June 29, 2021

Engineering experts: Florida condo collapse

Note to journalists: Journalists visiting campus should follow visitor health guidelines.

As an investigation continues into what caused a 13-story condo near Miami to collapse on Thursday, Purdue University experts on building structure and foundation can offer insights to reporters.

Media contact: Kayla Wiles, 765-494-2432, wiles5@purdue.edu


Expert in building codes and reinforced concrete structures

Robert Frosch is a professor of civil engineering and senior associate dean of engineering for facilities and operations at Purdue. Frosch has more than 20 years of experience developing structural concrete building codes. As a member of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Building Code Committee, Frosch is involved in writing the model code that is adopted across the U.S. and many other countries across the world for the design and construction of structural concrete buildings.

Quote: “The condo building in Florida experienced what’s called a ‘progressive collapse.’ When a floor collapses, the weight of that slab doubles the weight of the floor below it. This type of failure is extremely rare. We have provisions in the building code to minimize the risk of this type of failure.”

Contact: frosch@purdue.edu


Expert in the pathology of building foundations

Rodrigo Salgado, Purdue’s Charles Pankow Professor of Civil Engineering, has studied how to design and construct foundations for various types of structures for 30 years. He is the author of The Engineering of Foundations and the editor in chief of the Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

Quote: “There were reports of cracks in the superstructure of the condo building and possibly some foundation movement. Cracks can be a cause or a symptom of building pathology. If you have cracks opening up, water can get in, corrode steel reinforcement, and that may lead to failure. But if you start getting movement at the foundation, those movements distort the building, and that leads to cracking. Excessively wide cracks, particularly in certain locations, are an indicator of a structure in distress.”

Contact: salgado@purdue.edu


Expert in structural behavior of reinforced concrete buildings

Julio Ramirez, Purdue’s Karl H. Kettelhut Professor of Civil Engineering, has more than 30 years of experience in earthquake and structural engineering design for buildings and bridges. He has led or participated in 15 posthazard data collection missions after major earthquakes in the U.S. and around the world.

Quote: “Having a building that is only 40 years old collapse like that is unbelievable, and often a failure like that is a combination of factors, not necessarily a single one.”

Contact: ramirez@purdue.edu


About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 5 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://purdue.edu/.

Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

© 2015-20 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by Office of Strategic Communications

Trouble with this page? Disability-related accessibility issue? Please contact News Service at purduenews@purdue.edu.