What happened in Surfside, Florida this week with the partial collapse of a 12 storey building is a horrible tragedy. My heart goes out to everybody who has been affected. I can’t imagine how this must feel. The New York Times is reporting that some 159 people are still unaccounted for, as of last Friday night. At least 4 people have been killed in the incident.
The focus right now is on saving as many human lives as possible. Without a doubt, that is priority number one. But this situation also raises a critically important question: How the hell could this happen in North America? When I saw the terrible news this week, I immediately flipped the article to one of our structural engineers with a note asking basically this.
As many of you know, buildings are typically designed and built with lots of structural redundancies. This is so that these sorts of tragedies can be avoided. It is too early to know exactly what happened here, but there are going to be questions around the building’s original design and construction, its maintenance program (saltwater is awful for buildings), and much more.
I am sure that all of this will come out in the fullness of time. And it is important that it does.