The Leaning Tower Of San Francisco


How can you say that? The notion of not going to bedrock all along was arguably the most stupid decision ever made by these so called experts. You do home repairs yourself. I would think you think things out and pay out a tad more for better supplies or whatever if it makes sense to since TIME IS MONEY. You don’t have time to come back later. So, here we are, with a foundation problem on a 58 story hunk of concrete. Why would anyone in their right mind skimp on the bottom of that 58 stories??? Dumb, dumb, dumb…


Like I said it was never an issue till this project. And the dewatering next door is a contributing factor. Just letting you know they followed state of the art engineering. Now the lawyers will do the engineering.
I have personally watched 1000 piles driven to refusal. 100,000 foot pounds of energy driving 14” piles . 40 blows a foot is refusal. No red ass lawyer is going to convince me that a driven pile designed to take a 200 kip load is inadequate.


Well, all it takes is one big headache to make one think twice about being penny wise and pound foolish again. When you fail to plan, you plan to fail…


@Elt1 - How much you think they saved not expending additional effort in driving to bedrock? Just curious if it was like 5M? 10M? 20M? What range?


I don’t think it was ever considered. The problem is lay people doing armchair engineering. Red asses( people sitting on their ass pontificating) in construction slang. As long as codes are written with this attitude we will have over engineered buildings too expensive to live in.
Over engineering has tripled the cost of housing in California. As long as codes keep looking for worst case and protection for every scenario we are doomed. Isn’t homelessness a bigger problem than a building slightly out of level? Those rich fuckers still live there don’t they. Maybe we should turn it into a homeless shelter?

I would like more research on the actual cause. But requiring every building to be supported to bedrock is ridiculous.


At the very least the developers should have had a geotechnical engineer test the soil conditions as part of the planning. If the foundation was built correctly, would then the insurance apply? I think it has now expired.


Of course they tested the soil. The geotechnical engineers recommended driven piles. SOP. Of course the lawyers get a chance to redesign after the fact.


OMG, we KNOW in this instance the experts F’d up royally. Let’s not sugar coat it. Who doesn’t know just generally that (a) we are in earthquake country, (b) that is landfill out there and © the design of the structure apparently was of concrete, not steel, which made it HEAVIER. What, these experts forgot about the law of gravity? Of course they thought about the additional cost to go to bedrock. What kind of planners don’t look at all angles of a project? Come on, if it were cheap, they would have done it. My architect buddy who was a VP of an international, well known architect firm said while I shouldn’t quote him and it is just a rough estimate he thought it would have added in the neighborhood of 6-8% of the total cost of construction to go the additional 200 ft to bedrock.

Even when we are Monday morning quarterbacking some people still wouldn’t have gone to bedrock…ok


You are wrong. It has nothing to to with the weight or earthquakes. The builders followed the advice of experts. Lay people have no clue. Sorry but they will fuck up further construction in the future… just like all the code restrictions of the last 30 years.

My guess is people will stop building high rises in SF when you all demand foundations to bedrock. Not my problem.


Oh, then how do you explain the building next block down essentially laughing at the MT about how it was smarter to go to bedrock then? Apparently, their experts were the real experts…


According to the news when this started, they did not. They did have a contract with a geotechnical firm, but it was only for consulting on soils removal and not geotechnical advice. I suppose the damage could be a lot worse, but taxpayers definitely should not pick up the tab for fixing this.


I am a soils engineer and a structural engineer. Driving piles is an in place soils assessment. You drive a pile to refusal and you have a reliable tested foundation. The neighbors de watering destabilized the site.
There is a possibility that that area of SF will have major restrictions for future designs.


Understand what you are saying, but its hard to accept that for a skyscraper downtown it would be enough. This story has gone on for so long… Looking back at the article it said that the Millenium tower did hire the soils eng ( Treadwell and Rollo)to design the foundation but there was no secondary review. Then this firm turned around and acted as consultant for transbay without disclosure or warning about the tower’s sinking condition, which leads people to believe they were trying to cover it up and blame the neighbors for it…


OMG, it gets better and better…