Forensic Investigation

Single Abstract

335587 - Forensic Engineering Analysis of a Steel Truss Tower Failure: a Case Study

Saturday, April 21
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Location: 202B

This case study provides significant insights into, post-disaster inspection of a steel truss tower failure from the top of a high-rise hotel building in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The collapse of the structure happened on a highly windy day leading to a number of injuries, vehicle fires and severe property damage. A detailed field investigation was performed to firstly document the damaged areas in the structure, the locations and types of joints and the surrounding elements. Additional data for the case analyses were gathered from initial tower structural design reports, welds quality inspection reports, construction execution records, wind load studies, and lab-based material tests. Based on the field investigation and subsequent lab-based analyses, it was determined that the failure initiated within one of the truss tower corners at a height of 28 meters measured from the base of the truss tower. The failure propagated as a crack in the welded section of the same corner due to high wind loads, and the other corners fractured subsequently due to the unbalanced weight of the structure. It was revealed that the wind load study, provided in the construction of the steel truss tower, was inadequate to ensuring the structural integrity of this high-rise structure. In addition, modifications of the truss tower architectural design during the construction phase were done without re-examining the live loads on the truss tower leading to uncertainties in the design. Laboratory tests were implemented for both chemical and mechanical properties of the material in the failed section conforming to BS EN 10025-2:2004 S275 JR specification, and the results revealed compliance with the minimum required values stated in building code. To further analyze the failed section, a microscopic test was also conducted, and the results showed major porosities in the interface between the weld and the column flange, indicating appallingly poor workmanship during the construction phase. In conclusion, the incident happened due to porosity inflation within the failed corner of the steel structure, which weakened the interface that have fractured due to cyclic dynamic wind load on the day.

Sulaiman M. Alzarooni

Forensic Engineer
Dubai Police GHQ

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Abdulla R. Al Ali

Forensic Engineer
Dubai Police GHQ

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Mohammad A. Alqassim

Forensic Engineer
Dubai Police GHQ

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335587 - Forensic Engineering Analysis of a Steel Truss Tower Failure: a Case Study



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