The Empire State Building

PM595: Project Risk Management By Yvone Hobbs

Monisha Somji

Table of Contents Introduction 3 Construction Risk 4 Construction Risk Avoidance / Mitigation 7 Catastrophic Failure Fault Tree 12 Discussion of Catastrophic Failure 13 Space Issue Fault Tree 15 Conclusion 16 2 .

whose spandrels were sandblasted to blend their color into the tone of the windows. It is made of 60. It is said that design of the building changed 16 times during planning. 6.000 tons of steel.Introduction The Empire State Building was the tallest man-made occupied structure on the planet for more than 40 years until the construction of the World Trade Center in 1972. Starrett Brothers and Eken Incorporated were skilled in using this construction method In addition to the steel frame.000 cubic feet of limestone and granite. 3 . and 300. The architects. Lamb and Harmon Associates. and 750 tons of stainless steel and aluminum. over 10 million bricks. On St. The builders. 200. construction materials included 62. To achieve this they decided to use a steel frame as the basic construction technique. Shreve. When completed.000 cubic yards of concrete. 10. were given the brief of creating the tallest building in the world. Patrick's Day 1930.000 square feet of Hauteville and Rocheron marble for the elevator lobbies and the corridors on the office floors.500 windows. construction is to begin on the Empire state building in spite of the nation struggling with the great depression. which comprised most of the exterior. but the 3. 1 year and 45 days that included weekends and holidays.000 workers managed to pull it off in a record timing.000 cubic feet of Indiana limestone and granite. 200. the building’s overall height was 1472 feet (448 meters) with a cost of whopping cost of over 40 million dollars(1).000 square feet of Rose Famosa and Estrallante marble.

. To acquire the land. No clear information is available on how long it will take to complete these building. These are five key risks that need to be carefully looked into and integrated into a Risk Management Plan.This allows a government authority to take land away from private owners for public use. This being such a tall building sway and wind could be a serious issue. Plans will have to be made to defend against this. We will be going over some of those risks here in this paper. The first risk is getting the land to build these building on. It is important that this project does not go over budget. Just 4 . Eminent Domain is covered under the 5th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States . The architect has requested a $350 million dollar budget. Therefore this needs to be looked at closely. The Port Authority used Eminent Domain to acquire some of land for this project. This could cause some design issues that need to be taken care of. This could lead to an injunction against the building project. A project cannot function without a proper schedule.Construction Risks Building the Empire State Building and what would be the tallest building in the world. Court cases could delay this project for many years. would bring many new risks and challenges. The second risk is the project is the schedule. The third risk is the budget. The fifth risk also deals with the building design. The fourth risk we will look at is making the space requirement the Port Authority is asking for. the Port Authority in some cases had to use Eminent Domain. The Port Authority has granted a budget just under $500 million dollars. Many were upset and did not like this project.

The reason for that is that building over 80 stories.000 square feet of office space is going to be difficult to meet. where difficult to design because elevator systems had 5 . making it a low risk. like lack of space to store steel onsite for construction. This is due to the fact that no building like this have ever been constructed before. It would be nearly impossible to gage how long this project will take. This is also due to many construction limitations. Having no exact schedule brings many risks to cost overruns and delays to construction. property owners. The Port Authority’s requirement of 12. Also the need for 60. Due to some of the unknown factors in this project. This risk is likely to happen and carries major consequences relating to extending costs and project delays. industrial and commercial tenants could resist forced relocation. The Schedule for this project has been set to be open ended with no exact end date. The original building plan called for 80 story building. Many small businesses. budget could be an issue moving forward. These unique methods may cause budget issues. These cases could potentially have to go before the Supreme Court to be decided and could delay the project for years. Many unique methods maybe needed to solve problems during construction. Risk here is possible to happen and will be moderate in consequences making it a medium risk. The budget for this project is just under $500 million dollars. before 1970.compensation must be paid to the private owners. Risk here is unlikely with the planned budget and would be minor in consequences.000.000 tons of steel to complete this project could become an issue if steel prices rise during construction. making it a high risk. With this much opposition it could easily lead to an injunction being filed to prevent the eminent domain. The architect has requested a budget of $350 million dollars .

Wind is a constant threat to a tall building. We have identified five risks that we must now find a way to deal with. construction safety and general building safety (Cooper). Construction Risk Avoidance / Mitigation In this section of the paper we will be discussing risk avoidance and mitigation. The first risk we looked was the risk of injunctions by unhappy private owners that where forced off of their property by using Eminent Domain. High wind storms would mean the building would have to be able to stand against high sway. Risk here is almost certain and carries catastrophic consequences. This risk was rated as likely to happen and carries major 6 . making this a high risk. If the building cannot stand up to heavy winds it could topple. fire safety. Currently we will focus on Wind and Sway risks. With the building being 110 stories this would mean a constant wind and sway. Sway would make life very difficult for the inhabitance of the building. making this a high risk.Risk here is almost certain with the current requirement and carries major consequences. The Empire State Building uses 74 elevators and with its 103 stories it has 1453-footsquare feet of floor space (Empire).problems servicing that many floors. Once risks have been identified and graded we must examine each risk and find the best method for avoiding the risk all together. They took up a great deal of space and getting to the upper floors was not quick. Currently the project is looking to use a lightweight design for the building. sharing it with another party or mitigating it as much as possible. It could case dizziness or ill effects. Building designrequires that a hazard analyses be performed. This hazard analyses would look at. Meaning that Empire State Building would fall over 4 million square feet short of the Port Authority’s requirement for 10 million square feet of office space.

Risk here is possible to happen and will be moderate in consequences making. Legal teams should begin research and be prepared to start arguments as soon as any injunctions are filed with the state. In this case monitoring of the building process is going to have to be monitored closely. A normal project would have a firm end date and milestones would be set to insure that a project is on task. Means that to insure that money and time is not wasted. It would also help to mitigate delays if motions were prewritten to show the courts that delays in the process would cost tax payers unnecessary funds and push to have all appeals heard with the greatest possible haste. Since the risk is rated as likely to happen. Being that this project has an open schedule with no firm end date but has 18 months as an estimate. Regular inspections and audits of work being done should be planned and executed to insure that funds and time are being used efficiently. it a medium risk. This can be a difficult and time consuming risk to deal with. This will make the process of going through trials faster and easier. the Supreme Court refused to accept the case and the Port Authority won the battle. Their case went through the court system up to the United States Supreme Court. Preparations should be made in advance to insure that any delays are minimized by having all documentation. These types of steps are used in risk plans to reduce impact of a risk on a project In reality an injunction was filed challenging the Port Authority’s power of Eminent Domain by a group of small businesses from Radio Row. constant monitoring of all processes is going to need to be organized.consequences relating to extending costs and project delays. The main way to deal with the risk of litigation is to be prepared. If these actions are taken it should mitigate the risk to the project as much as possible if an injunction is filed. legal forms. Even 7 . making it a high risk. and proof that the laws of Eminent Domain where followed to the letter. The next risk we need to look at monitoring closely is the schedule. However.

To mitigate the risk.000 tons of steel (manufactured in Pittsburg) and since there is not enough room to store the steel on the construction site or be purchased in advanced. The final cost was $24. rising prices could inflate the budget. making it a low risk.000 square feet of office space from the Port Authority provides our architect with some difficult challenges that equal to a number of risks. Many unknown factors dictate that with an unknown schedule. but not so hard as to rush personnel into making mistakes. In reality. must also be listed as a risk. Risk here is almost certain with the current requirement and carries major consequences. If these steps are taken it should minimize the risk of over spending and unneeded delays of this project.though no end date has been set. such as not meeting the customer’s requirements and tenant dissatisfaction with the building.7 million instead of the estimated $43 million. Risk here is unlikely with the planned budget and would be minor in consequences. The plans call for 60. the budget must be even more of a concern. money should be set aside or invested and ready to use if the project needs another infusion of funds to continue the project. a sense of urgency should be pushed to all managing and supervisor levels to help move the project along. even if well thought out. With no exact date for completion of this project.000. The requirement of 12. It is estimated that cost overruns will most likely come from the length of the project. Even though the current authorized budget is well over the amount requested by the architect. this project faced massive cost overruns due to work stoppages and the length of the project. The Budget. this budget should be monitored closely. making this a high 8 . Regular reviews and audits of money being spent should be planned and executed to insure that funds are being used effectively. The sense of urgency should be pushed. Many unknown factors like change in prices or delays can cause budgets to get out of hand quickly. the cost of this project could run over.

on each floor of the Empire State Building.a lightweight “perimeter tube” design was used for the building. With the building being 102 stories this would mean a constant wind and sway. Mitigation of this risk had to be designed into the building. or column-free spaces. that it is now used in most super skyscrapers and uses 62% less space than a standard elevator system. Risk here is almost certain and carries catastrophic consequences. Something had to be done to save space in these new building and still be able to move people around the building quickly and efficiently.000 pounds pressure to knock the building over. What are the worst winds that could be thrown against these building? A 225km/h hurricane wind is the answer to that question. One of the challenges in designing the Empire State Building was making sure it could withstand the wind loads. This innovative new elevator system was so successful. Sway would make life very difficult for the inhabitance of the building. there are virtually no open spans. Inspired by the New York Subway system the Empire State Building designers created an entirely new elevator system that uses 73 elevators for this tall buiding.. It is said it would take a wind blowing at 4. During hazard analysis the question would be asked.risk. If the building cannot stand up to heavy winds it could topple. Steel columns and beams form a stable 3-D grid throughout the entire structure. These new designs should enable the building to avoid this risk entirely. 12 of which run from the foundation to the very top. . These elevators also had doors on both sides so you would go in one door and exit from the other so you could keep your place in line. It could case dizziness or ill effects. Therefore. making this a high risk. Along with a new space saving elevator system. But since such closely spaced column grids obstruct open spaces in buildings.500. Wind is a constant threat to a tall building. The building is supported by 210 steel and concrete columns.. Simply put the building was designed to withstand the most 9 .

even though many lives would be lost on that terrible day. 10 . wind tunnel tests were done to establish structural responses to those wind forces. These steps eliminated sway as a building issue and made the building resistant to the most devastating of winds. Through solid design work these building withstood direct hits from large passenger airplanes that would have instantly toppled most building. In conjunction with the wind resistance. many more where saved by these very resilient building. Experiments were also done to evaluate how much sway occupants could comfortably tolerate. The dampers are used throughout the building at joints between floors to reduce the building sway to an acceptable.powerful hurricane that nature could throw at it.

Catastrophic Failure Fault Tree ESB Collapse Floors Collapse And Core Steel Stress Failure Damage to exterior Columns And Fire breakout Sprinkler System & Fire alarm Failure 11 .

000 tons or a 225km/h hurricane (Eagar). could be caused by many factors including fire.000 cubic feet of Indiana limestone and granite. But since such closely spaced column grids obstruct open spaces in buildings. A fire lasting 3 or more hours would be caused by a failure of or damage to the fire sprinkler system..000 tons of steel. 200. A long term fire would eventually cause structural damage or in the case of the ESB. it could cause structural weakness in the steel columns. bomb. Damage to outside columns. he Empire State Building is composed of 60. or extreme weather.300 tons 12 . Each ESB floor is designed to hold 1. As shown in the fault tree above (Fault tree is meant to be assumptions prior to the building construction) many things would have to work in conjunction to collapse a building of this type (Cooper). 10 million bricks. there are virtually no open spans. Furthermore. minus an entire side of the building being torn off. Fires are a real danger for skyscrapers. airplane crash.Discussion of Catastrophic Failure Catastrophic failure for a building is its collapse. which is very unlikely. Steel columns and beams form a stable 3-D grid throughout the entire structure. or column-free . other columns would simple take over the load of lost columns. the fire could have been set using an accelerant making extinguishing the fire very difficult. During structural damage like this. So it could stand up to outside column damage alone. spaces. To cover these risks the building was designed to handle a lateral load of 5. Building are designed to stand up in a normal fire for at least 3 hours so that everyone can be evacuated. on each floor of the Empire State Building. and 730 tons of aluminum and stainless steel.

A floor collapse would cause the weight from the above floors to be added to the load of catching the collapsed floor. This would cause what is called the “pancake effect” where a building would completely collapse from floors falling on each other. 13 . That is the only risk mitigation strategy currently available if such an incident were to happen again. Although the real fault tree would be slightly different.In the end this fault tree would come into play when terrorists crashed 2 heavily fueled passenger airplanes into both ESB building. The best solution for this issue is to create newer safety features that could insure everyone can safely escape from such an incident.beyond its own weight. If you combine the above listed affects. this would be a close approximation that no one could imagine happening. you could be looking at the catastrophic failure of a building collapse.

Second Fault Tree Closure of Site for Construction Stoppage of work And Lack of meeting the code requirements Fall protection devices not worn properly And Failed material Inspection Missing material inspections 14 .

The use of unapproved materials or the lack of complete reports would bring all work to a halt until the issue can be corrected. Either of these events would trigger an automatic stoppage of work until the issue had been remedied. this could be perpetuated by the lack of meeting the code requirements for safety rails around the perimeter to prevent possible falls and personnel working close to that same perimeter without fall protection devices being worn appropriately. 2003) Second issue that would trigger a stoppage of work would be failed or missing material inspections. As I earlier listed the communication with the leaders of the 15 .Not all risk comes from a catastrophic failure. (Swann. First and foremost I believe that communication is the key to unraveling most of these events. The AISC code of construction provides the amount and location of these inspections and also provides the tolerances for acceptance or rejection. To further illustrate the effect of the closure of the site temporarily we need to look at the second fault tree and thereby propose a new scenario. Some come in the form of not meeting a customer’s requirement. n looking at all of these risk events we need to look at planning methods that could either prevent to minimize the impact of these risks. The inspections of materials used in the building of this structure must pass many tests to be able to be incorporated into the structure. First we will examine the effect of the safety violations on the site. In the second fault tree we can see that closure of the site could evolve from either safety violations or failed material inspections.

2000) 16 . Communication with the field hands to relay safety concerns would eliminate the work stoppage due to unsafe work practices. Finally all materials used in a construction project must be approved prior to being implemented into the fabrication. Increasing awareness and process control will be paramount to success for this project throughout the risk management cycle. Under these rules several times companies will procure materials that are inferior and cost less.union would mitigate the response by the union. Then we need to look at proper documentation packages. This again is listed in the contract documents. but must be managed as all parts of the project are necessary to complete the project. Furthermore. If a contractor is found to have used the wrong materials in the project the project will be stopped until the materials can either be replaced or the engineer accepts the materials in lieu of the materials required in the original contract documents. and without the proper check of the documentation the materials would be incorporated into the structure thereby potentially causing a catastrophic event later into the project. (AISC. The basis of these risks is the total breakdown in communication between the inspection agencies and the engineering design team that are on record as the chief designing agency. The lack of follow-up on contract requirements will allow for the inspection of materials and reports to not get the proper attention and thereby make a mess of the contract schedule. we must continue to monitor the activities and designs for the building to avoid or minimize the probability of these catastrophic risks. This breakdown will allow for many items to go without correction and possibly lead to a failure that mean catastrophic results the project. the catastrophic nature of these risks makes them of viable importance to not only the project team but all of the stakeholders in the project. the absence of the clear project leadership in this area will doom many construction projects to a premature death.

The project manager and the team must continue to monitor the activities and designs for the building to avoid or minimize the probability of these catastrophic risks. Risks can come in many forms from catastrophic failures leading possibly to the death of many people or to simply not being able to complete a requirement of a project. We also looked at planning methods that could either prevent to minimize the impact of these risks. Fault trees enable to continue tracing back until reach a point where the contributing causes are reached. Once identified and analyzed we looked at how those risk are prioritized using the quantitative method for both likelihood and impact. I firmly believe that planning and communication are the keys to unraveling most of these events. Communication with the field hands to relay safety concerns would eliminate the work stoppage due to unsafe work practices. Construction of the Empire state 17 . but insuring everyone can safely get away from one. We looked at all of these risk events that may have catastrophic impact on the project and its objectives. fault tree and risk register bring the importance of the risk management plan on projects.. Furthermore. the catastrophic nature of these risks discussed in the paper makes them of viable not only to the project team but also to all of the stakeholders in the project. Project managers can come up with creative solutions to solve risky problems such as the elevators in the ESB or mitigate risks by trying not to prevent a catastrophic failure. Instead of the looking at the top level risk event it is easy if we are tracing back to simpler events that can be easily estimated. The major artifacts like the risk allocation matrix.

Stephen Grey. Geoffrey Raymond.htm 2) Empire Rising (Brief Article) (Book Review). Helsinki University of Technology Risk in Large Projects and Complex Procurements by Author(s) Dale Cooper.html 4) Project Risk Management Guidelines .building is very large project and detailed risk management process is inevitable to the success of the project. References 1) http://www. Phil Walker 5) Guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK®) 4th Edition 6) Risk Management in Construction Project Networks by Anna MBR Bookwatch (April 2005)(298 words) 3) http://kaidi-thinctank.Laboratory of Industrial Management Report 2006/2 (Espoo 2006) 18 .

Ho Pun-hing (http://www.7) Allocation of Risks in Construction Projects by Mr.pdf) 19

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