New York, NY, April 23, 2015 --(PR.com
)-- International consulting engineer Weidlinger Associates, Inc., received a 2015 American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) National Grand Award for the firm’s comprehensive forensic investigation of the collapse of 7 World Trade Center (7 WTC). The award is one of ACEC’s top honors; as one of only eight Grand Award winners, the project was also a finalist for the ACEC 2015 Grand Conceptor Award, which recognizes the nation’s best overall engineering project. The award was presented April 21, 2015, at the organization’s annual gala in Washington, DC’s Washington Marriott Wardman Park.
Earlier this year, the project garnered a 2015 Diamond Award from ACEC’s New York chapter. Weidlinger’s groundbreaking forensic investigation of the collapses of WTC Towers 1 and 2, which concluded that the collapse of one tower did not cause or contribute to the collapse of the other, was the recipient of the 2004 ACEC Grand Conceptor Award.
The 7 World Trade Center Forensic Investigation
On September 11, 2001, 7 WTC, a 47-story steel-framed high-rise in Manhattan’s World Trade Center Complex, was showered by massive amounts of hot debris ejected during the collapse of 1 WTC, destroying portions of the structural system and igniting fires on multiple floors, which burned, unfought, throughout the day. At approximately 5:20 p.m., the building collapsed suddenly and completely, becoming the first steel skyscraper ever to collapse due to fire.
Weidlinger Associates was retained by Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman LLP and counsel for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to investigate allegations that design errors, construction defects, or a faulty fuel system had caused the collapse. To determine the root cause of the collapse, a team of experts, led by Weidlinger Principal Dr. Najib Abboud, PE, performed an in-depth forensic study, combining state-of-the-art computer technology with photos, videos, and eyewitness accounts.
“It is extremely gratifying that Weidlinger is receiving national recognition for our work on the 7 World Trade Center Collapse Investigation,” said Abboud. “The implications of this study are far-reaching, suggesting that, while office buildings designed to current codes and standards are most likely safe in normal office fires, nothing in existing building codes or design procedures guarantees that such structures will withstand any conceivable unfought fire without collapsing.”
Weidlinger researchers modeled the structure at an unprecedented level of detail, employing nonlinear dynamic thermomechanical computational analyses to capture the physics of the phenomenon and identify the most plausible sequence of failure. The study concluded that 7 WTC was appropriately designed and built in accordance with applicable design codes, and that it was the extraordinary events of 9/11, not any construction or design deficiency, that caused the collapse.
The study’s technical approach also highlights that the technology exists to analyze and design for specific extreme fire scenarios and can be leveraged judiciously and cost-effectively to achieve a balanced, safe design, commensurate with the risk exposure of specific structures.
The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) is the voice of America’s engineering industry. Council members—numbering more than 5,000 firms representing more than 500,000 employees throughout the country—are engaged in a wide range of engineering works that propel the nation’s economy, and enhance and safeguard America’s quality of life. These works allow Americans to drink clean water, enjoy a healthy life, take advantage of new technologies, and travel safely and efficiently. The Council’s mission is to contribute to America’s prosperity and welfare by advancing the business interests of member firms. For more information, visit www.acec.org.
Weidlinger Associates, Inc., is a structural engineering firm that designs and rehabilitates buildings, bridges, and infrastructure and provides special services in applied science, forensics, and physical security. The firm, which employs about 275 full-time staff, celebrated its 65th year in 2014. It is recognized worldwide for its innovative and practical design solutions and for its long-term commitment to advancing the state of the art in engineering. Headquartered in New York City, the firm has branch offices in the United States and the United Kingdom. For more information, please see www.wai.com.