The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Monday, 09 March 2015 00:00cat

Spike in Roof Collapses Inspires the use of Drones

Written by
Hyde Park Collapse Hyde Park Collapse Angela Rowlings

Massachusetts has experienced a large number of structural failures over the past month due to extreme snowfall. This past Wednesday (March 4th), after an additional 2 inches of snow accumulation, some 20 roof collapses occurred across the state including a large industrial complex in Hyde Park. A 10,000-ft2 section of the roof failed causing a 150-foot long section of CMU wall to crumble into the street alongside the complex. Power and gas lines were also damaged in the failure. Officials stated that this group of collapses brings the total to 21 since February 9.

Many cities in the area are finding creative means by which to inspect commercial buildings for potential collapse. One such example is that of the city of Somerville, which is utilizing drone technology, piloted by Above Summit, to take areal photos of at risk structures. They are able to inspect 10 properties, in a matter of a few hours, for snowdrifts, ice dams and other hazards. This alleviates the need for a physical presence on the roofs, which is safer, and is much faster and more streamlined. This doesn’t eliminate the need for an inspection by an engineer, but it limits the number of times they need to access each roof.

There were no injuries due to the Hyde Park collapse, but the building is scheduled to be demolished. Many officials hope that the use of new technology, such as drones, will reduce failures - thereby reducing the risk to health and financial burden.


Sources Boston GlobeBoston HeraldCBS

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