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Thread: Another short notice evacuation for a slowly developing structural problem

  1. #1
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    Default Another short notice evacuation for a slowly developing structural problem

    Looks like the fiasco that happened in Ft. McMurray several years ago is being repeated in Calgary. An engineering report suggests there are structural problems in an apartment building, and somehow that gets turned into an imminent risk of collapse and residents are ordered out with only minutes to prepare, instead of being given a reasonable opportunity to pack up and find a new place to live:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgar...tion-1.4417194

    A spokesperson for the fire department said the initial call was for a "possible imminent building collapse," however the city said while the building is not safe to live in, it has not been condemned.

    "I don't think it's an emergency as in, I don't think we have imminent danger of failure. But it's in bad shape," Brown said. "Without being properly shored and repaired, there could be some issues."

    After being told of the evacuations, residents were allowed into the building for 15 minutes — just long enough to pack a suitcase.
    The condos in Fort McMurray remained standing for years after they were hastily evacuated in the middle of the night, and never did collapse before they were eventually torn down. Apparently we have learned nothing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium48 View Post
    Looks like the fiasco that happened in Ft. McMurray several years ago is being repeated in Calgary. An engineering report suggests there are structural problems in an apartment building, and somehow that gets turned into an imminent risk of collapse and residents are ordered out with only minutes to prepare, instead of being given a reasonable opportunity to pack up and find a new place to live:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgar...tion-1.4417194

    A spokesperson for the fire department said the initial call was for a "possible imminent building collapse," however the city said while the building is not safe to live in, it has not been condemned.

    "I don't think it's an emergency as in, I don't think we have imminent danger of failure. But it's in bad shape," Brown said. "Without being properly shored and repaired, there could be some issues."

    After being told of the evacuations, residents were allowed into the building for 15 minutes — just long enough to pack a suitcase.
    The condos in Fort McMurray remained standing for years after they were hastily evacuated in the middle of the night, and never did collapse before they were eventually torn down. Apparently we have learned nothing.
    i haven't seen any details on the building conditions that led to this decision but if it had previous "balcony issues" as reported, it's likely full of dry rot and mould and could well be in "imminent danger of collapsing".

    as for the one in fort mcmurray, i saw a number of photos of the structural issues there and was amazed it hadn't already collapsed and amazed that it took that long to be discovered. and ordered out or not, i wouldn't have slept it for a single night after the discovery, order or not.
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  3. #3

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    I guess nobody can tell exactly when a building will collapse given all the variables. While the fifteen minutes sounds extreme, I wouldn’t want to go into this building, even if it stands for a few more years. And I wouldn’t want to be the public official who says “take your time”, but then has to try and sleep knowing a lot of lives could be lost if they are wrong.

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    I think they are erring on the side of caution and I don't blame them. The minute they found out it was unsafe the best course of action is to get every one out. You know the saying 'stranger things have happened'. Well, who would want the building to collapse within 24 hours of this being found out. It sucks for the people living there and I feel for their predicament. It is amazing how these building are supposed to go through inspections at certain steps and building major flaws are not spotted. The sad part is that the people who live there are usually the last to get any kind of compensation (if any) from these fiascos.
    Gone............................and very quickly forgotten may I add.

  5. #5

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    But the thing is if the building is in imminent risk of collapse don't allow the public in at all. I mean if its that much of a risk. Or, conversely let them in for longer for 15mins to collect their valuables, keepsakes, etc.

    I would imagine waivers etc are signed, (I really don't know) that might absolve people from suing if something did occur while in the building for a very brief moment in time.

    I think what gets lost in this and as the OP suggests, is commonsense. These people all lived in a building, some for years, that was at risk probably the entire time they were living there. So just let them get their things. Time limits are fine but 15mins doesn't allow for much of any retrieval even for the most organized of individuals.

    Risk exists always. Life is unending risk. The imposition of such restraints ignore that some of people lives are contained in their cherished possessions. Even for the most non materialist people its cruel to prevent people from assessing their cherished belongings. Its incredibly wasteful as well. We all pay for stuff like this when insurance policies rise again because there yet more incidents where people have to claim for everything *lost*.
    Last edited by Replacement; 25-11-2017 at 11:10 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement View Post
    But the thing is if the building is in imminent risk of collapse don't allow the public in at all. I mean if its that much of a risk. Or, conversely let them in for longer for 15mins to collect their valuables, keepsakes, etc.

    I would imagine waivers etc are signed, (I really don't know) that might absolve people from suing if something did occur while in the building for a very brief moment in time.

    I think what gets lost in this and as the OP suggests, is commonsense. These people all lived in a building, some for years, that was at risk probably the entire time they were living there. So just let them get their things. Time limits are fine but 15mins doesn't allow for much of any retrieval even for the most organized of individuals.

    Risk exists always. Life is unending risk. The imposition of such restraints ignore that some of people lives are contained in their cherished possessions. Even for the most non materialist people its cruel to prevent people from assessing their cherished belongings. Its incredibly wasteful as well. We all pay for stuff like this when insurance policies rise again because there yet more incidents where people have to claim for everything *lost*.
    true but...

    we are all at risk of being struck by a car when we cross the street but accept it and do what we can to minimize it, partly just by crossing the street.

    we wouldn’t sleep in that sidewalk, or choose to have a picnic there, or choose to erect and admire art there (except on capital boulevard. ).
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement View Post
    But the thing is if the building is in imminent risk of collapse don't allow the public in at all. I mean if its that much of a risk. Or, conversely let them in for longer for 15mins to collect their valuables, keepsakes, etc.

    I would imagine waivers etc are signed, (I really don't know) that might absolve people from suing if something did occur while in the building for a very brief moment in time.

    I think what gets lost in this and as the OP suggests, is commonsense. These people all lived in a building, some for years, that was at risk probably the entire time they were living there. So just let them get their things. Time limits are fine but 15mins doesn't allow for much of any retrieval even for the most organized of individuals.

    Risk exists always. Life is unending risk. The imposition of such restraints ignore that some of people lives are contained in their cherished possessions. Even for the most non materialist people its cruel to prevent people from assessing their cherished belongings. Its incredibly wasteful as well. We all pay for stuff like this when insurance policies rise again because there yet more incidents where people have to claim for everything *lost*.
    true but...

    we are all at risk of being struck by a car when we cross the street but accept it and do what we can to minimize it, partly just by crossing the street.

    we wouldn’t sleep in that sidewalk, or choose to have a picnic there, or choose to erect and admire art there (except on capital boulevard. ).
    Billions of people live and exist in areas of the world where the risk of catastrophe is greater through earthquake, volcanic eruption, tsunami, hurricanes etc than the risk of going back to retrieve some items.

    Next lets comprehend mathematical probability here. These people were inhabitants of the building. Lets X factor risk, times how my many minutes they spent living there in the same place, with the same structural fault, vs the very short duration time just to get their cherished possesions out of there. Thing is if petitioned, none of the residents would be in agreement that the 15mins had been enough.

    Now finally, the coefficient difference of risk between allowing 15mins, vs allowing say hours to retrieve belongings would have a differential approaching zero.
    i.e. a range of zero to extremely negligible established increased risk factor.

    Someones knocking at the door, let em in..

    ps we both know that Jasper Avenue picnic sites probably involved more risk factor/minute times coefficient of Edmonton drivers being reknowned for driving off road incidents in which they hit stationary objects/and/or drive on sidewalks..I know you threw that reference in there tongue and cheek so I figured I'd extend it.
    Last edited by Replacement; 25-11-2017 at 11:46 AM.
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    ^^^
    Exactly. In this situation, just like in Fort McMurray, if the danger of failure was so immediate that a "get out now" evacuation was necessary, a competent structural engineer would not have left to write up a report after inspecting the building. He would have made a panicked call to authorities immediately, told anyone who would listen that they needed to leave (carefully) and then left the building himself. I can see the need for some amount of management so you are not increasing the load by having all of the residents and all of their buddies moving their furniture out at the same time, but a short notice evacuation is a ridiculous overreaction.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gemini View Post
    I think they are erring on the side of caution and I don't blame them. The minute they found out it was unsafe the best course of action is to get every one out. You know the saying 'stranger things have happened'. Well, who would want the building to collapse within 24 hours of this being found out. It sucks for the people living there and I feel for their predicament. It is amazing how these building are supposed to go through inspections at certain steps and building major flaws are not spotted. The sad part is that the people who live there are usually the last to get any kind of compensation (if any) from these fiascos.
    A building collapsing shortly after cracks have been noted has occurred more than once. Also a sudden heavy snow could occur to trigger an event.

    That said, I would guess that a small building should be able to be made significantly safer in very short order to allow for entry and removal of some possessions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement View Post
    But the thing is if the building is in imminent risk of collapse don't allow the public in at all. I mean if its that much of a risk. Or, conversely let them in for longer for 15mins to collect their valuables, keepsakes, etc.

    I would imagine waivers etc are signed, (I really don't know) that might absolve people from suing if something did occur while in the building for a very brief moment in time.

    I think what gets lost in this and as the OP suggests, is commonsense. These people all lived in a building, some for years, that was at risk probably the entire time they were living there. So just let them get their things. Time limits are fine but 15mins doesn't allow for much of any retrieval even for the most organized of individuals.

    Risk exists always. Life is unending risk. The imposition of such restraints ignore that some of people lives are contained in their cherished possessions. Even for the most non materialist people its cruel to prevent people from assessing their cherished belongings. Its incredibly wasteful as well. We all pay for stuff like this when insurance policies rise again because there yet more incidents where people have to claim for everything *lost*.
    true but...

    we are all at risk of being struck by a car when we cross the street but accept it and do what we can to minimize it, partly just by crossing the street.

    we wouldn’t sleep in that sidewalk, or choose to have a picnic there, or choose to erect and admire art there (except on capital boulevard. ).
    Billions of people live and exist in areas of the world where the risk of catastrophe is greater through earthquake, volcanic eruption, tsunami, hurricanes etc than the risk of going back to retrieve some items.

    Next lets comprehend mathematical probability here. These people were inhabitants of the building. Lets X factor risk, times how my many minutes they spent living there in the same place, with the same structural fault, vs the very short duration time just to get their cherished possesions out of there. Thing is if petitioned, none of the residents would be in agreement that the 15mins had been enough.

    Now finally, the coefficient difference of risk between allowing 15mins, vs allowing say hours to retrieve belongings would have a differential approaching zero.
    i.e. a range of zero to extremely negligible established increased risk factor.

    Someones knocking at the door, let em in..

    ps we both know that Jasper Avenue picnic sites probably involved more risk factor/minute times coefficient of Edmonton drivers being reknowned for driving off road incidents in which they hit stationary objects/and/or drive on sidewalks..I know you threw that reference in there tongue and cheek so I figured I'd extend it.
    except...

    one, there is a big difference between the number of options available to a limited number of people in a single building than there is for billions of people living in large areas with virtually the identical risk.

    two, whether large or small, the risks of an event occurring are not consistent over time, they increase over time and they can sometimes display imminent warnings - minor tremors, steam, storms etc. in the case of natural disasters and cracks in concrete or the discovery of the extend of rot in wood framings. these warnings are the result of a cumulative activity - the amount of rot in the first year that was building was rotting (if indeed that is what was taking place) did not as you assume constitute the same risk of something happening in the next hour as the amount of rot that will have accumulated over the course of the 20 years or so prior to it being discovered.

    the coefficient of risk is not a level straight line - it is probably more like a hockey stick shaped rising curve.
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    Default Kensington Manor Structural Problem - SkyscraperPage Forum Info


    I found more info concerning this building on the SkyscraperPage Forum. The link to the relevant forum page is below (discussion of this issue starts at post 192).


    http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/show....php?p=7996485

    Based on what I've seen at this time from post 192 onward, the following appear to apply to this mid-rise building.


    • It's 7 stories tall (based on photos shown of it).
    • It was likely built in the early 1970s.
    • The construction type was likely cast in place reinforced concrete.
    • Some of the posts mentioned that the "balconies were wavy" or that there were "sagging floors".
    • Speculation is that floor slab delamination of the concrete from its internal steel rebar might be a cause of this problem or that a footing for the building is sinking.



    A photo of a sagging balcony from this building can be seen at the link below (it's a photo that's part of a Nov 24/17 Calgary Herald article).


    http://wpmedia.calgaryherald.com/201...y=55&strip=all


    Anyhow, there's no official publication that I know of at this time regarding why this building's structural integrity is compromised, so we're currently left with speculating as to what the root cause is for this. Hopefully, this cause is something unique to this building but if not, it'll be good to know what it is & how it can be prevented in other buildings with similar design & construction.

  12. #12

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    It sucks, but better to evacuate and nothing happen than have 125 killed in a collapse.

    As for the Ft Mac criticisms about the buildings that remained standing for years; An empty building has less chances of collapsing than a full one. Think about the 125 people evacuated in Calgary, let's say the average weight of each was 160lbs (but probably more), that's 20,000 lbs of people walking and moving around in the building, leaving in the morning and coming back after work/school. Lots of shifting weight there.

  13. #13

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    ^Absolutely true, but the risk from allowing people 2 hours instead of 45 minutes, or to allowing them back in one or two at a time to retrieve belongings over the next few weeks would be very low risk.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Highlander II View Post
    ^Absolutely true, but the risk from allowing people 2 hours instead of 45 minutes, or to allowing them back in one or two at a time to retrieve belongings over the next few weeks would be very low risk.
    Yes common sense but only as far as the probable risk that something might happen. However the reality is that people suddenly wake up to the risk to themselves of the less probable, more remote risk.

    So if just by remote chance, something happened, what would say a collapse killing or injuring one or two people trigger?

    My guess: a requirement that emergency workers would then needlessly have to risk their lives, inevitably highly indignant claims and comments by those injured and/or family and of course their lawyers and the media all saying: “But they told us it was now safe!” And anyone siting high up in authority instantly trying to avoid any blame by pointing their finger at someone down the ladder from them. And so on... And calls for costly investigations where careers are permanently ruined. ... hostile biased journalists trying to make a big story out of it. Armchair quarterbacking by everyone...

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Highlander II View Post
    ^Absolutely true, but the risk from allowing people 2 hours instead of 45 minutes, or to allowing them back in one or two at a time to retrieve belongings over the next few weeks would be very low risk.
    I think if you tell people they have 15 minutes, they probably take an hour. If you tell them 2 hours, its probably 4 hours. I'm sure there was a little bit of flexibility, but at the end of the day, if the building was at risk of collapse, the less time the better.

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    based on some of the news reports, there’s a great deal of shoring being moved into the building like that used for new construction prior to the building structure being strong enough to support its own weight. i would assume that once installed there will be more and longer windows of access provided as the initial risks should be substantially reduced.
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  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Highlander II View Post
    ^Absolutely true, but the risk from allowing people 2 hours instead of 45 minutes, or to allowing them back in one or two at a time to retrieve belongings over the next few weeks would be very low risk.
    True, but put yourself in the decision-making shoes. If an engineer or subject matter expert told you there is imminent danger of collapse, and that they should be given 45 minutes to collect their things, would you be willing to make the call saying "Nah, give them a few hours"? Knowing that if it were to collapse with people inside, you, as the shot-caller would be the one everyone would blame, would you still say they can take all the time they need? I know I wouldn't. For all we know, the inspectors/engineers said to evac ASAP, and someone made the call to give them 45 minutes, which is 45 minutes more than they were supposed to have to begin with. And you know that if it did collapse with people inside, everyone would be going after whoever said it was ok to go in and get their belongings.

    It's a lose/lose situation. Personally I think they already took a gamble by giving them 45 minutes. Also, 45 minutes is A LOT of time to gather what's really important to you. It takes me 45 minutes to shower/change and pack to go on a trip! Grab a bag, pack some clothes, take your laptops/tablets, photos, important documents and pets, and go. Shouldn't take more than 20 minutes really.

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