January 27, 2022
Following the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South building, a 12-story beachfront condominium in the Miami suburb of Surfside, Florida, Professor Dawn Lehman has provided expert commentary to various news outlets including the New York Times, New York Post, USA Today and Miami Herald. In collaboration with the Miami Herald, Lehman employed techniques to the forensic investigation that she typically uses for post-earthquake evaluation, including the use of an advanced, validated nonlinear modeling approach to investigate different collapse scenarios. While it is still unknown what caused the building collapse, Lehman gives insight into why corrosion alone is not likely to blame. “In short, corrosion is not the sole cause — it existed before the collapse. There are other important issues, and likely more than one of them contributed to this unimaginable failure,” she says. Offering a list of common culprits that may cause a building to fail, Lehman encourages the public to be patient while structural engineers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology and other organizations complete a comprehensive evaluation using forensic investigative tools. Read the full UW News story.