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 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 22th  - BALLOTS DUE

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
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 (, 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

Structures Congress 2018 - Call for Abstracts and Sessions

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

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 or 703-295-6276.
Contact Debbie Smith at or 703-295-6095.

New Sponsor

posted May 22, 2017, 2:47 PM by robert miller
We are proud to announce that Wallace Montgomery has rejoined SEI's sponsorship program. As always, we greatly appreciate the partnerships we have with the businesses that serve our members and look forward to working with WM over the next year. 

New Platinum Sponsor - Simpson Strong-Tie

posted May 14, 2017, 8:08 AM by robert miller   [ updated May 14, 2017, 8:12 AM ]

Popular Titen HD® Anchor Now Available in Stainless Steel
Titen HD stainless-steel screw

The new stainless-steel Titen HD® screw anchor can now be installed in exterior and corrosive environments. Its innovative design effectively cuts the concrete while significantly reducing the carbon steel in the anchor to maximize corrosion resistance.

May 25th MICA Dolphin Building Construction Tour

posted Apr 29, 2017, 4:40 PM by robert miller   [ updated May 9, 2017, 4:07 PM ]

MICA Dolphin Building Construction Tour

Project Team:
Owner: Maryland Institute College of Art
General Contractor: Southway Builders, Inc.
Structural EOR: Hope Furrer Associates, Inc.
Architect:  GWWO Architects, Inc.

                                                                            **Receive 1.5 Professional Development Hours**

Following a brief introduction, join SEI-MD for a construction tour of the MICA Dolphin Building project site.  Representatives of the design team will discuss their personal experiences with the project. 

Project Description:
The MICA Dolphin Building is a five story art laboratory space located in one of Baltimore’s historic neighborhoods.  The building footprint utilizes every square foot of available space within property lines, and it is adjacent to a light rail stop.  These conditions have presented construction challenges which have required close interaction with contractors during design and construction.  The building itself features open floor plans with exposed structure, which calls to mind Baltimore’s industrial past, while allowing for flexible space utilization in the future.  An unusual architectural feature affecting the structural design is the main building columns outside the building.  In order to avoid thermal bridging of mate rials as the beams extend from inside to outside, thermal break material is sandwiched into the connections.

Immediately preceding the tour, Nicole Baer, PE, the project’s lead structural designer with Hope Furrer Associates, will introduce the project and its unique design aspects.

Tour Schedule:
Date:  Thursday 05/25/17
3:30pm – 3:45pm: Registration/Networking at MICA's Mt. Royal Station Lot 
3:45pm – 4:15pm: Presentation/Project Introduction
4:15pm – 5:30pm: Walk to Construction Site and Tour (there are stairs from parking area to the site).
5:30pm – 7:45pm: Happy Hour with complimentary finger foods at The Brass Tap.

Happy Hour Location:
The Brass Tap
1205 W Mt Royal Ave
Baltimore, MD 21217 

Cost for this Event:
Full-Time Students…Free (with proof of enrollment)
SEI Members/Non-members…$15
Employees from Sponsoring Firm...$10

Event Location:
MICA's Mt. Royal Station Lot 
1400 Cathedral St
Baltimore, MD 21201

Construction Site:
MICA Dolphin Building
100 Dolphin, Baltimore, MD 21217

Event Details:
(1.5) PDH awarded with attendance.
RSVP via Web Link to Sign-up Form
RSVP by: 5pm Monday 05/22. 
RSVP Early. Attendance Limit = 20
Checks or cash payable on-site. Checks payable to: “ASCE Maryland Section”.  Add a note indicating “May SEI Construction Tour” in the memo spot on the check.
Credit card payment also available via PayPal.
PPE: Reflective vest, hardhat, eye glasses, boots, long pants


Structures Congress 2018 - Call for Abstracts and Proposals

posted Apr 19, 2017, 7:43 AM by robert miller

Submit your abstract or full session proposal by June 5, 2017 for Structures Congress 2018
The National Technical Program Committee seeks sessions and abstracts addressing topics identified in this list. We are placing emphasis on papers and presentations that highlight innovative topics with practical applications and encourage audience participation. 

*NEW Information This Year* Please read the website carefully. 

June 5, 2017 is the deadline for session proposals and abstracts. 

Who should submit a session proposal/abstract?
We encourage submissions from practitioners, educators, researchers, structural engineers, bridge and building designers, firm owners, codes and standards developers, and others. 

All approved presenters are required to register and attend the conference. Please make sure this is possible before you make a submission. 

Final papers are optional but strongly encouraged. Final papers will be evaluated by NTPC. See conference website for details. Final papers that meet all the necessary format, copyright permissions and content requirements will be published in the conference proceedings. 

Visit the conference website for all the necessary details. 
Structures Congress 2018
Fort Worth Convention Center
Fort Worth, Texas
 April 19-21, 2018
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 or 703-295-6276.
Contact Debbie Smith at or 703-295-6095.
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