Structural Implications of a Construction Shutdown

A construction project may be shut down for a variety of reasons, such as the loss of financing, stop-work orders, labor or supply disruptions or disasters. The duration of the shutdown can vary from days to years, depending on the circumstances. Some of the implications of a shutdown are obvious. There are considerations for security […]

What Everyone Should Know About Earthquakes and Structures

Most people understand that earthquakes can produce catastrophic damage to the built environment. However, given that large earthquakes are relatively rare, and that the television news cameras typically move on a few days after any disaster, a lot of people‚Äôs understanding of the effects of earthquakes may be shaped more by bad disaster movies than […]

Sometimes Lightning Strikes Twice

On 27 May 2018, a string of thunderstorms dropped several inches of rain in Howard County Maryland, causing a torrential flash flood to rise several feet above lower Main Street in Ellicott City – the second time in two years that historic central business district suffered such a severe flood. Flood waters carried away automobiles […]

Site-Structural Engineering for the Urban Environment

Having projects in the urban environment representing a large proportion of my career experience, I am always a little surprised when I encounter design professionals and contractors who do not fully appreciate the challenges and constraints associated with building on urban sites. While a lot of design professionals, contractors and other stakeholders have urban project […]

Your Building is Probably Weightless

Well, not really…some explanation is in order. The bearing capacity is the primary design parameter for proportioning shallow foundations (i.e. footings and mats). If the average pressure applied by a footing is less than the allowable bearing capacity, then the footing area is adequate. This method has been used for over a century and actually […]