To: "INTERNET:seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org" <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
Subject: Re:Formwork Design Question
From: Mark Gilligan <MarkKGilligan(--nospam--at)compuserve.com>
Date: Tue, 16 May 2000 10:42:14 -0400
It was stated:- >>>Let us not get too tied up with probability.
Probability is for gamblers and
abstract mathematicians, not for engineers who have to protect life.<<<
Section A5.3 of the comentary to the LRFD code clearly makes the point that
this code was explicitly based on probabilistic principles.
The reality is that engineering is about balancing risk. When we design a
member we balance the cost of construction against the cost of a human
life. While we may be fairly conservative in taking such risks, we are
still taking risks. In fact those who study the process of risk management
have found that we have a tendency to over estimate the short term risks
and to underestimate the long term risks.
Part of the problem of balancing risks is the difficulty people have in
assigning a value to the cost of human life. But while we have difficulty
in doing this, we implictly do it when ever we make a decision. The result
is that when we base our decisions on our perceptions as opposed to some
more objective criteria the actual risk varies greatly.
Probability is an imperfect tool and is subject to abuse, but we ignore it
at our own risk.