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I'm currently sitting at my desk on a 5th floor in a South Florida office building, as I was earlier this morning when I felt the building sway slightly. It wasn't continuous and the building swayed slightly one way and stopped. The sway was so subtle that others in the office didn't notice it (either walking or moving at their desk). Though, others did notice, corroborating my observations.

Additionally, I've spoken with more of my peers and they've stated that the building has swayed stronger than what I experienced this morning.


I 'm somewhat concerned regarding the overall integrity of the building, its foundation and whether or not this is normal.

  • Is it normal for a 6 story building to sway, in Florida on a calm day?
  • What could be causing this effect?
  • What steps should I take in order to get the issue/issues addressed?
  • Should I be concerned?
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closed as off-topic by Chris White, Waffle's Crazy Peanut, twistor59, Brandon Enright, Manishearth Jun 26 '13 at 10:50

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about physics within the scope defined in the help center." – Chris White, Waffle's Crazy Peanut, twistor59, Brandon Enright
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

That seems weird to me, if by "calm" you mean "windless" and "no-earthquakes". Does your building perhaps have dampers that you know of? – Keep these mind Jun 13 '13 at 21:08
@gugg yes, by "calm" i mean windless and no earthquakes. about the dampers, not sure. but, i'll check that once outside the building and update the question ... – culturalanomoly Jun 13 '13 at 21:14
Unless this building is brand new, it has survived hurricanes. If it's more than a few years old, it has survived category 5 hurricanes. That should tell you something about its stability. – Chris White Jun 20 '13 at 18:00
Florida is the "sinkholiest" state in the US. Probably worth alerting someone. – horatio Jun 20 '13 at 18:16
The physics in this question is very weak and vague, it rather asks about advice concening what to do in case of security issues of buildings than physics. This is not the task of physics SE ... – Dilaton Jun 20 '13 at 18:52

I'd be concerned.

“You can tell the building is rocking back and forth because you can see the pocket doors hitting the wall,” said Eric Williams, a computer engineer waiting out Hurricane Sandy in his apartment on the 46th floor of the W Hotel and Residences in the Financial District. “It’s such a slow sway you don’t really see it, but you can feel it.”

Skyscrapers May Shiver and Sway, but They’re Perfectly Safe

  • That's a 46 storey building not 6 stories.
  • That's in a hurricane, not in calm weather.
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A probable reason for this is that the building has set of resonating frequencies and maybe it is being driven at very same resonant frequency that's why it is showing huge response .Naturally you should be concerned about this because this a very serious effect as it had caused a bridge to collapse in america .

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The question mentioned "the building swayed slightly one way and stopped". I presume it means that it didn't sway back. Otherwise, good point. I think such things may be caused (o.a.) by elevators on the inside and elevators (what are they called?) for window washers on the outside. – Keep these mind Jun 20 '13 at 17:11

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