At The Smallest Scale

Engineers in general spend a lot of time modeling and organizing reality in design. Looking only at structural engineers, a large difference between those who design new buildings and those of us who work with existing buildings is the starting point of the models. New-building analysis and design typically starts with an architectural concept, and …

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Functional And Sort-of Boring

For a very long time, the New York City Building Code has required that the portion of floor directly in front of a fireplace, somewhat confusingly called the hearth, has to be of non-flammable construction. That way, if sparks or pieces of wood fall out of the fireplace onto the floor, they don’t immediately start …

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Precision Garbage

I read “What Is the Difference Between Accuracy and Precision?” by Anne Marie Helmenstine yesterday (steered there by Bill Harvey), and of course I immediately started thinking about structural design in that light. I remember one of my professors saying, circa 1985, that our calculations simply weren’t accurate so we shouldn’t be worrying about every decimal …

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