Inadvertent Structural Action

The title of this post is recycled from a talk I gave 16 years ago, “Inadvertent Structural Action in Traditional Buildings; or Why Hasn’t That Fallen Down Yet?” That talk was about how buildings that were constructed without structural design are often stronger than we think they are. The picture above is not that, but …

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A Good Idea Internationally

I’ve written several times about the CROSS (Confidential Reporting on Structural Safety) website. It allows engineers (and theoretically others) to anonymously report issues that are potentially dangerous or have led to structural failure, so that engineers everywhere may learn from those problems and their solutions. It originated in the UK, sponsored by professional and government …

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Wings and Struts

A few months ago, I discussed an example of an isolated wing of an old steel-frame building being connected back to the main block. It’s worth discussing the way this use of struts changes the analysis of such a building. The picture above is the back of a 1920s apartment house on west 23rd Street, …

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Incompatibility: Form and Material

The 1934 concrete-truss McMillin Bridge in Washington state. I’ve written a number of posts on the topic of incompatibilities between different aspects of buildings and they’ve mostly been about nuisances. This one is different and was triggered by my reading the OSHA report on the collapse of the FIU footbridge in Miami during its construction. …

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Analyzed For The First Time

In 2017, Old Structures began work on the engineering portion of the restoration of the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Sava. The design team is headed by Don Zivkovic and Brian Connelly of Zivkovic Connelly Architects; Shaquana Lovell from OSE performed most of the structural design. The first step of any project is to figure …

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