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Harbour Cay Condominium Collapse, Florida, 1981

While under construction on March 27, 1981, the five-story Harbour Cay Condominium building in Cocoa Beach, Florida, collapsed during the placement of concrete for the roof slab, killing 11 workers and injuring 23 more.

An investigation of the failure was carried out by the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) at the request of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Department of Labor.  During the course of the investigation two site visits were made.  During the visits, structural components were examined visually and photographic documents were made.  Selected key components were identified and secured as test samples, and measurements of member dimensions were made.  In addition, construction and other documents were obtained through the OSHA area office in Tampa.

Based on the results of this investigation,  it is concluded that that the most probable cause of the failure was insufficient punching shear capacity in the fifth-floor slab to resist the applied construction loads. For details, see the NBS Report, "Investigation of Construction Failure at Harbour Cay Condominium, Cocoa Beach, Florida (NBS BSS 145)."

 Harbour Cay Condominium Florida 1981

Harbour Cay Condominium after collapse, Cocoa Beach, Florida, 1981 (Photo credit: NIST)

H. S. Lew