Review Category : Articles

Determining Existing Masonry Structural Properties

Design professionals rely on numbers. Some of the most important numbers represent the design loads on a structure during an event with a certain probability of occurring, and the resistance of the structure given its geometry, material properties, and connections. In a new structure, these quantities are generally known, specified, and listed on project documents. Design loads are determined by building codes and jurisdiction. Material properties are specified by the designer and verified through testing.

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A modern challenge of the engineering profession is to account for the unintended consequences and life cycle costs from impacts of infrastructure on the environment, society, and economy. While this challenge has been realized on a global scale for more than half a century, tools for design professionals in the United States to systematically address this challenge were not developed until the formation of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) by the United States Green Building Council. LEED, while bringing the building industry forward, did not directly address sustainability of nonbuilding civil infrastructure. However, Envision, developed by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI), did.

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The First Cast Iron Bridge in the United States

Masonry arch bridges date from 1,300 BC, but it was the Romans who developed the form for bridges, aqueducts, and buildings. Many of them, like the Pont du Gard Aqueduct, circa 50 AD, still stand after almost two millennia. Cast iron arch bridges were built in England starting in 1779 with the Coalbrookdale Bridge across the Severn River, which still stands. Later, Thomas Telford built many cast iron arch bridges. His first was the Buildwas Bridge just upstream from the Coalbrookdale Bridge. Many of his bridges are still in service.

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Structural Engineering Engagement and Equity (SE3) Committee Survey Results

Results of the 2016 SE3 Study discussed in Part 1 (STRUCTURE, April 2017) focused on overall career satisfaction, development, and advancement. Part 2 of this series (STRUCTURE, August 2017) focused on compensation, overtime, and the gender pay gap. This article highlights the survey findings regarding work-life balance, flexibility benefits, and caregiving. A full report that includes all the findings discussed in this series can be found at SE3project.org/full-report.

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A Strategic Plan for Design Professionals

Among all the professions, design professionals are unique in that only they hold professional stamps to seal their work product. That seal carries genuine significance. As the Ontario Board of Engineers has stated,

[The engineer’s stamp] assures the document’s recipient that the work meets the standards of professionalism expected of competent, experienced individuals who take personal responsibility for their judgments and decisions.

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Wallace Engineering Structural Consultants, Inc. was an Outstanding Award Winner for its Façade System for the Petersen Automotive Museum Renovation project in the 2016 NCSEA Annual Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards Program in the Category – Special Use Structures.

Construction began in 2014 on a major renovation of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California. The museum’s interior and exterior were fully remodeled at a total cost of $125 million. The centerpiece of the renovation is an entirely new and very dramatic façade.

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Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to have a number of great mentors that have provided me with excellent advice and meaningful opportunities. It started right after entering the workforce as I remember my first boss telling me, “It is great working here, you work three years and get six years’ experience.” Looking back, I realize that he did not mean he would be a great mentor for me, but that he literally meant we would be working 80 hours a week.

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To the engineers and builders of the amazing, elegant, and powerful structures commonly known as Great Bridges.

Remarkable, Signature or Great Bridges?

Mankind has been building bridges since the time of early civilizations. Today, bridges are all around us – they provide easier, faster, and safer connections between two points. Bridges have evolved from merely utilitarian structures to become symbols of cities, countries, and human progress.

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Next Step in Incorporating Masonry in Your FEM

Demonstrating the need for utilizing finite element modeling (FEM) and analysis (FEA) to accurately model, analyze, and efficiently design masonry wall systems was the subject of a STRUCTURE article in May of 2016. Hopefully, the reader used the information in the article and is well on their way to building FEM that include structural masonry elements. With that background, they should be ready to advance their design of masonry with the aid of FEM.

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