When Construction Projects Go Wrong

There is a lot that can go wrong when you’re building new construction, but even more that can go wrong when that project is a large condominium, hotel, or brand new bridge. Between costly overruns, material shortages, scope creep, weather related delays, and possible contingency plans (you’ve got those, right?), there’s a lot that goes into construction.

Below, we decided to share a few stories about buildings and construction projects gone wrong for one reason or another. 

The Tacoma Narrows Bridge

(Image from Business Insider)

Tacoma, Washington

There was an original Tacoma Narrows Bridge built in 1940 and it was the third largest suspension bridge ever built in the U.S. at that time. Spanning almost 6,000 feet, it first opened on July 1st 1940, but later that year, in November, some measly 40 mph winds sent the bridge crashing into the Puget Sound.

Not a single person was killed in the terrible accident and the collapse went on to influence how future suspension bridges were built, making them more aerodynamic so future collapses would be much less likely to happen.

The Vdara Hotel & Spa

(Image from Business Insider)

Las Vegas, Nevada

We won’t call this a project failure as much as a cursed construction project! The Vdara Hotel and Spa opened in December 2009 and offered a strange and unique issue that no one expected – A “death ray”.

The hotel was designed with a curved structure which collected and focused solar beams at the hotel’s swimming pool area. Guests that sunbathed nearby were regularly singed leading guests, hotel staff, and even news outlets to call it a ‘death ray’.

Champlain Towers South

(image from NIST.gov)

Miami, Florida

Just a couple years before the collapse of this condo, an inspection had found severe problems with the building that went unrepaired. Unfortunately, this led to the loss of 18 lives and the injuries of 11 more. 55 units out of the full 136 units in the building were destroyed. 

This disaster highlighted how critical environmental factors are in the engineering and construction of large structures. Putting a priority on the report of repairs that were needed as well as the effects of the surrounding environment and long-term maintenance could have potentially saved lives.

“Walkie Talkie Centre”

(Image from Bloomberg)

London, England

This construction project garnered international attention after it was built, between 2009 and 2014. The building earned the nickname "Walkie Talkie Centre" because of the way it looked. Unfortunately, the way it looked also sent sunlight focused onto the street below, like a mirror.

Temperatures on the street reached as much as over 160 degrees Fahrenheit, melting a man's Jaguar and letting journalists fry an egg on a window ledge in the building’s “ray”.

On top of the strong sun rays, the building caused a major increase in wind patterns on the street below. The winds could get so strong they were blamed for blowing over signs, trolleys, and even pedestrians. Not to worry, eventually the owners of the building had to install screens to prevent the reflection of the powerful sunlight. 

Construction can be a tricky job, working with a lot of moving parts and people, all trying to ensure each phase is done the right way. Project schedules that can change. Even with some of the best project managers, projects fail. We have a lot of respect for those that can make it happen and place focus on the safety of others so disasters like these don’t happen.

Featured photo by Brian Kelly on Unsplash

Need Fencing, Portable restrooms or Storage?

Get a Quote


Construction Units, High-Rise Units, Urinals, Special Event Units, VIP Trailers… We’ve got ‘em all! And that’s just restrooms - we also offer sinks, fencing, holding tanks, water tanks, office containers, and storage containers.

Proud Members of
Association of Builders and Contractors OklahomaHome Builders AssociationTulsa Regional Chamber Logo
We strictly adhere to the standards of
©2024 At Your Service Rentals