• 46 minutes

Construction Failure Statistics and Examples


Commonly, structural systems are built 1.5 to 2 times stronger than expected to be needed by calculation – the factor of safety!

The average life span of typical buildings is 50 years, with more monumental buildings and structures are expected to last over 100 years. Highway design structures are trying to achieve at least 75 years. Design errors are the most likely cause of structural failure, closely followed by construction errors, but about 1 in 8 structural failures are due to poor maintenance. This video reviews how collapse is many times more likely during construction than after construction and discusses how most modern design involves more rigorous probabilistic justification of ultimate capacity relative to expected demands.

Runtime: 46 minutes



Daniel R. Cook, P.E., S.E.

Daniel R. Cook, P.E., S.E.

Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc.

Daniel R. Cook, P.E., S.E., P.Eng.

  • Associate principal in the Boston office of Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc.
  • Registered professional engineer in Massachusetts and others, structural engineer in Georgia and Illinois, and professional engineer in British Columbia
  • Experienced in structural investigation, litigation support, condition assessment, repair and rehabilitation of existing structures, new structural design, construction engineering, and demolition planning
  • Current governor and past president of ASCE’s Construction Institute, and past chair of CI’s Boston Chapter
  • Adjunct professor on temporary structures at Wentworth Institute of Technology (2016-2018) and guest lecturer at Lehigh University
  • M.S. degree in structural engineering; B.S. degree in civil engineering; B.A. degree in architecture, Lehigh University
  • Can be contacted at [email protected] or 617-963-5407

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