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First Name Last Name
Instructor
CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT
4 November 2018
Term Paper
Expected Turn in events if some of the key parties at “The Fifty Nine Story Crisis” made
contrary decisions compared to ones they made in the article.1
The Citicorp tower at the time of its completion in Manhattan ranked seventh tallest building
worldwide. The building was designed by leading structural engineer William J. LeMessurier,
structural consultant to architect Hugh Stubbins. The fifty-nine story crisis would have been
handled differently regarding the circumstances at the time. Obviously, there had been a critical
change amid their fabricate (the props were attached together with jolts rather than welds, as
welds are for the most part viewed as more grounded than would normally be appropriate and
excessively costly; moreover the contractual workers had deciphered the New York construction
regulation so as to absolve a large number of the pinnacle's corner to corner supports from
loadbearing counts, so they had utilized dreadfully few jolts.) which duplicated the strain
delivered by quartering winds2. On account of the goading of the student from New Jersey,
LeMessurier found an unpretentious applied mistake in the plan of the building's breeze
supports; they were surprisingly touchy to specific sorts of winds known as quartering winds.
This paper focuses on the expected turn of events if some of the key parties would have made
contrary decisions in comparison to the ones identified in the articles. This is as discussed in the
following section with each subheading denoting times when contrary decisions were probably:
i.A phone call from an engineering student in New Jersey to LeMessurier.
The article begins noting LeMessurier receiving a phone call at his office headquarters in
Cambridge, Massachusetts from an engineering student in New Jersey who at the time was
writing a thesis paper on the Citicorp tower. Being an inquisitive person, LeMessurier found the
matter interesting and listened to the student concern that according to his professor the four
columns that held the building up had been put on the wrong place. If LeMessurier had made a
contrary decision not to listen to the student or return the call after his meeting hence develop an
1Richard Bradford Miller,Citicorp: the story of a bank in crisis(McGraw-Hill Companies, 1993).2Blaine Carmack,Learning from Building Failures(6 February 1977) <
https://buildingfailures.wordpress.com/1977/02/06/citigroup-center/>.
Last Name2
interest in pursuing the matter further, LeMessurier wouldn't have revisited his calculation on the
columns, forty-eight braces designed to withstand sway from severe winds during his classroom
lecture at Harvard. Initially, LeMessurier had designed the braces only to withstand winds acting
perpendicular to the building but now he explored to the strength of the braces to resist winds
acting at forty-five degrees only to be surprised by his new calculations which showed that a
quartering wing increased strain in four of the eight chevrons in each tier hence discovery of
increased probability of failure of the building braces to resist severe winds3. Also, LeMessurier
would not have discovered that the crucial changes in the way the braces were joined. Therefore,
LeMessurier would not have taken further checks of the works and calculations hence not
realizing the changes in joints hence the braces would likely have failed under severe southeast
winds.
ii.Brace joints
Instead of welded joints, Bethlehem Steel opted for bolted joints since the bolted joints were
viewed to be equally safe and more practical as opposed to the needlessly strong and labor
intensive, hence expensive welded joints. This was contrary to the specifications in the designs
produced by LeMessurier for Citicorp tower4. Also, LeMessurier would not have likely realized
that the standards as stated in the American Institute of Steel Construction specification were
disregarded by his team calculating joints hence exposing the structure to more risks as the joints
would be substandard to resist the differential between forces, that is, the amount of wind tension
less the amount of compression. If this decision would not have been made and welded joints
provided instead, there would have been no cause for alarm for fear that the building would fail
whenever severe winds occur. The panic and extra costs incurred in welding the joints would not
have been suffered. In correcting this decision and providing stronger joints by welding resulted
in LeMessurier and Hugh Stubbins being served indemnification costs by Citicorp tower
amounting to $4.3 million including management fees5.
iii.If LeMessurier would choose to be silent or suicide rather than sharing the disturbing
revelation
3Deane Barker,The Fifty-Nine Story Crisis(5 May 2007) < https://gadgetopia.com/post/5871>.4Set Vamos,Citicorp building documentary(31 March 1999) < http://www.artifice.com/discussion/16.html>.5Theaiatrust,Case Study: The Citicorp Center Design(2013) <
http://www.theaiatrust.com/whitepapers/ethics/study.php >.
Last Name3
LeMessurier had options after discovering the disturbing information about the possible pending
collapse or failure of the Citicorp tower. He made a decision to blow a whistle on himself to
avert disaster and risk professional disgrace, possible protracted litigation and probable
bankruptcy. Had he chose to be silent, many lives would be at risk and he wouldn't be
embarrassed in front of colleagues6. Suicide also was a cowardly option but would save him the
pain of embarrassment. At some time, the Citicorp tower would have turned into tragedy when
strong winds not sustainable by the initial designs would have hit the building. Possibly,
LeMessurier, Citicorp, Hugh Stubbins would have been stripped their licenses and served terms
in prisons for indecent and substandard designs and risk to the Citicorp towers occupant had the
building failed from severe winds due to weak joints not being rectified from the latest
revelations by LeMessurier.
iv.Placing of the chevrons inside the building as opposed to outside
The architect Hugh Stubbins had insisted that the chevrons be placed on the inside rather than
LeMessurier plan to have them placed on the outside7. If LeMessurier would have done contrary
to this decision by Hugh Stubbins and placed the Chevrons on the outside, the bolted joints
would not have been readily accessible hence reinforcing of the joints with heavy plates over
them like giant Band-Aids would not have been feasible. Failure of the braces against severe
wind would be on high chance hence building failure8. Moreover, working welding of these
joints from the outside would have exposed the fault to the public hence cause for concern and
panic, high costs and risks of personnel as well as possibly evacuation of the Citicorp tower and
the surrounding. This would mean huge losses from the Citicorp, possible litigations and base
image to the structural consultant LeMessurier.
v.Citicorp's executive vice-president, John S. Reed
Following the disturbing information that Citicorp tower was flawed, Hugh Stubbins and
LeMessurier had to relay the information to Citicorp but reaching the top man William I.
Spencer was unsuccessful. Instead, Stubbins managed an appointment with John S. Reed9. It is
6UNC Charlotte,Citicorp case study(2013) < https://eng-resources.uncc.edu/failurecasestudies/building-failure-
cases/citicorp-case-study/>.7Joseph Morgenstern,The Fifty-Nine-Story Crisis(29 May 1995) <
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1995/05/29/the-fifty-nine-story-crisis >.8John Werner,The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper(17 April 2014) <
http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_eye/2014/04/17/the_citicorp_tower_design_flaw_that_could_have_wiped_out_the_
skyscraper.html>.9Anandtech,AnandTech Forums: Technology, Hardware, Software, and Deals – Error(2016) <
https://forums.anandtech.com/threads/the-design-flaw-that-almost-wiped-out%20edu/~hpgavin/cee421/
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