Failure

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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Concrete, Part 4

I’ve said that different materials lend themselves to different forms, and that there is such a thing as a concrete-inflected structural type. That idea leads, unfortunately, to a discussion of the collapse of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa last August. The bridge had a number fo different components (click on the picture above to expand it) …

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Almost Isn’t Good Enough

That’s a picture of a handrail where the riverfront walkway meets a wood pseudo-pier. (“Pseudo” because I’ve never seen any kind of boat docked there but I have seen a fair number of sunbathers there.) The upper portions of the handrail are in good condition and have been repainted not so long ago; the embedded …

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Public Involvement

A couple of current projects involving neighboring construction, combined with CROSS/SCOSS newsletter 52, got me thinking about how we prevent structural failures and how we prevent minor or incipient failures from become tragedies. Obviously the first line of defense against failure is the work of structural engineers (in all capacities, including design, review, and inspection) and …

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