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01/04/2015: Patience is a virtue, especially when waiting for concrete to set

This week in building history, this happened. In March, 1973, there was a massive collapse at the Skyline Plaza complex in Bailey's Crossroads, Virginia, USA. One of the complex's towering apartment buildings collapsed, leaving a huge, eerie cloud of dust and debris where it once stood.

Surprisingly, the building wasn't even completed at the time, being due to open that August.

The investigation found no flaws in the design or materials, but the forms supporting the concrete columns on the 22nd floor were prematurely removed. The cement hadn't yet hardened completely and couldn't bear the weight of the 23rd floor.

The failure of these columns put an increased amount of pressure on the rest of the columns on the 23rd floor until the entire floor buckled and slammed down on the floor below. The building had not been engineered to withstand such a huge increased load, and the tremendous weight proved catastrophic. Each floor gradually succumbed and plummeted onto the story below in a devastating ripple effect.

Fourteen construction workers died and 34 were injured in the tragedy. Michael Hill, 31, ran all the way down the stairs from the 23rd floor when he saw cracks appear in the ceiling. He made it to the fourth floor when he was forced to jump out of a window. He broke both his arms but survived.

From such horrendous stories, we continue to learn that any construction project, from the smallest to the largest is all about patience and making sure that everything happens in sequence and at the right time. With the years of experience that CWN Developments brings to bear whenever we are involved, you can entrust your extension, conversion or new build to us in confidence. Call us now or click in the header of any page to send us an email and talk over your project.

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