Integrated Buildings & Structures

  • 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?

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

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

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

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

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



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    Neeraj Agrawal
    Gurgaon
    India
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  • 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



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

      



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



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