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Then I stand corrected. It has been a long time since I delved into the
subject. At the time I recalled reading in one of the journals that they
were not aware of the change. The court case went on for a couple of years
and it may have come out that they were in fact aware.

Was the argument, then, that they were not paid to provide site visits and
therefore did not verify the change or was this purely gross negligence.

This was a monumental case and I was reminded of it again while reading
Henry Petroski's (sorry if the spelling is wrong, I don't have the book
handy)" To Engineer is Human".  The author wrote the book while the case was
still open and indicated the files charged against the EOR but did not
conclude the case as the book was published before the case was concluded.
My recollection was that the change was decided by the contractor and the
EOR was unaware. Thank you for setting me straight on this issue.

BTW, this is a wonderful book that does a lot to explain the public's
perception and expectation of performance of structures. This has been an
argument by those who considered the high cost of damage during the
Northridge Earthquake as being acceptable since the level of performance and
compliance to life-safety concerns was maintained. The public disagrees and
has set the level of expectation higher than what the code intended.
This may also be influencing our opinions as to how codes should be designed
and possibly our expectations are growing beyond reasonable and cost
effective expectation.

Thanks for clarifying this for me.

Dennis S. Wish, PE

-----Original Message-----
From: Todd Hill [mailto:thill(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Monday, January 22, 2001 12:43 PM
To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)'
Subject: RE: EOR

The Kansas City Hyatt walkway failure, in the early 1980's, is one of most
prolific of the many examples where the Engineers were responsible for
failures that occurred from a design changes made without their knowledge.

Actually the design change was with their knowledge, they choose not to
check it (even after an architect brought it to their attention). I didn't
read anything in the court case on omission of on-site inspections, but I
only have a brief copy of the court case (final version is 442 pages long).