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CROSS-US Newsletter 1 - March 2020

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Report Overview

We are pleased to publish this very first newsletter of Confidential Reporting of Structural Safety-US (CROSS-US). Established in the summer of 2019, CROSS-US is part of a growing international network of CROSS entities, all based on the original CROSS system started in the UK in 2005 under the leadership of Alastair Soane. CROSS-US is the fourth, following the UK, South Africa, and Australasia, in what is envisioned to be a large global network for sharing information on structural failures, near misses, and other safety concerns. The potential global impact of improving practice and reducing failures is enormous. The motivations for establishing CROSS-US were twofold. First, there has long been interest and, indeed, considerable activities, in the US in learning from the performance of our built environment. Some past and present activities in the US include creation of the Architecture and Engineering Performance Information Center (AEPIC) at the University of Maryland, establishment of the ASCE Forensic Engineering Division, publication of the ASCE Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities, numerous Wikis and other web publications, as well as conferences, books, and university curricula. These efforts have been highly effective, and CROSS-US is not intended to replace them. CROSS-US, however, supplements these activities through a proven system for reporting and discussing issues, well-honed through fifteen years of experience and offering confidentiality and the expertise, integrity, and impartiality of a distinguished, expert Panel. We are concerned with both the technical and procedural causes of failures so as to improve public safety. Our goal is to make CROSS-US the go-to resource in the US for information on structural failures, incidents, and safety concerns. The second motivation for establishing CROSS-US is to join an international network. We share common experiences across national borders and have much to learn from each other. Studies of failures have shown that problems in one country are often repeated in others. The CROSS Panel Comments on the reports below are to give helpful advice and to encourage readers to seek further information and guidance from a wide range of available publications. Occasionally useful references are cited in this newsletter. However, the Panel Comments and associated references are not exhaustive, are not intended to offer a prescriptive approach to addressing the problems discussed, and are not a substitute for the application of proper engineering expertise, research, and judgement to any particular matter. CROSS-US is part of the Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers (SEI/ASCE). CROSS-US is led by an Executive Committee (ExCom), which reports to the SEI Board of Governors. Its Directors are Glenn Bell and Andy Herrmann. We have an outstanding and distinguished expert Panel, which comments on and suggests lessons learned for cases that are reported into the system. The memberships of the CROSS-US ExCom and Panel are listed on the CROSS-US website. Glenn and Andy want to acknowledge the support, financial and otherwise, of SEI/ASCE in establishing CROSS-US. We also particularly thank the following individuals who played essential roles in launching CROSS-US: Alastair Soane, Director of Structural-Safety (CROSS-UK), Paul Mc Nulty, Senior Engineer at Structural-Safety, Laura Champion, Director of SEI/ASCE, and Tara Hoke, General Counsel of ASCE. Many reports have been submitted to CROSS-US since its launch, but we have chosen five cases for this newsletter that we think demonstrate the breadth of CROSS’s use and value. The first case is a roof collapse during an earthquake in California. There has been much interest in CROSS from the US seismic community. In the second case the reporter notes concern raised by two tower crane collapses in 2019 during dismantling – one in the UK and one in the US. It is testimony to need to learn from each other across borders. The CROSS-UK and CROSS-US expert Panels collaborated on this case. The third report alerts the community to an unfolding concern with the use of standoff brackets for C-Shaped cornice hooks for scaffolding support. It is an excellent example of how CROSS can be used to release timely information about safety concerns. The fourth report involves a building collapse caused by inappropriate stockpiling of construction debris during a reroofing operation. This was not a news-making collapse, and the lessons learned might not otherwise be brought to light if not for the existence of CROSS. The fifth is a retrospective look at a legacy failure, the catastrophic roof collapse of the Harford Coliseum in 1978. While processing of legacy failures for which public information exists was not the primary motivation for establishing CROSS, we must not forget past lessons learned. The concerns over computer software and modeling errors raised by this case are very much relevant today. We intend to feed additional legacy cases into CROSS-US over time. CROSS-US will not be all that it can be without your participation. We rely on volunteers from all parts of the profession and industry to submit reports. No concern is too big or too small, and CROSS is structured to make submitting reports easy and confidential. Please take the time to become a student of CROSS reports and encourage others to do the same. We welcome your submissions and suggestions for improvements to CROSS-US via the “Feedback” button at www.cross-us.org or by email to either of us. Glenn and Andy glenn@cross-us.org andy@cross-us.org

Overview of Reports in this Newsletter

US-06 Rigid wall flexible diaphragm roof collapse in earthquake

A correspondent reports on the partial collapse of a roof of a one-story building in California during a 2019 earthquake. The building has rigid masonry bearing walls and a flexible roof diaphragm.

US-05 Dismantling of tower cranes

The falling of two cranes during dismantling in 2019, on the the US and one in the UK, prompts reflections on crane safety on construction sites.

US-11 The use of stand-off brackets for C-shaped cornice hooks for scaffolding support

A correspondent reports that using stand-off brackets with C-shaped cornice hooks for supporting suspended scaffolding have been contributing factors in safety incidents in certain circumstances.

US-03 Failure to maintain roof drainage during re-roof leads to ponding stability collapse

A correspondent reports a roof collapse caused by failure to maintain roof drainage during a re-roofing operation.

US-09 Coliseum failure

This is a legacy case study of the 1978 collapse of the roof of the Hartford Coliseum in Hartford, CT. Current-day comments by CROSS-US and CROSS-UK expert panels are included.

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