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Re: definition

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Alden Manipula wrote:

>>so what's a good way to answer when someone asks me, "You're a structural
engineer, is this building structurally sound?"  it always seems like i'm
walking into a trap when someone asks me this.<<

Has someone hired you to do a structural evaluation of a building?  If so, 
were you hired to do a comprehensive structural evaluation or a visual 
inspection?

In my reports for performing a visual inspection, I include the statement, 
"While a visual inspection may detect certain structural inadequacies, a 
visual inspection *cannot* determine if a building is structurally adequate 
or complies with any building code or standard."

In a comprehensive structural evaluation of a building, I try to evaluate the 
building both in accordance with the code under which the building was 
constructed and in accordance with structural performance learned since the 
building was built.  For example, wood bowstring trusses constructed 25 years 
ago that complied with the then existing code can frequently be inadequate 
under dead load alone based on full size wood tension tests performed in the 
late 70's.

I would be reluctant in any case to categorize a building as "structurally 
sound."  I certainly wouldn't based on looking at a building!  And, I 
certainly wouldn't give an oral evaluation.  If you tell a person, "I can't 
see anything wrong with the building, but ..." he/she will frequently hear 
you say, "The building's O.K.," and hear nothing after the "but."

Hope this helps.

A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
Tucson, Arizona