UPDATE: Dec. 3, 2019: Officials said the man who died as a result of the collapse was 58-year-old Preston Todd Delph of Hebron, Kentucky, the AP reported. He had been on the sixth floor of the mixed-use building under construction checking for signs of "structural stress and concrete seepage as concrete was poured on a temporary floor above him" at the time of the incident. The Cincinnati Fire Department and OSHA are reportedly investigating the Nov. 25 incident.
Meanwhile, structural engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti, which had been hired by Turned Construction, according to co-developer 3CDC, has deemed it safe for work to resume on the first five floors of construction and on some sections of the sixth and seventh levels. The City of Cincinnati’s Department of Buildings & Inspections has authorized work to continue on the eastern portion of the building.
"Crews will place barricades on the western portion of Levels 6 and 7, separating the area of the partial collapse from the area where it is safe for work to restart," the 3CDC statement read. "After those are placed, work can occur on the eastern portion of the structure on those floors, including prep work for pouring Level 8 and above. Additionally, crews will be permitted to pour four columns that will support Level 8, but no other concrete can be poured on the site until both the Department of Buildings & Inspections and an independent third-party have signed off on a new shoring plan."
The structure, co-developed by Indianapolis-based Flaherty & Collins, will include a 584-space above-grade parking garage, 22,000 square feet of street-level commercial space, and a 264-unit apartment building, beginning on the 7th level.
UPDATE: Nov. 27, 2019: The worker who had been missing after the collapse was found dead on Tuesday night after an approximately 30-hour search. The name of the deceased has not been released, but Turner Construction confirmed to Construction Dive that he was employed by Gateway Concrete Forming.
"This is an extremely sorrowful time and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and co-workers at this difficult time," a Nov. 27 Turner Construction statement read. "We want to thank the region's first responders, emergency service workers and Red Cross volunteers for their tireless and selfless efforts through this entire ordeal."
One person was still missing on Tuesday morning after a building under construction by Turner Construction Co. partially collapsed during a pour of temporary concrete formwork on the 7th floor on Monday afternoon in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, the AP reported and Turner confirmed to Construction Dive.
The city’s fire department reported on its Twitter page that search and rescue efforts had been ongoing for more than 19 hours to account for the missing worker. It’s unclear whether the missing person was an employee of Turner or a subcontractor.
Turner said in a statement regarding the Nov. 25 incident that four other workers had been treated and released from hospitals. A Nov. 25 AP clip of the event on a local news media's YouTube channel is below.
Despite this being the second high-profile building collapse in two months, following the partial collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans on Oct. 12, the collapse of buildings under construction is rare in the United States.
The cause of the Hard Rock Hotel collapse, which resulted in three deaths, with one of the deceased’s remains still unrecovered, is still unclear nearly two months later as investigations continue.
There are rumors, however, that the structural issues were apparent before the incident. Footage obtained by CBS News showed that workers were concerned about the safety of the structure prior to the accident.
Since then, at least 12 lawsuits have been filed in civil court against Citadel Builders and other parties involved in construction, such as the developer Kailas Cos., designer Harry Baker Smith Architects and electrical subcontractor All Star Electric. Many of the legal actions alleged negligent construction practices, though nothing of the sort has been proven yet.
Whatever the cause of the incident, crisis management in the aftermath is critical.
That’s especially true in a time when social media can facilitate the spread of false or misleading information. Several contractors and communications experted chimed in on this topic just this week, telling Construction Dive that one misleading tweet, for instance, can spread like wildfire and become “almost impossible to manage,” if the contractors and other parties involved don’t have a strong crisis communication strategy in place before the accident occurs.
“If it takes several hours for you to get back to the media or update your employees, in that vacuum of silence people are speculating and misinformation is leaking out,” Anthony Huey, president of Columbus, Ohio-based consulting firm Reputation Management.
Though many details of the Cincinnati building under construction at 151 West Fourth St. remain unknown at the time of press, it’s clear that the building was being constructed at least to the height of 7 stories tall at the time of the incident. Documents online refer to coworking office space for lease at that address.
Cincinnati Fire Chief Roy Winston said, according to the Associated Press, that workers on the fifth floor were injured after concrete was poured on the sixth floor prior to the collapse. Turner’s statement said the incident occurred during a concrete pour on the seventh floor.