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  • Sidewalk Vault Collapse
Sidewalk Vault Collapse1


Project: Crane Incident at Garland Court
Chicago, Illinois
Client: Lyman & Nielsen, LLC 
Services:  Structural Review and Inspection, Structural Failure Analysis, Litigation Support, and Expert Witness Services.

Structure Evaluation Engineers, Inc. (SEE)  was retained to provide litigation support and expert witness services related to the collapse of an underground vault at Garland Court. A mechanical contractor rented a mage crane to lift a heavy HVAC chiller unit onto the roof of a 22-story high-rise building.

After the crane lifted its boom to the desired position, it started rotating to perform a test rotation without the load. Then, suddenly the street underneath the crane's outrigger collapsed into an underground vault. The crane fell into the collapsed vault and the boom came to rest against an opposite building. The underground vault was constructed with masonry arched slab and steel beams with a tension rod.  

SEE was retained, by the law firm representing the crane company, to provide forensic engineering services for this construction law suit. The scope of services included review of original contract documents, construction documents, accident photos, construction techniques, material evaluation, manufacturer's literature, applicable codes and standards, depositions, opinions and reports prepared by other consulting firms, preparing expert opinion statement, and testifying in a deposition. We worked very closely with the lead attorneys and provided objective expert witness services that resulted in a settlement in favor of our client.