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RE: Connections Designing, General Standards? POLL

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-----Original Message-----
From: Kestner, James W. [mailto:jkestner(--nospam--at)somervilleinc.com] 
Sent: Friday, May 27, 2005 1:58 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: RE: Connections Designing, General Standards? POLL

We specify the load that the connection should be detailed for, which is
determined from the load that the actual conection will see.

-----/Original Message-----

Point of order: We don't design for "the load that the connection will
see." We design for the EFFECTS of a hypothetical level of load that is
rationally-derived yet essentially arbitrary.

No one knows what load a member or element, including a connection, will
"see." The maximum load effect on a structural element over its lifetime
may be far less than the design load--it can even be a good bit MORE
(consuming some portion of the "factor of safety" in that case).

This has really become more "real" to me when I have to talk to clients
and/or construction people about why some element in a structure isn't
"overdesigned" even though "they've never seen one designed that big
before, and they've never seen a smaller one fail." The fact is that
something may be underdesigned with respect to building code
requirements, and yet never see a single day of difficulty owing to the
fact that it has never experienced the equivalent effect of the
prescribed live load--or even close.

We structural engineers live in the world of impending catastrophe. But
that's not necessarily the real world.


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