A partially completed luxury condominium development on South Padre Island on the Texas Gulf Coast is slated for demolition after it has settled by 14 to 16-in, more than double the settlement of the attached parking garage. The developer, Ocean Tower LP is seeking $125 million in damages from the geotechnical engineering and structural engineering firms. They determined repairs were not “economically feasible” and a lawyer for Ocean Tower LP estimated the developer had invested about $65 million in the project. Source: NY Times via ASCE SmartBrief.
The American Society for Testing and Materials, or ASTM, No. 57 stone is often used as sub base fill material below road surfaces and buildings. It is a fragmented stone with angular edges and is regularly utilized as a drainage layer when used with geotextile fabric. Although the material is touted by many as "self-compacting," excess voids left from zero compactive effort in locations with little confinement may not eliminate the possibility of future settlement. What happens when the environment above the No. 57 stone causes it to settle?
[Editor] Read on for the answer to this interesting question in the case of settlement of a structure at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The contributed article by Katherine Witt describes how URETEK Mid-Atlantic used their high-density polyurethane resin to stabilize the No. 57 stone beneath a settled foundation as well as lift the surrounding slab back into place. [/Editor]
The ASFE website has an interesting article on the ethics involved in expert witness testimony. They have been at the forefront of that arena since the publication of Recommended Practices for Design Professionals Engaged in the Resolution of Construction Industry Disputes, a document endorsed by 37 major organizations. The most interesting part in my mind was how they point out the role of an expert witness is to provide an opinion as to whether the standard of care was followed or not. According to ASFE, many expert witnesses do not do the necessary research to determine what the standard of care is. More…