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Re: Field Observations - Stupid things I've seen

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> From: James Bela <sasquake(--nospam--at)>

> Seldom, however, does anyone deliberately do a stupid thing.  Usually, it's
> "that's the way we've always done it", or they just don't understand.

Or, rather, "that's the way we've always done it", BECAUSE, "they just
don't understand." The apprentice will always assume that his supervisor
knows what he is doing.

I'm sure that we all get concerned when we hear those little words,
"We've been doing it for XX years without any problems ....". I get even
more concerned when I hear this coming from an engineer.

There has been some discussion on this list regarding inadequacies of
guard rail systems, especially posts. On a recent job I had the audacity
to ask the supplier about the connection that they were using at the
base of the guard post - simple everyday item that typically gets
ignored since there are many standard details - it was effectively a
pinned connection, but, "we've been using this connection for years ..."
Incredibly, they could easily have made an adequate connection, with
less material/labour, if they reversed one component.

A large company with in-house engineering and standard details (pick
one, I've encountered a couple that operated the same way). They were in
the practice of accepting/spec'ing the standard detail without much
(any?) review. I noted to them that the member sizes provided were
indicated as minimums and that there was no apparent checking to
confirm. Well, thank you very much for your efforts, but, "we've been
using this detail for years and never had any problems ..."

Next time that you do a project involving a metal building, ask to see
the design data for the PAIRED light braces (one on each side) that are
used to brace the inner (compression) flange of the beam. Not the total
bracing load path (that's another story) just the actual brace member.
Right from the beginning of the song and dance, "we've been using this
detail for years and never had any problems ...", but I have never seen
a rational design analysis (considering assembly flexibility) or test

Paul Ransom, P. Eng.
Burlington, Ontario, Canada
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