Engineering Ethics: The Kansas City Hyatt Walkway Collapse (WEBINAR)

Course Number: ET-2007W
Credit: 2 PDH
Subject Matter Expert: Mary McElroy, P.E.
Scheduled: This webinar will be scheduled again soon. Receive an email when it is scheduled by using the "Notify Me" link
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In Engineering Ethics: The Kansas City Hyatt Walkway Collapse, you'll learn ...

  • The project history of the Kansas City Hyatt Walkway
  • Significant design changes that contributed to the walkway collapse
  • Details of the legal investigation and aftermath of the collapse
  • Important ethical lessons applicable to your professional practice


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On July 17, 1981, the fourth floor skywalk at the Kansas City Hyatt collapsed during a dance contest being held in the hotel atrium. The accident, which killed 114 people and injured nearly 200 others, was the deadliest structural failure in the history of the United States. But what is perhaps even more troubling to learn is that the tragedy could have been avoided. In fact, this failure was the result of a simple design error.

This webinar will examine the chain of events leading up to the tragedy and discuss the impact this event has had on the engineering profession. We'll discover how the engineer's inattention to constructability issues led the fabricator to change the original design. We'll also learn about a major structural failure during construction of the hotel that should have raised a "red flag" in the design. And we'll see how the direct cause of the accident was the engineer's failure to review shop drawings that he stamped with his professional seal. As a result of these errors, the engineer of record and the project engineer responsible for designing the skywalk were found guilty of gross negligence, misconduct, and unprofessional conduct in the practice of engineering. Both engineers lost their P.E. licenses in the state of Missouri.

Additionally, we'll learn how deficiencies in the Kansas City building code and inadequate staffing inhibited the Kansas City Codes Administration Division's ability to prevent this tragedy. Finally, we'll discuss lessons that can be learned from this incident to help ensure that a similar tragedy doesn't happen again.

Get ready for the full story about the incident and be prepared to discuss how this story affects us all.

Special Note: Course ET-1018 and course ET-2007W are alternate presentations of the same course material. Therefore, only one version, either the course or webinar, can be taken during a renewal cycle. If you have any questions regarding course eligibility, please contact our Customer Service Team.

Specific Knowledge or Skill Obtained

This course teaches the following specific knowledge and skills:

  • The Kansas City Hyatt atrium walkway base design and the project history
  • Factors that contributed to a design change initiated by the fabricator
  • How the fabricator's design change weakened the structure and led to the failure
  • Historical perspective on design responsibility for structural connection details
  • Primary factors and missed opportunities during design and construction that contributed to the walkway collapse
  • The judgment of the Missouri Board of Architects, Professional Engineers, and Land Surveyors
  • Ethical lessons relevant to professional engineers
This course is applicable to professional engineers in:
Alabama (P.E.) Alaska (P.E.) Arkansas (P.E.)
Delaware (P.E.) Florida (P.E. Area of Practice) Georgia (P.E.)
Idaho (P.E.) Illinois (P.E.) Indiana (P.E.)
Iowa (P.E. - Live Course) Kansas (P.E.) Kentucky (P.E.)
Louisiana (P.E.) Maine (P.E.) Maryland (P.E. Category A)
Michigan (P.E.) Minnesota (P.E.) Mississippi (P.E.)
Missouri (P.E.) Montana (P.E.) Nebraska (P.E.)
Nevada (P.E.) New Hampshire (P.E.) New Jersey (P.E.)
New Mexico (P.E.) New York (P.E. Live Course) North Carolina (P.E.)
North Dakota (P.E.) Ohio (P.E. Timed & Monitored) Oklahoma (P.E.)
Oregon (P.E.) Pennsylvania (P.E.) South Carolina (P.E.)
South Dakota (P.E.) Tennessee (P.E.) Texas (P.E.)
Utah (P.E.) Virginia (P.E.) West Virginia (P.E.)
Wisconsin (P.E. Live Course) Wyoming (P.E.)

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Webinars earn PDH credits for engineers in all states, unless otherwise stated in the literature for a specific webinar., a service mark of Decatur Professional Development, LLC, is an approved provider of continuing education for engineers. For more details, check your state requirements.

ATTENTION NEW YORK, WISCONSIN AND IOWA ENGINEERS: Your states specifically require a certain number of "live" credit hours as a part of your PDH requirement. Webinars from have been accepted by the New York State Board to fulfill this requirement. PDHengineer’s webinars also meet all requirements of the Wisconsin and Iowa Boards. This webinar is guaranteed to be accepted by your state board as live engineering PDH.

ATTENTION OHIO ENGINEERS: PDHengineer's webinars are "Timed and Monitored" to meet your state requirements. This means that you can use our webinars to fulfill your entire PDH requirement for Ohio. This webinar is guaranteed to be accepted by your state board as "timed and monitored" CPD credit.

In fact, all of our webinars are designed to be accepted in New York, Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa, and all other states. The PDHengineer Triple Guarantee is your assurance of state board acceptance.

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