I learned a hard lesson regarding the required use of spreader bars when lifting heavy angular objects with a crane: I was placed in harm’s way and witnessed the destruction of over $20,000 worth of property during a construction mishap. Fortunately, following some tense seconds, there were zero injuries and several lessons learned.
From the Job Site
In early 1979, the fabricator and installer for the atrium steel of the new Kansas City Hyatt hotel proposed changes to the connection details for the support of the skywalk system. The original design was thought to be expensive to manufacture and problematic to install. The engineer responded by providing preliminary sketches of the fabricator's proposal without performing basic calculations. These sketches were returned to the fabricator, who assumed these to be the final and approved shop drawings. The revised and ill-fated connection detail was put into production and installed. In 1981, the Kansas City Hyatt skywalk collapsed, causing the deaths of 114 people and injuring more than 200. The ensuing investigations concluded that the fault lay in the engineer's failure to properly review shop drawings and provide adequate communications between the structural engineer and the fabricator of the structural steel for the atrium and skywalk.
To maintain a project's schedule, productivity, and ultimately, profitability, it is imperative that the job foreman and the office project manager and/or estimator are aware of weather and site conditions. During this time of the year, material delivery becomes an extremely important part of maintaining project schedules and minimizing surprises.
Specifiers tend to create their products based on what manufacturers tell them. This is not a bad idea; after all, no one has the time to research all the products used on site. Manufacturers will indicate that their materials need to be pre-conditioned to the interior temperature for a period of time, usually 24 hours prior to installation. The standard temperature is typically between 55 degrees Fahrenheit and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
The U.S. Post Office and Courthouse in South Bend, IN, designed by N. Roy Shambleau, was completed in 1933. Still in use today by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, it was renamed in 1992 as the Robert A. Grant Federal Building and United States Courthouse. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places, meaning that modifications to the exterior are not permitted. Any modifications to the function of the building must occur in such a way that the exterior remains true to its original design.
It goes without saying that everyone is responsible for their own safety, but on a job site, project managers and job foremen have a responsibility to others to make sure that the work place is safe. A great place to start is to let everyone know that safety issues are taken seriously and the primary goal is to prevent injuries and lost time.