Engineer Provides Perspective on Forensic Process
A 12-story residential building collapsed early Thursday in the South Florida town of Surfside. About 55 of the 136 units at Champlain Towers South collapsed around 1:30 a.m., leaving huge piles of rubble on the ground and materials dangling from what remained of the structure in the beachfront community a few miles north of Miami Beach. Tragically, lives have been lost and the search efforts continue to find survivors.
Asher Cohen, Professional Engineer and U.S. Forensic Partner who is located just minutes from the site of the collapse, was interviewed by a local news station and provides insights on the process of evaluating structural failures. Click here to access the full interview.
Forensic teams will be piecing together all of the data. They’ll be collecting design drawings. They will be collecting maintenance logs… picking through the rubble. The method of failure, often times, is not one thing, but a combination of factors. We do not have any certainty as to if it was a design issue, a construction issue, or just a long term deterioration and perhaps deferred maintenance issue; but we will uncover that. We all want answers and I’ve been talking with colleagues, and we are all looking at the possible modes of failure, but I am very confident that we will learn that this was a confluence of factors, a number of factors, that contributed to this.” – Asher Cohen, P.E., Partner
In a second interview, Mr. Cohen was asked about the potential for corrosion. He replied, “We can see this usually when it starts happening, and it gives us a warning. We see a crack, maybe we see some corrosion staining, a red type of staining. Or on the underside of that slab, as the corroded steel starts to expand, it causes spalling and actually blows the concrete out. And this happens over many, many years.”
Sadly, in the history of humanity, we have learned most from failure. And it’s just a tragedy human lives were lost. We’ll learn from this and get better. I’m sure there will be new legislation, rules, regulations, to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” – Asher, Cohen, P.E., Partner