Investigating a Collapsed Structure

A great deal of design and planning goes into the construction of a structure such as a bridge or a building. However, whether it is due to an act of nature or a flaw in how it is manufactured, these can also fall apart or collapse entirely. When this happens, the results must be studied to find out what happened. Here are a few steps into this research.

Reviewing the Materials Involved

When you are investigating the damage done by the collapse, call an expert in forensic metallurgy to inspect any iron or steel. They will be able to tell if any portion of it was weak enough to cause structural failure. This should also be done with any stone, cement, or materials that bonded them together. Take samples of the area that fell apart and send them in to be studied. These tests can determine whether the collapse was due to weather, other outside forces, or an error in construction.

Reconstruct the Occurrence

Once anyone involved with the structural collapse has been pulled out and treated, the space should be documented fully. Pictures should be taken from every angle including at a distance. When all the records have been gathered, the broken pieces can be taken away. The photos and videos can be reassembled off-site to find where the failure spot happened. While it might be too late for this building or bridge, it can provide useful information for architectural projects in the future.

The Amount of Weight

Another culprit to a collapse could be if the payload that the structure could handle was exceeded. This would apply more towards bridges than it would buildings. If there has been recent construction done to it, it can weaken spots and make an issue more likely. Analyze recent repairs as well as the traffic that travels over the bridge to determine if vehicles that were too heavy were on it.

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