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Re: Engineers responsibility -- truth stranger than fiction

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>had to explain to my client why we
>couldn't  compete with our competitor's "design."
>Well, guess what.... it fell down yesterday in sub 70 mph winds.  No
>occupancy, no outside damage, and nobody got hurt, so a little schadenfreude
>is not out of hand I guess....  But what a coincidence!
I've had a few of these. The schadenfreude comes in two levels--the 
tasteful part when I get in touch with the would-be client and explain 
how sorry I am and ask tactfully if I can do anything to help. Then 
there's the part intended only for close associates where I leap to my 
feet, high five everyone in earshot and decree a celebratory round of 
barley pop. It's the only way to get it out of my system and avoid 
dwelling on how how much better my design actually was. I figure it's 
unhealthy to hang onto feelings of superiority because we engineers 
normally learn from our failures, rarely from our successes. 

As a second point, I suspect the underdesigned building had some really 
serious corners cut, given the customary level of conservatism and the 
difference between routine service and design loading. I'd be interested 
in whether or not the flaw was a design or a construction defect. Maybe 
the contractor left something out..

Christopher Wright P.E.    |"They couldn't hit an elephant from
chrisw(--nospam--at)        | this distance"   (last words of Gen.
___________________________| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)