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Conrad,

Dull structural engineers should not be involved in complex structures, so whoever is selecting the consulting engineer should not select a dull one if he wants a complex structure. If the idiot paying the money selects a dull engineer to design a complex structure, what can he expect to get!

I disagree with a lot of what you are saying. Yes, there are engineers who are only up to square boxes. There are probably some who should not design anything that is suspended also, because they hurt when they fall down. Hopefully most of them know their limitations and do not try to take on tasks beyond their abilities.

But most times, it is the client who causes the structure to be a big box because they will not pay for anything else, in terms of construction costs, construction time and consultants fees. And often it is a very cheap big box because they use substandard materials that start to look run-down after only a few years, especially with cladding. I know a lot of engineers who are capable of designing any structure they are asked for, but I do not know of many clients who are willing to pay for it, except in the Middle East (and who knows what money is being used to pay for it there). You cannot expect to get the Sydney Opera House for a structural fee .5% of construction cost and have it designed in 3 weeks and built by the end of the year for $300 per/m2.

I agree that the Sydney Opera House is overly complex, overly expensive and probably a waste of money, but that is what the Architect came up with and the client was willing to pay (too bad it was our tax dollars). They tried to get it simplified during the design stages but did not succeed.


At 05:23 PM 11/08/2009, you wrote:
Gil,

The architect may operate as part of a team, but the architect is typically
the team leader and historically the team leader. They may not make the
engineering decisions, but their decisions influence the structure.

Thus architects determine whether get the Sydney Opera House, or the
Adelaide Festival theatre, or the Adelaide Entertainment centre. If a dull
structural engineer involved then the Sydney Opera House would have been
simplified to being like the Adelaide Entertainment centre: a big box. And
architects do seem to have a hard time finding structural engineers who will
go beyond the big box. If sticking with the box, and to historical
conventions, and the tried and tested, then what need of the engineer?

The lesser architect will be bullied by the structural engineer into
accepting the dull box, the great architect will not budge and will find a
better structural engineer (real).

Since architects are not all alike and structural engineers are not all
alike, it makes sense that sometimes they need to be paired up and sometimes
they have no need of each other. Some times neither is required and have
owner-designer-builders doing it all for themselves.

There is no one single project organisation structure, that suits all
projects, all the time, and in all places. The resources available to a
project have to be managed properly: calling in the higher level skills when
needed.



Regards
Conrad Harrison
B.Tech (mfg & mech), MIIE, gradTIEAust
mailto:sch.tectonic(--nospam--at)bigpond.com
Adelaide
South Australia





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Regards  Gil Brock
Prestressed Concrete Design Consultants Pty. Ltd. (ABN 84 003 163 586)
5 Cameron Street Beenleigh Qld 4207 Australia
Ph +61 7 3807 8022              Fax +61 7 3807 8422
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