Stage facility roof collapse in Hoboken

TimMc

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That's gonna leave a bruise...
 

Van

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I really hope no one was injured. If you zoom in on the photo you'll notice the Sheet Metal Studs are peeled out of the walls; looks like the ledgers for the pipes are still attached in a couple places but it looks like there wasn't continuous backing in the wall. It looks like the perimeter is a tilt-up wall with a perimeter glulam attached. I'd bet the roof beams were running left to right in the photos due to the lack of hangers on the outside glulam. Looks like the first glulam snapped right in the middle. I'd love to see the size of the load that was attached to that grid. IDK, maybe it was Open web trusses running up and down the photo, can't wait to see more of this.
 

MNicolai

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How much do you want to bet that a lighting grid was hung on the roof structure without any structural engineering?
Not impossible, but based on their studio photos and Insta, it looks like whatever hangs they were doing were very minimal. Handful of softlights, the occasional truss-supported bounce fabric. Primary roof loads look like they were air handling equipment and snow/rain ice load. Whenever something like this happens, the first question I have is whether the roof drains were clogged or blocked. If they were iced over and rain was falling on top of an existing snow load, that could stack up a lot of weight really quickly. Certainly looks like the weight of whatever studio equipment they typically had in the air was far dwarfed by what you'd get from a snow/ice/slush load.

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Van

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Not impossible, but based on their studio photos and Insta, it looks like whatever hangs they were doing were very minimal. Handful of softlights, the occasional truss-supported bounce fabric. Primary roof loads look like they were air handling equipment and snow/rain ice load. Whenever something like this happens, the first question I have is whether the roof drains were clogged or blocked. If they were iced over and rain was falling on top of an existing snow load, that could stack up a lot of weight really quickly. Certainly looks like the weight of whatever studio equipment they typically had in the air was far dwarfed by what you'd get from a snow/ice/slush load.

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Wow, so I was wrong! Pipes were all running left to right and it was the trusses that tore out the walls. Check the connections though! Looks like the battens are tied to the bottom chord of the trusses that's typically a no, no. It also appears the battens were strapped of chained to the trusses on 12' centers?
 

gafftaper

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Check the connections though! Looks like the battens are tied to the bottom chord of the trusses that's typically a no, no.
Yeah those are often designed so that all of their strength is based on top down compression. Pulling on the bottom with a fairly light load can pull them apart. That said, snow, rain, iced up drains there are plenty of other factors at play here. For those who are unsure what we are talking about, the picture below is the problem... Don't Do This!
 

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Jay Ashworth

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Yeah those are often designed so that all of their strength is based on top down compression. Pulling on the bottom with a fairly light load can pull them apart. That said, snow, rain, iced up drains there are plenty of other factors at play here. For those who are unsure what we are talking about, the picture below is the problem... Don't Do This!
Specifically, if you have that type of ceiling joist, do not attach battens *to the bottom of the rails*?

Can you rig it over the *top*, based on what you've said?
 

soundlight

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MNicolai

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It looks like they just removed columns if this article is any indication, I'd wager a lot that has something to do with it: https://cobaltstages.com/2022/column-free-cobalt-level-up-your-production-in-2022
Some of the photos I posted before show the column, and the most recent studio photo doesn't, so a column was definitely removed. Not sure we'll see any more details in the press on this since nobody was hurt and there's no public interest in a facility like this, but probably an interesting story behind how that column was removed.
 

FMEng

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Some of the photos I posted before show the column, and the most recent studio photo doesn't, so a column was definitely removed. Not sure we'll see any more details in the press on this since nobody was hurt and there's no public interest in a facility like this, but probably an interesting story behind how that column was removed.
Good sleuthing. Removing a column is a smoking gun. Having a failure after a structural alteration leads me to suspect engineering review wasn't done, or someone really messed up the calculations. This is why licensed, structural engineers need to be consulted and why building permits are required. Maybe some general contractor made careless assumptions on their own.

No engineer puts in a structural column unless it's required, and taking one out always requires some other element to be beefed up to redistribute the load. Snow a few days earlier might have hastened the failure.

Just for fun, I looked to see if Hoboken building permits are online, but no such luck.
 

MNicolai

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We're tearing out some columns in a current reno project for a warehouse-turned-rehearsal-space. The roof is being is shored up temporarily, the columns removed, and then the structural steel below the roof is being enhanced -- both to allow the space to be column-free and to support some new AHU loads. Similar to this Hoboken studio -- warehouse spaces tend to get the cheapest, bare minimum roofs and joists required because as a warehouse, they have far fewer loads suspended from them than your average commercial tenant space. Then an adaptive reuse project comes along and they get used for a completely different purpose and need some structural rework.

I can't imagine a contractor being ballsy enough to take a column out without a PE's S&S drawing, but then again this is Jersey, and there's an abundance of contractors, licensed and "licensed".
 
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Van

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Specifically, if you have that type of ceiling joist, do not attach battens *to the bottom of the rails*?

Can you rig it over the *top*, based on what you've said?
Without a Structural Engineering Review I would NEVER connect to any horizontal structure support system of any type, unless it has a specific rig point built into it or if the Building Owner has provided documentation and approval. Yeah the simple difference between connecting to the Bottom Chord vs the Top Chord can be the difference between a failure. Crazy. Almost all beams and webs require you to either load from the top or through bolt. the "eyebolt into the bottom of a glulam" is a HUGE mistake and just randomly deciding to through-bolt with engineering direction is...Foolhardy.
I did read stories that have blamed this collapse on Rain and Snow loads. I also know from work history, of studies that were performed on these type building, owned by folks that wanted to install pipe grids, that often times the rain and snow load loading criteria was WAY underestimated even only 40 - 50 years ago. I remember a massive shoring job that was required for a a simple 20'x30 pipe grid for a photography studio. I think they actually sent more on Engineering and the upgrades then they did on the grid itself.
 

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