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Re: Design Checking - Here and Now and Future of Engineering

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Yes, but this is why engineers need to develop better ideas about design checking.  We cannot let such a thing slide by unchecked.  Perhaps there have been no good tools to check what is going on.  I know that a program like STAAD allows alot of simple changes to happen, and the interface in file format is fairly easy to evaluate.

FEM is easy to setup.  It is not complicated.  But understanding it is complicated.  This is why an engineer has to look at the finals of it.  If it is passed on without a second look, yes, it is falling through the holes.  This is not the goal.  I would also not take design results from a drafter.  Once the establishment of a model is available, the engineer needs to take over, and have means to check what has been input.  Creating a model is easy.  If you point a young child to do it, I am sure they could develop it as well.  It just takes time, and they could be experts at setting up.   But, knowing about materials, and elements, and forces, those are different matters. 

Also, an engineer needs to decide when it is appropriate to use a model.  It is not always appropriate.  An engineer will know the tools and what they are capable of because they have the educational foundation.  But there are many youngsters that do not have any opportunities.  Many end up with problems, many end up where we wish they would not.

We are all a part of the global village, there has to be some ways where we can do more for each other, and our communities.  If someone breaks into our house and steals from us, can we really blame them?  Has our society given people enough opportunity?  At the same time, hasn't our society put too much emphasis on entertainment and violence?  Then there have to be changes.  These are ideas, and they can work if we have persistence in the right directions.

Kind Regards

On 12/15/06, Gil Brock <gil(--nospam--at)> wrote:
And there we have the biggest problem.

Untrained (as engineers) people doing the FEM modelling!!! It is almost impossible to ensure that a complex FEM model you have not generated yourself is correct. The time required would be more than that needed to create the model in the first place.

About 15 years ago I heard of companies using draftsmen doing modelling for Staad runs for multi-storey buildings because they were better at it than engineers and cheaper per hour as well. It got to the point that no engineer ever looked at the design, because the draftsman transferred the design results straight to drawings and then the engineer signed the drawing. The computer had done it all so it must be right and the draftsman new how to detail so no problem.

Unfortunately, too many people seem to think that software is replacing the need for engineers to design. It is really just the opposite. They are complex calculators and require even more engineering knowledge and effort because of the amount data generated and the complexity of the results. FEM is good but only in the hands of the most experienced engineers. Instead we give it to the least experienced because they are better with computers. Too bad they do not know what they are doing and will never learn.