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Forensic Report KC Hyatt Walkway

Client: Forensic Engineer:
Dr. Narendra Oswaldo
Gosain Russian

February, 1982
Outline of Presentation
Introduction and Description of Structure

Site Observations

Document Review


Introduction and Description of

Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City,

Worst structural failure in US history

at tea-dance party on July 17, 1981.

40-story reinforced concrete tower.

Guest rooms on northern end,
services on southern end and a
central atrium.

Hanging walkways spanning atrium

on 2nd and 4th floors on west side, 3rd
floor on east side. Jack D. Gillum, (2004)
Site Observations
Site visited on July 24, 1981.

Material deterioration and

overloading not primary concerns.

Failure of box beams supporting the

walkways was noted and considered
primary concern.

Jack D. Gillum, (2004)

Jack D. Gillum, (2004)

Document Review
Design, Shop and As-Built
drawings reviewed.

Inconsistencies between
original design and
constructed configuration
of Hanger Rod

Change by the fabricator

compounded the error.
As As Built
Entities disagree on how Designed
this change was Ratay,
communicated, but it was (2000)
Analysis followed forensic engineering principles: explore,
evaluate, establish.

Fracture of box-beam system from unmanageable loads on

connection determined probable cause of failure.

Original design did not meet code requirements.

Change by the fabricator doubled loads on connection.

Original design could have resisted the loads on that day.

The principal cause for this error was the lack of
communication between the structural design team
and the fabricator.

The structural design team must carefully review

shop drawings before approval.

The Owner should always retain the Engineer of

Record (EOR), or a structural engineer, for
inspection during construction.