Engineer: Brier Creek building collapsed while awaiting Raleigh inspections
Posted January 24, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — A condominium building in Raleigh's Brier Creek neighborhood collapsed during a Jan. 11 storm because crews were waiting for required city inspections before installing support structures, according to an engineer who inspected the building.
The building on Bruckhaus Street blew apart during storms that produced hurricane-force winds, and cellphone video that documented the destruction was aired on national news outlets.
Rodney Axtman of JDS Consulting & Design said in a Jan. 13 letter to Toll Brothers, the Pennsylvania-based developer of the Cottages at Brier Creek condo project, that crews were waiting for Raleigh inspectors to approve the framing of and insulation in the building. So, exterior shear walls were covered only on one side, and interior walls still didn't have drywall.
"The collapse of the Units at Building 10 were a result of the shear wall bracing not being complete. The shear wall bracing was not complete due to the stage of construction at the time of the collapse," Axtman wrote.
Toll Brothers spokesman Mike Dixon said the company also had engineers examine other buildings under construction at the site to ensure the storm didn't weaken them.
"Toll Brothers did receive the assurance from a third-party engineer that the in-place framing of the units under construction had not been damaged by the high winds and that Toll Brothers could move forward with completing the structures," Dixon said in an email to WRAL News.
The company cleared the rubble of the collapsed building from the site days after the storm and has begun construction on a new condo building in its place.