Why are Structural Engineers so anal?

posted Jan 9, 2015, 12:41 PM by Amy Stone
Well, here in Structural Land, we do these calculations that have lots of assumptions and factors of safety.  We continually get asked to lighten the steel, thin out the concrete, to do something that compromises our principles so that the project will be cheaper and faster.* 
However, if the project fails, and it's my fault, bad things happen at my company.  So I do everything I can, every day, to make sure all the safety factors are followed and minimum depths met.  Because you never know what actually gets installed.
cut HCA
Yes.  That is a cut mark.  Some yahoo decided to cut part of the head off the anchor.  As you know, that negatively impacts the capacity of the anchor.  I did stop him, even though I didn't design this particular anchor.  Who knows how many anchor heads this guy has cut in his career as a rod-buster yahoo?  This kind of thing always reinforces my dedication to not compromising on the calculations.  Someone's got to ensure quality.
So that little cut mark, right there.  That's why Structural Engineers are so anal.  We have to make sure we do everything we can to ensure factors of safety are in place to cover mistakes like this.  

* Note: if it doesn't compromise my ethics AND makes the project cheaper and faster, then I'm all for it.

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