the floors must be tied into the lift/stair core to be effective at stopping any buckling. Wind loads, other swaying effects and something called P-Delta, are only usually resisted by the lift/stair core – thanks to their much greater stiffness. (The stiffness being proportional to the cube of the structural depth. I have done buildings that relied on the stiffness of the columns for overall stability – but it wasn’t my idea and it was very inefficient.)
The speed of collapse was quite damming. It would have been difficult to deliberately demolish a building of that size as quickly. This all points to progressive collapse. In a competently designed and built structure a localised failure of the pool-deck area should have stayed localised.
There is not enough evidence to know what caused a localised failure of the pool deck to spread to the building – but it is quite conceivable that pool-deck collapse removed the lateral bracing-like support from the adjacent skinny façade columns – without which they were unable to stand.
Whatever, even after the failure spread to the building, it still should not have initiated a progressive collapse of half the building the way it did. This points to a deeply inherent design fault – namely lack of robustness against progressive collapse. The beams and columns should have been designed with sufficient over-strength (or safety factor) so as to take-up a significant share of the load from an adjacent beam or column – should it fail. This doesn’t prevent localised failure, but it ensures that it stays localised. I first became aware of this design approach in the mid 1990s. Unfortunately Champlain Towers would have been designed in the late 1970’s or early 1980s and it might not have been a requirement of the design codes (e.g. ACI 318) by then.

Last edited 18 days ago by JCalvertN(UK)
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  JCalvertN(UK)
July 8, 2021 4:08 pm

All true.
I said as much.
As I said, what is outlined as a plausible scenario is just that, a scenario, and plausible is subjective.
“…some attempts at figuring out …”

It may turn out the pool deck collapse had nothing to do with the building falling down seven minutes later.
As the video of the simulation also makes clear to say.

JCalvertN(UK)
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 2:40 pm

The pool itself remained intact and was still full of water the next morning.comment image

Last edited 18 days ago by JCalvertN(UK)
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  JCalvertN(UK)
July 8, 2021 4:01 pm

Yes, I know that.
The pool deck is not the pool.
It is the area that is caved in between the pool and the part of the building still standing.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  JCalvertN(UK)
July 8, 2021 4:20 pm

Look at the photo at time stamp 2:03 in the first video in my original comment.
It shows that the part of the deco immediately adjacent to the pool is intact.
It appears to have been a separate slab.
Also note the column size under the deck section just west of the swimming poll in the same picture, the one numbered 38.
It is far larger than the others.
Plus the pool itself is a shell of concrete…far more massive than a column.
Similarly, the columns under the part of the building that stayed standing are larger than what was under the parts that fell.
Although several of them also had punch through failure where the slab attached to the column, the columns did not fail.

I can tell you I have seen the architectural plans for the building and was surprised to see that the columns under the part of the building that fell, appear to be the same size or close to it, as the columns that are visible punching through the pool deck and also column 30 in the picture at 2:03.
Also it seems the parts of the structure that did not fall also had some large cross beams included at the lower levels.
This may be for several reasons, such as if the lobby was two stories high, or for some other reason.
That part of the building is constructed much more robustly that the downed part.
I have no idea why, or how that decision was made or why it was allowed to make them so much smaller in the north and east wings of the building.
The cross sectional area of the larger columns appears to be more than twice than of the smaller ones.

Last edited 18 days ago by Nicholas McGinley
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 5:13 pm

Here are the plans for the buildings:
8777-collins-ave-1979-plans.pdf (townofsurfsidefl.gov)

JCalvertN(UK)
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 11:13 pm

Thank you – I had been looking for that info

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  JCalvertN(UK)
July 8, 2021 6:24 pm

Excellent photo and comment!

Click on the picture and then enlarge it using your computer. One can establish that the pool is still essentially full of water by seeing debris floating on the surface of the water.

Similarly, one cannot see any “structural elements” attaching the collapsed pool deck to the still-standing tower of residential units or to the still-standing vertical columns in bottom-most level directly underneath those residences, both of which comprise the building structure closest to the outdoor pool area.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 9, 2021 9:10 am

It seems you are still refusing to look at and consider what was actually said.
What you said here is correct, “…one cannot see any “structural elements” attaching the collapsed pool deck to the still-standing tower of residential units…”, up to a point.
What you said next is false, “…or to the still-standing vertical columns in bottom-most level directly underneath…”

In fact the columns under the standing portion of the building were connected to the same slab that collapsed into the lower level of the garage, by rebars that are plainly visible.
What do you think was holding up the ground level slab before it collapsed?

Newer building codes call for support on the columns all the way around to prevent a slab from just sliding down the column to the lower level if it becomes detached. Nothing prevented this slab from simply slipping right down all the way to the ground or where stopped by cars under it.

And you seem to be missing the point completely, that the connection that mattered between the collapsed deck slab was to the portion of the building that fell, seven full minutes at least after the pool deck collapsed.
I have to think you are yammering away without ever having read what I wrote or watching the simulation video of the proposed sequence of events.
IOW, you are arguing with yourself about something I never said or implied.
What is that called?
Straw-something I believe.

Look closely. Note rebars that had been imbedded in the deck slab, now torn out of the slab and left connected to column.
Especially obvious in #72/73 and the one behind it, partially blocked by the small black car.
Also note column sizing: Small on collapsed portions of building, large in the part that remained standing.
If you cannot see that there are structural elements, namely rebars, that had connected these two elements, what on Earth do you think supported the slab?

The deck collapsed.
Certainly a noteworthy event.
Seven minutes later the building collapsed.
Is it your opinion that the two events are unrelated?
That the pool deck slab collapse could not have caused the building to fall down seven minutes later, after standing for 40+ years, even knowing the collapsed started in the area where the collapsed slab was adjoining the structure, and the plans, which I linked to, indicate they were connected?

Why are you commenting if you have no interest in looking at what is being said?

deck collapse.jpg
Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 9, 2021 12:00 pm

Simple question asked: “What do you think was holding up the ground level slab before it collapsed?”

Simple answer given in return: “The vertical support columns that your yourself highlighted in another post to show where they ‘punched through’ the pool deck slab that clearly collapsed separately from any part of the main multistory building.”

QED

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 9, 2021 1:03 pm

OK then.
-Video and eyewitness accounts from several sources agree that the pool deck preceded the building collapse.

-Something triggered the building collapse.
Some initial event occurred in what was evidently a progressive failure.

-The building collapse appears to have begun in the area where the pool deck slab meets the base of the building.

-Four columns hold up the entire facade of the building in the location that the video shows was the part that fell first

-Those four columns were connected to the pool deck slab that collapsed just before before the building fell.

-Building plans make it clear there was nothing else unpinning that side of the building but those few columns that extended down into the garage level.

-That part of the building and those specific structural elements had as of three years ago been cited as having suffered “severe structural damage”. due to corrosion of the rebars and spalling of the concrete.

-The lady who lived in the unit in exactly the place the slab joined the building, heard loud noises and banging coming from the building, starting before the deck collapsed. She was apparently the only person who knew disaster was imminent, and she and her two kids are the only two known to have ran from the building in the minutes before it collapsed.

My guess is she heard rebars snapping and the initial stages of the rending of the structural elements that subsequently failed.

But maybe she just made a lucky guess and none of what happened in the minutes before the collapse had anything to do with it.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 11, 2021 8:29 pm

Check out this corrosion of the rebars at the top of pool deck column.
These are what connect the slab to the column:

corroded rebar on pool dech column.PNG
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 8, 2021 3:40 pm

And besides for that Gordon, you are incorrect about the placement of the parts that fell in relation to the pool.
You said the parts closest to the pool was the part that never fell.
This is exactly opposite of what the actual case is, as this diagram shows.
How much time have you even spent looking into this before you commented?comment image?quality=85&strip=all&w=820

And as I said, the part that did not fall had much larger columns, evident even in grainy photos after the collapse, but also in the engineering diagrams of the building:

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 3:42 pm

Column punch through:

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 3:44 pm

Oops:

Collapseb.PNG
Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 7:18 pm

Amazing that the parking garage columns and overhead residential tower structure SO CLOSE TO the edge of the pool deck collapse area (with circled column “punch through” locations) are still standing, whereas complex structures at greater minimum-distance separations collapsed.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 9, 2021 7:47 am

Didn’t someone say the part of the building that did not collapse was the part that had the elevators in them and this strenthens the structure. Perhaps that is why it was still standing.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 9, 2021 10:05 am

Yes.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 6:58 pm

As has already been noted, it was the pool deck that collapsed, NOT the pool itself.

Google Earth says it is 35-45 feet westward from the portion of the pool deck that collapsed (and had visible column “punch throughs”) to the vertical support columns in the ground level parking garage that is still standing.

In comparison Google Earth says it is 40-60 feet northward from the portion of the pool deck that collapsed to the northern tower of residences inside wall that did collapse.

I fine with calling the distances essentially equal.

The posted isometric view distorts scale in different directions . . . you have to look at Google Earth’s view directly above the Champlain Towers South complex.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 9, 2021 9:41 am

OK, now we are getting somewhere.
The part of the deck that collapsed was actually underneath the part of the building that stayed standing, in the area of column 72/73.
So for some reason, that punch through did not cause deflection of the columns to a degree sufficient for them to buckle.
That is where the part about the disparity in column sizing comes into play.
Maybe it is just a miracle, and someone in that section had a guardian angel looking out for them.
Or maybe the size of the columns was the critical factor.
Or maybe the exact sequence of the progression of the collapse explains it.

Now, moving along to proximity of the part that did collapse: The collapsed portion of this deck slab extends an unseen distance to the north, in the direction of the collapsed building debris pile.
Since this was one slab pour, by the look of it, and this slab terminated west of the actual pool itself, it may be that it terminated on it’s western margin about where the collapse ended in that direction. But it continued to the north right into and under the building! That is the key point. And those columns are small, as can be seen all through the heap of debris as I circled in my marked up photo.
And this is exactly what the video in my first comment, the animated simulation, proposes as a possible initiating event.
When that deck collapsed, it may have started with as few as one or a couple of punch through shear failures caused by corrosion, which then progressed to adjacent columns including into the columns under the building face that was the first part to be seen moving in the video of the collapse.

It is not conclusive, but it is IMO highly compelling.
The plans show the slab was connected to the columns that held up this side of the structure, and all evidence indicates that these columns are minimally sized.
And this was all happening in the exact place that had been flagged years earlier as having already undergone severe structural degradation due to corrosion and spalling.
It is further noted in documents and photographs in the second video of my first comment, that prior repair efforts involving injecting epoxy grout had failed. Spalling was accelerating.
The deck was poorly drained and the waterproofing had long since been known to have failed.
The deck would have accumulated chloride from salt drift and from chlorine from pool water whenever anyone climbed out of the pool.
Unknown the relative contribution of any of these factors, or if additional factors contributed. Concrete could have been substandard for example.

But none of that subtracts from the observations noted by several converging lines of evidence: The long since flagged pool deck collapsed. It was preceded by a period of noises from the slab.
It was loud enough and dramatic enough to scare at least one women into exiting the building in the middle of the night, dragging her two kids, one of whom had only a bathrobe on, and causing them to run and be several blocks away when it collapsed!
Other people nearby heard it from across the street and have video of what they saw. They say people in the upper floors of the building had come out onto balconies to see what was going on, and they tried to warn them.
Then after seven minutes the building fell.
If the initial collapse of the pool deck had caused someone to pull a fire alarm, dozens more and maybe everyone might have escaped with their lives.

Did something else happen to trigger all of this?
Unknown.
Could what is already known have caused it?
IMO, yes.

The south face of the building fell almost straight down.
The scenario I explained in my first comment is consistent with everything I am aware of.

I am certain there is extensive video evidence that is not being made public.
I expect that unless the collapse destroyed all of the photographic and physical evidence, we will find out enough to know what happened in a detailed sequence.
I would be willing to bet money the pool deck and prior known issues with it will figure prominently in the explanation of the event.

Last edited 17 days ago by Nicholas McGinley
Tom Abbott
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 9, 2021 7:41 am

I think your speculation on the collapse is plausible.

It appears to me that the collapse of the pool deck initiated the building collapse.

The building first had a collapse in the center where the two sections meet and the pool deck is right in front of this section. The center section collapsed and then a couple of moments later, the section to the right of the center collapsed.

And I wonder about some claims that some of the columns were undersized. Don’t buildings like this have all their structural elements calculated to withstand the forces they will encounter?

Rather than small columns being a design flaw, it would seem to me that deterioration inside the columns would be the actual cause of any failure.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 9, 2021 9:54 am

I understand your point about column sizing.
But expected loads under normal static conditions do not allow for what will happen in the case of some damaging event.
IOW, how much margin of error was there in that sizing?
How much ability for adjacent columns to acquire increased loading from a failure was there?
What if a car ran into a column in the parking lot?
Also, small columns necessitate smaller and fewer numbers of rebars, and a smaller interface between slab and column.
A house of cards will stay standing if no forces act on it.
The question is, what happens when something inevitably goes wrong?
At some point things happen, materials degrade, damage and degradation accumulates.
Was this place made to stand up to 100 years of harsh conditions, or to withstand a failure of one or more columns for whatever reason?

I would say we have a definitive answer to that question, no matter what caused it to start.

And then there is this: Would you design your house so that if the sidewalk outside became degraded, it could drag your house down if it collapsed?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 9, 2021 9:57 am

I do not mean to be snarky, just rhetorical.
I do not think anyone would do so.
The mystery is, why was this building made this was, if indeed it turns out that this is the case?
That parking lot extended out beyond the perimeter of the building in several directions.
And this is near the beach, where salt is everywhere.
How many times if ever, has the water risen up to Collins Ave in the past 40 years?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 9, 2021 9:58 am

Have to look at the extent of water rise in that area during Irma.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 11, 2021 4:55 am

“I do not mean to be snarky, just rhetorical.”

I didn’t take it that way. 🙂

Drake
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 8:13 am

Nicholas, nice review of issues with buildings.

To me, having been involved in construction in LV, NV, where buildings are more robust due to earthquake threat, it scares the hell out of me that buildings like this may be subject to an extremely rare but possible earthquake.

And of course the much more likely wind loads from tropical storms and hurricanes place stresses on these buildings that could initiate failure in a structure that has been deteriorating for decades.

There was a case of deficiencies in steel placement and concrete flow between the steel that necessitated the reduction in the total height of a building during construction here in Las Vegas. I can’t remember specifically, but I believe it was one of the towers in the City Center complex. I think they shortened the building by 20 stories.

I have personally seen voids in concrete placement in a column in a high rise hotel tower that was “corrected” with application of shotcrete after the fact. You could see through the 30+ inch column. The aggregate was too large to flow through the steel.

At the Excalibur, a 30 story high rise hotel structurally built of grouted concrete masonry units, when the concrete samples for the first two floors came back under the minimum required compressive strength, the fix was to remove the inner layer of the CMUs and shoot shotcrete to an engineered thickness to strengthen the structure. I was not on that job so don’t know if another grid of rebar was added before the shotcrete, I have been told that the hotel rooms at the lowest floor of rooms (second or third floor of the tower) are noticeably smaller than the upper floors.

And the case of the Mandalay Bay in Vegas where the investigation for the soils report did not drill deep enough and the building was built without a deep enough foundation. The center core, where the elevators are, massive amount of concrete and the weight thereof, began to sink, creating a differential at the floor levels between the center core and the wings. They had bring in a specialized contractor to install pin pilings through the foundation with injected hydraulic grout to stabilize the structure.

Building structures of this size, not on bedrock, like those in NYC, can entail many design calculations that can be wrong and not/or sufficiently robust. Didn’t we just see a bird chopper blow over somewhere due to an improperly designed foundation?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Drake
July 8, 2021 10:26 am

  “…“corrected” with application of shotcrete after the fact.”

This does not seem like it would have anything like structural strength.
Such structural members must be poured so as to me monolithic in order to have structural integrity, let alone value as a load bearing member in a high-rise building, no?

Drake
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 9, 2021 4:29 pm

Not really. Properly applied shotcrete is stronger than most poured in place concrete. At the pressure it is shot, it is, in essence, monolithic when it is applied. It has really good adhesion to existing structure.

As I am sure you know, the LESS water in concrete the better. Concrete poured must flow into the voids, thus more water.

Dry shotcrete (Gunite) is extremely hard and works well for structural purposes, especially as used on the vertical surfaces at The Excalibur.

There would be no other way to obtain the strength needed at the voids in the column mentioned. Poured concrete would not flow in with no open top, without way too much moisture.

As you may know, swimming pools in the ground are almost always shotcrete, but usually of the wet variety.

Poured in place concrete is easier and MUCH less expensive. Just place the steel, set the forms, pour and vibrate.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Drake
July 10, 2021 1:17 pm

OK, that is interesting info and something I had not been aware of previously, that there are technologies for applying Gunite or shotcrete that are as strong or stronger than poured concrete, and which can be that string even when applied to an existing element as a patch.
Or presumably a repair.
I do know a fair bit about the material properties and the history of concrete.
It was very interesting to read about how in this instance a mistake was made involving the size of the aggregate being too big to let the concrete penetrate the rebar assembly.
I am curious how much time went by before it was discovered, or how it is the people pouring it did not notice what was happening?
I have spent a lot of time over many years watching various stages of construction projects.
Pouring concrete is usually done as quickly as possible by guys that have their face right in the work.

It has occurred to me that some types of problems occur because of the size of a structure, or else do not occur because of same.
Very large and tall buildings have large columns and thus rebar can be placed further from the outer surfaces of each structural element.
Same with things like dams, bridge foundations and piers, abutments, trestles, etc.

Smaller structures may be protected from some problems by not being large enough for certain forces to be a significant factor.
Tall ones may be protected by having far larger structural elements and also larger allowances for things like wind loading, airplane impacts, and perhaps by a bias towards larger margins of safety for huge structures in general.

But perhaps medium sized buildings like this one have problems because they do not have really large beams and columns, and are not gigantically expensive and one of a kind structures with all sort of margins of safety layered on.

When codes are changed because of the realization that existing ones are/were inadequate, it is typical for existing structures or whatever to be grandfathered in, and retrofits not be required.
Typically, something really bad has to happen, sometimes more than one within a certain amount of time, in order for tough and expensive decision made.

Is this bad enough to be seen as ominous, rather than a fluke or one-off?
Maybe it depends on how much coverage it gets, or whom one asks?
There are a lot of images of a lifeless pile of concrete and metal chunks.
Not many being shown of the people who were killed, like little Stella Catarrossi:
comment image?w=736
OK, that is interesting info and something I had not been aware of previously, that there are technologies for applying Gunite or shotcrete that are as strong or stronger than poured concrete, and which can be that string even when applied to an existing element as a patch.
Or presumably a repair.
I do know a fair bit about the material properties and the history of concrete.
It was very interesting to read about how in this instance a mistake was made involving the size of the aggregate being too big to let the concrete penetrate the rebar assembly.
I am curious how much time went by before it was discovered, or how it is the people pouring it did not notice what was happening?
I have spent a lot of time over many years watching various stages of construction projects.
Pouring concrete is usually done as quickly as possible by guys that have their face right in the work.

It has occurred to me that some types of problems occur because of the size of a structure, or else do not occur because of same.
Very large and tall buildings have large columns and thus rebar can be placed further from the outer surfaces of each structural element.
Same with things like dams, bridge foundations and piers, abutments, trestles, etc.

Smaller structures may be protected from some problems by not being large enough for certain forces to be a significant factor.
Tall ones may be protected by having far larger structural elements and also larger allowances for things like wind loading, airplane impacts, and perhaps by a bias towards larger margins of safety for huge structures in general.

But perhaps medium sized buildings like this one have problems because they do not have really large beams and columns, and are not gigantically expensive and one of a kind structures with all sort of margins of safety layered on.

When codes are changed because of the realization that existing ones are/were inadequate, it is typical for existing structures or whatever to be grandfathered in, and retrofits not be required.
Typically, something really bad has to happen, sometimes more than one within a certain amount of time, in order for tough and expensive decision made.

Is this bad enough to be seen as ominous, rather than a fluke or one-off?
Maybe it depends on how much coverage it gets, or whom one asks?
There are a lot of images of a lifeless pile of concrete and metal chunks.
Not many being shown of the people who were killed, like little Stella Catarrossi:
comment image?w=736
OK, that is interesting info and something I had not been aware of previously, that there are technologies for applying Gunite or shotcrete that are as strong or stronger than poured concrete, and which can be that string even when applied to an existing element as a patch.
Or presumably a repair.
I do know a fair bit about the material properties and the history of concrete.
It was very interesting to read about how in this instance a mistake was made involving the size of the aggregate being too big to let the concrete penetrate the rebar assembly.
I am curious how much time went by before it was discovered, or how it is the people pouring it did not notice what was happening?
I have spent a lot of time over many years watching various stages of construction projects.
Pouring concrete is usually done as quickly as possible by guys that have their face right in the work.

It has occurred to me that some types of problems occur because of the size of a structure, or else do not occur because of same.
Very large and tall buildings have large columns and thus rebar can be placed further from the outer surfaces of each structural element.
Same with things like dams, bridge foundations and piers, abutments, trestles, etc.

Smaller structures may be protected from some problems by not being large enough for certain forces to be a significant factor.
Tall ones may be protected by having far larger structural elements and also larger allowances for things like wind loading, airplane impacts, and perhaps by a bias towards larger margins of safety for huge structures in general.

But perhaps medium sized buildings like this one have problems because they do not have really large beams and columns, and are not gigantically expensive and one of a kind structures with all sort of margins of safety layered on.

When codes are changed because of the realization that existing ones are/were inadequate, it is typical for existing structures or whatever to be grandfathered in, and retrofits not be required.
Typically, something really bad has to happen, sometimes more than one thing within a certain amount of time, in order for tough and expensive decisions to be made.

Is this bad enough to be seen as ominous, rather than a fluke or one-off?
Maybe it depends on how much coverage it gets, or whom one asks?
There are a lot of images of a lifeless pile of concrete and metal chunks.
Not many being shown of the people who were killed, like little Stella Catarrossi:
comment image?w=736

Last edited 16 days ago by Nicholas McGinley
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 10, 2021 1:51 pm

No idea how that happened.
Maybe a moderator can fix it?

Drake
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 10, 2021 5:32 pm

Nicholas,

In the case of the column, when the form was removed, the defect was obvious.

Note that when numerous different workers place steer rebar, they do not always place it the same. I do not know what was determined as the specific cause but I would bet someone had placed the rebar in such a way as the concrete didn’t flow properly on THAT ONE column.

I was a building inspector and when inspecting completed block fence walls I would tap the block hollow spaces to verify the proper spacing of vertical grout. I OFTEN found where grout was not poured to fill the required cell. I would make the contractor break a whole on the bottom course and show him the failure. What they did was use a mesh to line the horizontal joint below the top course, and then open the cells where the verticals grout was to be poured when placing the vertical rebar. The mesh created a horizontal bond beam to strengthen the wall. There is no way the worker on the end of the grout pump hose DID NOT KNOW he had not filled up the cell.
The contractor would then drill out the bond beam at the missed vertical cell, clean out the crap through the inspection hole in the bottom course, block the bottom opening and refill the vertical column. I was not well liked by masonry contractors, I was the ONLY inspector who did that.

I had a CMU wall on my own house where, at over 20 years old, it blew over in a big windstorm. The contractor had not matched the J bar out of the footing with the vertical rebar and grout cell.

On STRUCTURAL CMU walls (RETAINING), I would walk the top of the wall using my metal inspection paperwork box to reflect sunlight down the cells to verify the placement of the vertical steel. You would be amazed how often it was improperly placed.
Good old time blockies would place a dab of mortar on the first course where the footing steel was. I would only see that from a couple of contractors. Most blockies spoke very little English when I was inspecting, and they were not well trained.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Drake
July 12, 2021 9:00 pm

The dab of mortar being a visual mark to guide which cells needed to have the grout, right?
So that the cells with the j bar would be sure to be the ones getting the grout.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Drake
July 8, 2021 10:29 am

In fact, building codes for Florida have been found to have been inadequate at several points in time over the past 40 years.
It has been widely reported and discussed that a building like this, built when it was, would have far more stringent requirements in subsequent years, on up to today.

John VC
Reply to  Drake
July 8, 2021 2:32 pm

Another factor that could be involved is the constant squabble between pour inspectors and the concrete workers about water content. At one point in my somewhat unspectacular career, I worked as a soil geologist for a structural engineer, and frequently would be sent out to sample concrete pours. The engineers wanted at 3-4 inch slump, while the guys actually moving the crete around would keep calling for the driver to add 20 (gals of h2o) The wetter mix would be easier to place, but in the long run would weaken the concrete considerably.—lab stress testing would confirm.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Drake
July 9, 2021 3:37 pm

Drake,
Good point about earthquakes possibly occurring in locations that have structures that are not designed to withstand them.
Florida does have occasional quakes.
So far all known ones have been minor and well offshore.
I used to live in Philly, and they too get occasional quakes, some of them edging towards moderate in intensity.
And then there is the New Madrid seismic zone.
When that ruptured in 1811 and 1812, it caused three of the most intense earthquakes ever recorded in North America, between magnitude 7 and 8, and the geology of the Eastern US caused the seismic waves and shaking to travel for extremely long distances, compared to most earthquakes zones.
Many smaller but still strong quakes also occurred during that time period.

These quakes, “caused minor structural damage as far away as Cincinnati, Ohio, and St. Louis, Missouri, and were felt as far away as Hartford, Connecticut, Charleston, South Carolina, and New Orleans, Louisiana.”

Connecticut!
That is really far away.
I seem to recall learning that church bells rang as far away as Boston and Charleston(IIRC) from the shaking,
I do not know what that means in terms of damage potential, but my sense of it is that it takes a pretty strong shake to ring a church bell.
Boston is 1200 miles from St. Louis.

Damage to all sorts of structures from the levees on the Mississippi river, to homes, and large masonry and concrete buildings is likely to be extreme and cover a huge area.
Liquefaction alone could cause unprecedented damage across a wide area.
In those years, 1811 and 1812, this part of the world was sparsely inhabited, and few large buildings existed.
The situation today (and presumably in the future) is far different than that.

The New Madrid Seismic Zone (usgs.gov)

Last edited 17 days ago by Nicholas McGinley
MarkW
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 8:58 am

Data from the internal cameras will only be available if the hard drives survived being crushed by the collapse.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  MarkW
July 8, 2021 10:20 am

Or if the data was collected and stored on an internet server, as is often the case.
The lobby of the building survived the initial collapse, so it is likely that even if the data from cameras was stored only on a onsite hard drive, it was for well over a week retrievable.
There were some very wealthy people in those towers.
Cameras are readily apparent at many specific locations around the building just by looking at google or bing maps streetside views.
And almost all such buildings would have cameras in hallways on each floor, and in the elevators, etc.
So far only two videos have been made public…one of which is a cell phone video of a poolside security camera video from the new building just to the south.
But there is another building across the street to the north, with a pool, parking garage entrance, etc.
We have also seen made public one snippet of a security camera video from inside one unit.
Obviously this was stored online.
Any cameras that allow access from a cell phone have to be on a server, not merely a hard drive, and that includes all but the least expensive do it yourself type of home systems.

Now, considering how important it is to get at the reason for why and how this happened, I would think that even if it was only recorded on a hard drive in an office or other such space within the building, there is good reason to suppose retrieving it would have been some sort of priority to someone.
After all, they even went in to search for pets at one point soon after the collapse.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 10:23 am

It would be a truly half assed security system if it was like a twenty year old convenience store camera where one has to go look at a tape or hard drive.
This would not allow for any remote security monitoring service.
Some units in that building were worth ten million dollars apiece.

Richard Page
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 10:51 am

Good initial synopsis. In the UK we’ve had similar experiences with suspended slab constructions failing due to poor construction methods. There do seem to be problems with construction methods from around this time – most probably to do with incomplete understanding of how it holds up to age and weathering. It is one thing to build a structure that will stand and another to build a structure that will still stand after 40-50 years of weathering and decay- you need to build in extra safeguards that may only be apparent after experience shows what will be necessary.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Richard Page
July 8, 2021 3:58 pm

I have not looked into the details of the one in the UK, but I will now that you have told me about it.
It is a big problem when a major repair will cost each resident tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The whole notion of a condominium was always dubious to me, and in this case the failure might have been largely due to how decisions are made, and by whom, in such co-ownership situations.
A professional property manager would have bid out the repair that was specified in 2018 immediately.
The consulting firm that inspected the building and outlined a repair plan said there was major structural damage, and it will get worse at an exponential rate if not repaired in a timely manner.
But he likely did not tell anyone the building will fall down in 2021.
And “timely manner” is a subjective term.

cerescokid
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 5:44 pm

Nicholas

Very informative comments. I can’t imagine what Duane’s problem is but given he had nothing but ad hominem versus your well reasoned, thoughtful replies I can’t imagine why anyone would care what he has said.

Your analysis was the most thorough I’ve read in any venue.

Greg
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 9, 2021 5:00 am

Thanks for that detailed comment. That was exactly what I was hoping to find when I clicked on the title of this post and was rather confused to find virtually nothing about the building in the article.

Long enough for at least one lady to hear loud noises and bangs, run hundreds of feet from her unit to the front desk and report it, turn to see the pool deck collapse, run back to her unit and grab her two kids, and run several blocks away before it fell.

That’s a nice tale. The fact that she could be bother to go and report it was what allowed her to witness the pool deck collapse and run to save her family. Had she not done that she likely would have perished with all the others.

karma cuts both ways.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Greg
July 9, 2021 1:24 pm

Buildings used to have fire alarms all over the place that anyone could pull.
I wonder if this building had them?
Did they stop having them when automatic smoke alarms became mandatory?
I cannot fault her for grabbing her kids and running for their lives.
But what about the security guard?
I am going to search media accounts and see if he survived and what he has had to say, if anything.
To me, that one person and her kids were blocks away and running when the building collapsed, who had been inside, is a critical detail.
I wonder how many people would have done what she did, had they been sitting where she was?

She may have been wrong about what she supposed was happening (she thought it was an earthquake), but her instinct to run fast and get far away was spot on.

Anon
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 8, 2021 8:54 am

I am waiting for the Babylon Bee:

Hoarder House goes up in flames in California, authorities determine Climate Change was cause of fire.

(sigh)

Last edited 18 days ago by Anon
Smart Rock
July 7, 2021 6:15 pm

Of course climate change caused the collapse. There’s nothing that climate change can’t do (except good things).

The only question remaining is – did climate change do it all by itself, or did Donald Trump lend a hand?

/sarc off

cirby
Reply to  Smart Rock
July 7, 2021 6:35 pm

No need for sarcasm – in the days after the collapse, I saw quite a few people online who were absolutely certain that Trump had a direct role in it, because he owned property in South Florida, and that proved everything. (waves hands convincingly)

Others were pretty sure he had at least some investment in Champlain Towers, or had direct business dealings with the guy who originally built and ran the place. It was just going to be a matter of time before someone found out exactly what that connection was.

H.R.
Reply to  cirby
July 7, 2021 7:32 pm

Madness. TDS.

Sorry I can’t click more than once on the upvote to your comment, cirby.

You’re just reporting what you’ve seen and it is pure nutso.

Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  cirby
July 8, 2021 1:27 am

This irrational hatred of Trump is very troubling. I understand why democrat politicians despise him but for the man-in-the-street to feel the same way is astounding. Does this stem from how the press portrays him or is something more sinister at work? Not even Nixon inspired such rabid hatred, a knee-jerk reaction to the mere mention of his name.

A j Cross
Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
July 8, 2021 4:10 am

From the other side, McAfee/relative owned a unit. McAfee died when extradition papers signed. McAfee had threat of data getting released.

Ruleo
Reply to  A j Cross
July 8, 2021 2:38 pm

John murdered June 23.

Building collapses June 24.

Interesting.

Rabbit hole for me now.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
July 8, 2021 5:29 am

I think you’ll find that these are indoctrinated men-in-the-gutter that the liberal news crews dig out to say these things. They’ve watched CNN and MSNBC and have heard lies about how bad President Trump is for the last 6 years or so, they have no critical thinking skills, and they probably have an IQ around or below average.

Joe
Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
July 8, 2021 8:41 am

I find this TDS a fascinating phenomena. I have a theory developed from observation of past events. When someone (Donald Trump) insults the lefts high priestess (Rosie O’Donnell) the leftists never forget.
 
The verbal insults spoken between these two years ago is the driver of the TDS climate we have today….do not doubt me.
 
Joe

MarkW
Reply to  Joe
July 8, 2021 9:06 am

What surprises, and worries me, is the number of people who get all of their political information from a small handful of TV gabfests.

Why should anyone care what an actor or an athlete thinks about a political issue of the day?

Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  MarkW
July 8, 2021 2:41 pm

Exactly! It’s not like most of these people are well-educated, many barely finished high school. Their opinions about the issues are worthless but they continue to blather on and on and on….

MarkW
Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
July 9, 2021 1:05 pm

Not only do they blab and blab, but so called reporters keep calling them to get their opinions on topics of the day.
If they want to talk about their latest movie or single. Fine and dandy. If they want to gossip about other performers that they have met, that’s their business.
But only a complete idiot would ask a performer to comment on complex issues.
Unfortunately, the news media seems to be made up of complete idiots.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  MarkW
July 9, 2021 7:54 am

Some people are just stupid.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
July 9, 2021 7:52 am

“Does this stem from how the press portrays him”

Yes, it does. The Leftwing Propaganda Press has a huge influence on easily influenced people, of which we have millions.

Pauleta
Reply to  Smart Rock
July 7, 2021 7:14 pm

According to to our dearly Canadian Pravda, the heat wave in the PNW was virtually impossible without global warming, I mean, climate change, I mean, climate urgency, I mean, climate .,..

AGW is super powerful.

Duker
Reply to  Pauleta
July 8, 2021 12:06 am

Climate flatulence

stewartpid
Reply to  Pauleta
July 8, 2021 10:48 am

The Communist Broadcast Corp / CBC in Canada is a POS …. I refuse to watch the commie swine.

Chris Wright
Reply to  Smart Rock
July 8, 2021 2:53 am

There’s one thing that climate change can certainly do: it can drive large numbers of people completely barking mad. Sadly we all have to pay the price for this madness.
Chris

Duane
July 7, 2021 6:18 pm

Nobody knows what specifically caused this building to collapse. But climate change can be ruled out categorically. Sea level rise over the 40 years this building was in service was only 3 inches. The building featured hundreds of pilings driven into the bedrock far below sea level, so this building foundation was always designed for, built, and planned for exposure below ground surface to salt or brackish groundwater, and for millions of structures built in coastal areas all over the world, this is no big deal. Yet nearly all such structures – not just buildings but also marine structures like docks, piers, sea walls, revetments, drydocks, lighthouses etc. – exist in this environment yet last vastly longer than 40 years.

It will take years of detailed investigations by multiple authorities to analyze this failure. The cause, or more likely multiple causes, will be in some combination of defects in design, construction, and/or maintenance.

But climate change? Not only no but he’ll no.

H.R.
Reply to  Duane
July 7, 2021 7:42 pm

What?!?

You’re nuckin’ futtz pointing out common sense facts, Duane.

Where’s the OMG! WE’RE ALL GONNA D-I-I-I-E!!! boilerplate, d-u-u-u-d-e?

Otherwise, someone just might pee on your Facebook account.

Can’t have that now, can we? Gotta up your game.
😜

Geoffrey Williams
Reply to  H.R.
July 8, 2021 12:18 am

Bit of a rude reply, keep your shirt on man and have some respect . .

H.R.
Reply to  Geoffrey Williams
July 8, 2021 3:43 am

Note the winky, Geoffrey. That was actually an attaboy to Duane for pointing out some facts.

I’m fairly certain Duane caught it or he would have lit into me.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  Duane
July 7, 2021 8:42 pm

Hi Duane,
You state without evidence that the building was designed and built for exposure to below ground salt water and also state that there was a defect in design and construction that will take years to discover. So how can you rule out a combination of bad design and increased sea level rise?

I haven’t read any reports that blame climate change for the disaster. There have however been a fair number of articles claiming that this is will become more likely if sea levels continue to rise.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 7, 2021 9:19 pm

Except sea levels are not rising at an increasing rate, if they’re rising at all in Florida.

https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?id=8720030

Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  Rory Forbes
July 8, 2021 1:30 am

Any sea level rise in south Florida is largely due to subsidence from groundwater extraction.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
July 8, 2021 5:11 am

Saltwater intrusion makes groundwater this close to the shoreline unusable, except for a few locales that use the brackish water as a source for desalination plant supply. Deerfield Beach is one specific example of this.
Florida has several water districts that manage the situation as best as it can be managed.
There is careful monitoring in place, and steps at remediation are more along the lines of what is happening here:

The most noticeable example of the use of artificial recharge in the United States is in southeastern Florida. In that area, a widespread network of surface-water canals is used to transport fresh water from inland water-storage locations during the dry season to coastal regions, where the water is recharged through the canals to the underlying aquifer to slow saltwater intrusion in the aquifer.”

SALT INTRUSION: A THREAT TO SOURCE WATER QUALITY | Water Center (upenn.edu)

Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 6:21 am

I lived in Ft. Lauderdale until 1985. At that time we considered the availability of fresh, potable water to be a major obstacle to growth. It is good to know they are actually taking steps to get their groundwater replenished, definitely a good thing. If I still lived in SE Florida I would probably be collecting water in a cistern during the rainy season for garden use.

Doonman
Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 7, 2021 9:25 pm

I haven’t read any reports that blame climate change for the disaster.

Watch out! if you keep your head in the sand much longer, you’ll surely drown.

Drake
Reply to  Doonman
July 10, 2021 5:44 pm

Ocean side sand he could drown. Dry sand, he would probably suffocate.

Either way, hiding from the truth does not help him much.

Chris Hanley
Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 7, 2021 9:55 pm

If the proposition is that industrialization has caused sea level rise therefore without industrialization the building would not have collapsed you are correct.
It would not have been built.

mike macray
Reply to  Chris Hanley
July 8, 2021 5:21 am

..”If the proposition is that industrialization has caused sea level rise therefore without industrialization the building would not have collapsed you are correct.
It would not have been built.”

Gotta go with you on that one Chris. Couldn’t help noticing that the pyramids of Giza haven’t collapsed yet…old Cheops must be rolling around in his sarcophagus!
Cheers
Mike

Bill Toland
Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 7, 2021 11:19 pm

Izaak, thank you for for discrediting yourself completely. Climate alarmists have made utter fools of themselves over this disaster. Their eagerness to blame absolutely everything on climate change has caused them to massively overreach on this occasion. How can anybody take them seriously now?

I didn’t think that any of WUWT’s resident alarmists was actually stupid enough to support this nonsense. Boy, was I wrong.

clarence.t
Reply to  Bill Toland
July 8, 2021 12:02 am

Yep, Izzak continues to re-define the limits of utter stupidity.

I’m sure there will be more from him. !

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  Bill Toland
July 8, 2021 5:32 am

You wait, Griff will soon be along soon to blame Exxon and Trump…

Duane
Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 8, 2021 3:05 am

Everybody who builds high rise structures in the coastal areas of Florida knows exactly what I’m talking about. All high rise structures in Florida are built upon deep foundations, typically steel or concrete piles sunk tens of feet into the bedrock, all of which is porous limestone, and has, in the beach areas of Florida, groundwater that is at least brackish, if not seawater. This particular building featured hundreds of such piles.

Sea level rise, as I stated above, has been only 3 inches, which could have zero detectable effect on deep piles always designed and intended to penetrate sea water or brackish water from the day they were first driven into the foundation bedrock.

Ray in SC
Reply to  Duane
July 8, 2021 3:34 pm

Everybody who builds high rise structures in the coastal areas of Florida knows exactly what I’m talking about.”

Duane, earlier in this thread you attacked a poster who offered a thoughtful explanation of the design defects that may have caused the building to collapse by saying that he lacked the expertise to do so and that he was “pretending to be a forensic engineer”. Yet here you are, pretending to be a builder of high rise buildings.

if it were not for double standards, you would have no standards at all.

Gordon A. Dressler
July 7, 2021 6:39 pm

Ahhh . . . sea-level rise, the go-to meme for anything “bad” happening near the world’s costal regions.

How about a little science to counter this sophomoric line of reasoning:

Part 1. Shouldn’t the tides already have “disappeared” the beaches?
The best scientific measurements of global sea-level rise (that from satellites with instruments built specifically to measure this, such as the TOPEX and Jason 1-3 satellites) show that the rate over the last 20 years has been essentially CONSTANT at +3 mm/year (ref: https://www.star.nesdis.noaa.gov/sod/lsa/SeaLevelRise/LSA_SLR_timeseries.php ).

So, in the next 80 years, extrapolation would predict a total rise of 240 mm, or a little under 9 inches, from today’s levels. This is nowhere near the 17 inches/33 inches values mentioned in the above article.

So . . . how, exactly, is 9 inches (+/-) of increased sea-level going to “wipe out” existing beaches and adjacent building structures? Most beaches in the world experience low tide-to-high tide variations many times this amount.

Part 2. Don’t overlook (pun intended) land subsidence.

The large variation in tide gage measurements around the world, as inferred to measure global sea-level rise, is in part—maybe large part—due to geographic variations in both land uplift and land subsidence. To wit:

“In this study we evaluate the contribution of land subsidence to the increasing flooding hazard in Miami Beach using Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) observations.
“Preliminary InSAR results detected localized subsidence, up to -3 mm/yr, mainly in reclaimed land located along the western side of Miami Beach.
“Although the detected subsidence velocities are quite low, their effect on the flooding hazard is significant, because houses originally built on higher ground have subsided since the city was built, about 80 years ago, by 16-24 cm down to flooding hazard zones.”
— Simone Fiaschi, Department of Geosciences, University of Padua, Padua, Italy, and Shimon Wdowinski, RSMAS, University of Miami, Miami, USA
“Geological changes along the East Coast are causing land to sink along the seaboard.”

“New research using GPS and prehistoric data has shown that nearly the entire coast is affected, from Massachusetts to Florida and parts of Maine.
“The study, published this month in Geophysical Research Letters, outlines a hot spot from Delaware and Maryland into northern North Carolina where the effects of groundwater pumping are compounding the sinking effects of natural processes”
—John Upton, “Sinking Atlantic Coastline Meets Rapidly Rising Seas”, Scientific American, 14 April 2016

Things are not always as they seem to be on the surface (again, pardon the pun). 

Hence, the aforementioned satellite measurements of global SLR are probably more accurate than any collection of tide gage measurements (excluding those that zero out accurately-known land uplift/subsidence at the specific location of the tide gage).

Land subsidence has NOT YET been asserted to be an effect of climate change . . . but give it time.

H.R.
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 7, 2021 7:50 pm

Whoa! Too much fact-mongering for me, Gordon.

I need to go hug something.

(😜)
.
.
👍 👍 👍

Art
July 7, 2021 6:43 pm

My guess is given the timing of the construction, there was simply too much cocaine mixed in with the concrete.

Travis
Reply to  Art
July 7, 2021 7:48 pm

don’t tell Hunter

mikebartnz
Reply to  Art
July 8, 2021 12:09 am

You left out the bodies.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  mikebartnz
July 8, 2021 8:27 am

You mean there’s a chance we’ll finally locate Hoffa?

Duker
Reply to  Art
July 8, 2021 12:10 am

Too little rebar…. more common than you think but as design safety standards cover it up..until the maintenance doesnt repair any spalling

Paul Johnson
July 7, 2021 7:12 pm

Apparently, “Never let a crisis go to waste.” has a corollary:
“Never let a human tragedy deter you from making a cheap political point.”

Shoki Kaneda
July 7, 2021 7:25 pm

Sure, everyone was so concerned about climate change, they ignored the warnings.

Nicholas Harding
Reply to  Shoki Kaneda
July 7, 2021 7:53 pm

Why do maintenance if climate change will destroy your building in 10 years? Deferred maintenance has always been a killer. Ask any airline. If one is to blame climate change, racism should be on the suspect list as well.

TonyG
Reply to  Nicholas Harding
July 8, 2021 8:36 am

Climate change, racism, white supremacy – all excuses for politicians to do nothing but posture and pander, so they don’t have to actually accomplish anything.

Old.George
July 7, 2021 7:42 pm

As long as we’re pulling it out of our you-know-where let’s blame the Iceland volcano. Just as likely.

n.n
Reply to  Old.George
July 7, 2021 8:18 pm

A correlation that meets the standards of art and creativity of modern science.

MarkW
Reply to  n.n
July 8, 2021 9:19 am

Speaking of art, I read that a painting by Picasso was recently sold for $150,000.
Paintings by first time “artist” Hunter Biden on the other hand are being offered for a mere $500,000. The White House assures us that there is no chance of there being any corruption here.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  MarkW
July 9, 2021 8:06 am

As soon as the Republicans win back Congress, they should start investigations into the Biden Crime Family and their anti-American influence peddling.

Biden got in bed with the Chicoms and Putin and now he has to do what they want him to do.

Biden is definitely the worst president evah! and he has only been in office six months.

starzmom
Reply to  n.n
July 8, 2021 9:29 am

Art, creativity and wokeness are the most important academic qualities these days.

MarkW
July 7, 2021 8:34 pm

Did Manmade Climate Change cause the Surfside Condo collapse.

No, but CO2 has caused may liberal “minds” to implode.

D. J. Hawkins
July 7, 2021 8:34 pm

So, Yahoo! plumbs new depths in journalism, and then shuts down comments on their climate hit piece:

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting.

H.R.
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
July 7, 2021 9:04 pm

It’s been about 15 years since I’ve given Yahoo! any clicks, D.J..

But if I ever did, I’m sure I’d be disgusted

Rory Forbes
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
July 7, 2021 9:25 pm

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting.

That’s an almost perfect example of Orwell’s Newspeak. I’m also noticing that all of YouTube’s comments sections are down.

Doonman
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
July 7, 2021 9:40 pm

Yahoo “temporarily” suspended article commenting last year in late spring well before the election. So did lots of other newspapers and media outlets. It’s as if they all woke up one morning with the identical idea that allowing the public to comment on published articles was a bad idea.

Yahoo also added a “Black Lives Matter” subject button on their main page at the same time. That’s gone now with no explanation. If you click on the ‘more’ button to look at all their available subject shortcuts, you won’t find it there either. In fact, there are no letter “B” subject entries at all.

MarkW
Reply to  Doonman
July 8, 2021 9:22 am

According to BLM, anyone who flies an American flag is a racist, a hater, and of below average intelligence.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  MarkW
July 9, 2021 8:11 am

“is a racist, a hater, and of below average intelligence.”

That applies to the BLM idiots who are disparaging the flag. They are the racists and the haters and are definitely below average intelligence, if they really believe anything they are saying.

Leo Terrel 2.0, a Fox News commentor (one of my favorite guys) says he’s black and BLM doesn’t speak for him nor for a lot of other black people. BLM just presumes to speak for a lot of people.

MarkW
Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 9, 2021 1:14 pm

Back when I was a kid, liberals told us that anyone who thought they knew all about a person merely from the color of their skin was a racist.
Today liberals push Critical Race Theory, which declares that you can tell all you need to know about a person merely from the color of their skin.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  MarkW
July 11, 2021 5:06 am

Yes, Critical Race Theory is aimed at turning kids into racists and demonizing the white kids and making them feel guilty for something they had nothing to do with.

CRT is Poison to our Society and it’s intentional.

The CRT promoters probably didn’t realize they were going to have to deal with mixed-race couples and families, though.

Some of the most powerful arguments against CRT are coming from mixed-race couples who say CRT is demonizing the members of their own families because of the color of their skin.

One black guy said CRT was trying to teach his black children that their white Stepmother was a racist because she is white.

That’s how crazy CRT is.

Last edited 16 days ago by Tom Abbott
MarkW
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
July 8, 2021 9:20 am

Nothing ruins a liberals mood faster than someone disagreeing with them.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  MarkW
July 9, 2021 8:13 am

Yes, disagreeing with a liberal throws them into a tizzy. They can’t handle it. They want you to leave their delusions alone!

Chris Hanley
July 7, 2021 9:18 pm

Reinforced concrete buildings at sites exposed to sea spray are far more prone to concrete ‘cancer’.
The problem was not well understood decades ago, poor design, construction and supervision are also likely factors.

Duane
Reply to  Chris Hanley
July 8, 2021 3:15 am

The effects of salt water on steel reinforced concrete have been well understood by designers for centuries. Virtually every single man-made structure in coastal areas, including all marine structures, are built of either steel only or steel-reinforced concrete, and salt water is well known corrodes steel or iron.

So there are a number of design techniques that reduce or minimize steel exposure to seawater. The concrete mixture itself is varied to deal with seawater intrusion, and the steel bars, or rebar, are coated with epoxy or a similar coating to minimize direct contact with seawater. Cheap structures that do not have significant life safety concerns, like many docks and seawalls at private residences, are not necessarily going to utilize the most aggressive measures of corrosion resistance, but any high rise residential or commercial occupancy structure in Florida – whether 40 years ago, or today – would have a corrosion resistant design.

Nobody knows what caused this building to fail. It will take years to complete the multiple investigations that have not even begun as yet, since the focus is now on recovery of remains. But it will likely be some combination of defects in design, construction, or maintenance.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Duane
July 8, 2021 7:03 am

Daune, for a pedant you have a shockingly high rate of saying things that are untrue and demonstrate you have absolutely no idea what the hell you are talking about.

Duane
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 10:23 am

You’re full of shit.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Duane
July 8, 2021 8:46 am

Duane, spot on! For many decades now, civil engineers have known about the potential effects from salt water on steel reinforced concrete that is submerged continuously in salt water.
(example here: https://www.cement.org/learn/concrete-technology/durability/corrosion-of-embedded-materials )

And likewise, industrial and civil engineers have developed methods to safely prevent the internal corrosion of the steel rebar used in concrete exposed to this continuous environment.
(example here: https://blog.kryton.com/2019/06/reinforced-concrete-corrosion/ )

Some of those commenting on WUWT don’t take the 5-10 minutes needed to do the most fundamental research on a given subject prior to posting about it. Sad.

Last edited 18 days ago by Gordon A. Dressler
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 8, 2021 10:45 am

Duane is factually incorrect about almost every assertion he made in this comment.
That building very specifically did not have epoxy coated rebar.
It is impossible that corrosion issues in steel reinforced concrete have been known for “centuries”, because the method was only invented less than two hundred years ago.
You are right, Gordon, when you say several decades.
He was wrong, when he said these were well known “centuries ago”.

But even epoxy coating is known to in some cases cause more corrosion than it prevents, and this has been long recognized as well.
Because the epoxy coating can be easily damaged during transportation and installation and during the pour, and any damage at all can allow moisture to get under the coating and have no way to get back out.

Some people here know more than you might think, and others less than you suppose.

From my alma mater:
Nace01-642 EpoxCR.pdf (usf.edu)

“Severe corrosion of epoxy coated rebar in the substructure of 5 major marine bridges in the Florida Keys was detected after only a few years of construction. Corrosion occurred underneath the coating and was preceded by loss of adherence between the steel and the coating. Damage surveys of the bridges, which were built around 1980, were conducted from 1986 to 2000. Corrosion resulted in delaminated areas (spalls) typically about 0.3 m2 each. After Initial detection, damage has been steadily accumulating at a rate of approximately 0.1 spall per bridge pier (bent) per year. An initiation-propagation model for corrosion development reproduced the observed trends. The exploratory model assumes distribution of chloride diffusivity, rebar cover, chloride surface concentration, and propagation time. Interpretation of the results suggests that much of the early damage stemmed from rebar with high levels of coating distress…”

The fact is, better methods of protecting steel rebar are still badly needed.
In addition to what I alluded to already, there can be issues with adhesion of the concrete on coated rebar.
Steel itself adheres strongly to concrete. Smooth epoxy, not so much.

Drake
Reply to  Duane
July 10, 2021 8:00 pm

The authorities always say it will take YEARS.

That is BS. They will know in a matter of WEEKS. They may wait YEARS to provide the report, and then may not even give the full report.

Simple analysis, test the concrete, steel, and compare to the engineering design.

Having been a building inspector, knowing of PAST (40 years ago) inspection standards, knowing of government entities tendency to cover up their failures and knowing a little bit about the developer, I think that the true cause of failure may be buried for a while.

As a building inspector I was ALWAYS in some sort of trouble with supervision/management just requiring that construction be to “the approved plans and the minimum standard of the adopted code”. And that was from 27 to 3 years ago. They really hated email documentation, even threated me with HR repercussions if I didn’t stop sending emails documenting their actions. Nothing ever came of their threats and I never approved an inspection that wasn’t OK to ME.

Some contractors would see me arrive for their inspections when covering for another inspector on vacation or out sick and would just cancel the inspections rather then get my correction list. They would often ask when the other inspector would be back to start scheduling inspections again. There are houses in the city where I worked that I would never buy due to the lack of competence or integrity of the regular inspector.

I didn’t “know” of many during my time who were actually taking kickbacks. They just generally went along with the connected contractors to get along with management. So the problem was mostly political in nature.

What is a politician’s job? To pick winners and losers. For an inspector, they thought our job was to help their friends and punish their enemies.

Look at the FBI and DOJ and their actions against TRUMP! All of the career operatives were put in place by DEMOCRATS.

TonyG
Reply to  Drake
July 11, 2021 8:47 am

“Some contractors would see me arrive for their inspections when covering for another inspector …”

And when something failed, the contractor had the fallback of “it passed inspection” for a defense.

Pat from kerbob
July 7, 2021 10:57 pm

I made the mistake of tuning into CBC yesterday, or was it BBC, and they had an idiot on who proclaimed it was sea level rise that caused it which was 5-10x the rate of a decade ago.
And zero pushback from the program idiot/moderator.

SLR 5-10 times a decade ago?
On what planet?

Attribution please, something, anything

Duker
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
July 8, 2021 12:14 am

Attribution ? The climate models prove it apparently, as its ‘accelerating’. Funny then that the Pacific Ocean experts who study atolls say they are increasing in area

Sunshine
July 7, 2021 11:09 pm

A few days ago, I read that engineers discovered the below-level steel quality specifications required for the building. Also known as cheap steel.

Yes, you can have a leaky pool that leads to a collapsing deck but if the steel supporting the base is cheap, everything will crumble.

I expect criminal charges in the not-so-far future.

I’m not including the link as I don’t want to go back in time. But it was part of the story.

Sunshine
Reply to  Sunshine
July 7, 2021 11:14 pm

In case of misunderstanding, the steel observed by an engineer was below stated specifications for the building.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Sunshine
July 8, 2021 6:24 am

Yeah Sunshine!
Only Daune is allowed to speculate!
Oh, wait…he did not speculate, he stated flatly and without qualification what the cause will be found to be.
Nothing he said contradicted what you said, but you see, you said it wrong.
Yah gotsta say it like Daune sez…like this:

“The cause, or more likely multiple causes, will be in some combination of defects in design, construction, and/or maintenance.”

The cause”…WILL BE…”
See the difference, Sunshine?

You also forgot to mention the favorite refrain of warmista rent seekers, either first or after you declare you know what is what and heap scorn on anyone else who does so!
You forget to say it will take years of study and millions of dollars!
Like this…also by Daune:
“It will take years of detailed investigations by multiple authorities to analyze this failure.”

Spoken like a person who gets paid when things cost millions and take years!

Guess what Daune does for a day job, when he is not telling other people that they better not do what he does?

Last edited 19 days ago by Nicholas McGinley
Duane
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 10:25 am

Nobody who wishes to be paid any attention is allowed to speculate free of any actual engineering information. Including especially you.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Duane
July 8, 2021 12:00 pm

If you insist on continuing to dig, I would even buy you a shovel simply to witness the spectacle.

Duane
Reply to  Sunshine
July 8, 2021 3:16 am

Not true. No investigations have even begun yet, let alone been concluded. You are just repeating media rumor-mongering. Stop. Wait for the actual investigations to conclude.

Peta of Newark
July 7, 2021 11:22 pm

Apparently there’s mobile phone video of the ‘pool area’ that was in front of the tower collapsing first.

The ‘pool area’ – above an underground car-park – hadn’t been built to drain water away. Any/all water that landed on it was supposed to evaporate (##)
It all depended on ‘waterproofing’ to stop pool-area water getting down into the park.

The theory thus goes that water got through the waterproofing (lack of inspection/maintenance?) and thereafter had nothing else to do but eat the reinforced concrete pillars holding up the deck around the pool area – especially the rebar inside the concrete.
Which then ‘spalled’ = crumbled and fell apart – because the corroding rebar acted like a slow-motion bomb inside the concrete
In Miami near the sea, salt would/will be everywhere speeding the process.

A lot like what was happening at the UK’s very own Spaghetti Junction near Birmingham. (De-icing) salt water was getting into cheap high-alumina cement and was destroying the bridges. columns and supports holding up the 2 motorways.
Fortunately in that case, someone noticed before it all fell over

A bit like the Twin Tower collapse, once one pillar/support/column gives way, it all falls down in a sort of chain reaction.

In Miami, the pool-area in front of the (central section) of the tower block fell into the car-park and the rest of the thing followed

## Is that the climate change thing/part?
Climate Change caused water on the pool are deck NOT to evaporate – the rest is now ‘Carved In Stone Climate History’

Wow. What if that carpark had been full of electric cars when the roof, and a load of water, fell in?
I’m sure Griffles will be along shortly to reassure us all…

Last edited 19 days ago by Peta of Newark
Reply to  Peta of Newark
July 8, 2021 8:21 am

Assuming the building was anchored in saltwater saturated limestone may be premature and without basis. Many coastal areas in FL have freshwater surficial aquifers that extend down several hundred feet. This freshwater lies on top denser saltwater at depth. It is not unusual for coastal municipalities to tap these surficial aquifers as a local source of water. However over pumping these reservoirs has “coned in “ saltwater rendering the well useless in some areas. Don’t know if that’s the case in Miami. As a geologist I would want to understand the groundwater history of the area for sure.
I live about 75 yards from Santa Rosa sound (saltwater) near Pensacola and have a freshwater well that is 100 ft deep or so in a surficial aquifers. The thickness of this fresh water lens is over 200 ft.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Duncan
July 8, 2021 11:38 am

No one has to assume anything.
A single minute of searching will obtain detailed maps going back decades showing the exact extent and quality of the chloride levels in the groundwater in this and other areas of Florida.
The areas along the East Coast have over 150 years of large scale ground water extraction.
In many areas, all one has to do is look at the state of outdoor electrical equipment enclosures in locations that use groundwater for irrigation.
Corroding right off the walls after only a few years.
Bunch of years in the lake and wetlands management industry in Florida has given me some insight, especially since much of my time was managing service in the division that installs and repairs high voltage underwater electrical equipment, and much was spent doing water quality testing of surface waters all over the peninsula.

But all of that is besides the point: There is no evidence whatsoever that sea level had anything to do with what happened to this structure.
But subsidence might have had some role.
This particular building was noted as having a high rate of subsidence as far back as the 1990’s.
“High” being a relative term, the actual amount of subsidence was not huge by any stretch of the imagination.
If we had nothing in the way of information from the actual site by actual witnesses, and video tape of the building as the event proceeded, as well as visual and photographic evidence of the aftermath, as well as building plans that have been made public, as well as detailed years long accounts of the issues both past and ongoing with repairs and proposals for repairs of the exact areas where the initial failure is known to have occurred, some of which involved attempts to arrest and repair corrosion and spalling that were known to have failed, as well as the specific failure mode that is apparent having been long known to have caused similar failures and collapses at many structures all around the world in the recent and more distant past (punch through failure at support columns caused by corrosion, spalling, etc)…then we would have to consider even the most unlikely of scenarios as having equal weight at this point.

But we do have the above.
And we do know that warmistas have a reflexive need to assign blame to their hobgoblin of choice, to all problems and issues great and small.

Sea level rise and climate change is a red herring in this matter.
Tides change the level of the ocean by feet twice a day. Storms bring far larger rises in the water on a periodic basis.
Compared to those, sea level rise is insignificant, to the extent it is even occurring in this region at all.

At the rate that Miami Beach is experiencing sea level rise, by 2100 the ocean will be farther from the buildings than ever.
I have a file of historical photos of this area going back over 100 years.
Another with topographic maps and such.
Whatever the tide gauges say, photos from the air, and top sheets, tell a different story.
I think I even have some pics of this exact area from the 1970s and a comparison view from recently, showing the beach is hundreds of feet wider now than then.
Although most of what i have is of the much more popular and well known area just south of Surfside, in the area around South Beach down to the Government Cut

Miami beach engineering chart.jpg
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 11:40 am

Here is one of my favorites, 1925 vs 2017, same view same angle same spot:

Miami in 1925 and 2017.jpg
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 11:46 am

This next picture is of the area around the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel, about 2 or 3 miles south of the collapsed building.
1960s and a recent screenshot from Bing maps birds eye view from an airplane.

E11AzHMXEAUL-9v.png
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 11:52 am

And then there is this one, showing the position of the shoreline over the past 170 years in the area around South Beach.
North end of this view is about 6 miles south of Surfside.
Red is shoreline in 1851.
Purple is the recent past, current position mol:

D2vJP_uX0AIZ_cc.jpg
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 11:54 am

Like everything related to warmista fear mongering, the truth is close to the exact opposite of what people are led to believe.
There is not one single photo from the past in which any sea level rise can be discerned by comparing the old photo with a new one from the same angle and location.
Not.
One.
Single.
Photo.

There are hundreds showing the opposite is the case.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 12:34 pm

Thanks Nicholas for the info. I agree that relative sea level rise due to subsidence is what’s happing there and not eustatic sea level rise. The beach photos you shared are interesting. Any idea if beach replenishment is responsible for the widening of the beach?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Duncan
July 8, 2021 5:45 pm

In some cases that is exactly what has occurred.
Some of the older ones could be from some period of time after a big storm or hurricane.
But the point is that the sea is not encroaching on the land in any visibly discernable way.

Investigation of the islands in the Indian and Pacific oceans that were predicted decades ago to be under the waves by now, show that nothing like that has occurred, on any of them.

In fact the opposite was found. They were either the same or else had grown in area in the intervening years.

But do climate alarmists ever breathe a sigh of relief that what they feared has not come to pass?
Oh, hell no!
They get angry and double down on the failed predictions, and insist that what has been factually determined by observations is not what has occurred.

The gullible and credulous among the climate alarmed have no idea of what the truth is, because at this point the warmistas are screaming every day about non-existent crises, and tout graphs purchased at Fake Graphs R Us, or just made up out of nowhere by altering historical records.

We are living in Fellini film.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 5:50 pm

There are homes and other buildings from Key West to South Beach to Charleston to Cape May and Nantucket and Bar Harbor, that were built a long time ago right near the water, and they are still there, in many instances well over a hundred years later…right near the water.

tom0mason
July 8, 2021 1:31 am

DAILY MSM
Lesson for today dear sheeple “Climate change is the root cause of all disasters”.

Ben Vorlich
July 8, 2021 1:41 am

Water is vital to life on Earth, but is totally useless when in solid form

Disputin
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
July 8, 2021 3:16 am

Not in my G&T!

MarkW
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
July 8, 2021 9:26 am

It’s useful many forms of recreation.

ozspeaksup
July 8, 2021 3:38 am

putting mega millions of tons of buildings on a sand spit/reclaimed land with water on both sides.. gee thats such a bright idea
and people want to live there like lemmings and pay a fortune to do so
stuffed if you’d get me into any of those places before this one fell over!
guess you need to grow up with this insane style of life to think its normal

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  ozspeaksup
July 8, 2021 6:04 am

One can go anyplace in the world and find people who choose to live with what someone else would call an extreme degree of risk.
Houses built on floodplains that are inundated with regularity; people that live on the slopes of active volcanoes or on top of the sediments laid down by lahars or pyroclastic flow, that are sure to recur at some point; people that inhabit earthquake zones where it is a question of when and not if the next huge quake with cause widespread destruction, or along coastal area adjacent to underwater subduction zones, that have a history of being regularly inundated by gigantic tsunamis caused by those occasional slippage of the subducting plates; people that live where much of the year has conditions about the same as the inside of a very cold freezer, or where forest fires are a fact of life, or in dry deserts that get barely a trace of rain for most of the year…

Why do people live anyplace dangerous?
Usually because there is some compelling reason for doing so, or they have no economic ability or the wherewithal to move, or because of a short memory, wishful thinking, or outright ignorance of the danger.
Anyone who lives along a coastline or a river is at risk. As is everyone everywhere.
People get in cars and drive fast on roadways inhabited by reckless maniacs, and many die every year as a consequence.

Life is full of danger, and yet mostly we live long lives and get out of the way when danger comes a-callin’.

Last edited 19 days ago by Nicholas McGinley
Gordon A. Dressler
July 8, 2021 8:02 am

Answer to question asked in title of above article: No.

2hotel9
July 8, 2021 8:05 am

I am sure the insurer will be pushing this idiocy.

Billy
July 8, 2021 8:33 am

I am waiting for the nano thermite to be discovered on the site. Maybe the CIA was involved. Was there jet fuel involved?

July 8, 2021 8:45 am

Assuming the building was anchored in saltwater saturated limestone may be premature and without basis. Many coastal areas in FL have freshwater surficial aquifers that extend down several hundred feet. This freshwater lies on top denser saltwater at depth. It is not unusual for coastal municipalities to tap these surficial aquifers as a local source of water. However over pumping these reservoirs has “coned in “ saltwater rendering the well useless in some areas. Don’t know if that’s the case in Miami. As a geologist I would want to understand the groundwater history of the area for sure.
I live about 75 yards from Santa Rosa sound (saltwater) near Pensacola and have a freshwater well that is 100 ft deep or so in a surficial aquifers. The thickness of this fresh water lens is over 200 ft.

Duane
Reply to  Duncan
July 8, 2021 10:33 am

This structure is built on what was once a barrier island, built up over time with fill from dredging the bay and various channels. That’s how most of Miami Beach was built up and developed in the early 20th century, and Surfside is located on the north end of Miami Beach. All of the near surface ground water is going to be brackish if not salty in this area.

There are certainly freshwater aquifers along the coast, but they’re deeper down, well below where the deep foundations of high rise buildings are installed.

Putting building foundations in brackish or salty water is no big deal – there are literally millions of man made structures built in such areas all over the world – from buildings to bridges to piers to seawalls to lighthouses . They last one helluva lot longer than 40 years. Indeed, the entire string of Florida Keys lighthouses are all built ON THE REEF, sitting in seawater, all built of iron and steel, and are upwards of 150-180 years old, and have been through dozens of hurricanes, and they still stand today.

Whatever happened with this building is not due to sea level rise of the fact that it’s built on the beach in Florida. It has to be due to some one or combination of defects in design, construction, and/or maintenance – all to be determined by the professional forensic engineering investigations that have not yet even begun let alone been completed.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Duane
July 8, 2021 12:51 pm

“…what was once a barrier island.”

It is almost like every word you say is mis-stated.
Except the almost part.
When did the barrier island stop being a barrier island, please do tell?

It is a barrier island.
It has existed about the same as it is, in general shape and form and size, as far back as maps from the mid 1800s.

It is an always has been a barrier island, and always will be.
Saltwater intrusion has been noted there since the early 1900s.
Because the area was settled long before that, and those people pulled water out of the ground from day one.

Five feet of rain a year ensures that the near surface water table is fresh water, in a lens.
Even on tiny isolated islands.
Saltwater intrusion takes place in deeper layers.

You have every detail wrong or improperly stated.
You are truly an embarrassment.
You just make up all this crap off the top of your head.

Here is how saltwater intrusion works:comment image

Lighthouses…not all made of iron and steel.
The oldest were made of brick.
But iron is not the same as steel rebars in concrete.
Heavy iron structural members acquire a protective payer of oxidation that can be very thick and not have much effect on the strength of the material…because it is very thick!
Steel rebar is not very heavy, and when it corrodes the expansion causes spalling and disintegration of the concrete.
Steel reinforced concrete has compressive strength from the concrete, and tensile strength from the steel.
The adhesion between the two and the integrity of the whole unit is critical to it’s structural utility.
The problems with poorly design or built or maintained steel reinforced concrete structures of the type that collapse have pretty much nothing to do with the properties of iron when used alone as a structural material.

And if you think the investigations have not begun, you must be asleep.
They have been analyzing that concrete from the day the first dumpster loads were deliver to the warehouse where they are being stored and examined.
The entire site is considered a crime scene, and the material is evidence in that crime scene investigation.

There is no reason to think sea level or salt water intrusion had anything to do with this collapse, but it is rather odd you know that until the final report is published that nothing is for sure, but at the same time you declare many things without qualification.
It may very well be the case that salt drift from close proximity to the ocean had a key role in hastening corrosion, so your assertion that it being on the beach had nothing to do with it is factually dubious and recklessly asserted.
As are your blanket and repeated statements like this one:
“… It has to be due to some one or combination of defects in design, construction, and/or maintenance…”
…while at the same time saying crap like this:
“Nobody who wishes to be paid any attention is allowed to speculate free of any actual engineering information.”

…and this:
“You are just repeating media rumor-mongering. Stop.”

…and this:
“Nobody knows what caused this building to fail. It will take years to complete the multiple investigations that have not even begun as yet, since the focus is now on recovery of remains. But it will likely be some combination of defects in design, construction, or maintenance.”

And this:
“The cause, or more likely multiple causes, will be in some combination of defects in design, construction, and/or maintenance.”

…all make it clear you have precisely zero self awareness plus you are insufferably
self centered.

You repeatedly contradict your own admonitions against speculation by making declarative and unqualified pronouncements on what the findings will be, and mouthing political talking points that sound like they came out of the mouth of a CNN fake news jackass, all the while rudely insisting that everyone else needs to shut up, even though this is a comment thread on an article dealing with this very narrow topic of the cause of the collapse.

As far as I have seen, everyone but you is simply being conversational, or informative, while stating clearly that they are simply passing along things they have read or heard or their own thoughts, and/or carefully qualifying their remarks as such.

You make stuff up, mis-state factual information of an historical nature, and do so while being gratuitously unpleasant.

Just like you have always done.
Miseducated child that you are.

Last edited 18 days ago by Nicholas McGinley
cerescokid
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 8, 2021 6:02 pm

Your graphics and pictures, especially the aerial photo from 1925 vs 2017, were equally valuable to your comments. Thanks for it all.

Independent
July 8, 2021 12:59 pm

Fixed the article to be more accurate:

In an article propaganda piece headlined “Sea level rise due to climate change eyed as contributing factor in Miami-area building collapse,” Yahoo News Senior Editor paid propagandist David Knowles wrote made the entirely unsubstantiated claim of “the possibility that sea level rise caused by climate change may have contributed to the disaster.” USA Today was less cautious more brazen in its activism, headlining declaring with no supporting evidence that “Rising seas are dangerous. Florida collapse is a tragic wake-up call.”

Nicholas McGinley
July 9, 2021 2:14 pm

The larger take away from this event has got to be, how many other structures built this same way are on borrowed time, if any?
I think that public safety personnel will have concluded that if this happened once, it can happen again.
So then one big question is, should everyone wait until an exhaustive and years long process has nailed down exactly what occurred, before taking steps to make sure other similar structures do not undergo a catastrophic collapse?

Of course not. There ought to be several phases of investigation, IMO.
Preliminary findings should be obtained as quickly as possible, and that information used to guide steps that ought to be taken to try and ensure this same thing does not occur elsewhere.

When the second of two 737 Max planes crashed under similar circumstances, the entire world fleet of them was quickly grounded.

I doubt it is feasible to evacuate all buildings that used this same method of construction, but it may be the case that retrofits ought to be ordered.
One type of retrofit that could arrest a slab-column separation from progressing, or occurring to begin with, is the addition of a collar all the way around every column just below the slab.
My understanding is that since 1980, new codes have been implemented that mandate such protections.
IOW, columns are designed so that a slab will not simply slide all the way down the column if a shear failure was to occur.

Of course, any such retrofit would be hugely disruptive and expensive.

And if such a failure is deemed to have occurred only because of corrosion, then attention can be directed to those instances where water has corroded the rebars.

So, should everyone just relax and wait until investigators have completed a long and arduous process?
I would say, only if it is agreed by everyone that this sort of thing is unlikely to occur elsewhere in similarly constructed buildings.

It is one thing to be complacent when no one has any idea that such an event is possible.
Quite another when everyone knows it can and does occur.

Last edited 17 days ago by Nicholas McGinley
Rod Evans
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 9, 2021 11:34 pm

Nick,
I have read through some of the thread on this collapse purely as a layman. I find the investigation process interesting. It is clearly something that requires detailed knowledge of the construction and the failure mechanisms involved.
I would ask, has anyone considered if the recent work being carried out on the other side of 87 terrace of any significance?
On the opposite side of the road (literally next door) there was a multi storey building until very recently, which was demolished and the site cleared. The heavy equipment needed to do the work along with the vibrations and change in local soil stress, may have played a part in destabilising the poor subsoil on which the collapsed building stood.
Just curious.

Rod Evans
Reply to  Rod Evans
July 9, 2021 11:58 pm

Further to my comment above. The new building on the cleared site is obviously a fine modern structure. Light and predominantly glass with concrete columns. Was pile driving carried out to secure the foundations of the new building?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Rod Evans
July 10, 2021 11:59 am

Yes, this is something that has to be looked at carefully.
As does the issue with subsidence of the structure noted as being notably faster than most other spots, all the way back in the 1990s.

Nicholas McGinley
July 9, 2021 11:11 pm

In a rare glimmer of good news, Binx, The Miracle Cat, was found wandering around amidst the rubble of the collapsed building, 15 days and nine floors from where and when he was last seen.
He was reunited with the surviving members of his family, two of whom are in the hospital recovering from having fallen from the building during the collapse.
The two, a mom and her daughter, landed on top of the pile at the fifth floor level.
The mom is said to have saved her daughter’s life despite having a broken pelvis.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E55LM1lXEAIcnGn?format=jpg&name=900×900

Binx the cat, a survivor of the Florida condo collapse, was found and reunited with his family after more than two weeks (yahoo.com)

otropogo
July 10, 2021 8:22 pm

“On July 4, the remaining part of the building, which had become unstable, was demolished to provide safer working conditions for rescuers.”

The reason given by the Mayor of Miami-Dade County was the imminent arrival of a hurricane (which didn’t show up). Rescue had long been no more than posturing.

The real reason for the hasty demolition was most likely to obliterate evidence of negligent municipal inspection or enforcement that would be much easier to find in the standing portion than in the pancaked remnants.

We’ll never know the real reason(s) the building collapsed. The potential liability of the local government is too great to allow an honest investigation, if that were even technically feasible now.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  otropogo
July 15, 2021 3:33 am

I think everyone understood that finding anyone alive was become less and less likely, but it was not just posturing.
There are numerous instances of people being found alive as much as two weeks (or more) after being buried alive when collapses occurred.
All it takes is one small void to allow someone to avoid being crushed to death, and rescuers were reporting tapping noises from the pile even days later.
One women was alive and talking with rescuers for about a full day, but they could not get to her and she eventually went silent.
So, no…it was never just “posturing”.
Even now it is not impossible someone is alive under there someplace.
It has happened before.

On top of everything else, it is hot summertime here in Florida, and the heat and humidity means bodies will be decomposing rapidly.
So there are many reasons not to let the process drag out.

Nicholas McGinley
July 12, 2021 8:18 pm

I have been looking at the pictures taken immediately after the collapse, the very next morning, and something I had not noticed seems to be standing out to me now: There is an area where there does not seem to be enough debris piled up.
In most places the debris pile is very high.
But in the quadrant of the pile that is adjacent to the shear wall of the elevator shaft, I am not seeing a tall pile of debris.
Now, this is the place the collapse started, so it does not seen likely that the material from that section would have landed below or on top of debris from the adjacent parts of the building.
This is also the section right next to the collapsed pool deck. And there is almost no debris in that portion of the site. Almost nothing landed on top of the section where the pool deck fell into the garage, even though that part fell first and so might have been expected to have some movement to the south as it fell or as it landed.

So…I can think of two explanations: It is just an optical illusion, and the debris is all there, although possibly pulverized more thoroughly and hence more compact.
Or else some sort of sinkhole or ground collapse did occur in that area, which led to the entire sequence of events.
Video from several years ago shows a large patch in the concrete slab floor of the underground garage level, and more recent statements indicate large puddles that could not be pumped dry existed in the area of the initial collapse.
We also know that this building was noted as having a high level of subsidence as compared to the ground surface or any other structures in that part of the coastline.

If this is the case, it will be evident quite soon as the debris removal is proceeding quickly at this point and they very much want to get to all the rest of the victims while they are still able to be identified.

Something else I have been noticing is just how many cameras this building had: There were half a dozen just around the pool area, from multiple angles, including attached to the part of the building that never fell.
And the lobby had a clear view of the pool deck and the side of the building.
And the parking levels had a ton of cameras.
All this leads me to believe the hallways on every floor likely had them too, as well as the stairwells.

If there is no more video, and nothing like a sinkhole occurred, we may wind up getting a report that talks about probabilities rather than conclusions.

About ten years ago, condo of a similar height and also built of steel reinforced concrete, nearly collapse in Sarasota.
Residents noticed doors jammed and such, and within minutes a loud bang was heard and cracks opened up in multiple units, as a two foot thick concrete transfer slab split in two suddenly and for no apparent reason, or at least nothing that has been able to be found of a conclusive nature.
But during the subsequent investigation and repair process, many problems with the building were found, including (this is a partial list), concrete that was found to be as low as 1850psi instead of the specified 300 psi minimum, inadequate resistance to wind shear of the entire structure, problems related to punching shear between columns and slabs, and inadequate pilings supporting the entire building.
Here is a summary of what happened there:
The Story Behind a Downtown Sarasota Condo’s Near-Collapse | Sarasota Magazine

But this is just one more example. Buildings do just fall down sometimes, and sometimes they almost do but everyone gets very lucky.
A search reveals no end to examples, even when one looks only at first world countries.

Here is that debris pile the morning after.
Anyone else think the pile looks too small in the southwest quadrant?

Debris 3.png
Ronald Svec
July 15, 2021 9:26 am

What was the PSI on the concrete on the footings Ron stack

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