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FW: Definition of Unstable
- To: "Seaint (E-mail)" <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
- Subject: FW: Definition of Unstable
- From: "LaCount, Curt" <Curt.LaCount(--nospam--at)jacobs.com>
- Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2004 10:20:27 -0400
is a quote that is pretty much in line with what you've received so far.
It comes from "Structural Stability, Theory and Implementation" by W.F.Chen and
a change in the geometry of a structure or structural component under
compression will result in the loss of it's ability to resist loadings, this
condition is called instability."
Once again, I find
myself employed as an expert witness in the defense of a fellow structural
tiltwall industrial building was constructed in 1976 and expanded in
1991. Due primarily to differential heaving of expansive clay soils, the
building suffered substantial distress over a period of many years. By
1999, the distress had progressed to a point where the building owner brought in
three separate structural engineers to observe the condition of the
building. All three engineers independently concluded that they observed
significant structural problems and recommended further testing, repair and
monitoring programs. The owner apparently ignored these recommendations,
and instead proceeded to sell the building to the tenant in 2000. Less
than a year later, the roof collapsed. An insurance company
subsequently paid a claim well in excess of $2 million, and is now subrogating
against (suing) all three engineers. The allegations principally are that
the engineers: (1) failed to include warnings about the immediate need for
repairs, (2) failed to include warnings about life-safety issues, and (3) failed
to report that collapse was imminent.
The engineer that
I am defending wrote a two-page report summarizing the observed damage and
recommending specific repairs, tests, and monitoring. Prior to a list
of nine items, one key sentence reads: "Please find listed below items
that need to be completed immediately and prior to any other
investigations." In my opinion, this sentence directly refutes the
first allegation. Another key sentence reads: "It is my opinion
that the building is relatively unstable at this time with differential
floor slab and wall panels movements noted." In my opinion, this sentence
indirectly refutes the third allegation because I consider an unstable
building to be a building where the risk of potential collapse is
imminent. What I need to support this opinion is a good written definition
of "unstable". Preferably, I would like to be able to refer to a
well-written paragraph in a widely recognized text or other
reference. Any suggestions?
Stan R. Caldwell,
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