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RE: Stupid Things I've Seen

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Most of the responses have had to do with Contractor errors - here is one
where the engineers erred:  

When working for a previous employer, I was asked to investigate a design
developed in our office for a steel support for a large heavy steel spillway
gate at a hydroelectric project.  Personnel in the field had complained that
one steel column always "creaked" when it was loaded by the weight of the
steel gate.  We had a copy of the original design calculations, which had
been checked by a second engineer in the office.  The column had been
designed using the assumption that the base of the column was "fixed", but
the detailing of the column base only had two anchor bolts located on the
centroid of the column section.  No design of the base plate had been
performed to justify the fixed-end condition.  The column was thus
underdesigned due to the erroneous end fixity assumption.  We were able to
brace the column before a catastrophic failure occurred.  

What I found most amazing was that two separate engineers had been involved
in the design but neither recognized that their design assumptions and
construction details did not match.  I am a strong advocate of having
structural calculations checked - but it is scary when even checked
calculations are wrong. 

> From: Jim Kestner [mailto:jkestner(--nospam--at)]
> Subject: Stupid Things I've Seen
> I think it might be interesting ( and educational) to share 
> some horror
> stories of things we have seen. These can be things we have 
> encountered
> in the field or in the office. They may have been done by Contractors,
> Architects, Engineers or even ourselves.
> Please keep them short and avoid using names.