Integrated Buildings & Structures

Expand all | Collapse all

What structural technical topics do we struggle with most?

  • 1.  What structural technical topics do we struggle with most?

    Posted 12-15-2020 05:25 PM
    Over the years I've noticed some trends in where structural engineers have questions technically, even on "standard" low/mid-rise buildings in low-seismic areas. I am curious as to what technical topics you have most mentored on (or if you are a young professional, wish you had more guidance on).

    Here's a few of those topics on my list:
    • masonry
    • diaphragm design
    • design of anchorages and anchor rods 
    • application of snow loads, especially drifting snow
    • designing for floor vibration
    • floor flatness/levelness/concrete finishing-related criteria
    • how to read/understand a geotechnical report
    • foundation design
    • code interpretation (IBC, ASCE 7, etc.)
    What would you add?

    ------------------------------
    Stephanie Slocum P.E., M.ASCE
    Founder
    Engineers Rising LLC
    www.engineersrising.com
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: What structural technical topics do we struggle with most?

    Posted 12-16-2020 08:30 AM
    Great post - this can really help guide future Structure Congress sessions!
    Thanks
    Marc

    ------------------------------
    Marc Hoit Ph.D., F.SEI, F.ASCE
    Vice Chancellor for IT & Professor
    NC State University
    Raleigh NC
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: What structural technical topics do we struggle with most?

    Posted 12-16-2020 08:31 AM
    Interesting Stephanie, I wonder if Fire or Blast are also topics people have questions on?

    ------------------------------
    Debbie Smith P.E., Aff.M.ASCE
    Sr. Manager
    ASCE
    Reston VA
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: What structural technical topics do we struggle with most?

    Posted 12-16-2020 09:56 AM
    Seeing and understanding the load path, from level to level to the foundation.

    This leads into knowing where best to place columns and provide lateral resisting systems and when to really engage the architect to allow for the soundness of the structure.

    ------------------------------
    Adrienne Coussens P.E., S.E., M.ASCE
    Project Engineer
    Peoria IL
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: What structural technical topics do we struggle with most?

    Posted 12-16-2020 05:24 PM
    Dear Stephanie, I want to add: Wind loads (Directional procedure) and non-linear design considering P-delta effects.

    Regards, AG

    ------------------------------
    Andres Guzman Ing., M.ASCE
    Associate Professor
    UNIVERSIDAD DEL NORTE
    Barranquilla
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: What structural technical topics do we struggle with most?

    Posted 12-17-2020 09:12 AM

    You may also add in your list : seismic ductile detailing aspects for industrial structures like long span pipe racks (box girders over columns) and long span trussed- portal frames with cranes (portal frame with stepped column). Thanks.

    Neeraj Agrawal



    ------------------------------
    Neeraj Agrawal
    Gurgaon
    India
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: What structural technical topics do we struggle with most?

    Posted 12-18-2020 09:28 AM

    I'd add the importance of structural redundancy.

    Jonathan S. Price, PE

    GCI, LLC



    ------------------------------
    Jonathan Price P.E., M.ASCE
    Green Cottage Industries, LLC
    Pottstown PA
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: What structural technical topics do we struggle with most?

    Posted 12-28-2020 09:21 AM

    From many years ago, 1985 I had the best engineering course that covered the subjects, that I have found poorly handled since that time,  Loads; seismic, rain. snow, live  their basis and how they are combined to achieve a proper level of safety.  What followed from the combination of loads was understanding the strength and weaknesses of the different methods of analysis.   The continuous learning over the years in these fields have allowed a maintaining of engineering skill.

    One really weak point I have found in most engineers is the writing of technical specifications for construction contracts.  Groups such as CSI have been very6 helpful in that area.

      



    ------------------------------
    David Thompson P.E., M.ASCE
    Principal
    KTA Structural Engineers Ltd.
    Calgary AB
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: What structural technical topics do we struggle with most?

    Posted 12-29-2020 09:08 AM

    Hi Stephanie, as a formerly full-time practitioner turned full-time professor-of-practice, quite a number of the topics that you mention are not covered at the undergraduate level but are covered at the Master's degree level. I notice students primarily concentrating on the "design" classes, even at the graduate level, thus losing valuable background. As a structural engineer, I minored in geotechnical engineering. I recommend some geotech courses for the most determined SE, so they can understand the geotechnical report and even argue with the geotech if the report seems too conservative. I would add:

    Interrelationship of primary structure and building cladding/facade

    Contractual relationships in engineering and construction (I created a class to talk about proposals, contracts and construction law. What are the SE's obligations to the SSE and vice versa?)

    Structural mechanics issues. How to confirm mode shapes in a FEM by hand? 

    Seismic design. (I have a course that goes through ASCE 7 seismic provisions, section by section. Interpretation of the Code comes by understanding the basis with lots of study.)



    ------------------------------
    William Kirkham Ph.D. Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE
    Director MCE Program
    The University of Kansas
    Overland Park KS
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: What structural technical topics do we struggle with most?

    Posted 07-17-2022 10:46 AM
    Hi Andre. . . and of course Steph!
    In another post which I now do not see, Andre identified "Management Risk vs Elegant Thinking!"
    as a topic to discuss.

    In Steph's list above, I will reflect on one point:    "how to read/understand a geotechnical report?"

    What both points suggest is that structural engineers and other engineering disciplines need to communicate, cooperate and collaborate in
    order for the work package/project work to be right the first time, every time.

    Q. Given that people, process, and leadership are critical elements to assure project success,
    what "Tools" have you learned and use to maintain collaborative relationships across discipline boundaries?

    Cheers,
    Bill





    ------------------------------
    William M. Hayden Jr., Ph.D., P.E., CMQ/OE, F.ASCE
    Buffalo, N.Y.

    "It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot 1819 - 1880
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: What structural technical topics do we struggle with most?

    Posted 07-18-2022 09:27 AM
    Dear Stephanie
    First of all thank you very much for putting the item list you have considered . I would like to put some more topics if you don't mind to add with yours just for seismic analysis .
    1. Deflection criteria of steel and concrete structure , Storey drift , Requirement of P-delta analysis .
    2. Damping ratio to be considered in  seismic analysis for steel and concrete structure.
    3. Site specific spectrum and design spectrum
    4. Implication of fault location near the project area
    5. Concept of seismic mass and missing mass correction method
    6. Importance of risk category of the structures in seismic analysis
    7. Application of ASCI 341 in D-F soil class ( As per ASCE 7-16)
    8. Consideration of over strength factors , response reduction factor , dynamic amplification factors
    9. Load combination factors for seismic analysis

    Despite we have  guideline for the above mentioned  topics, often it becomes  necessary to reiterate the same .

    Hope this will be useful for you .

    Have a nice day .

    Regards
    Archiman




    ------------------------------
    Archiman Chaudhuri Aff.M.ASCE
    Manager -CIVIL
    HDEC Middle East Co DMCC
    Dubai
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: What structural technical topics do we struggle with most?

    Posted 07-25-2022 01:27 PM
    Hey Stephanie, I am a young design professional (no masters), and one thing I wish I had more guidance about is modeling boundary/support conditions and what that looks like when detailing concrete structures.

    ------------------------------
    Brigid Kelly A.M.ASCE
    Project Engineer I
    Manassas VA
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: What structural technical topics do we struggle with most?

    Posted 07-29-2022 09:57 AM
    Excellent questions and comments.

    Our Design Practices Committee is dedicated to address some of these issues that are not typically covered by undergrad courses.  We are currently working on the topic of lateral load resisting systems (including diaphragms) and load paths.  (I had to learn this stuff "on the job" and a publication or webinar would have been helpful. Breyer addressed the application of lateral loads well in his wood book.)  Another topic that someone else mentioned is contracts or agreements.  It is important for all structural engineers to understand them.  They are the driving force for our work in the consulting field.

    If anyone would like to join the Design Practices Committee, please sign up on the SEI website.

    ------------------------------
    Randall Bernhardt P.E., F.SEI, F.ASCE
    Senior Consultant
    Saint Peters MO
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: What structural technical topics do we struggle with most?

    Posted 08-03-2022 11:46 AM
    Hi Randall.
    Re: "It is important for all structural engineers to understand them.  They are the driving force for our work in the consulting field."

    While there is no question that the technical excellence of structural engineers is a critical part of the equation,
    it is necessary but not sufficient to assure success the first and every time it is applied.

    Cheers,
    Bill




    ------------------------------
    William M. Hayden Jr., Ph.D., P.E., CMQ/OE, F.ASCE
    Buffalo, N.Y.

    "It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot 1819 - 1880
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: What structural technical topics do we struggle with most?

    Posted 08-08-2022 10:49 AM
    Yeah, These were the exact topics that I decided to begin with a geotechnical specialized contracting company to learn these substructures. I would like to add
    1. Shoring Design (Sheet Pile, Secant Pile, D Wall, Contiguous Pile) according to According to CIRIA C760
    2. Soil Structural Interaction
    3. Marine Structures (Jetties, Marine Piles, Combi Wall, Breakwater, Sea Walls)
    4. Low/mid to high rise buildings in low-seismic areas
    5. Seismic analysis of Historical Structures and Retrofitting

    ------------------------------
    Waqas Quraish, Aff.M.ASCE



    ------------------------------
    Waqas Quraish Aff.M.ASCE
    Jeddah
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: What structural technical topics do we struggle with most?

    Posted 08-31-2022 11:20 PM
    Material compatibility
    Dissimilar metals
    The many aspects of torsion (i.e., warping vs. pure, shear centers, etc.)
    Going through some of the latest Steel Construction Manuals, a lot of the things I had to research when early on.
    Vibration and Frequency associated with pumps, motors and fans. Early on in my career when researching frequency avoidance for a pump foundation, I found a reference in the technical library that led be to considering additional frequencies due to the number of blades at an opening.
    Getting to know the capabilities and limitations of analysis software. Interpreting disclaimers and the clues found in the user forums.

    ------------------------------
    James Williams P.E., M.ASCE
    Principal/Owner
    POA&M Structural Engineering, PLC
    Yorktown, VA
    ------------------------------