Construction Worker Wearing Worker Overall With Wall Plastering

The Building That Needed To Be Repaired In Secret

When it comes to complex construction work, it is always best to work with professionals from design to completion.

Part of this is to avoid any headaches, as architects and builders in Wolverhampton know about local planning regulations and work with local planning authorities to ensure that your work is safe, legal and gets the proper permissions.

Another part of it is that the more expertise and greater care you have over a design, the less likely you will need to undertake expensive repairs later on, as was the somewhat infamous case of the Citicorp Centre

Completed in 1977 and designed by William LeMessurier, the Citicorp (now Citigroup) Centre had several rather unusual design features, including diagonal steel bracing to resist strong winds and a base that was raised on four stilts.

Typically the building would not be troubled by strong winds due to the mass damper system that absorbs vibrations, but in the case of a power cut, its ability to resist gale-force winds was reduced far more significantly than was originally thought.

An engineering student at Princeton University, Diane Hartley, was the first to raise concerns that in the event of a power outage that could be possible in hurricane conditions, which started a chain of events that led to a much bigger problem being discovered.

Ms Hartley’s discrepancy was combined with the revelation that the welded building joints had been substituted for bolts which was not a feature in 

his original design.

After a call with architecture student Lee DeCarolis, Mr LeMessurier decided to recalculate the wind loads and found out to his horror that a 70 mph wind could potentially knock the skyscraper down, causing untold casualties.

After contemplating hiding the issue or much worse, he ultimately decided to fix the problem in secret, setting up emergency generators for the damper and arranging for welded panels to be fitted at night to avoid causing panic, scandal and reputation damage.

As it happened, all three local newspapers were on strike at the time, and the story was only published in 1995, nearly three decades later.