Second Crane Strike at Miami Collapse Refuted

Source: Engineering News-Record, November 26, 2012
By: Scott Judy

Two independent sources with knowledge of the investigation into the Oct. 10 collapse of a parking garage at Miami Dade College have refuted a claim reported by Engineering News-Record that the structure was struck a second time by a crane pick just prior to the fatal incident.

Officials with the project’s general contractor, Ajax Building Corp., were the first to dispute the claim. Bill Byrne, president of the Tallahassee, Fla.-based firm, stated by email: “We are not aware of any precast panels having hit the structure. (And) we are not aware of any crack that required inspection.”

Company officials also stated to ENR: “Ajax continues to work very closely with OSHA and others to determine what happened to cause the tragic accident at MDC.”

Additionally, a source involved in one of the numerous investigations under way at the site told ENR that the story reporting that a crane had struck the building a second time was “erroneous.”

ENR’s story reported information from an anonymous source with detailed knowledge of the incident who asserted that a crane pick involving a precast section had struck a building column for a second time on Oct. 10, just prior to the collapse. He said that the previously cracked column had been further damaged. The source also said the crane was lifting “tilt-wall” panels, but Ajax reports that no tilt-wall panels were used on the job.

The roughly 125,000-sq-ft structure collapsed near midday of Oct. 10, killing four workers.

Ajax’s Byrne acknowledged a day after the incident that a crane operated by Sims Crane & Equipment Co., Tampa, had struck a building column with its boom on Oct. 8, damaging the crane, but asserted that it had not caused any damage to the structure.

Officials with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration would not comment on the still-open investigation.

Miami law firm Alan Goldfarb P.A., filed suit in late October on behalf of Laurel Budhoo, the widow of Robert Budhoo, one of the workers killed in the collapse. The lawsuit originally named the following as defendants: Ajax Building Corp., Coreslab Structures, Harvard Jolly Inc., Bliss & Nyitray, Sims Crane & Equipment Co.; and Solar Erectors. Liah Catanese, an attorney with the firm, told ENR that the firm is preparing a revised complaint that will add additional firms to the suit.

 

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