In its final report on the collapse of the Dallas Cowboy’s practice facility, the National Institute of Standards and Technology recommends owners of other fabric-covered, tubular-steel-framed structures have their buildings evaluated. Some universities already have; of these, at least two have found the structures fail to meet established codes.
NIST concluded the Cowboy’s building designed and built by Summit Structures of Allentown, Pa., failed to withstand wind loads that were substantially less than required by design standards. The report indicates Summit designed the Cowboy’s facility as a fully enclosed structure, but the NIST team calculated internal wind pressure due to vents and multiple doors and found it consistent with a partially enclosed structure. NIST also did not rely on the fabric to provide lateral bracing, which was part of the original design documents. The federal agency included the effects of localized bending, while Summit had not. The “Final Report on the Collapse of the Dallas Cowboys Indoor Practice Facility, May 2, 2009” is available online. http://www.bfrl.nist.gov/investigations/pubs/ NISTIR7661_January%202010.pdf. Summit says the Cowboys practice facility was a one-of-a-kind structure. The firm is currently conducting research to evaluate the facility to determine what happened and why. “The important thing in our view is to understand precisely what caused the damage to the training facility,” says Nathan Stobbe, Summit president and CEO. “We will not be commenting further due to pending litigation,” he adds. Twelve people were injured when the structure collapsed.