Imagine buying a condo for millions of dollars only to find out that the building the surrounds it has sunk over a foot and has tilted 2 inches. You probably wouldn’t feel too good about your purchase, would you? The Leaning Tower of Pisa (or, as I thought it was called when I was 7, “The Leaning Tower of Pizza”) wasn’t supposed to lean either, but they were able to turn lemons into lemonade and make it into a gigantic tourist trap. That’s a luxury that I’m not sure the Millennium Tower in San Francisco has, unfortunately.
Opened in 2008, The Millennium Tower, a 58 story luxury high rise condo complex, is located on the North East corner of Downtown San Francisco. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the residents have paid anywhere from $1.6 to $10 million dollars for a home inside the building. Curbed reports that San Francisco Giants right fielder Hunter Pence and Hall of Fame Quarterback Joe Montana even make their home there. Unfortunately, after 8 years of being open, the building has reportedly settled 16 inches and even tilted two inches, as opposed to the 6 inches it was expected to settle. From what I can gather from Google Earth (using this handy trick), that 2 inch drop occurs across approximately 419 feet, which is a 0.0397% slope (update: slope percentage was corrected on 8/10/16). Although not an immediate safety risk, it’s definitely a cause for concern, especially in a city with a high risk of earthquakes, like San Francisco.
The building owners, Millennium Partners, have placed the blame upon a giant hole dug adjacent to the property by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) which is the start of a new transit center, according to Curbed. The TJPA, however, has denied any responsibility for the condo’s settling issues and released a two page press release stating their investigation findings. According to the TJPA, the builders of the Millennium Tower failed to adequately support the heavy concrete structure down to the bedrock, around 200 feet below grade. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the piles were only driven 80 feet down, which the TJPA referred to as “soft, compressible soil,” which is not surprising given the short distance to the shoreline. The TJPA also claimed that, when their work on the new transit center began in 2010, the Tower had already settled 10 inches.
This is all shaping up to be a long and costly legal battle to determine the responsible authority. According to Alex Barthet, a construction lawyer in Florida, “it is never easy to determine fault and who may be accountable for needed repairs. There are latent and patent defects, express and implied warranties – enough legal theories to make your head spin. But if negligence can be shown, everyone from the unit purchasers to the developer may have claims for construction defects. And if that’s not enough to complicate matters, rushing off to repair the problems isn’t without its own risks, legally. It could be a mistake to fix a mistake if evidence is destroyed or if the repairs aren’t handled correctly.”
Anyone getting that sinking feeling?
The earth can be a sort of an unmarked time capsule in many areas. It holds secrets of the past, some of which were hoped to never be found, but others that people dream of finding. Almost every project requires excavation or demolition in some way, so keep your eyes peeled for the next great discovery!
Jobsite pressures, such as time crunches and monetary issues can quickly tempt otherwise good people into making some pretty poor decisions. There are also others who use their construction business as a front for other illegal activities. Many people were arrested for a variety of reasons in 2016 and the list below should serve as both a reminder and a warning for those considering making bad decisions.
In general, we don’t celebrate the good deeds and accomplishments of our friends, family, and co-workers enough. The fact is, there are plenty of people in this world who spend plenty of their hard earned time, money, blood, sweat, and tears making a difference in peoples’ lives. Many of those people happen to be construction workers and this 2016 countdown will hopefully serve as inspiration to our reader’s to go above and beyond and use your skills to enrich someone else’s life.
Many construction projects involve clearing heavily wooded and untouched areas, which can cause many complications, including interaction with unknown wildlife. It’s important for all companies to understand the impact their construction work can have on wildlife, not only to avoid costly issues with government regulations, but also be good stewards of the environment. Below are 12 stories from 2016 where construction projects interacted with wildlife and how each situation was handled.
Last year, a devastating crane collapse killed more than 100 people and injured more than 200 others in Mecca, located in Saudi Arabia. Reports indicated that, at the time of the collapse, the boom was erected approximately 620 feet (190m).
If you were out looking for elves, the first logical place you’d look would be the North Pole, but that may not actually be the easiest place to find them. According to a couple news stories from this year, elves can wreak some serious havoc on construction projects in Iceland, if they’re unhappy.
As the construction labor shortage rages on throughout the industry, there have been concerns of how overworked employees or undertrained staff may affect job site safety. Although there’s no definitive proof that this problem is causing an increase in construction deaths and injuries, recently released Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows trends pointing in the wrong direction.
2016 has been a tough year for people that live in ocean-near luxury high rise condos. The Millennium Tower in San Francisco, California, which is home to many of the city’s rich and famous residents, has found itself in the middle of several lawsuits after it was determined to have sunk around 16 inches since its opening in 2008. Now, it appears that it’s not the only luxury tower in America with foundation issues.
You did it again...you waited too long to start Christmas shopping. Have no fear, Construction Junkie's got you covered with more great gift ideas for the hard working person in your life. Better yet, if you're in the construction industry yourself, here's some gear you could use no matter what time of year!
Construction document control is the hot item right now with regards to industry technology. With several leading tech companies working tirelessly to convert all contractors from hard copy drawings to digital, the race is on to see who will emerge victorious. Not only are technology companies seeing opportunity in plan management, their also seeing opportunity with the new Windows platform. The Surface Pro tablets and Surface Book laptops have given Apple products a run for their money recently for jobsite use, after jumping 20% in use in 2016 compared to the previous year, according to a new construction technology survey.