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RE: who is an expert?

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It has been said that an expert is ..."a person who makes mistakes quietly"
or "a person who makes three guesses consecutively and therefore establishes
a reputation as an expert" or "a person who knows more and more about less
and less".

I guess by the above definition we can all be called "experts" at one point
in time!

In Andrew's example project stated I think the client was well served, and
since "...it was a pretty straightforward RC structure with excellent
drawings from WPM. We thoroughly examined the problem, did a ton of
research, and came up with a very conservative solution due to the heavy
loads applied daily to this slab..." then it was probably a "correct"
engineering repair solution too. No need for "Einstein-type" experts if the
repair was durable, serviceable and economic.

But as Gail's posts highlighted and cautioned, all too often the
"engineering" (or lack of) consists of "copied details and specs from a
repair manual or old specs". Often the evaluations are cursory, the research
non-existent, and the adopted repair falls very short of correcting or
arresting the problem. If you look at some repair specs, often they are done
by the most junior engineer - it should be the most senior and experienced
engineer in my opinion.

Ed's original post stated that "...they've used epoxy on it, it didn't work,
any ideas for permanent repair..." Unfortunately, the REPAIR of the repair
is way too common. Good to see that an engineer is involved with the latest
repair attempts. Let's hope the owner does indeed get an engineered solution
that will last.

The real "danger" from internet/list-type responses it that often the
replies do not address the complete subject matter. They give you bits and
pieces of info. Case in point - Ed's original post was subject titled "Re:
Slab on grade Crack repairs". But reading the post's contents it seemed to
be more related to a suspended slab since there was water leakage, etc and
no mention that it was ground supported. Virtually all the repair responses
addressed suspended-PT slabs too. I guess we just got to be careful.


Mark Geoghegan
Honolulu, HAWAII



             > -----Original Message-----
             > From: Andrew D. Kester [mailto:andrew(--nospam--at)baeonline.com]
             > Sent: Monday, March 10, 2003 3:31 AM
             > To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
             > Subject: who is an expert?
             >
             >
             > (sorry if this posts twice)
             >
             > With all due respect to Gail and everyone out there...
             >
             > From her posts, she seems to be an expert in
             > concrete. Anything I say here
             > is with all due respect to her, but I too must some
             > of her statements.
             >
             >
             > Our company is not, neither am I, a concrete expert.
             > I don't know if I would
             > call us an "expert" in anything, but we have our
             > strengths and weaknesses.
             > We are always building on that and trying to broaden
             > and diversify our
             > knowledge and experience. We are a small firm that
             > does just about
             > everything 3 stories and less. I would never give
             > advice or take a job
             > involving pre/post stressed concrete, a parking
             > garage, etc. But concrete
             > repair on aging structures is a constant and
             > continuing problem, and local
             > engineers are going to be called upon to come up
             > with econmically viable
             > solutions.
             >
             >  Funny thing is, we actually did a repair job on
             > transfer station (two story
             > structure where garbage and recycling trucks dump
             > their stuff to be sorted
             > and hauled), and it was originally designed by
             > Walter P. Moore. It is a
             > gov't owned structure whom we have a continuing
             > contract with. They called
             > us, not our buddy Eric from WPM to fly in from MO.
             > Shoot, our total fee was
             > probably the site visit from them. Are we self
             > proclaimed concrete repair
             > experts? NO, not at all. But it was a pretty
             > straightforward RC structure
             > with excellent drawings from WPM. We thoroughly
             > examined the problem, did a
             > ton of research, and came up with a very
             > conservative solution due to the
             > heavy loads applied daily to this slab. We did not
             > determine the exact cause
             > of the problem (large diagonal cracks that leaked
             > "juice" to the lower
             > story) but had several theories. From all the
             > research we have done it seems
             > that sometimes it is impossible to determine the
             > exact cause and effects of
             > concrete cracking, delaminations, etc. We ended up
             > routing and pressure
             > epoxy sealing the cracks and supplied steel beam
             > framing epoxied and bolted
             > beneath the slab to support the full design loads, a
             > bypass framing system.
             > It was not that expensive, we knew this would solve
             > the problem with a high
             > factor of safety, and will not result in a call
             > back. We, along with the
             > contractor, did state that the cracks may reopen and
             > would require
             > maintenance over the lifetime of the structure. That
             > was over 2 years ago,
             > no calls.
             >
             > So were we wrong? What should we have done? What
             > would YOU have done? The
             > local gov't doesn't have the money to fly Gail or
             > Eric (the original SE
             > company) down and do nuclear testing and so on and
             > so forth.  We are not
             > concrete experts, although we have a fair amount of
             > knowledge on the
             > subject. Should we have told them to fly in an
             > expert because we didn't want
             > to buy more books and do the research? Isn't part of
             > the job experience
             > also? Why shouldn't we pick the brains of hundreds
             > of other SEs with similar
             > experiences, telling us what they did, what they
             > would do, what they would
             > not do, things to avoid? I learned from Gail not to
             > use "polyurethane
             > injection for a slab with
             > traffic loading", this is from the internet. BTW,
             > what was her
             > reccomendation?
             >
             >   Aren't some repairs difficult for even an expert
             > to determine and solve
             > with 100% satisfaction, thus possibly resulting in a
             > call back or a trial
             > and error process? Isn't the point of research to
             > avoid this? How do you get
             > to be an expert?
             >
             > If I am way off here then let be scolded, but I am
             > confused. I am not sure
             > what we should do then when something comes up WE
             > haven't seen before.
             > Doesn't this happen all of the time? Obviously
             > certain things do require
             > specific experience and knowledge. Like I said, for
             > ex., I would not touch
             > prestressed concrete, I don't know anything about
             > it. I would like to hear
             > other opinions. I say all this with all due respect
             > to Gail, who made a good
             > point, but maybe went overboard or did not explain
             > what exactly she meant,
             > although I THINK I understand. I mean, can I spec
             > repair to a sidewalk or
             > something trivial like that, then work my way up?
             > How do we draw the line?
             > Where can we get the best and latest resources on
             > concrete repair and
             > diagnoses? I have the 1999 ACI Concrete Repair
             > manual, what else?
             >
             > Please, my more experienced SE mentors, clarify this
             > cloudy subject...
             >
             >
             >
             > Andrew D. Kester, EI
             > Structural Engineer
             >
             >
             >
             >
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