Construction Fails

©National Geographic
Construction Fails

Synopsis

Construction fails happen every day, but sometimes the damage is catastrophic. This factual, fast-paced show investigates the most spectacular mishaps, what went wrong, and how the disaster could have been averted. Combining live footage with CGI animation, this show examines well-known disasters, such as the Notre Dame fire, and the collapse of the Georgia Dome, but also more minor incidents. Presented in a light-hearted and accessible manner, Construction Fails shows what happens when things go drastically wrong.

Episodes

Season 1
  • Episode 1

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    Episode one begins on an unremarkable Dutch canal. What we see unfold, however, is anything but. It’s one of the most dramatic construction catastrophes in recent history: a double telescopic crane collapse, a barge capsizing and a 187-ton bridge span all careening into a quiet residential neighbourhood resulting in the total destruction of dozens of homes. The reason? A combination of wind, lack of balance and crane operator error. From there, we travel to Asia, where some of the world’s biggest construction sites fail before construction even begins. We witness a variety of construction site collapses: massive holes in the ground that implode...

  • Episode 2

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    Episode two begins with the horrific fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in the spring of 2019. Multiple eye- witnesses captured the raging flames on their phone cameras, but what they couldn’t capture was the frantic, behind-the-scenes confusion and infrastructure fail that contributed to making the fire much more devastating than it should have been. We take viewers behind the scenes. Next, we take a take a look at scaffolding, an integral piece of construction equipment. When it fails, the results can be catastrophic. But why does it fail? We examine the reasons through multiple examples.

  • Episode 3

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    Glass may be the most popular construction material in the modern age. But constructing with glass is challenging and dangerous. It spontaneously breaks and falls from skyscrapers and it even crushes warehouse workers. We investigate the scientific anomaly of nickel sulfide inclusion and its effect on glass The vast majority of demolitions rely on the excavator to bring the building down. In this story we witness the perfect way to do it and contrast it with multiple examples of demolition by excavator fails. Operator error, unstable ground, unpredictable fall angles – we show it all.

  • Episode 4

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    Construction cranes are towers in the sky – except when they collapse. Our first story examines three disasters in Seattle, Manhattan and Bangkok. Three disasters: three different reasons for collapse. We examine what went wrong. The Artz Pedregal Mall in Mexico City had only been open a few months before the cantilevered section of the structure came crashing to the street below. How could a brand new building fail so dramatically? What’s so precarious about cantilever designs?