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RE: STANDARD PRACTICE

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I don't know about the rest of you, but when I go into a public building, I would like to able to assume that someone verified the design for wind loads, gravity loads ... whatever. As a client, I would expect documentation that structural analysis took place. I'm not saying it has to be some spruced up package made to look fancy, but things should be checked and there should be documentation that certain critical things were checked.

Because there is no record of calculations, it would seem difficult to build any case against an engineer in court unless you hired another engineer to check all the members and connections.

What do you guys do, have a senior engineer start picking beams and columns on feel and then not verify their adequacy? Feel and eyeball engineering should be taught in our universities now. Seems like something contractors or PM's would love.

-gerard
SF, CA



>>> scaldwell(--nospam--at)halff.com 06/13/01 10:43AM >>>
Neil:
 
What attitude are you referring to?  Would you have us believe that formal
calculation submittals and plan checks actually lead to better engineering
practice?  Do you have any proof of that?  What blown apart structures are
you referring to on the East Coast?  Would they mostly be single family
residences, which typically are not designed by any engineer?
 
Thank you very much, but I don't anticipate needing your help in court.  I
have been in practice for more than 30 years.  I've been sued twice over
alleged design errors.  Both suits were thrown out as being wholly without
merit.  I also was the EOR on a large warehouse that collapsed two years
after construction.  That led to a $26 million lawsuit, and more than $1
million of forensic structural testing, but neither I nor my employer were
involved in the lawsuit (because we did not design the roof drains and
scuppers).  I have also served as an expert witness in the defense of more
than a dozen other structural engineers.  Most of those cases involved life
loss and claims in excess of $20 million.  Not once did I ask to see the
original design calculations, because it was always the design that was on
trial, not the calculations.  A third party expert witness cannot form an
independent and unbiased opinion of design adequacy if he/she is influenced
by the original design calculations.  Incidentally, it happens that all of
the defendants were eventually exonerated.
 
Regards,
 
Stan R. Caldwell, P.E.
Dallas, Texas

 
Stan:

May this attitude is why we see so many blown apart structures in the
eastern side of the country. 

" by such bureaucratic nonsense as formal calculation submittals and
plan-checks."

I'd hate to have to try to defend you in court.


Neil Moore, S.E.
neil moore and associates
shingle springs, california



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