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1. Explain the ethically relevant factors of the case. 


2. Identify and introduce an ethical case study in a relevant engineering discipline. 

3. Define the benefits and risks relating to the case

Background of the Hyatt Regency Collapse

In the year 1981, on July 17th, there were more than 100 people killed and approximately 200 people were injured when walkways collapsed in the hotel named Hyatt Regency in Kansas. Tea dance was happening in the hotel as that point of time in the lobby of the hotel. This was considered as a huge and most dangerous collapse in the history of United States until the World Trade Center case happened (ASCE, 2007).  A complete case study of the collapse is discussed with the identification of the issues due to which the collapse occurred. The sections of the report involve the background of the case followed by the context and the communication process. A complete investigation of the collapse is discussed with the recommendation for the future.

Aim of the Report: The Aim of the report is to analyze the case of Hyatt Regency Collapse and to identify the issues that caused this collapse. Based on the case study analysis, there are some of the recommendations given in the report.

Hyatt Regency’s 40 story construction incepted in the year 1978. There were so many delays and setbacks that occurred at the time of building it.  One of the setbacks included an atrium rood collapse in 1979 because of the failure of connections in northern end. It was taken care of and the hotel was completed in the year 1980. On July 1st, 1980, the hotel was opened for the public.  The most amazing feature of this hotel was the entrance hall that had a multistoried atrium spanned by walkways which were balanced from the ceiling. The steel, glass crossings linked the 2nd, the 3rd and the 4th floors in between the north south wings. The walkways were 120ft long and their weight was about 64k lb (Vasilieva, 2013).

In the year 1981, on July 17th, Hyatt regency was having tea dance party in the atrium. Walkway of 2nd level held around 42 people and more on the third and the 4th level who were watching the tea dance from above the ceiling (Guyer, 2010). The bridge on fourth floor was balanced over the 2nd floor bridge with 3rd floor walkway set a few meters. The issues in the construction resulted in subtle but faulty design change which literally doubled the load on link between the fourth floor walkway sustained beams and tie rods which were moving off the weight of all the walkways. New design like this was not adequate for supporting the load of the complete construct itself. Both the walkways after then crashed in the lobby floor below that resulted in death of 111 people in one go and about 200 people were injured (Lawson, 2011).

The operation for rescuing people lasted for 14 hours approximately and the operation was operated by the emergency personnel that involved 34 fire trucks and EMS units. There were also some of the doctors involved in the operation who came from 5 different hospitals. The survivors who were trapped less than 60 tons of steel, glass and concrete which could not be moved from the Hyatt people as well as from the powerful jacks.  The natural disaster response team which was known as “Operation Bulldozer” was also called for the scenario with all the equipments but it also could not lift up the smashed building parts. The bulldozers were sent away so that the cranes could come in and lift up the junk to rescue the survivors. Dr. Joseph who was the former chief of Kansas City’s medical system made ways for the set free operation and helped in managing the complete medical care process (Yunusa, 2017).

Aim of the Report

There was one issue in the save action which was in the hotel’s sprinkler system. The sprinkler system was severed by the falling wreckage and was occupying the lobby and that put the survivors at the danger of floating. The pipes were linked with the water tanks and not to any of the public source that flow was not stopping. Williams was the last person who was rescued from that collapse. While Williams was being rescued, the chief of the Kansas City understood that the front doors were tapping the water in the lobby. Then he ordered the bulldozer guys to smash the entrance. This permitted the water to move out of lobby and people who were tapped came out of the danger of drowning (Asante, 2018).

One of the theories advised that in the early stage when people were dancing on the fourth floor walkway, this involved a lot of vibrations which reached the complex amplitude and that resulted in the failure. This theory later was discarded when the proof of the other cause became obvious.

The cause of the collapse was the change which was made by steel detailer to the suspension rods design displayed on the structural engineer Gillum drawings (Lopez, 2011).

For the profession like engineering, this collapse tragedy became a perfect model in the study of ethics and errors. The American Society of Civil Engineers recognized model that the liability if the architecture lies in engineer’s seal. The city engineer should be able to do a formal check about the load of the bearing estimation. This way, the possible failures are caught at the time of design stage only. This is the first ethical issue which was experienced in this collapse (Martinez, 2015).

When the implicit contract is taken between the engineers and the community, the problem of public risk and informed consent and also the code of ethics of professional communities are taken into explanation. This was clear that the engineer must take the liability when any change occurs in the blueprint including the public safety. This liability should be taken followed by the licensed engineer’s seal (Williams, 1981).

The most major problem in the Hyatt collapse was the breakdown of the communication. The failure of communication of the structural engineer in clearly communicating his intent to the steel fabricator about his responsibility in the design of the rod to beam link helped a lot in collapsing of Hyatt (Philosophy, 2006).

Strengths: Hyatt is a very well known name when it comes to taking the names of the established hotels all across the world. That is why, Hyatt is also known for its huge architectural buildings. It always put in a lot of money in making all the architecture worth remembering.  If the collapse is concerned, there were some of the people who were injured and were saved on time. This can be the only strength of this event.

Weaknesses: There are so many ethical issues when it comes to the professionalism and communication. There was no proper communication done by the structural engineer to the steel fabricator about his duty of managing the rod design. This was the huge weakness due to which this collapse occurred. The methods which were used in the rods supporting from the ceiling were the biggest weakness of the walkways. This was overlooked by the structural engineers (NASA, 2008).

Details leading to the collapse

Opportunities: Hyatt had the chance to rebuild the building again. They did make the building again but with some new changes mentioned above. Till now the building is still standing without any errors. There can be several more opportunities for the hotel to build new architectures without creating any errors in the building which could be harmful for the public.

Threats: There were threats to Hyatt after the collapse as there were new building created every now and then by other brands and Hyatt’s building was collapsed at that sudden point. Hence, there could have been threats from the other brands to Hyatt (Dragon, 2003).  

  • The collapse took the lives of 114 people and that lead to great professional outcry. This had a dramatic effect in the lives of many professionals.
  • The A&E community in US started searching on the issues of such a big collapse.
  • The collapse was due to the dropping of the walkways leading to take lives and injure people from all the floors.
  • Fundamental errors were found in the interaction with the A&E group and the construction industry.
  • The failure was from the structural engineer as he failed to let the steel fabricator know about the design of the rods that were supporting the walkways.
  • The rescue team came to rescue people and approximately 200 people were rescued who were injured in the collapse(Commerce, 1982).

The investigation of the building is to be done in a better way so that it is confirmed that the building will stand still. In the case of Hyatt, there were people standing in the dangerous walkways of the lobby and that lobby was a new design in the architecture of the hotel. Such new type of designs should be investigated well before when the hotel is being constructed. People and engineers with good knowledge should work on the construction of such buildings as these buildings if collapses, takes a lot of people’s lives (Olanitori, 2011).

Conclusion

This report talks about the collapse of the most known hotels across the world. The name of the hotel is Hyatt Regency. The incident which is being discussed in this report is the incident of the Hyatt regency walkways collapse which occurred in the year 1981, July. The case was based on the professional and communication ethics issues due to which this collapse took place. At the time of collapse, people were enjoying the tea dancing party and they were spread on all the floors. The collapse happened in the lobby of the hotel taking lives of more than 100 people. This report discussed about the background of the case study followed by the context and the analysis of the case study. As per the case study, there are some of the issues identifies in the case. Based on the problems which existed in the cause of the collapse, there are a few recommendations mentioned in the report.

References

Asante, L.A., 2018. The Challenge of Reducing the Incidence of Building Collapse in Ghana: Analyzing the Perspectives of Building Inspectors in Kumasi. Sage Open, 1(2).

ASCE, 2007. THE HYATT REGENCY WALKWAY COLLAPSE. [Online] Available at: https://www.asce.org/question-of-ethics-articles/jan-2007/ [Accessed 4 October 2018].

Commerce, U.S.D.o., 1982. Investigation of the Kansas City. [Online] Available at: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/GOVPUB-C13-14d3d8005fa5ca3b6bfbff927e5f644c/pdf/GOVPUB-C13-14d3d8005fa5ca3b6bfbff927e5f644c.pdf [Accessed 4 October 2018].

Dragon, O., 2003. Hyatt Regency Walkways: The Ethical Issues. [Online] Available at: https://www.cas.mcmaster.ca/~baber/Courses/3J03/StudentPresentations/HyattDragon.pdf [Accessed 4 October 2018].

Guyer, P.J., 2010. Ethical Issues from the Kansas City Hyatt Hotel Collapse. [Online] Available at: https://www.cedengineering.com/userfiles/Ethical%20Issues%20Kansas%20City%20Hyatt.pdf [Accessed 4 October 2018].

Lawson, J.W., 2011. Using the Hyatt Regency Skywalk Collapse Case Study in Engineering Education. Structures Congress, pp.1118-29. Available at: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/d4fb/51c184c6b52468c1aa9341c0400d5f69f7d9.pdf.

Lopez, R., 2011. What Goes up, Shouldn’t Come down: Learning from Construction and Engineering Failures. Procedia Engineering, 14, pp.844-50.

Martinez, M.F.L., 2015. Hyatt Regency Walkway Failure. [Online] Available at: https://www.engineering.uiowa.edu/sites/www.engineering.uiowa.edu/files/wysiwyg_uploads/hyatt_regency_walkway_failure_.pdf [Accessed 4 October 2018].

NASA, 2008. Two Rods Don’t Make It Right. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2(4).

Olanitori, L.M., 2011. Causes of structural failures of a building: Case study of a building at Oba-Ile, Akure. Journal of Building Appraisal, 6(3), pp.277–84.

Philosophy, D.o., 2006. Hyatt Regency Walkway Collapse. [Online] Available at: https://fac.ksu.edu.sa/sites/default/files/hyatt_regency_walkway_collapse_-_communication_case_study_0.pdf [Accessed 4 October 2018].

Vasilieva, A., 2013. PROGRESSIVE COLLAPSE, METHODS OF. [Online] Available at: https://www.theseus.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/64320/Progressive%20collapse.pdf?sequence=1 [Accessed 4 October 2018].

Williams, M.M., 1981. The Hyatt Regency Walkway Collapse. [Online] Available at: https://disasters.ferrellhistory.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Moncure-Williams-paper-Hyatt-Regency-rewrite.pdf [Accessed 4 October 2018].

Yunusa, A.Y., 2017. Appraisal of Residential Building Collapse, Causes and Solution in Sokoto State Nigeria. Journal of Mechanical and Civil Engineering, 16(4), pp.44-63.

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