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RE: Apartment Building Collapse

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I am not totally sold on probabalistic design either.  The key thing is
that I would not place a guarantee on a building not collapsing due to
some unforseen natural event for any period of time.  I would tell someone
that the more money one is willing to toss at the structural components,
then the those components can be designed into a stronger structural
system, and the more likely the structure could survive a certain level of
natural event.

I would also add that someone could design the most "perfect" structure
that could theoretically survive 50 years (assuming a extreme natural
event didn't take it out), but if it is poorly maintained, then that
structure may not last 20 years is effective use.  An excellent example
are many bridges and highways in the state of Michigan.  Many of the
bridges and highways had "expected" lifetimes here.  However, since for
many years in the recent past maintanence of the highways and bridges has
been a low priority, many are in need of replacement prior to the end of
their "expected" life.  It also doesn't help that our truck weight limits
are twice that of state with next highest limit (if I recall correctly).


On Thu, 14 Dec 2000, Christopher Wright wrote:

> >translates into a recurrance period of about 2500 years
> Given the scarcity of 2500 year old buildings and the fact that 
> earthquake measurements go back maybe 100 years, my guess is there's more 
> to it.
> Don't mind me, I'm as skeptical about probabalistic design (cf. Feynman's 
> comments on the Challenger failure probabilities) as I am about LRFD. But 
> I'm not letting it interfere with Christmas. ;-> 
> Christopher Wright P.E.    |"They couldn't hit an elephant from
> chrisw(--nospam--at)        | this distance"   (last words of Gen.
> ___________________________| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)