Investigators Research Cause of Recent Glass Canopy Collapse
July 21, 2010

Last Friday a glass canopy located at 300 Prospect Street in Hackensack, N.J., fell onto a parking garage two stories below. According to the Associated Press (AP), "the garage pancaked when the canopy fell on it, [and] the top of the garage, level with the street, was littered with dirt, debris and glass, and the pavement split into chunks." Investigators are looking into what caused the canopy to fall from the 22-year-old building, and though consumer media was quick to report it, some industry experts say the collapse may not have been caused by the glass.

According to a Fox News website, engineers found a crack in at least one of the approximately 100 columns that support the building underground … [and] fire officials said the garage came crashing down when a glass canopy from the top of the apartment building next to it fell. It’s yet to be determined what exactly caused the collapse—was it a failure of the canopy or a structural issue, such as problem with one of the columns?

The contract glazier is believed to be a company called Corporate Glass, which is no longer in business, and the general contract is believed to be Mahony Troast, also no longer in business.

While investigations are underway to determine whether or not the canopy was constructed as a complete engineered system, Bob Price, national sales manager with J.E. Berkowitz (JEB) in Pedricktown, N.J., says that though JEB did not supply this particular canopy system, as a company that does supply engineered canopy systems, they are concerned about why the structure collapsed.

“It goes back to the engineering; was it something [a glazing company] did on its own with parts and pieces or did they use an engineered system?” Price questions, noting that this is a subject into which research is still being done.

According to Price when it comes to selling engineered systems that have a PE stamp, such as those sold by his company, sometimes the pricing issue is a concern and they are subject to value engineering.

“It’s jobs like these where having the right combination of engineering and people is extremely important,” adds Price.

If the glass canopy is determined as the cause of the collapse questions and concerns could arise over liability, warranties and guarantees, as both the contract glazier and general contractor are no longer in business.

The AP reported that tax records show the condo tower was built in 1988 and Equity Residential Properties of Chicago bought it in 1998.

Stay tuned to™ for updates on the matter as they are made available.

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