Educational Material for a Student Exercise (2009)
Analysis of the Partial Collapse of the Parking Garage on Spring Street, Atlanta, GA
The content and statements on this webpage are for educational purpose only. This webpage does not intend to provide information for nor conclusive arguments on the cause of the incident that happened on June 29, 2009.
Tasks to perform:
Task 1: Become familiar with the background of the collapse. Read the following selected articles or search on the web (Text sources: Atlanta Journal Constitution, Associated Press).
Text: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14
Task 2: Conduct a general background review on potential causes for building failures. You may want to search the internet for cases that are similar to the parking deck collapse.
Find at least one real-world example and provide reference(s) to each of the following possible reasons that contribute to building failures: (a) Structural design; (b) Construction; (c) Material defect; (d) Maintenance and health monitoring; and (e) other reason (max. 1 page).
Task 3: Investigate the partial collapse of the parking garage on Spring Street, Atlanta, GA using the information provided below. Answer the following questions.
1) Elaborate on the cause of this building failure using the photos that are provided below and any other valid information you can find on the internet? Be conclusive in your argumentation, for example, take a close look at the spandrel that failed (hint: how many and what kind of connections exist between the spandrel and the columns, take a look at corrosion, examine the temparature curves in Atlanta and over time, and could any of these be a reason for the failure?). Justify the assumption(s) you may make. (max. 1 page).
2) Develop a list of (at least 5) arguments for non-destructive evaluation and structural health monitoring for post disaster analysis and (at least 5) arguments for real-time monitoring during the search and rescue efforts (do not use the ideas that are already listed in task 3).
3) How can remote sensing such as real-time personnel tracking, laser scanning, and real-time remote visualization improve search and rescue efforts? Develop one detailed methodology on how to implement one of these technologies in the real-world (practice). You can select from one of the following application areas: (a) Learn from incidents and mistakes, and do it better next time; (b) Understand that your work can impact other people and thus your (engineering) work comes with responsibilities; (c) Collect data for training purposes to help coordinate future rescue efforts; (d) Create safe and secure technology that search and rescue efforts can use to communicate and account personnel for (tag-in and tag-out procedure); (e) Create safe virtual training environments that search and rescue personnel can use to improve their skills; (f) etc. (max. 1 page).
Details to the spandrel beam that failed
Potential scenario based on markings/impact of the spandrel on the grass
Original resting position and connection of spandrel
Cracks in the pre-stressed slab
What is laser scanning and how can it help us? A laser scanner is a surveying instrument that provides a point cloud of color and distance values to a given scene. Combing all points of an entire scene allows to generate a surface map or a virtual three-dimensional (3-D) environment. Navigating within the virtual environment, perspectives that typically are not accessible, and measurement of deflections, deviations, etc. from a safe viewpoint become possible at any time. As seen, the collected data can also be used for post disaster or forensic analysis. Many other application areas exist for laser scanners.
Why real-time location tracking of (search and rescue) personnel and other resources (equipment and materials)? Injuries and fatalities are preventable. "Zero incidents!" is the goal. Many industries, however, record an alarming number of injuries and fatalities. The U.S. construction industry, for example, had about 1,200 fatalities in every of the past 16 years (and as of now continues to have). Emerging sensing and alerting technologies exist or can be created to help reduce these numbers drastically. Research is being conducted at the RAPIDS laboratory to create new technology and better understand the usefulness of various existing remote sensing and real-time pro-active tracking and alert technologies, and how they are best applied in application areas such as search and rescue, construction, transportation, etc.