Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "building inspections" ...

  • Hard Rock Hotel Collapse

    When an 18-story hotel under construction collapsed catastrophically on a Saturday morning in October, we immediately began trying to understand what went wrong. Initially, this involved sharing video of the collapse with experts to seek opinions about possible causes. In the days and weeks that followed, we spoke with workers who were on the job and reviewed building plans and inspection reports to determine where missteps were made. We also uncovered a video, narrated in Spanish by a worker on the site, that was posted several days before the collapse, in which the worker spotlights a number of alarming flaws in the building.
  • Lax building inspections, lurking danger

    When a building collapsed in Center City Philadelphia, killing six people and injuring 13, attention quickly focused on the reckless demolition contractor who cut corners in taking down the building. Then it shifted to the city agency charged with overseeing demolitions and ensuring safety. Chagrined city officials pledged safety reforms and stepped up enforcement. An Inquirer investigation revealed just how empty those promises were and documented dangerous conditions in buildings across the city.
  • Fire Department Corruption

    This investigation revealed that hundreds of commercial building and large apartment buildings in New York City have been allowed to operate with defective and potentially dangerous fire alarm systems despite obvious violations found by Fire department civilian inspectors. This includes some hospitals, schools and department stores. Two inspectors alleged that, because of corruption, the fire department allowed buildings to get letters of approval needed for legal occupancy even with numerous fire alarm safety violations when certain former inspectors, working as consultants or expediters, were hired by the buildings' owners. Because of this investigation, the city council will hold public hearings on these allegations and comptroller William Thompson has turned over information from this investigation to "criminal authorities."
  • Forced Out

    This series from the Washington Post investigates the corrupt practices of landlords driving tenants from their homes under the guise of refusing repairs or forcing families to live without heat, hot water or electricity. This was in response to a law meant to give tenants a voice in the city's redevelopment. In recent years, tenants had fled more than 200 rent-controlled apartment complexes without the chance to vote on redevelopment. With empty buildings, landlords quickly reaped $328 million in condominium sales and avoided $16 million in conversion fees.
  • Flawed Homes, Even Now

    On the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, The Miami Herald took a look at the state of new home construction in South Florida. "We found many improvements compared to 1992, but also a major flaw in suburban Broward County's system of enforcement. Unlike Miami-Dade County, Broward had no mechanism for enforcing new rules requiring new homes to withstand 140-mph gusts.
  • Blueprint for Trouble

    A Sun-Sentinel series investigates "construction problems in the City of Pembroke, one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation" in the aftermath of the Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The investigation has found that "every major subdivision built since 1992 had construction defects, and many of those homes had received city certificates of occupancy even though the city could not prove all inspections had taken place." The series details specific cases of homes with leaking roofs and windows, as well as potential safety problems. "Private home inspectors say they still see many of the same kind of shortcomings throughout South Florida that led to the mass destruction of Andrew." The reporters expose the practice of some city inspectors to spend part of their workdays at parks and fitness centers and focus on problems stemming from haphazard recordkeeping at the city building department.
  • (Untitled)

    Kansas City Star reveals how the transformation of Branson, Mo. into a booming tourist town was accomplished at the expense of poor building inspections; one inspector is in charge of hundreds of projects and some buildings catch fire or collapse before they're even finished and then are not investigated, October 1993.