Khalid Mosalam is a professor of structural engineering.He joined ABC7’s show “Get the Answer” Monday will discuss the collapse of a building that has claimed 11 lives.
“It will take a while for us to know exactly what happened,” Professor Mossalaam said. “But considering that this building was built 40 years ago, one can only speculate that the codes and regulations followed at that time were not as sound as what we have now.”
Mosalam said that in order for a collapse of this magnitude to occur, the building must have an abnormality related to the foundation or soil.
He said Florida’s oceanic climate and erosion associated with buildings located on the waterfront could also affect the capacity of buildings.
“Fortunately, these failures are very rare,” he said.
However, rareness did not mitigate the consequences, he said.
Could this happen now in San Francisco, a city surrounded by water with tall buildings?
“In California, we are obviously worried about earthquakes, so most of the buildings we design take this into account,” he said.
He said that with that comes flexibility.
As we all know, the Millennium Tower in San Francisco is sinking, but Mosalam doesn’t think this is a big problem.
As of February 2020, Since the 58-story building was first opened in 2009, it has sunk 17 inches and tilted 2 inches.
Professors at the University of California, Berkeley emphasized the need to develop a plan before catastrophic events, such as what happened in Florida.
“If we encounter a situation where a building is sinking, it must be monitored. There is no way to bypass it. We must build a monitoring system so that there is enough warning before such a catastrophic failure occurs,” he said.
He said that the Florida apartment building was built 40 years ago with an older design, and the capacity was affected due to concrete erosion and micro-cracks.
“Fortunately, this is not our situation in San Francisco,” Mozalan said.
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