Volume 42, Issue 11 - November 2007
Design & Installation Failure Cited
Part of a glass roof covering an atrium at the Embassy Suites in Hunt Valley, Md., collapsed in the afternoon on Wednesday, October 10. Fortunately no one was injured when the glass fell eight stories to the lobby below.
Representatives from MEI, a skylight company in Philadelphia, in addition to several structural engineers, were quickly brought to the site to assess the situation, according to Dawn Ray, director of brand communications for Embassy Suites Hotels.
“The preliminary cause and origin of the skylight failure has been determined as a design and installation flaw,” Ray says. “It has been determined that the structural integrity of the building was not compromised.”
The Maryland hotel was built in 1985. Ray was unaware of the company responsible for the original skylight installation. She did note, however, that all Embassy Suites hotels feature a similar atrium. “It’s one of the hallmarks of our brand.”As of late October, a temporary tarp had been installed to protect the atrium and hotel’s interior from the weather, and the second skylight was being removed. After its removal, the hotel has made plans to enclose the roof. The hotel remains closed until further notice.
Ray stresses that, most importantly, all of the hotel’s guests were safe. “We were very fortunate,” she says.
Top 20 Glazing and Curtainwall Contractors Announced
Following a six point decline in August, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) for September dropped to its lowest level since June 2006. The American Institute of Architects reported the September ABI rating was 51.1, down from the previous mark of 53.9 (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings), and inquiries for new projects was 61.4. As an economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI shows an approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending.