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Re: Definition of Unstable

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At 02:57 PM 7/26/2004 -0500, you wrote:
Once again, I find myself employed as an expert witness in the defense of a fellow structural engineer. 
 
Background:
 
A concrete 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.
 


Looks like its time to add a "gloom and doom" paragraph to my standard notes in my report format.

More on topic, I agree that a simple demonstration - if allowed - would be the most valuable in convincing a lay-jury or lay-judge of the implications of the relative nature of instabilites.


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