The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Tuesday, 01 July 2014 10:46

27 Dead in Two India Building Collapses

Two deadly building collapses occurred in India this past weekend claiming the lives of 27 people. There are still victims trapped in the rubble as well as people who are unaccounted for over the past few days. Ten people died and two people were injured on Saturday when a run-down four-story building collapsed in New Dehli.  The 50 year-old building housed many families and was not well maintained. Later that day, an 11-story building under construction collapsed in Chennai, the capital city of the Tamil Nadu state, after a heavy rainstorm. The building had two towers, once of which collapsed, and was planned to have 42 apartment units.  Seventeen died when the structure toppled. Rescue workers were able to save 21 people who were trapped by the collapse but they fear some workers are still burried in the rubble. It is believed there were around 50 workers on site when the building collapsed.

Victoria Planning Minister, Matthew Guy, approved three new apartment developments this week in Melbourne, Australia including a 100-story skyscraper that will become the tallest apartment building in the southern hemisphere. The three projects are expected to cost a total of $830 million and provide housing to 4,000 people. The three developments will also create 5,800 construction jobs over the next five years. Construction will get underway on the tallest and most prominent of the three buildings, Australia 108, within the next year and it will be completed by 2019.

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After years of delays, the Harmon Hotel demolition is officially underway in Las Vegas. A Judge issued an order on May 5 that allowed the building’s owners to move forward with the demolition. The building cannot be imploded like most other buildings in Las Vegas due to its location and connection to the Crystal Shopping Center. Officials from MGM Resorts said that workers started removing scrap metal and other material from inside the empty building last week. Pedestrian protection systems will be installed around the property this week and one sidewalk will be closed down to protect those passing by the Harmon Hotel during the next year. MGM plans to have a crane arrive in the near future to begin removing the building piece by piece.

While the World Cup has gone smoothly for the most part over the last ten days, there has been one makeshift staircase that made the headlines for safety concerns. The video below shows footage taken by a Brazilian photographer of fans heading from the Maracana Stadium, the 79,000-seat stadium in Rio De Janiero that will host the final match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, to the nearby metro stop. The metal staircase is swaying from side to side in the video from the weight and movement of the fans. People who used the staircase after Argentina’s 2-1 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina also said the satir's wooden planks move when just one person is walking on them.

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Friday, 20 June 2014 10:46

Phoenix Towers Plan Unveiled

Chetwoods Architects, a British architectural firm, unveiled plans this week to build the world’s tallest and greenest towers. The Phoenix Towers as they are being called would be built in the Chinese city of Wuhan and would each stand 1,000 meters tall. In addition to being 150 meters taller than the Burj Khalifa, the two towers could actually help clean the city’s air and water and claim to be among the greenest skyscrapers in the world. Chetwoods submitted plans to the mayor of Wuhan six months ago and is waiting for approval to move forward with the project.

Construction is underway on the “Ping An International Finance Center” skyscraper in Shenzhen, China. Once completed, Ping An Insurance’s new headquarters will be the 3rd tallest building in the world and the tallest in China. Architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) designed the 660-meter tall skyscraper and Thornton Tomasetti provided structural engineering services for the project. The skyscraper will cost $680 million.

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The Federal Highway Administration traveled to Pennsylvania last week to demonstrate the capabilities of their new million-dollar bridge inspection robot named RABIT (Robotic Assisted Bridge Inspection Tool).  The Federal Highway Administration chose to demonstrate the robot's capability in front of members of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation because Pennsylvania has the most structurally deficient bridges of any state in the United States. The state is also home to the oldest bridges by average and has the third most bridges of any state. The FWHA believes that RABIT will become invaluable to DOTs around the country in the near future as a way to cut down on the manpower needed to inspect bridge decks.