"The phone is a remarkably complex, simple device,
and very rarely ever needs repairs, once you fix them." - Dan/Panther

Main Menu

Water weighs 8 pounds a gallon

Started by TelePlay, September 23, 2022, 06:37:45 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


Here's something you don't see every day. This is a 153,000 sq ft building that was less that a year old when a 3" rainfall collapsed a corner of the roof on July 5th, 2022.

I think the roof drains became plugged with leaves causing the rain to pool with the weight becoming too much for the structural beam holding up the roof. No other reason for the water to build up. For reference, we had a 9" rainfall in about 6 hours two weeks ago and while the was a lot of ground level flooding, no roofs collapsed.

This was a brand new indoor sports rehabilitation structure owned and operated by an orthopedic hospital. It had a full sized football field, 3 or 4 full sized basketball courts and other sports related stuff and fitness facilities.

They just started to rebuild it a few days ago by demolishing the failed corner. I was wondering why they waited so long but after seeing the damage, I can understand the initial insurance and engineering work that had to be completed BEFORE the brand new structural beams could be ordered, fabricated and a delivery date confirmed. Once that date was set, they could begin demolition and will have the failed part of the structure, the roof and outside walls, closed in before the winter snows begin.

If you follow the failed roof I-beam up to the left, you will see that this huge, structural beam snapped into 2 pieces. There were 50 people in the building when this happened. I wonder how loud that "bang" was when the beam broke into 2 pieces.

No one was injured.

If you zoom into the larger image, behind the lower portion of the failed beam, you can see 2 basketball backboard inside the building.


Here's what it looked like the morning after the collapse, only one exterior wall panel was pulled in by the failed structural I-beam. Didn't look bad at all until the removed the slightly crinkled exterior walls.


In this image of the roof, you can see the markings of dried up dirt (inside white box) on the black roof material indicating water has pooled and evaporated, not drained, from the roof several times over it one year of being built.


Partly the result of poor facility management, partly poor design. Roofs like that should have an emergency spillover. Glad to hear that no one was injured here!
I have desperately looked for a translation of a German pun since the first post, but found none:
The architect's last words: "Da fällt mir noch was ein..." (Something falls down on me // Something comes up to my mind...)


Quote from: countryman on September 25, 2022, 02:21:52 PMPartly the result of poor facility management, partly poor design. Roofs like that should have an emergency spillover.

I agree.

Someone wasn't going up to check and clear plugged drains, if needed, drains were not right placed and/or size, the roof wasn't slanted correctly or the building/roof settled causing the pooling area. Maintenance should have been walking that roof monthly since it was built to check on how well the design was working.

Would like to see the percentage liability placed on building management, construction company and the engineering firm that designed the building. Someone's paying money for that reconstruction.

I did some rough calculations on damaged roof area and approximate water depth from a 3" rainfall. I came up with about 100,000 to 200,000 pounds of water weight on the area that collapsed, used a 6" pooling depth which seemed reasonable.

A fully loaded cement truck weighs about 66,000 pounds: 40,000 pounds of cement and 26,000 pounds for the truck.


Quote from: TelePlay on September 25, 2022, 02:40:49 PMWould like to see the percentage liability placed on building management, construction company and the engineering firm that designed the building.

I suspect it will take years for the jurists to figure that out. But the owner seems to be interested in a speedy reconstruction, having pockets deep enough to accomplish this, so...


They removed the failed, twisted support beams. Sitting nicely in an open area for metallurgical analysis and testing at some later date.


Finale Update: 

The building has been fully restored to pre-collapse status, and actually better than before because in the following new release, probably written my a liability lawyer, they state to cause and also that the "new" design includes an overflow system. Humph, skipped that in the original design? Expensive oversight.

"OAW Indoor Sports Complex in New Berlin has re-opened after its roof sustained a partial collapse amid heavy rain in July, the building's owners announced in a news release.

Ethic Indoor, the complex's owner, made the announcement on Dec. 29 while easing potential concerns about reentering the building. An investigation revealed that there was an inadequate roof drainage system, causing rainwater to pool and cause damage from the additional weight, the release said.

The issues that caused the rainwater to pool, however, have been found and fixed with a new roof drainage system that includes an overflow system, the sports complex said.

'Rest assured that Ethic, and its partners, have taken appropriate action to repair the roof and prevent a situation like this from happening again, the release said. "Rest assured Ethic, and its partners, have worked diligently to ensure the structural integrity of the entire building, floor to ceiling, top to bottom. Ethic is committed to the safety of its guests, and the OAW Sports Center is reopening to the public with Ethic's complete confidence in the building's integrity.'

The strongest force in the world, water.