Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Three parties to blame in convention center failure.

A year long study into a partial collapse of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center has found that the design was bad, improper materials were used, the materials were poorly made and expansion joints were not assembled properly. In February 2007 an expansion joint failed causing a beam supporting a loading dock to fall to the street below. No one was hurt. Engineers from the firm Wiss Janney examined the broken joint and similar joints throughout the building. The joints were designed to allow bolts to pass through slots in angle irons allowing an I-beam to expand and contract. The study found that the slots were not smooth forcing the bolts to ride up over bumps as they slid. It was also determined that construction crews added washer plates causing the threads of the bolts to rest on the metal of the slots rather than the smooth bolt shanks. A bolt was also missing at the joint and an alignment pin had replaced another. Finally, the study found that the wrong steel was used to make the angle irons. The engineers told the Sport and Exhibition Authority to re-inspect the joints in a year and again in 5 years. The SEA says it has spent 4 million dollars on the accident. 4 million has been recovered from the insurance company and the SEA says it will go after the architect and general contractor for the rest.

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