What Experts Are Saying

Experts Weigh In  

While survivors, family members of the victims, and a community shattered wait for answers that may take years to find, experts have weighed in on identifying potential causes of the collapse. Here is what they are saying:

“The design was faulty. If you have too much reinforcing in the column, it will crack as it dries. Concrete shrinks and the rebar doesn’t. What this means is all of the columns were cracking from day one. The shear walls are very small. They are pitiful. They don’t seem to have enough shear walls in one direction.”

-- Eugenio Santiago, licensed structural engineer and retired chief building official for Key Biscayne (Source: Miami Herald)

“There were two significant differences to the western portion of the building, which remained standing. First, there was a core wall, which framed the stairwell, elevator core and mechanical room. The core wall had wall sections in both the East-West and the North-South directions, so it provided strength and stiffness in both directions.
In addition, the most western portion of the building had surface-level parking on the pool-deck (level 1) level. The “ceiling” of that portion of the building (level 2) had beams between the columns. Beams and columns framed together are capable of resisting horizontal forces and movements. This system was on the second floor only.
Finally, reports from a structural engineering firm in 2018 and 2020 indicated that the slab, beams and columns supporting the pool deck sustained significant degradation of the concrete and corrosion of the reinforcing steel. This slab formed the ceiling of the garage and was exposed to the ocean environment.”

-- Dawn E. Lehman, professor of structural engineering at the University of Washington (Source: UW News)

“All of these factors, not having many of these things to code, banded together and I believe contributed to the collapse. If you have too much rebar, that’s going to happen. Those air pockets are going to allow the saltwater to get to your rebar even quicker.”
“My calculations show that the capacity was lower than the load that was imposed at these pool deck columns. So I would have added drop panels to increase the shear strength.”

--Abieyuwa Aghayere, professor of structural engineering at Drexel University

“You can see the failure came from the bottom.”

--Dr. Kit Miyamoto, veteran structural engineer and the chairman of the California seismic safety commission. (Source: Washington Post)

“All of this is bad, it’s wrong, it’s shocking to me. This is a piece of junk, this building. The problems with the design “should have been picked up by everyone.”

-- Gregg Schlesinger, contractor and attorney from Fort Lauderdale (Source: Miami Herald)

“There does not appear to be enough steel connecting the slab to the columns. What we see out there seems inconsistent with what the drawings show.”

-- R. Shankar Nair, member of the National Academy of Engineering and former chairman of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (Source: New York Times)