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Ethical Issues from the Kansas City Hyatt Hotel Collapse

J. Paul Guyer, P.E., R.A., Fellow ASCE, Fellow AEI

Course Outline

1.  History of the project;
2.  The structural failure;
3.  The post-mortem;
4.  Was the disaster preventable?
5.  Were the post-mortem conclusions appropriate?
6.  Were the actions of the profession appropriate?
7.  Would conclusions be different if the failure occurred today? and
8.  How do we prevent similar events in the future?

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

At the conclusion of this course, the student will:

Intended Audience

This course is intended for engineers, architects and other design and construction professionals wanting to learn how the most tragic structural failure in United States history resulted from organizational and procedural failures in the building design and construction process.

Benefit for Attendee

This course will give engineers and others a chance to examine the most tragic structural engineering failure in U.S. history, the ethical issues that were raised, and the lessons that can be learned to help engineers guard against a recurrence of this type of tragedy in the future.

Course Introduction

This is a discussion of issues in engineering ethics.

About Course Author

Paul Guyer is a registered mechanical engineer, civil engineer, fire protection engineer and architect with over 35 years experience in the design of buildings and related infrastructure.  For an additional 9 years he was a senior-level advisor to the California Legislature on infrastructure and capital outlay issues.  He has designed and supervised the design of hundreds of construction projects requiring the preparation of detailed working drawings and specifications for federal, state and local public agencies and private companies.  He is a graduate of Stanford University and has held numerous national, state and local positions with the American Society of Civil Engineers and National Society of Professional Engineers.

Course Content

The following links contain the reference materials for this webinar:

Ethical Issues from the Kansas City Hyatt Hotel Collapse (PDF file, 29 pages, 1.5 MB)

Lecture Slides (PDF file, 12 pages, 1.2 MB)

Please click on the above underlined hypertext to view, download or print the document for your study. Because of the large file size, we recommend that you first save the file to your computer by right clicking the mouse and choosing "Save Target As ...", and then open the file in Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you still experience any difficulty in downloading or opening this file, you may need to close some applications or reboot your computer to free up some memory.

Because this course is offered as a "live" course, you are required to attend the webinar at the scheduled time and date. Please check the Webinar Schedule under course description on our website for scheduled meeting date and time. We will send you an invitation through email approximately 24 hours before the webinar (confirmation of the receipt of the invitation is required). The certificate of completion will not be issued unless you attend the webinar and pass a quiz. Thank you for your cooperation.

Course Summary

This course will give engineers and others an insight into the lessons that can be learned from the tragic collapse in 1981 of the atrium lobby walkways at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri.


Before you attend the webinar, you need to print the quiz questions from your browser (to be used for the discussion during the webinar). At the end of the webinar, you need to complete the quiz and submit your answers to obtain the PDH credit (quiz deadline: midnight on the webinar date).

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.