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Re: Structure Magazine Q: Ftg Settlem't.

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At 04:42 PM 1/9/99 -0700, you wrote:
>What criteria should be followed in deciding if the settlement of a footing
is structural
>failure?  That is, how much settlement can occur before it should be
considered a
>structural failure?
>
>Sam Love
>Love Engineering, Inc.
>loveengr(--nospam--at)msn.com
-------------------------------------------------------

A Clintonian-style answer is what first comes to mind:

        How do you define "considered"?
        How do you define "structural" (as distinguished from "foundation")?
        How do you define "failure"?

Then comes the curiosity of how the settlement of the footing is measured:

        With respect to the closest adjoining footings?
        With respect to the footing that has settled the least?
        With respect to some remote location that has not settled at all?

And then comes the issue of who is doing the "considering":

        Interested design professionals?
        Interested construction professionals?
        Owners who purport to be displeased with the settlement in question?
        Expert witnesses for any of the above?
        Insurance carriers for any of the interested parties?
        A jury or judge?

The answer will only emerge if the question is adjudicated to completion at
trial, and it will only apply to that particular instance (but not to
otherwise identical circumstances arising another time or place) and
therefore is problematic as guidance to readers of Structure Magazine. 

The question does however serve to illustrate the complexities and
uncertainties we are faced with in structural engineering practice.

Charles O. Greenlaw  SE   Sacramento CA