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 Seattle Times (hat tip to ASCE SmartBrief) has reported that seven voids have been discovered above the Beacon Hill Tunnel with one opening up at the ground surface. The tunnel is being constructed by Sound Transit, the area’s transportation agency as part of a roughly $2.6 billion (yep, billion) light-rail project connecting downtown Seattle with the University of Washington and SEA-TAC airport. The voids were a result of running sand pockets in the otherwise stable clay units that were encountered by the tunnel boring machine or TBM. These voids migrated up like a chimney with one reaching the surface, almost 160-ft above the tunnel. This void was apparently 21-ft deep and opened up in a resident’s front yard and could have easily swallowed her up as she noticed it while gardening. The other voids were discovered at a depth of 20- to 65-ft below the ground surface. More after the break. (Illustration from Seattle Times)
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…