1. ATTENTION returning members. If you are coming here from the old forum for the first time, you will need to reset you password. However, we had an email problem getting password reset links set out to a lot of the email addresses. That problem is temporarily rectified but IF you still have an issue, email me direct at info@thebuildingcodeforum.com and I will give you a temporary password.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Welcome to the new and improved Building Code Forum. We appreciate you being here and hope that you are getting the information that you need concerning all codes of the building trades. This is a free forum to the public due to the generosity of the Sawhorses, Corporate Supporters and Supporters who have upgraded their accounts. If you would like to have improved access to the forum please upgrade to Sawhorse by clicking here: Upgrades
    Dismiss Notice

City Inspectors Appear to Ease Millennium Yellow Tag Threat

Discussion in 'Industry News' started by mark handler, Sep 14, 2018.

  1. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Messages:
    9,654
    Likes Received:
    540
    City Inspectors Appear to Ease Millennium Yellow Tag Threat mell.png
    https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/City-Threatens-to-Restrict-Access-to-Tilting-Millennium-Tower-493180921.html
    Assistant Director of the Department of Building Inspection cited concerns about "public safety and due to the uncertainties about the performance" of the glass and steel façade, which consultants have warned may be separating from the tilting structure
    A top city building official has threatened to yellow tag and restrict access to the troubled Millennium Tower if a cracked 36th floor window is not inspected, saying he is "gravely concerned" and the public is not better protected against the risk of falling glass.
    A showdown over safety at the sinking and tilting Millennium Tower in San Francisco appeared to be averted Thursday as city building inspectors dialed back a threat to yellow tag the building as a safety hazard because of a cracked window.
    That softened stance comes as new images of the interior walls appear to be cracking inside the 36th floor unit where a window suddenly failed over Labor Day weekend.
    The latest clash began Wednesday, when top building inspection official Ron Tom expressed grave safety concerns over a cracked window in the tower in a letter to tower management and attorneys.
    Tom went so far as to threaten to yellow tag the 58-story building as a potential hazard if all units were not inspected and safety barriers put in place by Friday to protect pedestrians from any falling glass.
    “We feel this precaution is justified in order to protect the public,” Tom said of the letter on Thursday.
    But he seemed satisfied about a commitment by owners to put up more scaffolding to protect pedestrians, saying it was a good step to avoid a yellow tag.
    “We don’t want any incidents where we didn’t take the proper action to secure that sidewalk if it should happen,” Tom said
    Tom Miller, a lawyer for the Millennium Homeowners Association seemed relieved there apparently will be no yellow tag after all.
    “We’re very hopeful that the city will not take that drastic measure,” he said, adding he expects the city will sign off on a new plan to inspect and secure the cracked window.
    The new effort involves accessing and taping off the damaged window from nearby windows. It comes after an observation drone crashed Saturday.
    “I understand the city’s primary charge is safety of the public,” Miller said, “and I understand this represents a public safety issue, which I think we have now contained and responded to the city in the right way.”
    Meanwhile, new photos show cracks have opened up in the ceiling and between the wall and baseboards of Unit 36B.
    Experts fear those cracks could be more evidence that an entire 58-story stack of windows may be coming apart from the building. That’s a threat city officials hope Millennium will take seriously.
    Jerry Dodson, who lives in Millennium’s 42nd floor, worries the building’s problems are outpacing the talks on how to fix them.
    “The building is going down and tilting and twisting,” he said. “So with all those three things going on, the building is not waiting to see how the mediation turns out.”
     
  2. JCraver

    JCraver Sawhorse

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2014
    Messages:
    490
    Likes Received:
    158
    It's going to be interesting to see what happens / who gets the blame when this POS finally falls down. Hopefully there aren't many people in it when it happens, and I hope no one gets hurt.

    Just based on reading media accounts of this debacle from the beginning, the whole thing seems to me like a lack of guts on the part of the building department. IIRC it was leaning before the first people even moved in, no? Ridiculous. Condemn that thing and get those people out of there, or keep the owners and the lawyers happy and deal with the consequences. Seems like an easy choice to me, but I like to sleep at night.

    2015 IPMC - [A] 108.1.1 Unsafe structures. An unsafe structure is one that is found to be dangerous to the life, health, property or safety of the public or the occupants of the structure by not providing minimum safeguards to protect or warn occupants in the event of fire, or because such structure contains unsafe equipment or is so damaged, decayed, dilapidated, structurally unsafe or of such faulty construction or unstable foundation, that partial or complete collapse is possible.

    [A] 109.1 Imminent danger. When, in the opinion of the code official, there is imminent danger of failure or collapse of a building or structure that endangers life, or when any structure or part of a structure has fallen and life is endangered by the occupation of the structure, or when there is actual or potential danger to the building occupants or those in the proximity of any structure because of explosives, explosive fumes or vapors or the presence of toxic fumes, gases or materials, or operation of defective or dangerous equipment, the code official is hereby authorized and empowered to order and require the occupants to vacate the premises forthwith. The code official shall cause to be posted at each entrance to such structure a notice reading as follows: “This Structure Is Unsafe and Its Occupancy Has Been Prohibited by the Code Official.” It shall be unlawful for any person to enter such structure except for the purpose of securing the structure, making the required repairs, removing the hazardous condition or of demolishing the same.


    Condemn it. Take it to court and make them prove you wrong. At least in the meantime there won't be anybody that dies because they're living in it when it falls down.
     
    my250r11, JBI and tmurray like this.
  3. cda

    cda Sawhorse

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Messages:
    14,657
    Likes Received:
    836
    Hay

    Nolan Ryan does foundation work now.

    I think he get win the foundation fight
     
  4. Msradell

    Msradell Sawhorse

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2011
    Messages:
    754
    Likes Received:
    59
    I read an article recently that they are talking about drilling caissons down to bedrock under the building to support it and possibly even Jack the building back up slightly to get rid of the tilt. I'm not sure how they are planning and getting equipment big enough to drill caissons to support that much weight into position to do the drilling however. Most caisson drilling equipment I've ever seen it 40 to 50 feet tall. It doesn't seem like putting them around the perimeter would do any good, they need to be under the building.
     
    JBI likes this.
  5. Mark K

    Mark K Platinum Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    1,316
    Likes Received:
    56
    A little less hysteria.

    The building is no more likely to fall down than any other similar building. Engineers have looked into this question. The problem is that there is excess settlement which may make the building unusable or undesirable.

    The tower is a problem building but there is no need to evacuate the building.

    The broken glass is a problem which must be addressed but this is not the first tall building that had glass problems and does not require the building be evacuated.

    There are methods for installing deep foundation elements that do not need 40 foot high rigs including some that could be set up in your living room.
     
  6. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Messages:
    9,654
    Likes Received:
    540
    They are tying to put on a little pressure. If they don't, the owners will do nothing.
     
    JBI and jar546 like this.
  7. conarb

    conarb Sawhorse

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,251
    Likes Received:
    231
    The facts are that a government agency undermined the tower's foundation in building it's Trans Bay Transit center, there were plans for this at the time of the permit application for the Millennium Tower, why did the city plan check let this happen?
    Furthermore the building is a poured concrete structure, that's a huge amount of weight on those soils, with all the money that was paid to plan check the building why didn't city plan check suggest a steel frame structure rather than poured concrete? I've never permitted anything of this size, but everything I do permit plan check litterally tells me, my architects, and engineers what to do.

    What good are city plan checkers?

    ¹ https://abc7news.com/realestate/millennium-partners-blames-sinking-of-tower-on-transbay-terminal-excavations/1519899/
     
  8. Mark K

    Mark K Platinum Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    1,316
    Likes Received:
    56
    There is a lot of pressure without the city. The city is not helping.

    There is a lot of information that the adjacent bldg is not a significant contributor.

    Read Chapter 18. What provision would have prevented the settlement?
     
  9. conarb

    conarb Sawhorse

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,251
    Likes Received:
    231
    The courts will determine how much of a factor and assign proportionate blame.
     
  10. ICE

    ICE Sawhorse

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    Messages:
    7,416
    Likes Received:
    574
    Tilting is the precursor to falling over. That’s the reality of the people that live in that building. How could it be otherwise? I don’t know the dimensions of the building but a 16” tilt must be noticeable.

    How much lean it would take to bring it down is an engineering question. At 645 ft. tall with a five level subterranean parking garage and caissons 60’ to 90’ deep it will probably lean way out there before it falls.......but you have to wonder.
     
    #10 ICE, Sep 15, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
    JBI likes this.
  11. cda

    cda Sawhorse

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Messages:
    14,657
    Likes Received:
    836
    Leaning Tower of San Francisco


    They always need a new tourist attraction
     
    BayPointArchitect and Msradell like this.
  12. Mark K

    Mark K Platinum Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    1,316
    Likes Received:
    56
    While the courts do assign blame some times their rulings are based on emotion.

    In probably the majority of cases the claims for damages are resolved prior to trial. It is not uncommon for innocent parties to pay into the settlement because of business decisions made by them and the insurance companies insuring them. Litigation is expensive and sometimes the outcome is not clear. This is also the reason that plaintiff attorneys name everybody they can.

    While the tilt is excessive and might make the units impossible to sell the consensus among the structural community is that this is not a reason to be concerned about collapse.

    Wait until something like this occurs in your jurisdiction. As I said a little less hysteria

    On the other hand jokes may be appropriate. If this results in enough tourists the City may make a profit.
     
    JBI likes this.
  13. conarb

    conarb Sawhorse

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,251
    Likes Received:
    231
    Mark:

    Looks like you are right on all counts, John King the chronicle's architectural critic agrees with you, but he does say:


    ¹ https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Why-sinking-SF-tower-is-now-a-top-tourist-13231133.php
     
    JBI likes this.
  14. Mark K

    Mark K Platinum Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    1,316
    Likes Received:
    56
    While Mr. King's discussion of the social economic impact is interesting, it is frustrating when an architectural critic is given more credibility regarding structural safety than a Structural Engineer.

    It is also frustrating when the engineers at the building department act out of fear and ignorance.

    When faced with a problem building the building official should consult with experts in order to make sure the response is appropriate and not the result of jumping to conclusions and thus causing more grief.
     
  15. tmurray

    tmurray Sawhorse

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,371
    Likes Received:
    314
    It should not be burden on tax payers to prove this building is unsafe. When we have a building that does not appear to be meeting the performance metrics, the responsibility should be on the owners to provide experts at their cost to demonstrate that the building is safe or what measures must be undertaken to make the building safe.

    Reading in between the lines of the article. It is likely that the city reached out to the building owners to get assurances from their experts that the building was safe or would be made to be safe. Lacking a response of any substance, the city followed up with the threat to "yellow tag" the building. Now this got their attention. Real consequences for lack of action.

    We do this all the time. First contact is the "friendly" what are you doing question. If/when we don't get a response, we follow up with the "this is what bad things are going to happen if you keep ignoring me" letter. In my experience, most people will act based on the first contact. Some wait to the second and fewer still ignore that one.
     
    JBI, Pcinspector1 and JCraver like this.
  16. JCraver

    JCraver Sawhorse

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2014
    Messages:
    490
    Likes Received:
    158
    TM, I'm sure that's what happened. But I also think the City has already bought the liability if something does happen and they're just posturing for when it gets to court.
     
  17. JCraver

    JCraver Sawhorse

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2014
    Messages:
    490
    Likes Received:
    158
    No hysteria, just what I'd do if it were here. When it falls down, I don't want that on me.
     
    JBI likes this.
  18. Pcinspector1

    Pcinspector1 Platinum Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    Messages:
    2,394
    Likes Received:
    225
    They are a second set of eyes, not the designer.
     
    JBI likes this.
  19. conarb

    conarb Sawhorse

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,251
    Likes Received:
    231
    Have any idea what the permit and plan check fees were for that "second set of eyes"?
     
  20. Mark K

    Mark K Platinum Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    1,316
    Likes Received:
    56
    California has strong immunity laws meaning that the city would have no legal liability. What the building department personnel fear is the political consequences from the local politicians. Could they have done a better job of educating the Board of Supervisors regarding the issues?

    Building officials and plan checkers often cause problems on projects when they worry about liability when there is none. The efforts to cover their A__ then causes problems. This only adds to the hysteria.

    The owner had already had at least one respected engineer look at the building and as a result the engineer made a statement that the building was not at risk of collapse. Further it is the consensus of the local structural engineering community that the building is not at risk of collapse. If the City had reached out to the building Owners I would have expected their engineers to say that at most there could be more broken glass but remember that glass can break for many reasons.

    While reaching out to the building owner is desirable the Building Official should hire their own consultants to advise them if they do not have inhouse capability. The city cannot avoid its responsibility to evaluate whether there is a safety problem irrespective of who ultimately pays for it.
     

Share This Page