The Leaning Tower Of San Francisco


The Tower is not out of the woods yet. There are soooo many lawsuits to go. And who is exactly paying for the fix bill?


SF property tax payers


The developer likely has an insurance for it.
I recently learnt in a very costly way what this insurance is and that it is worth it :frowning:
The cost of the policy is probably around a million and covers them for 10 years.

Comparison: that “construction defect insurance” for my 6 townhomes valued under 10M costs about $75k only.

Engineers and most contractors won’t even work on such projects if the owner or GC doesn’t buy this type of policy. Their own policies don’t cover the risk of a condo project.

Official policy name is OCIP.


Exactly why I started this thread when the story came out…

The developer was simply stupid and cheap to not go the additional 200 ft or so to bedrock in earthquake country/landfill country. Sometimes, you don’t have to listen to the data and scientists who are telling you one thing when common sense tells you your foundation is key to everything.


This tower is 6 times higher. Imagine how much it will sink and lean


That thing is still there? :laughing:


Experts estimate the job could cost from $200 million to $500 million — in other words, probably as much as the $350 million it cost to build the tower in the first place.

I stand by one of my original statements: my handyman probably would have gotten this right in the first place.


If it were up to me, I would just re-level all the floors by cushioning them. Because I don’t think it’s going to sink much more. Whole job will cost no more than a couple million.

Homeowners/insurance companies/taxpayers can pay me the difference of $348M :money_mouth_face:


Uh, that 58 story hunk of concrete/steel is coming down when it WANTS to. I don’t think putting caulking in the cracks is a good LT fix… but that is just me :slightly_smiling_face:


I agree. Reason is that when you construct something with handymen/ unlicensed laborers, you probably don’t employ an engineer either. So the handyman will overbuild even more.

Let’s say based on soils report, wind conditions and building code requirement for factor of safety you would need a 6" thick concrete retaining wall. A structural engineer will prescribe 9" or 12" (free safety for him since you pay for the extra concrete).
My handyman talked me into 18" and twice as much steel.

Now I remember the case where we needed a 10’ tall wall to hold up a private driveway, suitable for garbage and fire trucks. The licensed structural engineer drew up something with 6"x8" treated lumber. We all scratched our head. I guess some engineers like to save the owner money. Weird.


That may be, but my point is just that sometimes common sense and not fancy inspections/tests is the way to go. To me, it is simply a matter of reacting to known information, that (a) we are in earthquake country and (b) that ground along the Embarcadero is landfill or soil subject to liquefaction. So, stop right there. Just knowing that, why would anyone who is building a 58 story luxury skycraper with multi million dollar units (not your single story backyard granny adu):

a) decide to cut corners and go cheap and not go the additional 200 or so ft to SOLID bedrock. Hello? Luxury multi million dollar condos remember, not a house flip in a gentrifying neighborhood; and
b) use a foundation design that is much more heavier than steel when again you know you are on “bad” soil and not anchored to solid ground.

Plain stupidity. I don’t feel sorry for the developer at all. I do feel sorry for the owners though who thought they bought a solid (oops, no pun intended) investment but it has since turned out to be a dog (woof, woof)…


The standard of the industry is to drive piles to refusal
That means a load test of 400,000# per pile. The piles can’t be driven any farther without breaking. Driving piles to bedrock is rarely done in SF. There is nothing that the engineers did that was not SOP. The neighbor project with its dewatering and foundation work has some liability.


The Salesforce building, what, 1 block over is to bedrock. They went out of their way to rub this in, remember?


Do you have proof, what type of piles? Drilled or driven?
What was the depth?


That building so tall and heavy, doesn’t matter it goes to bedrock or not. When the big one hits it will break in half and take 10,000 lives with it to hell.


Geez, go back to the start of the thread. There is ample proof, Sir, that they stopped well of bedrock. You are just like my retired architect buddy, who wouldn’t throw a peer or industry (former of course) under the bus even though it is obvious to a layman that they screwed this up. Period.


I am talking about the industry standard. Piles can only be driven to refusal, no farther. That is what they did.


I don’t know the technicals, but are you suggesting that they did all that they could have done respect to the piles? That is why I brought up the Salesforce building a block away. They went to bedrock and boasted of it as if they knew better…


You know, the idea of tearing this down and restarting is actually not a bad idea (if the cost is that great, and remember, no guarantee)…


Who would pay the $500M? I assume the developer would just declare bankruptcy. Would the developer’s insurance cover it? Would that bankrupt the insurance company? If owners pay for it, it seems like the fix would cost more than they paid to buy their units in the first place.