Technical Kansas City 1981 Introduction The Hyatt

Technical CommunicationLO 1 – Communication in Projects (Individual Report)HyattRegency Hotel walkway failure, Kansas City 1981IntroductionThe Hyatt regency hotel is in Kansas City, Missouri, United States.

On July 17th,1981 the fourth and second floor walkways collapsed onto a tea dance which hasbeen held in the hotel’s lobby. The hotel officially opened on first of July1980 this mean the collapsed happened a year after the opening day. Thiscollapse was on the top of the deadliest structural collapse in the UnitedState for 20 years before the 11th September, the Trade Centre towers.

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PartiesInvolvedAfter the failure the Hyattcompany said they will sue 12 parties forfailure and some of the most important members of the list of responsible ofthe failure are Havens Steel Company, Gillum-ColacoConsulting Structural Engineers Inc and Eldridge & Son Construction Co.DuncanGillum, and G.C.

E. International, Inc. found guilty and this has beenfound by Wayne G. Lischka an architectural engineer hired by The Kansas City Star newspaper who discovered a significant change tothe original design of the walkways.Technical DetailsThe construction on the hotel begin inMay of 1978 and after two years in July 1980 Construction of hotel complete,and the Kansas City Hyatt Regency Hotel opened for business. On July 17th,1981 almost, a year after the opening date the connection of the supportingrods in the fourth floor failed to support the more weight and both walkwaysfall together onto a tea dance which has been held in the hotel’s lobby andkilled 114 and injured 200 others.

The communication between G.C.E andHavens steel company determine design change from one rod system to a two-rodsystem. During October and November 1979 report from engineer to owner,assuming overall safety of the entire building.the Walkways each approximately 120feet long and 64,000 lbs in weight, made of steel, glass and concrete connectedthe north and south wings of the hotel on floors 2, 3 and 4. Second floorwalkway most easily accessible to atrium main floor. Third floor walkway – ledto the hotel ballroom Fourth floor walkway was least accessible and carriedless traffic.

The G.C.E provide better support foreach side of the fourth-floor walkway to reduce the risk of the collapse, butthe change would not have mattered after the two-rod system, hanger rodscarried more load. Each rod was supposed to support 90Kn of load before thechange but after it, each of the them support 180KN of load.The serious flaws of the reviseddesign were compounded by the fact that both designs placed the bolts directlythrough a welded joint connecting two C-channels, the weakest structural pointin the box beams.

    What WentWrongThechange in the design caused the failure to happen because of the extra load onthe fourth-floor walkway. The Collapse due to excessive load, the fourth-floorwalkway collapsed and fell onto the second-floor walkway both walkways thenfell onto the lobby below severed the hotel’s sprinkler system and flooded thelobby killed 114 people and injured over 200 peoples.WalkwayDesign Changes the hanger rod design was changed it went from a one-rod systemto a two- rod system.

Design was changed to simplify the assembly task theydoubled the load on the connector of that each rod was supposed to support 90kNof load, change caused them to each support 180kN of load Original DesignChanged Design. Haven SteelCompany opposed Jack D. Gillum’s original design for the cross-beams itrequired the whole rod to be screw threaded to hold the fourth-floor walkway inplace the Haven Steel thought the threads would be damaged when put in place.

TheHaven Steel proposed the change from one-rod to two-rods. This change forcedthe fourth-floor walkway to support the weight of the second-floor walkway.G.C.

E.’s design stated that flange beams were to be used along the walkways’sides and hung from a box beam for better support. One end of the walkways wasdesigned as a sliding bearing a roller and other end of the walkways weresupposed to be welded to a fixed plate a pin. The fixed plate end was changedto be a hinge. Change would not have mattered if it was still a single rodsystem and after becoming a two-rod system, hanger rods carried more load.Haven’s change to design, that was then approved by G.C.

E., ultimately causedthe walkways to collapse.Lessons LearnedThe main point of doing research aboutthe failures around the world is to negotiation about the reasons and find outhow can be possible that a small change in the structural cause a huge failure.At this project if the change did not happenor by spending more time on it to analyse the problems which can a singlechange bring the collapsed could not be happened and less money spent on theproject and no one killed in the collapsed, but because the engineers did thechange by their selves and thinking to add more support for the part which hasgot more weight on it, they can reduce the risk of any problems, but most be atest before, during and after the project to insure the safety of the mainproject. It is now also required that all loadbearing calculations must be checked by a city appointed engineer and thatchecks be formal and not spot checks. As an industry, it is important for allresponsible parties to understand the challenge learned as a result of thisfatality.

Design presents the industry with a challenge to anticipateany failed detail and to correct it within the design process.The collapse of theatrium roof during construction was indicative of problems with the overalldesignConclusion After the failure Jack D.Gillum and Associates who had the final drawings were found guilty and they alllost their respective engineering licenses in the states of Missouri, Kansasand Texas this mean they can never to any construction works in this city andthis is the reason why he moved to another city.  The life and insurancecompany of the Hyatt regency Hotel for this specific project, gave $140 millionto the victims and the families of both judgments and settlements in subsequentcivil lawsuits (The law relating to civil wrongs).The worst things in the Civil Engineering History that we cannegotiate and research about are these failures that happened around the worldbut on the other hand and from another point of view we can learn many thingsfrom them and make sure that they are never going to happen in the work orprojects which we are involved.

We can learn from this project that everylittle things in the structural world is matter and no matter how small it is. Sources: 


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