News


Jan 24th Special Event: US Concrete Products Batch Plant Tour & Pre-Tour Technical Meeting

posted Jan 4, 2018, 5:34 PM by robert miller   [ updated Jan 11, 2018, 6:59 AM ]

Chris Baldauf, Chief Operating Officer
US Concrete Products / American Dry Mix

Register by 12:00 PM Monday January 22nd
**Receive 2.0 Professional Development Hours**

Topic Description:
Pre-Packaged Concrete Repair materials.  One of the most widely used structural building components in the world, Concrete, 
Image result for us concrete products baltimore
remains a challenge for specifiers in rehabilitation and repair.  Although the first load of Redi-Mix Concrete was first delivered in Baltimore, MD in 1913, some repairs are not logistically fit for a Redi-Mix trucks.  When this is the case, Engineers turn to Pre-Packaged Concrete Repair Materials.  As with Redi-Mix Concrete, aggregate gradations - ASTM C33 and water cement ratios are of vital importance to the concrete’s long tern durability and physical properties.   Repair Concrete with Concrete.  Material considerations for Full Depth Repairs as noted by Federal Highway Administration.  US Concrete Products’ Full -Depth Repair materials.

**This event will begin at the Engineers Club followed by a free bus shuttle to the USCP batching facility and back to the city.**

Speaker Bio:
Chris Baldauf, currently COO of US Concrete Products / American Dry Mix, leading supplier of pre-packaged concrete materials to residential and commercial construction.  Chris works closely with Owners, Engineers and Contractors providing repair alternatives to structural industry.  Chris started his career in concrete materials with American Stone Mix, Sakrete USA NE, developing and contracting Flowable Fill (Flo-Ash) installations for geotechnical and civil applications with entities such as: WSSC, BGE and PECO Energy.  Over the last 17 years, Chris has developed a full understanding of cement technology and mix design parameters encompassing the pre-packaged structural repair industry.  Involved with Projects specifying fast-setting concretes at Logan Airport in MA to Historical Restoration of Berkeley Stadium in CA, Chris has practical exposure to all types of structural concrete repair. Current Member of ACI, ASA, ICRI -  VA (Past Board member of Richmond, VA Chapter).  Currently hold ACI Field Testing Certificate.


Evening Schedule:
Event Date: Wednesday, January 24th 
10:45 AM– 11:30 AM: Registration/Deli Buffet
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM: Technical Presentation
12:30 PM - 1:00 PM: Free Bus Shuttle to USCP Plant
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM: Plant Tour and Discussion
2:00 PM - 2:30 PM: Free Bus Shuttle back to ESB

Cost for this Event:
Member/Non-Member from Sponsored Firm: $10
Full-Students: FREE with proof of enrollment
Others: $15

Event Location:
The Engineers Society Of Baltimore (ESB)
Garrett-Jacobs Mansion
11 West Mount Vernon Place
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

Nearby Parking: 
601 N Calvert St, Baltimore, MD 21202

Event Details:
(2) PDH awarded with attendance.
RSVP via Web Link to Sign-up Form 
Reservations will be considered firm and billed unless cancelled by no later than Monday noon prior to event.
Billing for late canceled reservations will be billed at the highest rate.
Checks or cash payable at the door. Checks payable to: “ASCE Maryland Section”.  Add a note indicating “USCP Tour in the memo spot on the check.
Credit card payment also available via PayPal.
ESB Dress Code: Jacket Required
Concrete Batch Plant PPE: Eye Protection (can be provided by USCP if needed)

    

January 9th Meeting: "Business Ethics vs. Engineering Ethics: Conflicts of Interest, and Unlicensed & Unauthorized Practice"

posted Dec 29, 2017, 3:29 AM by robert miller   [ updated Dec 29, 2017, 3:42 AM ]

Presented by Troy S. Brown, Esq.
Enforcement Division of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

**Receive 1.0 Professional Development Hours**
This presentation meets Cat B continuing ed requirements for the State of Maryland

Topic Description:
The concept of “business ethics,” as economist Milton Friedman summarizes, is “generally … to make as much money as possible while conforming to their basic rules of the society, both those embodied in law and those embodied in ethical custom.” Conversely, the concept “professional ethics” are often established by professional organizations to help guide members in performing their job functions according to sound and consistent principles, adopted by that professional community. Being caught between the proverbial Scylla of business ethics and the Charybdis of professional ethics can be difficult for engineering professionals to navigate. Many potential problems can arise for those aspiring endeavoring to build a lucrative business, especially one involving professional services that may be considered quasi-engineering, in nature. 

This presentation focuses on the interaction and tensions between professional ethics and business ethics, namely business conflicts of interest, unlicensed practice, and unauthorized practice. These issues necessitate resolving essential questions; the failure to properly navigate the interstices of business and professional ethics could result in reprimand, suspension, fines, revocation of one’s professional license, ruinous liability or the inability to compete, and, in the case of engineering disaster, even death. Many questions arise while balancing between these often opposing ethical poles. For example, what concerns should an engineer consider before being engaged to perform similar services for rival businesses? For a businessperson providing quasi-engineering services, should it matter, from an ethical perspective, if unlicensed an “engineer” provides engineering services? Similarly, should there by any ethical issues if an engineer licensed in one state extends her business into another state without obtaining proper authorization? 
From one perspective, we as a society want to protect the justified and reasonable endeavors of qualified professionals. One the other hand, society has an interest in ensuring minimum safety requirements for services provided by engineers. Sometimes these tensions can be harmonized, but as the provision of services becomes a matter of interstate commerce, these tensions become rather difficult to resolve. These issues, while not exhaustive of their type, represent three of the more ubiquitous and challenging for the 21st century professional/businessperson. The presentation will use several scenarios to illustrate the tensions between the contrasting concepts of professional ethics and business ethics to facilitate discussion.

Speaker Bio:
Troy S. Brown is a native of Baltimore, Maryland. Mr. Brown graduated summa cum laude from Morgan State University in 1999, where he earned a B.A. in political science. Mr. Brown earned his J.D. in 2003 from Harvard Law School, and his masters in public administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Mr. Brown is a practicing attorney and currently works with the Enforcement Division of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and was an associate professor of law at Michigan State University College of Law and a visiting professor at Vytautas Magnus University Law School, where he taught Professional Responsibility and Conflict of Laws. Mr. Brown was also an associate at McGuireWoods, LLP, in Atlanta, Georgia where he practiced intellectual property and complex commercial litigation and represented franchisors, Fortune 500 companies, and major financial institutions in a broad range of litigation matters. He is a member of several professional legal groups including the American Bar Association and the Gate City Bar American.
Mr. Brown's research interests lie in governmental responses to crises, law and policy, and law and economics. 


Evening Schedule:
Event Date: Tuesday, January 9th 
6:00 – 7:00 PM: Registration/Deli Buffet/Open Bar
7:00 – 8:00 PM: SEI Announcements and Presentation
8:00 – 8:15 PM: Q&A and Closing Remarks

Cost for this Event:
SEI-MD Member from Sponsored firm = $25
Non-member from sponsored firm = $30
Dues Paying SEI-MD Member from non-sponsored firm = $40
Non-member from non-sponsored firm = $45
Full-Time Students = FREE
Event Location:
The Engineers Society Of Baltimore (ESB)
Garrett-Jacobs Mansion
11 West Mount Vernon Place
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

Nearby Parking: 
601 N Calvert St, Baltimore, MD 21202

Event Details:
(1) PDH awarded with attendance.
RSVP via Web Link to Sign-up Form 
Reservations will be considered firm and billed unless cancelled by no later than Friday noon prior to event.
Billing for late canceled reservations will be billed at the highest rate.
Checks or cash payable at the door. Checks payable to: “ASCE Maryland Section”.  Add a note indicating “SEI Meeting” in the memo spot on the check.
Credit card payment also available via PayPal.
ESB Dress Code: Jacket required, Tie optional.
 

December 5th Meeting: "Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC) Bridge Applications"

posted Oct 7, 2017, 7:16 AM by robert miller   [ updated Oct 29, 2017, 6:40 PM ]

Presented by Gregory Nault, PE, SE
UHPC Specialist for Bridge and Other Structural Engineering Applications
Ductal (a division of LafargeHolcim)

        

**Receive 1.0 Professional Development Hours**

Topic Description:
Ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) is one of the major breakthroughs in concrete technology in the last two centuries. It is a fiber-reinforced, cementitious material that offers exceptional mechanical and durability performance, including compressive strengths exceeding 22,000 psi and excellent resistance against environmental degradation. For this reason, UHPC is being considered for a wide variety of structural and architectural applications to provide innovative design solutions. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has taken significant interest in this material as part of their Every Day Counts program to promote accelerated bridge construction (ABC) through the use of prefabricated bridge elements. Field-cast UHPC is used in this case to join prefabricated elements on-site to form simple, strong, durable connections for improved long-term performance. Over 180 bridges throughout North America have been constructed using this type of system. This presentation will discuss what UHPC is, what characteristics it exhibits, the advantages to using it, and the various structural applications that have proven successful over the years.

Speaker Bio:
Gregory Nault, PE, SE is currently a project manager with LafargeHolcim, a world-leading concrete supplier that manufactures ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) under the brand name Ductal®. Greg works closely with engineers and owners to provide innovative design solutions using UHPC. Prior to joining LafargeHolcim, Greg spent 8 years as a professional engineer designing bridge structures for highway and railway projects. He received his BSCE from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his MSCE from the University at Buffalo (UB). Greg is a registered professional engineer in five states and a registered structural engineer in Illinois. He is an active member of various ACI and PCI Committees and is an Advisory Board member for the Institute of Bridge Engineering at UB.

Evening Schedule:
Event Date: Tuesday, December 5th 
6:00 – 7:00 PM: Registration/Deli Buffet/Open Bar
7:00 – 8:00 PM: SEI Announcements and Presentation
8:00 – 8:15 PM: Q&A and Closing Remarks



Event Sponsored by DeWalt / Powers. DeWalt representative to have booth with product information including new anchor design software. 


Cost for this Event:
SEI-MD Member from Sponsored firm = $25
Non-member from sponsored firm = $30
Dues Paying SEI-MD Member from non-sponsored firm = $40
Non-member from non-sponsored firm = $45
Full-Time Students = FREE
Event Location:
The Engineers Society Of Baltimore (ESB)
Garrett-Jacobs Mansion
11 West Mount Vernon Place
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

Nearby Parking: 
601 N Calvert St, Baltimore, MD 21202

Event Details:
(1) PDH awarded with attendance.
RSVP via Web Link to Sign-up Form 
Reservations will be considered firm and billed unless cancelled by no later than Friday noon prior to event.
Billing for late canceled reservations will be billed at the highest rate.
Checks or cash payable at the door. Checks payable to: “ASCE Maryland Section”.  Add a note indicating “SEI Meeting” in the memo spot on the check.
Credit card payment also available via PayPal.
ESB Dress Code: Jacket required, Tie optional.
 

November 7th Meeting: "Bridge Foundations: Constructability Issues In The Design And Selection Process"

posted Oct 2, 2017, 4:12 PM by robert miller   [ updated Oct 14, 2017, 9:54 AM ]

Presented by Steve W. Fung, PE
Schnabel Engineering, LLC. 
Email: sfung@schnabel-eng.com

**Receive 1.0 Professional Development Hours**

Topic Description:
Bridge foundations are designed based on the AASHTO LRFD Design Specifications, 7th Edition, 2014.  The specifications provide design guidelines for the design of different foundation elements, however, the selection of the appropriate foundation type for support of the bridge structure is ultimately the responsibility of the designer.  The selection of the appropriate foundation type is typically based on one or more of the following factors:
        •The magnitude and type of foundation loads. 
        •The subsurface conditions at the site
        •Cost of the foundation type
        •Special design considerations such as scour and downdrag loads
        •Availability of technology and local practice
        •Constructability

 For designers to fully incorporate constructability into their design, the designers must have a thorough knowledge of the construction process; experience in the construction planning process and field operations; and knowledge of the available technology and resources, to achieve the overall project objectives.  Most designers do not have this level of knowledge, therefore, while constructability is already practiced to some extent by designers, some aspects of constructability is sometimes overlooked in the design and selection process of foundations – which could lead to project delays, cost overruns, or even litigation.   

This presentation provides an overview of some of the constructability issues related to different foundation types, and discusses some of the constructability issues that the designer should evaluate when selecting foundations in the following environments: 
        •Urban fill
        •Soft compressible soils
        •Lateral resistance
        •Available space/Site constraints
        •Karst/Sinkholes
        •Scour
        •Depth to rock

Speaker Bio:
Steve Fung is a senior associate at Schnabel Engineering and has over 15 years of experience in geotechnical engineering analysis and design, construction inspection services, and project management.  He has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Guyana and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University, and is a registered professional engineer in the District of Columbia, Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania.  He has specialized geotechnical engineering experience in deep and shallow bridge foundation design, design of support of excavation walls, slope stabilization design, and the evaluation of soil-structure interaction problems.  

Steve has served as Secretary and Vice-President on the board of the Maryland chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Structural Engineering Institute. 

Evening Schedule:
Event Date: Tuesday, November 7th 
6:00 – 7:00 PM: Registration/Deli Buffet/Open Bar
7:00 – 8:00 PM: SEI Announcements and Presentation
8:00 – 8:15 PM: Q&A and Closing Remarks

Cost for this Event:
SEI-MD Member from Sponsored firm = $25
Non-member from sponsored firm = $30
Dues Paying SEI-MD Member from non-sponsored firm = $40
Non-member from non-sponsored firm = $45
Full-Time Students = FREE
Event Location:
The Engineers Society Of Baltimore (ESB)
Garrett-Jacobs Mansion
11 West Mount Vernon Place
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

Nearby Parking: 
601 N Calvert St, Baltimore, MD 21202

Event Details:
(1) PDH awarded with attendance.
RSVP via Web Link to Sign-up Form 
Reservations will be considered firm and billed unless cancelled by no later than Friday noon prior to event.
Billing for late canceled reservations will be billed at the highest rate.
Checks or cash payable at the door. Checks payable to: “ASCE Maryland Section”.  Add a note indicating “SEI Meeting” in the memo spot on the check.
Credit card payment also available via PayPal.
ESB Dress Code: Jacket required, Tie optional.
 

September 12th Meeting: "Non-Destructive Bridges/Structures Inspection Technology"

posted Aug 24, 2017, 6:49 AM by robert miller   [ updated Aug 24, 2017, 6:50 AM ]


Presented by Kyle Ruske
Technology Leader
NEXCO West USA, Tysons, VA 

**Receive 1.0 Professional Development Hours**

Topic Description:
This presentation focuses on NEXCO’s implementation of mobile and stationary inspection platforms for bridge components. NEXCO operates multiple inspection technologies which comprehensively image the entire surface of bridge components, providing a means to better ascertain the condition of bridge components and the structure as a whole through the collection of data in a systemized and pragmatic way. Resulting data yields quantification of cracking, sub-surface delamination, patchwork, and spalling.
 
In the preliminary screening and analysis phase of bridge structures, it is advantageous to rapidly screen a large amount of structures, and prioritize maintenance schedules based on major findings in initial detections. In terms of generating a realistic life-cycle outlook for any structure, NEXCO believes the future of inspection technology lies in data-driven models, and a more efficient means of obtaining diagnostic data on structures. This can be achieved through the use of 1) non-destructive and non-invasive inspection technology, 2) mobile inspection technology which operates at highway speeds, and 3) a move from purely subjective data reports to more quantitative data reports.  
 
Speaker Bio:
Mr. Ruske is a technology leader at NEXCO West USA, Inc., a structural inspection company specializing in the use of infrared (IRT) and high definition (HD) visual technologies. He has participated in research and paid projects involving the imaging of concrete and brick masonry surfaces of various structures. He also facilitates business connections between engineering companies in the USA, Japan, Brazil, and Spain.  He operates newly developed imaging technology which aims to supplement and even replace classical sounding methods. 

Evening Schedule:
Event Date: Tuesday, September 12th 
6:00 – 7:00 PM: Registration/Deli Buffet/Open Bar
7:00 – 8:00 PM: SEI Announcements and Presentation
8:00 – 8:15 PM: Q&A and Closing Remarks

Cost for this Event:
SEI-MD Member from Sponsored firm = $25
Non-member from sponsored firm = $30
Dues Paying SEI-MD Member from non-sponsored firm = $40
Non-member from non-sponsored firm = $45
Full-Time Students = FREE
Event Location:
The Engineers Society Of Baltimore (ESB)
Garrett-Jacobs Mansion
11 West Mount Vernon Place
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

Nearby Parking: 
601 N Calvert St, Baltimore, MD 21202

Event Details:
(1) PDH awarded with attendance.
RSVP via Web Link to Sign-up Form 
Reservations will be considered firm and billed unless cancelled by no later than Friday noon prior to event.
Billing for late canceled reservations will be billed at the highest rate.
Checks or cash payable at the door. Checks payable to: “ASCE Maryland Section”.  Add a note indicating “SEI Meeting” in the memo spot on the check.
Credit card payment also available via PayPal.
ESB Dress Code: Jacket required, Tie optional.
 

2017 Officer Elections - Call for Nominations

posted Aug 24, 2017, 6:17 AM by robert miller   [ updated Aug 24, 2017, 6:25 AM ]

Dear SEI Members,

You can help SEI-MD continue to advance its mission to serve the Maryland structural engineering community and encourage professional and community service. With many new initiatives on the horizon, SEI-MD needs and welcomes the enthusiastic participation of its members on the Board of Directors.

SEI-MD strives to be the go-to resource for structural engineering continuing education and outreach to students.  The monthly general meetings continue to improve in quality and offer networking opportunities for structural engineers in all stages of their careers.  SEI-MD also offers webinars, construction tours, and volunteer opportunities.  Members share information and expertise by connecting at social gatherings, events, and conferences.

Here's what SEI-MD Board members do: oversee the direction and management of the association, take responsibility for specific projects, committees and action teams, recruit new members, ensure a solid, balanced budget, contribute to SEI/ASCE's financial success, and represent SEI-MD members at conferences and meetings. SEI-MD's Board of Directors is an active board that makes a difference for our profession!

All four positions on the Board are for a one-year term, from October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017.  The president may serve only two consecutive 1-year terms, while other Board members may serve as many consecutive 1-year terms as they like.  The president serves an additional term as Past President, thus may serve as many as four consecutive 1-year terms on the Board.  Any member of SEI or ASCE may be considered for a Board position, in accordance with our bylaws.

To be considered for a Board Position, please submit a statement of interest to mmccarty@mgmclaren.com. Use "Board Nomination" as the subject line of your e-mail message.  Your statement should include your qualifications; what you would bring to the board; and your vision for SEI-MD.  Keep in mind that your statement will be added to the official ballot which will be posted on the website and sent by e-mail to all members.

The typical time commitment of Board members averages to about 1-2 hours per week.  General requirements are as follows:
    1.  Shall be a professional, advocate, young professional or retired member in good standing (paid current member)
    2.  Shall commit to action items in planning meetings; may also suggest new activities
    3.  Shall attend most monthly board meetings and general meetings
    4.  Shall attend or organize additional SEI-MD events throughout the year

The elections schedule is as follows:
  • August 24th  - CALL FOR NOMINATIONS
  • Sept 3rd - FINAL DATE FOR NOMINATIONS
  • Sept 4th - REQUEST FOR NOMINEE BIOS
  • Sept 11th - BALLOTS SENT TO MEMBERS
  • Sept 22th  - BALLOTS DUE
  • Sept 25th - FINAL RESULTS ANNOUNCED

June 20th Strong-Tie Fiber Reinforced Polymers Workshop

posted Jun 8, 2017, 6:56 PM by robert miller   [ updated Jun 8, 2017, 7:02 PM ]

  Strong-Tie Fiber Reinforced Polymers Workshop

**Receive 2.0 Professional Development Hours**
Register Early - Maximum of 33 Attendees

Workshop Description:
Fiber Reinforced Polymers (FRP) - Composite Strengthening Systems and Fiberglass Jacket Pile Repair: This workshop will review two primary FRP applications: Strengthening/protecting concrete structural elements using FRP fabrics/laminates and the repair and restoration of wood, steel, and concrete piles using pre-cured fiberglass jackets and epoxy/cement mortars. First, we will compare the benefits to specifying CSS as they relate to total project cost, time, and impact on the 
structure, review the provisions of ACI 440R and ACI 562 and provide an overview of acceptance criteria that manufacturers should follow in order to qualify its products. Next, we will provide an overview of proper FRP installation techniques, quality control procedures and proper testing.

Finally, we will cover the benefits of utilizing a FRP pile protection/restoration system as a more cost effective method of pile restoration than complete foundation replacement. Upon completion of this presentation, attendees will be able to identify a potential FRP application, understand the significance of the existing capacity check per ACI 562 and grasp proper installation and quality control methods for CSS product lines. Attendees will also have a general knowledge of why piles fail, constituent components, and how FRP pile restoration systems work

 Workshop Outline:
Introduction to Fiber Reinforced Polymers
Fiber Reinforced Polymers Testing
Structural Testing
Fire Testing of Fiber Reinforced Polymers
General Design Considerations
Other Engineering Considerations
Break
FX-70 – Pile Repair System
Marine Infrastructure overview
Deterioration of marine infrastructure
FX-70 Repair Overview and components
FX-70 Detailing and installation
FX-70 Lab Testing
Case Studies
How Simpson Can Help with FRP Projects
 Evening Schedule:
Event Date: Tuesday, June, 20th
5:30 - 6:00 PM: Registration
6:00 – 8:00 PM: Workshop
Box Dinner will be provided.

Cost for this Event:
Members and Non-Members from Sponsoring Firms...$10
All other Members and Non-members
Full Time Students...Free (with proof of enrollment)

Event Details:
  • (2) Professional Development Hours (PDHs) will be awarded by email to attendees. Link to Past Meeting PDH's
  • RSVP via Web Link to Sign-up Form by 5pm on Monday June 19th.
  • Reservations will be considered firm and billed unless cancelled by no later than Friday noon prior to meeting. 
  • Billing for late canceled reservations will go at the usual rates above.
  • Checks or cash payable at the door. Checks payable to: "ASCE Maryland Section".  Add a note indicating “Strong-Tie Workshop” in the memo spot on the check.
  • Credit card payment also available via PayPal.
  • Dress Code: None
 
Event Location:
8280 Stayton Dr., Suite A Jessup, MD 20794

The training center is the last door of the building on the right. Park anywhere.

















Failure of Imagination - Structure Magazine

posted Jun 6, 2017, 5:26 PM by robert miller

Failure of Imagination

Structural engineering always has been a conservative profession. This is particularly evident in the structural building codes and standards. These regulations are intended to protect the public from deficiencies in design and construction. For the most part, they are effective. Why then do so many parking garages collapse?

In 2015, at least six parking garages partially collapsed in the United States. More collapsed in 2016. Some failures might be due to deficient design or construction, or to inadequate maintenance, but most are due to excessive loading.

For decades, the codes and standards have stipulated that parking garages be designed for a minimum live load of 50 psf. This is more than adequate for sedans, SUVs, and half-ton pickup trucks. The average vehicle in the United States today weighs 4,009 pounds and can safely be parked in any code-compliant garage. With the margin of safety inherent in the codes and standards, failure becomes imminent only when actual live loads approach twice the minimum.

Some parking garages post maximum vehicle weights at their entrances. More commonly, the entrances limit vehicle height (thus, vehicle size/weight) with clearance bars typically set at 7 feet or less. Here are four examples where parking garages collapsed due to excessive loading.

Saturday, 01/24/15, Secaucus, NJ

Failure caused by compacted snow pile, Secaucus, NJ.

Failure caused by compacted snow pile, Secaucus, NJ.

A 3-level garage with 600 parking spaces serves the Harmon Plaza office tower, the Clarion Empire Meadowlands Hotel, and the Osprey Cove apartments. A Bobcat utility vehicle was plowing the top deck of the garage following a snowfall of 4 inches or less. The weight of the Bobcat was not a problem, nor was the weight of the accumulated snow. However, compacted snow weighs about 20 pcf, and 30 pcf or more if wet.

The snow had been pushed into a compacted pile. At 7:00 am, with the pile more than 4 feet high, the top deck of the garage collapsed under the combined weight of the snow pile and the Bobcat. The resulting opening swallowed the Bobcat and one vehicle parked below was crushed. No one was injured except the Bobcat driver, who had a mild concussion. On weekdays, the garage would have been filled with vehicles and people.

Friday, 05/01/15, Washington, D.C.

Garage collapse, Washington, D.C.Garage collapse, Washington, D.C.

A 3-level garage serves the iconic Watergate mixed-use complex. Now more than 50 years old, the complex was undergoing a comprehensive restoration. A landscaping contractor placed soil and debris on the top deck of the parking garage. Soil weighs about 75 pcf if dry, and up to 125 pcf if wet. Thus, only one foot of soil might cause failure.

At 10:00 am, the top deck of the garage collapsed beneath the soil and debris. Everything on the two levels below was crushed in a pancake failure. Two people were injured, one critically, and about 35 vehicles were destroyed.

Friday, 10/23/15, Dallas, TX

Pancake failure, Dallas, TX.Pancake failure, Dallas, TX.

A 7-level garage with 800 parking spaces serves the upscale Renaissance on Turtle Creek condominiums. The pool and amenities deck at the top of the garage were being renovated, and the contractor piled soil and miscellaneous debris at the toe of a ramp near one corner of the top deck of the garage. A video taken just a few hours before the collapse shows that the pile was about 3 feet high and was covered with plastic sheeting.

During a rainstorm, water flowed down the ramp and partially saturated the pile. At 5:00 pm, the top deck of the garage collapsed beneath the pile. Everything on the six levels below was crushed in a pancake failure. Amazingly, no one was injured. Numerous vehicles were destroyed, and about 250 vehicles and their contents remained inaccessible to their owners for 58 days. The garage remained closed for several months until reconstruction was completed.

Friday, 04/22/16, Houston, TX

Deck failure, Houston, TX.Deck failure, Houston, TX.

An underground garage with an at-grade top deck serves adjacent office buildings on Town & Country Boulevard in Houston. The garage had been flooded during a period of record rainfall. A tanker truck was summoned to the site to pump out the water. The entrance to the top deck was blocked by a clearance bar proclaiming “MAXIMUM WEIGHT 4,000 LBS”, so the truck driver backed his tanker over the curb and onto the deck a few feet to the right of the entrance.

The tanker has a capacity of 5,800 gallons. That amounts to 48,400 pounds of water, not including the weight of the truck. As the tanker filled with water, the top deck eventually failed under the weight of the rear wheels. Fortunately, no one was injured.

Failure of Imagination

In the wake of the terrorism that jolted the United States on the morning of September 11, 2001, some smart person declared that the attacks succeeded in part because of a “failure of imagination” by multiple American security agencies. No one imagined that a zealous group of young men would simultaneously hijack four airliners full of fuel and fly them into predetermined targets using nothing more than box cutters, which were entirely legal to carry on flights at that time.

The parking garage collapses described in this article are not directly related to any known design, construction, or maintenance deficiencies. Nevertheless, with hindsight, all were preventable. In each instance, it could be argued that there was a failure of imagination. That is, a failure by parking garage designers and owners to imagine the utter lack of common sense among some of those working in and around the garages.

In Secaucus, the garage probably did not need to be plowed. The light snow likely would have melted within a day or two. If snow removal was necessary, it should have been done in a manner that avoided creating compacted piles.

In Washington and Dallas, the owners and the landscaping contractors should have contacted structural engineers for approval before the placement of any soil or debris, even temporarily, on the top decks of the garages. In Houston, an above-grade security fence or rail at the perimeter of the underground garage footprint would have kept heavy trucks off of the top deck.

Imagination is a difficult thing. The building codes and standards will never adequately address that which is unforeseen. This shifts the burden to structural engineers, and simply designing for large imaginary loads is clearly not the answer. Perhaps structural engineers should consider changing their approach to future parking garage projects.

In conclusion, the following describes two imaginative suggestions.

First, to reduce the likelihood of overload, structural engineers should seek “buy-in” from the owners of parking garages regarding loading limitations. Most manufactured products come with a manual that clearly defines intended use and a statement that the manufacturer is not liable when their product is used in other ways. Parking garage designers should consider a similar approach.

There is a precedent for this. In areas with expansive clay soils, prudent structural engineers require building owners to sign off on the acceptable differential movement of slabs on grade. A structural engineer could write a project-specific loading statement for a parking garage and require the owner to sign a brief document indicating that he or she has read, understands, and accepts the loading limitations for that garage.

Second, to limit the damage of a collapse, structural engineers should design parking garages to avoid progressive collapse or pancake failure. This is particularly important at the level immediately below the top deck. While not easily or inexpensively accomplished, this is doable and would substantially limit any damage caused by an overload at the top level.▪

About The Author  ⁄ Stan R. Caldwell, P.E., SECB, F. ASCE, F.SEI, F.AEI

Stan R. Caldwell, P.E., SECB, F. ASCE, F.SEI, F.AEI (www.stancaldwellpe.com), is a consulting structural engineer in Plano, Texas. He currently serves as the chair of the SEI Futures Fund Board of Directors. He also serves as a member of the SEI Board of Governors, the SECB Board of Directors, and the Structural Engineering Licensure Coalition Steering Committee.

MdQI Civil Engineering Career Fair

posted Jun 2, 2017, 6:17 PM by robert miller

The SEI shake table demonstration made a showing at the May 18th MdQI civil engineering career fair. This event was for high school students to introduce them to the different types of engineering and construction fields.  The event had groups of approximately 10 kids rotating through the workstations where the volunteers gave an overview, provided hands on demonstrations, and handouts related to civil engineer. The event photos can be found at this Facebook page: Link

If you are interested in volunteering for similar events with MdQI, please contact Nancy N. Palardy, Administrative Section Chief at The Maryland State Highway Administration. Her phone number is 410-841-1052 and email is npalardy@sha.state.md.us


Structures Congress 2018 - Call for Abstracts and Sessions

posted May 24, 2017, 11:38 AM by robert miller

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS AND SESSIONS
Submit your abstract or full session proposal by June 5, 2017 
The program committee is seeking abstracts that allow audience participation and provide practical applications.

New information about submissions this year so make sure to read the website carefully. 

All approved presenters are required to register and attend the conference. Please make sure this is possible before you make a submission.
Key Dates
Abstracts and Session Proposal Due: 
June 5, 2017
Notification of acceptance to authors: August 31, 2017
Publication Ready Final Papers due: October 19, 2017
Notification if issue with final paper:November 18, 2017
Exhibit and Sponsorship  
For information on Sponsoring and/or Exhibiting, contact Sean Scully at sscully@asce.org or 703-295-6276.
Questions?
Contact Debbie Smith at dsmith@asce.org or 703-295-6095.

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