Failure

Which Is Worse?

Having graffiti on your brick, or using a sacrificial anti-graffiti coating and not renewing it, so that it peels off the brick and leaves your building with an unpleasant skin disease?

A Lifespan is a Long Time

The Institution of Civil Engineers – the UK counterpart to the American Society of Civil Engineers – issued a report on the whole-life risks for infrastructure (in its broad sense of the engineered built environment) some time ago that I finally found the time to read. And now I want to encourage every engineer to …

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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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More Evidence of a Terrible Choice

Brownstone was very popular in New York in the nineteenth century. It was used for trim and for entire facades. It was cheap, it was readily available from more than one nearby quarry, and because it was soft it was easily carved. It’s also about the worst possible stone for our climate, which is wet …

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Things Change

I always read the Confidential Reporting on Structural Safety newsletters, because the types of errors reported appear everywhere. The specifics don’t really matter as much as the reasons why the errors have occurred. The latest newsletter had an item that got me thinking about a category error that we all make at times. Report number …

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