The article “Hyatt Regency Walkway Collapse” brought attention a famous case of failed structural design and engineering, analyzed the history of the building’s design and construction, and considered what is to blame for the accident that occurred.
During a party in the lobby of a Hyatt Regency Hotel located in Kansas City, Missouri, the night of July 17th 1981, two suspended walkways collapsed after the connections holding them up to the ceiling failed. The box beams separated from the ceiling rods because the beams that rested on the supporting rods nuts and washers were malformed and could not hold the additional weight of the party-goers. The fourth floor walkway fell first and crashed into the second story walkway on the way down, bringing it along for the drop down onto the crowded main atrium below. Perhaps fortunately, the third floor walkway had been built away from the other two to offset them, thus remained connected and kept additional wreckage from further hurting the hotel guests. However, this incident is still considered one of America’s “most devastating structural failures in terms of loss of live and injuries” having left 114 people dead and more than 200 injured.
Roles and the Parts They Play
The Crown Center Redevelopment Corporation began planning a project for the creation of a Hyatt Regency Hotel to be built in Kansas City in 1976. By July that same year the CCRC decided that the Texan corporation called Gillum-Colaco, Inc., would be the project’s consulting structural engineers. For the next year, Gillum-Colaco assisted PBNDML Architects, Planners, Inc., in creating the plans and basic design of the hotel. Crown then commissioned a standard contract with PBNDML and Gillum-Colaro, and although Gillum-Colaco agreed to provide all structural engineering services they had instead subcontracted all structural engineering service responsibility to G.C.E International,Inc., (known at the time as Jack D. Gillum & Associates, Ltd.). The contract specified that no work on the project could begin until all shop drawings had been approved by the structural...