A recent story out of New Orleans presents a textbook example of how not to manage a construction disaster. Back in October 2019, the 18-story Hard Rock Hotel that was under construction in the Crescent City collapsed, killing three workers and injuring dozens.
Due to the precarious nature of the remaining building structure, the unretrieved remains of two of the deceased workers are still on-site in the collapsed debris. A tarp had been erected to block passers-by from viewing the remains of one of the trapped workers.
Last week in inclement weather, that tarp blew away. In its wake, the protruding legs of one of the deceased workers were exposed for all to see. Social media quickly blew up with the gory photos, inflicting untold pain upon the survivors of the deceased and re-traumatizing those workers who managed to get out of the collapsed building.
To make matters worse, no one has stepped up to own their role in the construction disaster. Everyone has tried to pass the buck as fast as possible.
The building’s owners took to the radio and print media to place blame on other entities for the collapse and failure to clean up the site and recover the deceased workers’ remains.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell also shuffled blame around even as area construction workers rallied in the streets to protest the city’s handling of the crisis. Officials initially planned an implosion for the first part of January. Then, they determined they would need to remove the debris piecemeal, which would take the better part of a year.
That plan proved faulty, and an implosion was again scheduled — but not until Carnival season concludes on Feb. 25.
Meanwhile, a second tarp was finally re-hung to cover the remains of the construction worker from prying eyes.
It’s certain that when the literal dust finally settles, there will be plenty of blame to go around. But all may not be lost if others can learn from this example of how not to act after a construction debacle occurs.
It’s always prudent to seek the advice of your Fort Lauderdale construction law mediation/arbitration whenever a disaster occurs on a construction project.