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Task Force Clears Tilt-Walls in Joplin Tornado Collapse

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A task force formed by the Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA) to address events surrounding the tornado that struck Joplin, MO, last May has concluded that the tilt-up method of construction at a local Home Depot was not the cause of the store’s roof failure. TCA convened the task group in response to a June Kansas City Star article that singled out the tilt-up performance as one of the reasons the "building failed". Other misleading claims were made about the tilt method performance, TCA said.

TCA formed a task force to investigate the claims with the cooperation of Home Depot. The task force was headed by Kansas City engineer Jeff Needham, P.E., S.E., and a group of structural engineers from around the U.S. They concluded the tilt-up construction method was not the cause of the roof failure, which inadvertently caused the walls to fall. The task group's findings included:

• Four findings specific to the performance of the tilt-up Home Depot structure in the Joplin tornado.
• Five general recommendations that focus on increasing building safety in catastrophic storms through enhanced building performance and/or the use of shelters.

The newspaper followed up with another article on January 12, 2012 in which Needham was quoted as stating, "...(TCA task force) found that the tilt-up panels themselves did not fail and there is nothing common to tilt-up construction that makes it any more vulnerable to tornadic winds than any other method." Instead, Needham said the association's investigation found that the failure point at Home Depot was its relatively lightweight roof system.

Source: CPG February 2012 member newsletter.


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