Professional and Career Topics

  • 1.  Another South Florida Building Deemed Unsafe - How Many More and What Can Be Done?

    Posted 04-05-2022 03:46 PM
    I saw in Source today that another Florida building has been deemed unsafe. Here's the link to the article. it makes me wonder if any body has developed a statistical / predictive model that might bound the size problem for South Florida as well as identify other locations that poste out of the ordinary risk. At a minimum, this could make for a great Master's project. But, I do think is deserved of more attention. I've also thought about the opportunity of creating a simple guide that residents and homeowner associations can use to identify possible structural anomalies and serve as the basis for calling in expert resources. Is this an opportunity for the ASCE or SEI and if not who should take the lead and why?

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    Mitch Winkler P.E., M.ASCE
    Houston, TX
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  • 2.  RE: Another South Florida Building Deemed Unsafe - How Many More and What Can Be Done?

    Posted 04-06-2022 08:04 AM
    Interesting thoughts Mitch. I've been called down to look at a couple buildings in Miami lately. I've been told Miami-Dade is super spooked by the Seaside disaster and taking a longer, deeper look at their 40 year recertification process. It's not a bad idea per se but in the process they are going after some smaller buildings as well and it's forcing some very difficult decisions on cash strapped non-profits, churches, and those that relies on donations for operational overhead and capital improvements. For me... the lessons learned are obvious - no one likes planned, predictable maintenance costs and no one seems to save for it well, not even the city, country or federal, government. While I don't blame Miami Dade it feels like it was foreseeable issue and a knee jerk reaction by the AHJ towards low hanging fruit.

    Here's the notice some of my clients are receiving:
    https://www.miamidade.gov/permits/library/recertification-building.pdf

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    Jesse Kamm PhD, PMP, A.M.ASCE
    Senior Vice President of Construction Management
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  • 3.  RE: Another South Florida Building Deemed Unsafe - How Many More and What Can Be Done?

    Posted 04-06-2022 09:25 AM
    Mitch, my question is how much different does one get from the ICC minimum code standards that are free to the public these days?

    Just yesterday, I had a cousin started laughing at me when I started to explain ridge beam vs. ridge board; "Honey, didn't you see my eyes glaze over and all the stuff start flying over my head!"

    We may need to change our approach and deliver TV programs/videos in small bites because reading "technical jargon" is not what some folks are interested in. We may need to develop an engineering drama series similar to CIS, ER or Grey's Anatomy, L.A. Law and throw in some forensic engineering or engineering school. LOL!!!

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    James Williams P.E., M.ASCE
    Principal/Owner
    POA&M Structural Engineering, PLC
    Yorktown, VA
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  • 4.  RE: Another South Florida Building Deemed Unsafe - How Many More and What Can Be Done?

    Posted 08-21-2022 07:50 PM
    Hi Mitch, great questions!

    Q. "I saw in Source today that another Florida building has been deemed unsafe. . ."

    A. Well, Forensic Engineers will be able, once the building fails, to factually study and then
    report on those findings.

    For that type of failure to be corrected, we need to get to the source, i.e., where it started.

    Dr. Deming suggested that one needs to ask knowledgeable project staff for that failed building "Why."  
    i.e., starting at the failure itself, ask "Why" at least 5 times, going backwards in the process that led to the failure.

    My limited experience in this has shown that back-upstream trip will take one right into the boardroom of the executives
    who accepted the project.
    Cheers,
    Bill


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    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
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  • 5.  RE: Another South Florida Building Deemed Unsafe - How Many More and What Can Be Done?

    Posted 08-22-2022 10:21 AM
    This kind of building behavior can be analyzed using InSAR data. You can survey large areas like cities or states with a certain periodicity without the need to send in people. Analysis of the resulting time series can show when the building started moving, which way it leaned (if it did), and how fast it was happening. If you factor in building size/mass, climate, soils, and possibly underground infrastructure and/or utilities, I believe you could predict similar behavior on other objects. Or you could order regular monitoring over just critical objects. Similar survey could be done for HOAs on a regular basis.

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    Elena Ermolaeva A.M.ASCE
    InSAR Application Engineer
    Katy TX
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