The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

The Murrah building collapse: a reassessment of the transfer girder

Byfield, M.P. and Paramasivam, S. (2012) The Murrah building collapse: a reassessment of the transfer girder Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities, 26, (4), pp. 371-376. (doi:10.1061/(ASCE)CF.1943-5509.0000227).

Record type: Article


The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building caused a progressive collapse that consumed nearly one half of the building, killing 168 people. The use of a transfer girder along the front face of the building is often cited as the prime reason for the severity of the incident, although this paper provides evidence that suggests the transfer girder may not have been responsible. A method of predicting column failures due to blast is introduced and used to accurately predict the column failure pattern observed during the forensic investigation. The frame was adjusted with the transfer girder replaced with a conventional beam column arrangement. The failure pattern of the reconfigured building indicates that the extent of the collapse would be largely unchanged. This finding has important implications for the design of buildings that may be subjected to accidental or malicious damage. It is argued that the other buildings have demonstrated an ability to survive similar incidents and that the Murrah Building was vulnerable because it combined a glazed façade with open plan architecture, in addition to lacking alternative load paths capable of redistributing loads after multiple column failures

PDF CFENG-273_p1.pdf - Version of Record
Restricted to Repository staff only
Download (405kB)

More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 12 March 2011
Published date: August 2012
Keywords: blast, progressive collapse, reinforced concrete, design, robustness, structures, column, load paths
Organisations: Infrastructure Group, Civil Engineering & the Environment


Local EPrints ID: 190697
ISSN: 0887-3828
PURE UUID: b36bcc5d-6f9a-47d6-b220-d55d41523c7e

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 14 Jun 2011 14:18
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 11:37

Export record


Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.