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Re: big dig structural failure - epoxy anchors overhead supporting gravity

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I'm going to jump in here, because it's a good place for me to disagree.

I would venture to say that the codes have no effect on this problem, nor does an advanced degree (in a statistically significant way). Experience, unfortunately, is one of the only ways to avoid this type of failure. Whether a code allows or disallows the use of adhesives in tension does not necessarily mean that there was any engineering judgment behind it. The same goes for advanced degrees. Just because someone has spent an extra 4 years at a university discovering the minutiae of a particular type of structure doesn't mean they know squat about how to put a building or bridge (or tunnel) together in the real world. Far from it, in my experience. If there is a PhD program in "General Structural Design" or "Structural Engineering for All Types of Construction" I will happily take back that last sentence, but US doctorate programs generally focus on research and advanced applications, not broad-brush construction practice and common sense.

It has been mentioned, and I would agree, that the need to produce as much work as possible at the lowest (reasonable) cost has pushed most younger engineers into positions for which they are insufficiently experienced or trained. There is a distinct lack of sufficient, experienced oversight in most offices. Too many projects, too few gray hairs. This is combined with the natural tendency for engineers to be self assured in the technical field of their choice, leading to even fewer knowledge transfers across the generations. I was solidly on the young side not so long ago. Twice (two different fields). I'm pretty comfortable with what I work on, but there are still large areas where I'm not. What we all have to deal with is the areas we don't know we don't know (you know?). Engineering "blind spots." You only find those out by mistake - yours or others. There almost no substitute for years in the field.

This is actually a bit of a downer, as adhesive anchors are one of my favorite fix-it products. I prefer them to mechanical anchors, but mostly because I'm often constrained by edge distances. I also avoid threaded concrete anchors (small tap-con like products) and PAFs because I find so many of them seat poorly under field conditions.


refugio rochin wrote:

I admittedly am one of these younger engineers.
In my office, I am the most knowledgeable about steel SMRFs, yet my
experience is also limited to coursework.  Perhaps it is a problem
with codes advancing too quickly, changes that a company cannot keep
up with, except to hire the young engineers that have had the
coursework.  It is a good reason to have an engineer with a masters or
phd, at least they should be more studied in the latest research.  It
is good for our company that we have engineers of different
characteristics, to get a broad perspective on the approaches, with
some ideas that can be addressed even in the field during erection.

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