By Randall W. Poston, 1 Member, 3ASCE, Gerard C. Feldmann, 2
and Mario G. Suarez, Member, ASCE

ABSTRACT: This paper summarizes a structural evaluation of the posttensioned
Downloaded from ascelibrary.org by New York University on 05/10/15. Copyright ASCE. For personal use only; all rights reserved.

floor lift slabs of L'Ambiance Plaza, Bridgeport, Connecticut. The evaluation has
been conducted to investigate, among other factors, the effect on slab stresses of
the unorthodox horizontal splay of posttensioned tendons around column 4.8E and
the effect of shear wall openings that existed during the lifting operation, for ideal
lifting conditions (slab perfectly level), and for scenarios less than ideal. Initially,
hand computations are made using simplified beam models to examine two areas
of the west-tower slab design that appeared particularly suspicious. Those com-
putations reveal that a more refined stress analysis is warranted. To investigate the
slab stresses more precisely, linear elastic finite element analyses of a typical west-
tower floor slab are conducted. Results from the analyses indicate that the anom-
alous layout of the posttensioning tendons in the west tower could be considered
a possible cause that triggered the failure or, at a minimum, was clearly a factor
in the propagation of the collapse after it had begun. The inclusion of nominal
amounts of auxiliary bonded mild reinforcement (structural integrity steel) in the
bottom of the slabs, continuous through the column strips, might have confined
the slab failure, assuming the column supports and jacks could sustain the redis-
tributed load.

At approximately 1:30 P.M. on April 23, 1987, a 16-story apartment build-
ing in Bridgeport, Connecticut, known as L'Ambiance Plaza, under con-
struction using the lift-slab method, collapsed, killing 28 construction work-
ers. The results of an investigation of the collapse conducted by the National
Bureau of Standards (NBS), now known as the National Institute of Stan-
dards and Technology (NIST), have been previously summarized (Scribner
and Culver 1988; Culver et al. 1987). That investigation concluded that the
most probable cause of the collapse during construction was the loss of a
lifting-jack assembly at either column 4.8E or 3.8E in the west tower during
the placement of a group of three floor slabs. More specifically, it was con-
cluded that the loss of support was likely due to excessive deformation of
a shearhead lifting angle, which caused a lifting nut to slip off the lifting
Regarding the design of the posttensioned floor slabs, the NBS investi-
gation mentioned the unusual splay of the unbonded posttensioning tendons
in the vicinity of column 4.8E, but concluded that there were no indications
that this detail led specifically to the collapse of the structure or to its prop-
agation after it had begun.
As consultants to the NBS during their investigation of the collapse, Schu-
pack Suarez Engineers, Inc. (SSE), Norwalk, Connecticut, had performed
approximate computations to investigate the general structural behavior of a
'Assoc, Schupack Suarez Engrs., Inc., 225 Wilson, Ave., Norwalk, CT 06854.
Engr., Schupack Suarez Engrs., Inc., Norwalk, CT.
Prin., Schupack Suarez Engrs., Inc., Norwalk, CT.
Note. Discussion open until October 1, 1991. To extend the closing date one month,
a written request must be filed with the ASCE Manager of Journals. The manuscript
for this paper was submitted for review and possible publication on September 19,
1990. This paper is part of the Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities,
Vol. 5, No. 2, May, 1991. ©ASCE, ISSN 0887-?828/91/0002-0075/$1.00 + $.15
per page. Paper No. 25822.


J. Perform. Constr. Facil. 1991.5:75-91.

22'6' 17'6- J. BD H i n f 9'0 .org by New York University on 05/10/15. Constr. For personal use only. —® East V CM Tower —H Sl. 1. Copyright ASCE. -SB H --© CO -CO ^. 1991. —ra H. Plan View of Towers (Culver et al. J 230' ad to ^=^_j-® © © © © ! ! B— El.5:75-91. Facil. all rights reserved. Shearwall locations in completed structure N^ Pour strip © © © «) © © FIG. -si. Perform. Downloaded from ascelibrary. 1987) 1 .==5 IH.

1. details of the lifting system. However. and the status of construction at the time of the collapse are summarized in Scribner and Culver (1988). Steel channels that were welded to- gether. there were simply large openings in each slab. the structure had two rectangular towers.org by New York University on 05/10/15. The cast- in-place shear walls lagged behind the lifting operation and would have pro- vided lateral bracing for the completed structure. Copyright ASCE. A plan view of the L'Ambiance Plaza building is shown in Fig. It is important to note that the location of the shear walls in Fig. SSE conducted analyses of a typical west-tower floor slab based on available drawings. at these locations during the construction lifting operation. after being secured in their final position. Shear-Head Detail 77 J.5:75-91. 1991. Facil. 2. 2. all rights reserved. These were the points of lifting and the mechanism for permanent attachment of the floor slabs to the columns. were cast into the floor slabs at each column. typical slab for ideal lifting conditions. Constr. Subsequent to the publication of the NBS findings. The floors were supported by steel columns. Perform. 3 shows the general layout of the unbonded posttensioning tendons in the lift slabs of the LAmbiance Plaza structure. called shear heads. The 7-in. Other pertinent de- tails such as the sequence of erection. cast-in-place pour strips connected the floor slabs of the two towers. 1 is for the completed structure. . QUALITATIVE EVALUATION OF POSTTENSIONED FLOOR SLAB DESIGN Fig. For personal use only. GENERAL STRUCTURE DESCRIPTION Downloaded from ascelibrary. This more refined evaluation using linear- elastic finite element analysis is the principal subject of this paper. As shown in Fig. As shown in this figure.8-cm) posttensioned floor slabs in each tower were erected indepen- dently. 1. (17. taking into consideration the unor- thodox layout of the posttensioning tendons. Each line represents one FIG. as shown in Fig.

Facil. Perform.Represents 1 to 5 monostrand tendons 00 — Dead end -*• Stressing end J. 3. 1987) . all rights reserved.5:75-91. For personal use only. Downloaded from ascelibrary. I Pipe chase Shearwal! location in compteted structure I Openings during lifting FiG.org by New York University on 05/10/15. Copyright ASCE. 1991. Constr. . General Layout of Unbonded Posttensioning Tendons (Culver et al.

(0. 5-6 ft (1. the tendons were approximately uniformly spaced throughout the length of the building. according to the layout shown on the shop drawings.2 cm) north of the column and 10. (20. The E-W banded tendons. the E-W posttensioning tendons were grouped together or banded. The general principle of this so-called two-way banded posttensioning ten- don layout is that the uniform tendons "pick up" the weight of the slab.8E) where the NBS (Scribner and Culver 1988) concluded that the collapse initiated.8 in. The vertical profile of banded and uniform tendons (see Fig. This does not satisfy the American Concrete Institute (ACI) building-code requirement ("Building" 1983) that a minimum of two tendons be provided in each direction through the critical shear area. Perform. Again.5 cm). The banded tendons. the trajectory of these tendons followed the expected moment diagram in this direction.8 m) away from column 4. due to loss of support. 1991. particularly when the shop drawings were reviewed. Similarly.8 in. the banded tendons pick up loads and dump them down again. As can be seen. each group passing several feet away from the column instead of as close to it as possible.8E. The design and behavior of two-way banded posttensioned floor slabs is well documented (Lin and Burns 1981). at this location. according to the shop drawings. east of column 4. the location of the shear wall is a long.org by New York University on 05/10/15. as previously explained. remained the same. The uniform tendon trajectory was high in the slab negative moment regions along east-west (E- W) column lines and close to the bottom of the slab at midspan between E- W column lines.5-1.5:75-91. not only during erection but also at the time of posttensioning. The posttensioning shop drawings did not show the location of the shear walls nor that there were openings at these locations. Taking as an example the location just north of column 2H. Another design detail of the posttensioned floor slabs that appeared ques- tionable.4 cm) south of the col- 79 J.5 ft (3. narrow opening in the slab. In Fig.3 cm) wide and 10. instead of following the column line closely from east to west. The south end of this opening is only 2 ft 1 in. high at the N-S column lines and low at midspan between N- S column lines. pick up loads (slab weight) and dump them along column line E. Constr. the uniform tendons. in turn. Facil.6 m) from the center of the column. to five single-strand (monostrand) tendons. During erection of a typical lift slab. typically in the north-south (N-S) direction of each tower. pick up the weight of the slab unloaded on them by the uniform tendons and carry it to the columns. As a result. Downloaded from ascelibrary. at column line E of the west tower. 4). carrying it to and "dumping" it at the E-W column lines.8E. Considering that the shearhead embedded in the slab has. there is a significant deviation from the typical geometry. It is only after the slabs are permanently supported on the columns that the reinforced concrete shear walls are cast and tied into the floor slabs. . splay out in two groups west of column 4. On the other hand.8E instead of close to it as would normally be expected. is at columns 11A and 8A in the east tower and column 2H in the west tower.8E was one of the two col- umns (the other being 3. Copyright ASCE. even though there are no banded tendons there to receive this load. For personal use only. (27. the shear- wall opening is 8 in. all rights reserved. a rectangular opening with a N-S dimension of 14-3/8 in. (45. the only width of solid slab remaining on a N-S cross section at column 2H is 17. However. generally along the E-W column lines.2 m) long. 3 the basic two-way linear grid of the posttensioning tendons holds true for the east tower. (36. Column 4.

1991. -#5 Reinforcing bars ^LsBSraG**^0 SECTION B-B SECTION A-A FIG. Copyright ASCE. had to be placed. namely the horizontal splay of tendons at column 4.org by New York University on 05/10/15. 4. nine and two monostrands. all rights reserved. PRELIMINARY COMPUTATIONS Based on the initial qualitative assessment of the posttensioned floor-slab design. superimposed stresses from the slab weight. Facil. due to the asymmetrical postten- sioning tendon arrangement. Perform. Qualitatively. respectively. Using 80 J.8E umn. Across these limited areas. Constr. Detail of Posttensioning Tendon Layout at Column 4.8E and the concentration of tendons in the confined slab region at column 2H. Apparently. For personal use only. the design did not take into ac- count that the slab in this region was not solid at the time of posttensioning. Col. . line E Downloaded from ascelibrary. will result in this small solid section between the shear wall and slab edge. uni- form (N-S) tendons and banded (E-W) tendons must be considered.8E During lifting operations. Effect of Horizontal Splay at 4.5:75-91. preliminary hand computations were made for the two areas of the west tower that appeared particularly suspicious. it is sensed that high compressive stresses and possibly high punching shear stresses.

VV r . 5. all rights reserved.A %• Y//SSSSS/S o 'W##/// p 'J/ffflM/ 6 W/0?//// 17. 6 ft. Col. — • » 11 6 11 4 k//t n i . 2. 159k /ft / V. Aii^y 'WSM# LI 'tfflfwS/ 5 ft. /« N_S pj # Jbi-^tflTTTTTniW11f11111111ftfIt111ttjUf1111111fTTTTrril •JMNM/ ''/b&s/s/ Loads are v/ww/// ^b&s// \—"•] r"— symmetric (typ-)" about centerline J. line Col.. Perform. I . Constr.5 f t . 22.028 k / f t . • 24. Copyright ASCE. © e!t—weight . Downloaded from ascelibrary. line Col. line Col. For personal use only.5:75-91. Simplified Continuous Beam Model to Investigate Flexural Stresses of Slab at Column 4. line ® 1.77k L.5 f t .272 k/ft. 1991. FIG.85k 17. B»-pa— 17. Facil.n - k ft k 1-136 ' .5 ft.8E .org by New York University on 05/10/15.

the simplified beam model with load cases shown in Fig. Perform. Copyright ASCE. Thus.75 ft (3.4 MPa) in this case. using this simplified model. During lifting.000 psi (27. which is 1.800 psi (26.(3. an average column band in the N-S direction of 11.8E during lifting assuming the floor slabs at the lifting points remained perfectly level. since this is close to the specified design compressive strength of the concrete. Constr. Thus. such as around columns 4. These computa- tions revealed that a more refined stress analysis in this region was also warranted. A finer mesh was used in locations where greater stress detail was desired. the slab was modeled using three- and four-node plate bending elements. Consequently. To model this effect. In practice. 6. Effect of Posttensioning at 2H Flexural stresses in the E-W direction of the slab at column 2H were com- puted using a composite section consisting of the steel shearhead and reduced slab area. all rights reserved. exceeded the code-allowable stress for full service loads. Facil. spectively.7 MPa) compression on the top and bottom of the slab. the limiting tension stress is 379 psi (2.8E. on the completed structure. These pre- liminary computations of the horizontal splay effect at column 4. The compression stress of 3. the computed compressive stress is more than twice that allowable and very close to the specified breaking strength.!.5:75-91.6 m) centered on column 4. The flexural stresses were found to be approximately 450 psi (3. To investigate the slab stresses more precisely.8E sug- gested that a more refined analysis was necessary to understand the slab stresses during lifting. For personal use only.0 MPa) tension.6 MPa). 1991.800 psi (12. This condition is unacceptable from a design perspective. it is readily seen that the extreme fiber tension stress. this is not likely the case. includ- ing live load. Furthermore. single vertical supports.org by New York University on 05/10/15. 5 was used to evaluate the flexural stresses at column 4. 6. for service conditions. were connected to very stiff cross beams that connect opposite 82 J.2 MPa) at the top slab is of particular concern. and a 10.800 psi (26.020 psi (7.6 MPa). The ACI building code ("Building" 1983) limits the extreme fiber compression stresses to 0. respectively.45/. The finite element model developed for analysis of a typical west-tower floor lift slab is shown in Fig.8E and 2H produced slab stresses outside acceptable limits. As seen. linear-elastic finite element analyses were con- ducted. The ACI building code ("Building" 1983) (the 1983 code was in effect at the time of the collapse) limits extreme fiber stresses in tension at service loads (posttensioning plus dead load plus full live load) to 6V7L where f'c is the specified design compressive strength of concrete.1 MPa) tension and 820 psi (5. The shear heads were explicitly modeled using beam elements. under just the effect of posttensioning plus dead load.25-ft.8E and 2H. FINITE ELEMENT ANALYSIS MODEL The preliminary hand computations that were made with simplified beam models revealed that the unorthodox posttensioning details at columns 4. . so that the two lift rods placed under the shear heads basically carried the same force. for ideal and less than ideal conditions.1-m-) wide slab strip (E-W) with superposition of loads due to self-weight and posttensioning. The flexural stresses at the top and bottom of the slab at this location were computed to be 3. shown in Fig. the hydraulic jacks placed on top of the columns were free to rotate as needed. re- Downloaded from ascelibrary. this analysis assumes an ideal condition where there is no differential vertical displacement be- tween the lifting points. in this case 4.2 MPa) compression and 1.

6. simulating equal force transmission to the lift rods in the actual jacking sys- tem. ..e. Constr. 1991. Facil. The L'Ambiance Plaza slabs were typically lifted in groups of three. at the points where the actual lift rods were at- tached. This resulted in equal reactions on opposite sides of the shear head. all rights reserved.5:75-91. the compressive forces introduced by the posttensioning an- chorages were modeled as in-plane normal forces along the slab edges. Shown for Portion of West-Tower Floor Lift Slab 83 J. For personal use only. FIG. Perform. Finite Element Model of Typical West-Tower Floor Lift Slab sides of the shear heads. Equivalent Nodal Forces Representing Effect of Posttensioning. As- suming no significant shear develops between the slabs. analysis of a single slab during lifting is appropriate.org by New York University on 05/10/15. The effect of the posttensioning was modeled using the equivalent load concept. i.Downloaded from ascelibrary. Copyright ASCE. Thus. The FIG. 7. the actual force in the lifting rods is three times what is computed from the analysis for one slab.

e.5:75-91. . 9 shows the stress contours for normal stresses at the bottom of the slab in the N-S (uniform tendon) direction under ideal lifting conditions (the elevation of the lifting points is on a horizontal plane). This results in a fairly flat deflected shape. 1991. consequently. the determination of equivalent nodal forces was te- Downloaded from ascelibrary. under Ideal Condi- tions (Scale Factor = 150) 84 J. As can be seen. some slab regions between columns are cambered. clearly. only the weight of the slab and the effect of the posttensioning forces are acting on the slab.8E were included in the anal- ysis.org by New York University on 05/10/15. in posttensioning design. One way in which the modeling of the posttensioning in this study differed from that by the NBS (Culver et al. requiring multiple error checks. Another difference in the slab modeling of the present study as compared to that in the NBS study is that in addition to the shearwall openings. i. as shown in Fig. However. Several items regarding the design of the posttensioning can be inferred from this deflection pattern. The most significant check was that the summation of equivalent nodal forces added to zero since. 7 that the horizontal splitting forces due to the horizontal splay of tendons at column 4. Generally. It is also noted in Fig. the presence of posttensioning tendons neither adds nor subtracts from the weight of the structure. 8. Fig. For personal use only. ANALYSIS RESULTS Fig. Copyright ASCE. if a design that compensates for dead-load deflections is desired. 8 shows the deflected shape (scale factor is 150) of a typical west- tower floor slab as it is being lifted under ideal lifting conditions. 8. The reverse tendon curvature at column lines (con- cave downward) was modeled as downward nodal forces. Fig. dious. did not necessarily line up with the centerline of the columns. indicating a condition of under-postten- sioning. 7 shows the equivalent nodal forces used to represent the posttensioning for a portion of the model. Other slab regions between columns have significant downward deflection. indicating a condition of over-posttensioning.. For a properly de- FIG. a percentage of the dead weight (sometimes 100%) is balanced by the post- tensioning. Facil. Constr. effect of the parabolic drape (concave upwards) in the tendons was modeled as upward nodal forces. Perform. 1987) is that the equivalent forces of the banded (E-W) posttensioning tendons followed closely what was shown on the shop drawings and. Deflected Shape of Floor Slab as It Is Being Lifted. all rights reserved. the shearhead openings and other significant me- chanical openings were explicitly modeled.

10).1 MPa). it had been reported that some witnesses in- dicated such a crack had formed at one or more floor levels.org by New York University on 05/10/15. 4 reinforcing bars top and bottom along the slab edge. between column 4.9-MPa) tension.8E and the elevator shaft is. 1991. the tensile stresses exceed the cracking level of 474 psi (3. In fact. the slab elevation at column 4. Carrying the scenario a step further. Perform. the moments perpendicular to the banded tendon direction would be negative along the banded line. which exceeds the recognized cracking stress level ("Building" 1983) of 7. . Stress Contours on Bottom of Slab In N-S Direction under Combined Dead Load and Posttensioning (+ = Tension.8 m) toward column 4. significant tensile stresses would normally not be expected.8E increases to 1. is con- ceivable because of the tolerance of operating the lifting jacks. This is gen- erally the case along column lines C. The only bottom steel reinforcement in the N-S di- rection.0 in. as if negative mo- ments were expected. Copyright ASCE. If. which. For personal use only. E. 9.8E is lower than the adjacent supports by only 0. since the uniform tendon trajectory remained high in the slab. particularly under only the effect of self-weight and posttensioning (no superimposed dead load and live load). the maximum stress rises to 738 psi (5. two no. as shown in this figure. as explained in the NBS investigation (Scribner and Culver 1988). the tensile stresses on the bottom of 85 J.7 mm) (see Fig. Constr. it would likely have propagated to column 4.5:75-91.3 MPa]). Also.8E almost instanta- neously. FIG. (25. Once a crack started.Downloaded from ascelibrary.4 mm). Remember that the banded tendons splay into two separate bands west of column 4. all rights reserved. except at column line E east of column 4. That is what apparently was also assumed in this case.3 MPa) for more than 6 ft (1. found at the edge of the slab behind the elevator shaft. Facil.8E. during the lifting operation. G. as shown in Fig. . if the relative displacement at column 4. The maximum stress.8E. Because there was effectively no tensile reinforcement. and H.5v7I (474 psi [3. according to the shop drawings. since there was no bonded bottom reinforcement to arrest crack propagation.8E. In a conventional banded slab design.5 in.= Compression) signed and detailed two-way slab design. (12. a visible crack may have appeared in the soffit of the slab. is 563-psi (3. 11.

and 0. Whether there was no FIG. with Column 4.5:75-91. Deflected Shape of Floor Slab as It Is Being Lifted.5-in. (12. for instance). Stress Contours on Bottom of Slab in N-S Direction under Combined Dead Load.7 mm) between adjacent columns might have occurred. because of the possibilities of system malfunction.= Compression) 86 J. .7-mm) Downward Vertical Displace- ment at Column 4. it is not inconceivable that differences in elevation of more than 0. Constr. However.7 mm) Downward (Scale Factor = 150) the slab reach values over 700 psi (4. the operator overriding the system (NBS also reports that a single jack could be operated independently to adjust the elevation of the shear head and floor slab at a given location). all rights reserved.org by New York University on 05/10/15. as shown in Fig. Copyright ASCE.8E (+ = Tension.5 in. Perform. 12. (12.Downloaded from ascelibrary.5 in.8E Displaced 0. For personal use only. FIG. Posttensioning. extending completely from column 4. (12.7 mm) differentially between any two jacks. NBS reports (Scrib- ner and Culver 1988) that a system of electrical interlocks prevented the floor slabs from being raised more than 0.5 in. .8 MPa). Facil. 1991.8E to the elevator shaft. 11. and the tolerances in relative elevations at the be- ginning of a lifting cycle (at a temporary parking level. 10. (12.

0-in. the cracking of the slab in this region could be considered a possible cause of failure.8E might not have led to slab failure.8E did trigger the failure. if the floor slabs had not collapsed.8E result- ing from the loss of support.8E. (25. it is con- cluded that if the banded tendons along column line E had not been splayed.924 psi (13.7 mm). For personal use only.6 MPa) at column 3E.2 MPa).8E (ideal lifting conditions) or up to 1. Copyright ASCE. if loss of support at column 4.8E. 14 presents stress contours for normal top slab stresses in the E-W (banded tendon) direction. at least. the maximum tensile stress reaches a value of 1. as the NBS concludes. Moreover. it is concluded that. Thus. Perform. 1991.8E or at 3.org by New York University on 05/10/15. was com- puted by NBS to be 1. then the corresponding slab cracking would have occurred almost instanta- neously. Constr. To further illustrate the negative effect of the unorthodox layout of the banded posttensioning tendons around column 4. [The deflection at column 4.8E relative displacement at 4.8 in. Stress Contours for Bottom of Slab in N-S Direction under Combined Dead Load.8E and the ele- vator shaft. there is a much heavier concen- tration of tensile stresses at column 4.8E as compared to 3E. more than eight times greater. The analysis results reveal the same trend of significantly higher tensile stresses in the top of the slab at 4. all rights reserved. consider the loss of support at column 3. This suggests that the horizontal splay of the tendons at 4. (45.Downloaded from ascelibrary. and 1.8E in the N-S direction. again. while at column 4.8E. As can be seen. Although there are tensile stresses produced at column 3E. it is possible that loss of support at 4. well below cracking levels.] Thus. the results indicate that the floor slab may already have been in a state of incipient failure along column line E between column 4. Fig. Fig. 13 shows the deflected shape of the slab with column 3. at a minimum.4 mm).5:75-91.0 in. as concluded in the NBS investigation.8E removed. to the propagation of the collapse after it had begun. the postten- 87 J. which is the other column location where NBS concluded that loss of support could have occurred and initiated the failure.8E. they are acceptable. FIG. Facil. Thus. . 12. The maximum tensile stress is 232 psi (1. Posttensioning. (25.8E con- tributed. even without a complete loss of support at column 4.4-mm) Downward Vertical Displace- ment at Column 4.

8E Removed (+ = Tension. 13. which exceeds the permissible stress allowed by code. The maximum two-way punching shear stress on the concrete around the shear-head perimeter is found to be 270 psi (1. another area of potential problem is at column 2H.8E Removed (Scale Factor = 150) FIG. Constr.!.940 psi (20. which exceeds the 88 J.org by New York University on 05/10/15. For personal use only. This value is less than the 3. This is equivalent to 0. . . Posttensloning.Downloaded from ascelibrary. and Column 3.9 MPa). FIG. under ideal conditions. Deflected Shape of Floor Slab with Column 3. even if the NBS most-probable-cause scenario is ac- cepted.5:75-91. all rights reserved. 14.2 MPa) value obtained from the simplified hand computations. Copyright ASCE. Perform. reaches 2. The finite element analysis shows that the maximum compressive stress on a cross section through column 2H at the top of the slab.= Compres- sion) sioned floor slabs were a major factor in the propagation of the collapse after it had begun. 1991. As previously discussed. Stress Contours for Top of Slab In E-W Direction under Combined Dead Load.3 MPa).800 psi (26. Facil.74/.

The possibility of failure at this location must be considered. The analysis further shows that if in the process of lifting. . all rights reserved. Again. or failure of strand within the area held by the wedges. (12.920 psi (270 MPa) or 0. Facil. The usual analysis method of assuming a uniform shear- stress distribution around the shearhead perimeter indicates that the two-way shear stresses are acceptable. Failed ends of strands that could be found generally had a cup-cone type failure. with Column 2H Displaced 0. release of wedges from the casting. was done during the rescue op- eration. FIG. 89 J. A report by Suarez and Schupack (1988) concluded that the performance of unbonded single-strand tendons used in the floor slabs was very dependable.5 in.6 MPa)]. 1987). practically equal to the concrete design strength [4.5 in. the slab at column 2H was 0. Deflected Shape of Floor Slab as It Is Being Lifted. 15. including posttensioning strands. Since the failure was so catastrophic and so much cutting of structural elements.org by New York University on 05/10/15. 15) below the level at adjacent supports. some wit- nesses reported that the failure initiated at the southwest corner of the west tower (Culver et al.000 psi (27. practically no undamaged strands were left.5:75-91.7 mm) (see Fig. There was discussion after the tragic collapse of the LAmbiance Plaza that the un- bonded posttensioning system somehow played a role in the collapse. (12. These values are dangerously close to potential failure.98 /c. 1991. Constr. Copyright ASCE. the maximum compressive stress would reach a value of 3. PERFORMANCE OF POSTTENSIONED MATERIALS An evaluation of the posttensioned slab design would not be complete without a discussion of the behavior of the posttensioning system. Perform.Downloaded from ascelibrary. For personal use only. There was not a single observance of failure of an anchorage casting.7 mm) Downward (Scale Factor = 150) nominal 4\/fl ultimate shear stress implied in the ACI building code ("Building" 1983). indicating de- velopment of the full strength of the strand.

This proposition is without foundation. In the case of L'Ambiance Plaza. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS An evaluation of the L'Ambiance Plaza posttensioned floor lift slabs. to some degree. structure. and method of construction—is that the structure be properly designed. If this had been the case for the L'Ambiance Plaza slabs. a nominal amount of bottom-bonded steel would likely have provided continuous catenary ac- tion that could have confined the failure to a local area.5:75-91. the current ACI building code ("Build- ing" 1989) requires detailing of reinforcement to improve redundancy and ductility in structures so that. placed on the use of unbonded posttensioning tendons in lift-slab construc- tion and other forms of building construction.org by New York University on 05/10/15. and on results from comprehensive and detailed finite element analyses. self-evident and implicitly a part of all structural codes and specifications—and applicable to any type of reinforcement. Conventional elastic continuous beam models representing strips of the two- way slab system are able to quantify. 1991. which was a two- way slab construction. nor did he realize their effect on the structural performance of the slab. is summarized. were a major factor in the propagation of the collapse after it had begun. in the event of damage to a major supporting element or an abnormal loading event. STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY Freyermuth (1989) presents a detailed expose of the proven performance of unbonded tendons in building construction. Constr. the problem of the hor- 90 J. based on both laboratory tests and the actual behavior of real buildings under actual construction incidents involving structural failure. at a minimum. based on the demonstrated toughness of unbonded posttension- ing systems in actual construction incidents. and laboratory tests. it is believed that the design engineer did not adequately analyze the conditions at columns 4. the only requirement. even if the NBS most-probable-cause scenario is accepted. be it loss of support at column 3. In a change from previous codes. including L'Ambiance Plaza. even a complete ban. Perform. based on information available from project shop draw- ings. un- der ideal and less than ideal lifting conditions. all rights reserved. Needless to say. the resulting damage may be confined to a relatively small area and the structure will have a better chance to main- tain overall stability.8E. the shop drawings generally did not specify any aux- iliary bonded reinforcement in the positive moment regions. . Copyright ASCE. The more important specific conclusions are summarized as follows: 1. and constructed. The new struc- tural integrity provision in the current ACI building code ("Building" 1989) requires that at least two bottom-bonded column strip bars be continuous through the column. or the anomalous posttensioning design. The principal conclusion from this evaluation is that anomalous design details of the posttensioning tendons could be considered a possible cause that initiated failure or. assuming the other column supports and jacks could sustain the redistributed load.8E or 4. should be Downloaded from ascelibrary.8E and 2H. no matter what initiated the failure. The typical floor slab of the west tower at L'Ambiance Plaza appeared to be improperly designed. For personal use only. The evalu- ation is based on results from hand computations for commonly used con- tinuous beam models representing strips of the two-way slab system. 2. Facil. There had been discussion by some parties after the L'Ambiance Plaza collapse that limits. detailed. Furthermore.

" J. 2(2). Constr. (1987). For personal use only.. Detroit. 58-79. Ariz." NBSIR 87-3640. APPENDIX.C. 4.. (12. "Investigation of the collapse of the LAmbiance Plaza. ACI318-89. Inst. exceeded the generally accepted cracking strength of the concrete." Concr. D. G. Lin. The inclusion of nominal amounts of auxiliary bonded mild reinforcement in the bottom of the slab. 5. N. John Wiley & Sons. New York. In any event. Post-Tensioning Inst. it would have propagated almost instantaneously to column 4. might have confined the failure. Mich. Culver. M.. Facil." (1983). Design of prestressed concrete structures. 56-63. all rights reserved. Detroit.8E. "Building code requirements for reinforced concrete. A relative downward displacement of 0. Perform. Evaluation of the performance of single strand unbonded tendons in the collapse of the LAmbiance Plaza lift slab building.. principally because of inadequate consideration of the opening in the slab for the cast-in-place shear wall that was to follow later in construction. Mich. and Schupack. and Culver. Concr. N. Mar. REFERENCES "Building code requirements for reinforced concrete.7-25. M.8E and the reduced slab section at column 2H. 91 J. continuous through the column. et al. Since conventional design would anticipate negative slab moments Downloaded from ascelibrary. Int. C. Washington. Perf. (1988). Am.. no matter what precipitated the collapse..Y. stress levels were found to approach the design ultimate strength of the concrete. Constr." (1989).org by New York University on 05/10/15.5:75-91.4 mm) between column 4. once a crack formed. izontal banded tendon splay around column 4.8E and adjacent columns would have further exacerbated these exceedingly high theoretical tensile stresses. assuming the other column supports and jacks could sustain the redistributed load.0 in. (1988). Sep. transverse to the column strip. Apr. H. Connecticut. "Structural integrity of buildings constructed with unbonded tendons. Phoenix. . ACI 318-83. (1989).8E. ASCE. Facil. C. Concr.5-1... under less than ideal but certainly conceivable lifting conditions. T... C. and Burns. Am. Again. The finite element analysis also shows that unacceptably high compressive and punching shear stresses occurred locally at column 2H under ideal lifting conditions. since there was no effective bottom tensile reinforcement to arrest the crack propagation. Freyermuth. Suarez. G. east of column 4. G. as required by the structural integrity provisions in the most recent ACI building code ("Building" 1989). effectively no tensile reinforcement was provided in the bottom of the slab where these cracking level stresses occurred. Y. C. "Investigation of the L'Ambiance Plaza Building col- lapse in Bridgeport. 3. (1981). A detailed finite element analysis of a typical west-tower floor slab under ideal lifting conditions shows that tensile stresses along a portion of column line E... Scribner. 1991. F. Inst. National Bureau of Standards. Copyright ASCE.