The Decade of Disaster

Glenn R. Bell

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding


In the decade from 1978 to 1987, the US experienced an unprecedented rash of catastrophic structural collapses, many resulting in tragic loss of life. This paper reviews nine of these, identifying similarities and differences in their causes, and exploring possible reasons why such a concentration of failures occurred then. Furthermore, these failures caused professional and public outcry, motivating continuous efforts and progress to improve public safety. Our diligence in learning from failures and keeping public safety at the forefront of our work must be never ending. The CROSS system plays a vital role in this pursuit. By sustained learning from failures of all consequence, as well as incidents, and safety concerns, we can avert catastrophes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCollaborative Reporting for Safer Structures
EditorsRui Liu, Carmen C. Mulea, M. Kevin Parfit, Tara L. Cavalline
Place of PublicationU. S. A.
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780784484555
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes
Event9th Congress on Forensic Engineering 2022: Elevating Forensic Engineering - Denver, USA United States
Duration: 4 Nov 20227 Nov 2022

Publication series

NameForensic Engineering 2022: Elevating Forensic Engineering - Selected Papers from the 9th Congress on Forensic Engineering


Conference9th Congress on Forensic Engineering 2022: Elevating Forensic Engineering
Country/TerritoryUSA United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Building and Construction
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)


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