Slender column long span beam structures are inherently unsafe

Oxymoron

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Perhaps the reason why there has been so much obfuscation surrounding the collapses of WTCs 1,2 and 7 are because it is known that slender column long span beam structures are inherently unsafe.

If this is the case, it would explain the collapses. It would also raise serious questions as to the safety of trillions of dollars worth of other similarly constructed offices and buildings.

I suggest that slender column long span beam structure is inherently unsafe and this is being covered up.

To underpin, this speculative argument I cite the previously mentioned buildings which have suffered far more severe and longer lasting fires, without collapsing, (apart from some minor collapses which always accompany a severe fire).

It has been suggested that these 'other' buildings had concrete rather than steel cores and this is why they did not collapse.

If this is true, why then has there not been a ban on slender column long span beam structures and a return to concrete cores which are apparently much safer.

http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/anal...are/fires.html







 
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Mick West

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To say they are "inherently unsafe" seems to imply they are in danger of collapsing in a strong breeze.

Really it took quite an extraordinary sequence of events to bring down the WTC structures. What was shown though is that aspects of similar structures are vulnerable to extensive uncontrolled fires in ways that had not been fully considered before, and this led to some recommendations for future construction.

The One Meridian Plaza and other building were also considered IN GREAT DEPTH in NCSTAR 1-9 Section 8.5 "Lessons from Historic High-Rise Fires", here's a summary of the key differences:


To make a compelling case here, you really need to read at least that section (8.5).

https://www.metabunk.org/files/NCSTAR_1-9_WTC7_unlocked.pdf
 
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Mick West

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The fact the One Meridian Plaza did not collapse kind of distracts from the fact that it nearly collapsed.

If anything, this seems to me to be very strong evidence that an uncontrolled fire could lead to collapse.
 

Oxymoron

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To say they are "inherently unsafe" seems to imply they are in danger of collapsing in a strong breeze.

Fair enough, I will clarify. When I suggest they are 'inherently unsafe', that suggestion is confined to their ability to withstand significant fire, (which can originate from a coffee machine), without collapsing in the manner which WTC's did.

It has been put forward, quite reasonably I think, that the cited buildings which did not collapse were of better design and construction to withstand an inferno, which is evidenced by the fact they did not collapse.

Now I am unsure as to the veracity of the suggestion that the other buildings were constructed with a concrete core, ( I will look into it), but if that is true, how dangerous are the many existing slender beam buildings which are in use today should a fire break out. Are they likely to fall within a few hours like the WTCs?
 

Oxymoron

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The fact the One Meridian Plaza did not collapse kind of distracts from the fact that it nearly collapsed.


If anything, this seems to me to be very strong evidence that an uncontrolled fire could lead to collapse.

Not really, because despite burning much more fiercely and for 18 hours and despite significant structural deformations, it did not collapse. It nearly collapsed does not cut it.

The new one has the following;

http://www.iklimnet.com/hotelfires/meridienplaza_building.html

Which appears significantly less durable in the face of fire than it's predecessor.
 

Mick West

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Staff member
One Meridian Plaza did not have a concrete core, here's the section from NCSTAR 1-9 in more detail. Read this in conjunction with table 8-1 above.

and a brief description of One New York Plaza:

 
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Mick West

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Not really, because despite burning much more fiercely and for 18 hours and despite significant structural deformations, it did not collapse. It nearly collapsed does not cut it.

Consider though that it had bay spacing that was half that of WTC7, meaning WTC7 had four times the stress on the joints. It also had very different framing. See table 8-1
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
I know that no one likes this to be brought up, but COST is always a factor and so is RISK. We could build cars that would reduce the deaths and injuries in major crashes. They would cost a lot more and use even more fuel. Few cars are ever in a major crash. The same thing is done, down here in tornado alley with tornadoes. Buildings are not built to stand the rare F5 tornado. They are built to stand the must more common weaker tornadoes.

Look at all the thousands of skyscrapers in the world, and look at how FEW long duration fires are.

More columns also mean less usable floor space, a consideration when rents are in the sq ft.
 

F4Jock

Senior Member.
I know that no one likes this to be brought up, but COST is always a factor and so is RISK. We could build cars that would reduce the deaths and injuries in major crashes. They would cost a lot more and use even more fuel. Few cars are ever in a major crash. The same thing is done, down here in tornado alley with tornadoes. Buildings are not built to stand the rare F5 tornado. They are built to stand the must more common weaker tornadoes.

Look at all the thousands of skyscrapers in the world, and look at how FEW long duration fires are.

More columns also mean less usable floor space, a consideration when rents are in the sq ft.

Not only cars but aircraft as well. Sorry to bring reality further into this but various commercial and governmental entities have long had the temerity to place a monetary value on a human life!
 

F4Jock

Senior Member.
Consider though that it had bay spacing that was half that of WTC7, meaning WTC7 had four times the stress on the joints. It also had very different framing. See table 8-1

Mick if I had a buck for every time structural and design differences have been mentioned and ignored here I could buy me a nice bottle of single malt! The working assumption is that all high-rise buildings are designed and constructed the same and that all fires would affect them similarly. [...]
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
We do it our selves. Say someone built a car that provided, say a 95% chance of surviving a head on crash. (let's assume that the chance in a regular car is 50%--that is just a guess). The regular car is $25,000 and it will get 20 mpg. The SAFE car will cost you $50,000 and get 10 mpg. I doubt that many folks would buy the safer car, even if they could afford it
 

Mick West

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Here are the two floor plans to scale. The WTC7 failure started with column 79

 
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F4Jock

Senior Member.
We do it our selves. Say someone built a car that provided, say a 95% chance of surviving a head on crash. (let's assume that the chance in a regular car is 50%--that is just a guess). The regular car is $25,000 and it will get 20 mpg. The SAFE car will cost you $50,000 and get 10 mpg. I doubt that many folks would buy the safer car, even if they could afford it

Essentially, cars of any price aren't supposed to ram into other objects and no matter how safely they are designed they cannot possibly be designed for every eventuality. Nothing can. Remember the Turkish Airlines DC 10 that went down many years back? Three FC systems and all failed because they were run below the cabin floor and someone didn't properly secure the aft cargo door.

An L 1011 went down in Florida. Cause was ultimately traced to a faulty nose gear indicator light, an autopilot disengage alarm that wasn't loud enough and some confusion in the cockpit. How do you design for that cascade of events?
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
Just like you design a building to handle a normal fire, not one caused by a plane running into it.
 

F4Jock

Senior Member.
Just like you design a building to handle a normal fire, not one caused by a plane running into it.

The towers were STRUCTURALLY designed to take a 707 hit. Compare that aircraft for size, weight and fuel capacity with a 767. What engineers and designers apparently failed to anticipate was the growth of airframe size, fuel capacity and the possibility of fires fueled by building contents, the composition and volume of which they could not predict in several ways.
 

Oxymoron

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We do it our selves. Say someone built a car that provided, say a 95% chance of surviving a head on crash. (let's assume that the chance in a regular car is 50%--that is just a guess). The regular car is $25,000 and it will get 20 mpg. The SAFE car will cost you $50,000 and get 10 mpg. I doubt that many folks would buy the safer car, even if they could afford it

I think you mean an extra $11 more and no increase in fuel.


 

F4Jock

Senior Member.
Would they also have expected the high speed impact of the planes?

Allow me to correct myself. The buildings were not specifially designed to take a 707 hit. The structural analysis stated they COULD withstand one, apparently based on a speed of about 180 knots and considering it to be low on fuel. In other words, it was supposed to be lost in a landing attempt not unlike the B-25 that hit the Empire State Building. Nowhere can I find any design that took into account sustained fires caused by anything.

And given the flight patterns at Idelwild / Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark, no one could have reasonably expected them to be hit on takeoff by a plane with essentially full fuel tanks.
 

Oxymoron

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Mick if I had a buck for every time structural and design differences have been mentioned and ignored here I could buy me a nice bottle of single malt! The working assumption is that all high-rise buildings are designed and constructed the same and that all fires would affect them similarly. [...]

[...]
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
Even when it had been shown that seat belts and later air bags would save lives in a crash, and they were offered as a choice, more folks folks preferred to upgrade sound systems than safety.

The Pinto issue is LONG past and I was discussing a PERSON's choice.

Let's talk about Firestone 500 radial tires then. I had a narrow call with them. My blow out happened within sight of a long bridge over the Brazos river.
 

F4Jock

Senior Member.
I think you mean an extra $11 more and no increase in fuel.



The key phrase here is "deep into the development" which would have required an expensive rework and delays. Notice the final figures of 113 million vs. 49 million. So: Your boldface aside, it wasn't as simple as the eleven bucks per vehicle. What SHOULD have been in boldface was at least the next sentence!

Thank you for making two points. 1) What we said about cost / benefit analysis vs. safety was spot on. 2) In trying to make your points you ignored what we said.
 

Mick West

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Staff member
I think you mean an extra $11 more and no increase in fuel.

I think you miss the point and change the subject.

Safety is a cost/benefit statistical decision. There is usually no such thing as 100% safety, and often we take risks to save money.

For example: About 90% of the buildings in Los Angeles will collapse if we get a magnitude 9.0 earthquake. We could make it so none of them would collapse. But it's too expensive, and a 9.0 is not likely, so we take the risk.
 

Oxymoron

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Even when it had been shown that seat belts and later air bags would save lives in a crash, and they were offered as a choice, more folks folks preferred to upgrade sound systems than safety.

The Pinto issue is LONG past and I was discussing a PERSON's choice.

Let's talk about Firestone 500 radial tires then. I had a narrow call with them. My blow out happened within sight of a long bridge over the Brazos river.

No, let's stick to the subject in hand... the difference between all the other buildings which did not collapse in a demolition type manner even though they suffered far worse fires and damage for far longer than wtc7.

Are you saying that it is acceptable on cost grounds that other buildings collapse like wtc7 after a few hours of fire? Perhaps you think it is but likely you don't work in one if that's what you think.
 

F4Jock

Senior Member.
No, let's stick to the subject in hand... the difference between all the other buildings which did not collapse in a demolition type manner even though they suffered far worse fires and damage for far longer than wtc7.

Are you saying that it is acceptable on cost grounds that other buildings collapse like wtc7 after a few hours of fire? Perhaps you think it is but likely you don't work in one if that's what you think.

Asked and answered. Many times!
 

Oxymoron

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Banned
The key phrase here is "deep into the development" which would have required an expensive rework and delays. Notice the final figures of 113 million vs. 49 million. So: Your boldface aside, it wasn't as simple as the eleven bucks per vehicle. What SHOULD have been in boldface was at least the next sentence!

Thank you for making two points. 1) What we said about cost / benefit analysis vs. safety was spot on. 2) In trying to make your points you ignored what we said.

No it is you that miss the point. Ford made a decision that it was cheaper to let an anticipated number of people burn to death than to fix the problem. They callously put a value on peoples lives who were driving their product with a known (to them, not the customer), major defect. YOU may think there is nothing wrong with that but most people did not agree with you which is WHY they were fined extraordinary penalties BECAUSE IT WAS UNACCEPTABLE even though you obviously think it is.
 

Mick West

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Staff member
No, let's stick to the subject in hand... the difference between all the other buildings which did not collapse in a demolition type manner even though they suffered far worse fires and damage for far longer than wtc7.

Are you saying that it is acceptable on cost grounds that other buildings collapse like wtc7 after a few hours of fire? Perhaps you think it is but likely you don't work in one if that's what you think.

Wait, are you just arguing now that "WTC7 should have been build stronger, or with better sprinklers" (which it probably should, with hindsight), or are you trying a roundabout argument that will end up with controlled demolition?
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
I fail to see where working in one is a factor, since what is important is that you are able to evacuate the building quickly. No one is going to hang around to wait hours in a burning building.
 

Mick West

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Staff member
No it is you that miss the point. Ford made a decision that it was cheaper to let an anticipated number of people burn to death than to fix the problem. They callously put a value on peoples lives who were driving their product with a known (to them, not the customer), major defect. YOU may think there is nothing wrong with that but most people did not agree with you which is WHY they were fined extraordinary penalties BECAUSE IT WAS UNACCEPTABLE.

Yes it was, they crossed the line. However the line is still there.

Why do expensive cars have more airbags than cheap cars?

The point is that buildings cannot be made 100% safe. They can only be made SAFER. They can be made safer and safer if you spend more and more money. We have codes that give a baseline as to how safe they need to be. All the building were up to code. Some code revision have happened because of the events.
 

F4Jock

Senior Member.
No it is you that miss the point. Ford made a decision that it was cheaper to let an anticipated number of people burn to death than to fix the problem. They callously put a value on peoples lives who were driving their product with a known (to them, not the customer), major defect. YOU may think there is nothing wrong with that but most people did not agree with you which is WHY they were fined extraordinary penalties BECAUSE IT WAS UNACCEPTABLE even though you obviously think it is.

in case you missed it -- I essentially agreed with that analysis earlier when I stated that companies and governments DO, for whatever their reasons, put a price on human life. And I never stated it was totally acceptable, only that it was fact. What I did say that you apparently lost, is that every safety eventuality cannot be anticipated or taken into account in a design, and that some of these eventualities are so far-fetched that designing for them is not cost-effective.
 

Oxymoron

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Wait, are you just arguing now that "WTC7 should have been build stronger, or with better sprinklers" (which it probably should, with hindsight), or are you trying a roundabout argument that will end up with controlled demolition?

Well I was merely trying to have an adult reasoned discussion about the pro's and cons of different designs and their abilities to withstand protracted and severe fires without falling down as if they were poleaxed by a raygun, but it is becoming more and more difficult to hold a reasoned conversation without attracting the 'I hate conspiracy theorists because they are loonies' crowd.
 

JeffreyNotGeoffrey

Active Member
one line from COD Modern Warfare:"Remember your gun is always built by the lowest bidder." I think that can be extrapolated to other areas. There was that funny bit in Fight Club about recalls.

My point is everyone does a cost analysis but business is business. Just ask Crocs and their nigh indestructible shoes. You only need one pair. The same for buildings. Sure everyone wants an ergonomic carbon printless office built to last forever but COST. Look at Apple's mothership. Bloated and overbudget for dubious gains. Financiers other than Apple cut corners legitimately, because they just want revenue right here right now. I think their mentality is good enough for code good enough for the underwriters.
 

Mick West

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Staff member
Well I was merely trying to have an adult reasoned discussion about the pro's and cons of different designs and their abilities to withstand protracted and severe fires without falling down as if they were poleaxed by a raygun, but it is becoming more and more difficult to hold a reasoned conversation without attracting the 'I hate conspiracy theorists because they are loonies' crowd.

I've trimmed the thread, let's move on.

Do you think there is something suspicious here? I'm a little confused because I thought you though that WTC7 was a controlled demolition. So I'm wondering if you think that's where this discussion should lead? Or are you reconsidering, and now maybe it's just badly built?
 

Oxymoron

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I've trimmed the thread, let's move on.

Do you think there is something suspicious here? I'm a little confused because I thought you though that WTC7 was a controlled demolition. So I'm wondering if you think that's where this discussion should lead? Or are you reconsidering, and now maybe it's just badly built?

As I have always stated, I am open to new information, (to me), and new possibilities. As far as I am concerned one of the major factors in my suspicions is the uniqueness of 3 total failures in one day when previous structures have had either minimal or minor collapse with far greater fire damage.

If a design fault can give explain the collapses then I would be interested to explore that and the implications thereof. Currently I am taking your advice and doing some research.
 

Oxymoron

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Banned
The key phrase here is "deep into the development" which would have required an expensive rework and delays. Notice the final figures of 113 million vs. 49 million. So: Your boldface aside, it wasn't as simple as the eleven bucks per vehicle. What SHOULD have been in boldface was at least the next sentence!

Thank you for making two points. 1) What we said about cost / benefit analysis vs. safety was spot on. 2) In trying to make your points you ignored what we said.

Sorry but I can't move on until I address this point. The $113 million was the total 'extra cost to production' of over a million cars... that is why it worked out to $11 per car. It was a cold and callous decision. I think most people would pay an extra £11 to have a major known fault fixed, we are after all talking about people and their loved ones here so it does annoy me when people try to poo poo this type of blatant disregard for peoples safety when the people are purchasing something which they trust. Obviously nothing is 100% safe but this was a known and unacceptable fault.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Sorry but I can't move on until I address this point. The $113 million was the total 'extra cost to production' of over a million cars... that is why it worked out to $11 per car. It was a cold and callous decision. I think most people would pay an extra £11 to have a major known fault fixed, we are after all talking about people and their loved ones here so it does annoy me when people try to poo poo this type of blatant disregard for peoples safety when the people are purchasing something which they trust. Obviously nothing is 100% safe but this was a known and unacceptable fault.

Prevention is a thankless task, because that which you prevent never happens. Since getting far into "safe" territory costs more and more money for what seems like the same result, there's an obvious profit motive to surf as close to the danger zone as you can get away with.

Consider the Space Shuttle. In some ways that was like the Pinto. The cost/benefit risk calculations were, in hindsight, whack. But they went ahead anyway because otherwise they would have to double or triple the budget, and possibly add decades to the development schedule. They thought their risk of failure was measured in the "1 in X million" range, but as it happened they had two catastrophic failures and 14 deaths out of 135 launches. One death every ten launches. A horrific failure rate. And yet the calculations were deemed sufficient, they just wanted to get it up there.

The Pinto decision was more cynical. But it happened back in the 1960s, and it's the type of thing we've learned from. Nobody is defending it. But you can see why such things happen in the absence of sufficient regulation and legislation to prevent it. And it's not even really clear if more people died because of it.

But is there any evidence of such known faults in WTC7? I don't think so. I think the faults in the design were only discovered with the benefits of hindsight, and (though I hesitate to mention this) powerful computers which were not even remotely available when it was designed.
 

RolandD

Active Member
Inherently unsafe also implies that there is a greater chance at loss of life, not just loss of property. The amount of time that it takes a fire to weaken the spans allows those that survive the fire to escape a collapse. This is an issue that only the insurance companies would really be concerned about and considering that most buildings which suffer major and extensive fire damage are razed anyway, what difference does it make if the building collapses on its own or must be torn down?
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Inherently unsafe also implies that there is a greater chance at loss of life, not just loss of property. The amount of time that it takes a fire to weaken the spans allows those that survive the fire to escape a collapse. This is an issue that only the insurance companies would really be concerned about and considering that most buildings which suffer major and extensive fire damage are razed anyway, what difference does it make if the building collapses on its own or must be torn down?
I guess it is important to the people stuck on the top floors . . . :)
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Prevention is a thankless task, because that which you prevent never happens. Since getting far into "safe" territory costs more and more money for what seems like the same result, there's an obvious profit motive to surf as close to the danger zone as you can get away with.

Consider the Space Shuttle. In some ways that was like the Pinto. The cost/benefit risk calculations were, in hindsight, whack. But they went ahead anyway because otherwise they would have to double or triple the budget, and possibly add decades to the development schedule. They thought their risk of failure was measured in the "1 in X million" range, but as it happened they had two catastrophic failures and 14 deaths out of 135 launches. One death every ten launches. A horrific failure rate. And yet the calculations were deemed sufficient, they just wanted to get it up there.

The Pinto decision was more cynical. But it happened back in the 1960s, and it's the type of thing we've learned from. Nobody is defending it. But you can see why such things happen in the absence of sufficient regulation and legislation to prevent it. And it's not even really clear if more people died because of it.

But is there any evidence of such known faults in WTC7? I don't think so. I think the faults in the design were only discovered with the benefits of hindsight, and (though I hesitate to mention this) powerful computers which were not even remotely available when it was designed.
I might remind you of the Ford Explorer tire scandal which happened much more recently . . . suspect some of the same cynical process was involved there as well . . . corporations are generally not our friends . . . just an observation . . .
 
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