Dear SEAoK Members, Friends, and Colleagues,
Our thoughts are with all of the people and families affected by the collapse of the Champlain Towers Condominium in Surfside, Florida last week. This tragic event has generated questions across the country regarding structural safety and stability of buildings in which people live and work.
While conditions affecting building stability are very different between coastal Florida and Kentucky, the risk of injury and loss of life in the event of a structural failure is an issue that all structural engineers hold in high importance. For specific information regarding the collapse, please refer to the following resources:
Throughout the structural engineering profession, this incident will serve as a learning point along with similar unfortunate events that preceded it. The Hyatt Regency walkway collapse, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and World Trade Center Towers all forced the industry to re-evaluate aspects of current design codes and make improvements where necessary. New studies by structural and forensic engineers will examine the cause of this failure and seek to ensure the risk of a repeat event is minimized. In the case of the failures mentioned above, this commitment to continuous improvement has resulted in more resilient stability designs, more rigorous inspection requirements during construction, and focused efforts to ensure that public safety is at the forefront of any infrastructure project.
The SEAoK organization remains committed to providing structural engineering resources to members of the profession and the people of Kentucky and hopes that peace comes to those affected by this disaster.
SEAoK Officers and Board
FLORIDA SEA STATEMENT:
Friends and Colleagues,
On behalf of all the members of the Florida Structural Engineers Association, I express our deepest condolences to all those who have been impacted by the collapse of the Champlain Towers in Surfside, Florida. When the search, rescue and recovery phases are completed, this incident is likely to be considered the most tragic structural building collapse in Florida history.
Florida structural engineers are among the first responders, working around the clock to assist and assure the safety of the rescue personnel as they labor against the clock to find survivors. We thank all the first responders, including our structural engineering colleagues, for their brave and tireless service.
Of course, everyone wants to know why this happened. We must, however, be patient. While many will speculate on the possible causes, the true and complete answers will come from thorough forensic investigations conducted by structural engineers. Structural engineers who specialize in forensic investigations will be engaged, and they must be allowed time to thoroughly investigate all possible causes and contributing factors. These investigations will likely take some months to complete. When the investigations are complete, we will know the causes, and appropriate actions will be taken to prevent another such incident.
This tragedy reminds us all of the absolute necessity for the expert design, construction and maintenance of our building structures and bridges.
The Florida Structural Engineers Association is dedicated to the advancement and enhancement of the practice of structural engineering in Florida, to the constant improvement of the Florida Building Code and other rules and regulations relative to structural engineering, and to the absolute safety of our buildings, bridges and other structures.
Douglas S. Wood, P.E., SECB