Saturday, January 08, 2011

More tweeting ...

Did more tweeting today, and managed to avoid hitting an hourly limit. Though had other problems of a slow system as automatic updates came in. After resolved that issue then went back to tweeting.
Due to the vacation not much activity from construction, engineering or technical type enterprises. Result is mainly interacting with environmental and social groups. The nature of my posts may then become alternatively biased towards technical groups when construction industry come back online after end off year shutdowns.
On the other hand I am also likely to be in office otherwise occupied. Thus tweeting will become an evening activity, assuming can be bothered setting computer up when get home, and don't otherwise have other problems to look into.
But that is part of the objective for this year. Spend less time on project work after office hours. Further tidy up more workbooks and make them more useable by others and publish most likely public domain or using copyleft license like Gnu GPL, or creative commons, or design science license.
Want to make sure have fewer projects involving solving problems, and more time on design. I like solving problems, I just don't like bumping into the same problem of having to assess existing construction because someone failed to get development approval. Such projects are a problem because research intensive and low fee, to demonstrate something is barely compliant with code of practice, but none the less acceptable and compliant. Better to design and specify compliant structures than try and prove something built is compliant on paper. Because is the reality, only demonstrating on paper and according to all information provided, taken on good faith, that what we cannot see is as described, and if it is so, then it is adequate. Not good, or robust, but minimally compliant. Not what we would recommend, but otherwise we cannot find reason to force demolition, or large scale disassembly to strengthen.
But not everything that owners build can be demonstrated as compliant. Often run out of theories, options and time, and the only choice is to specify strengthening.
In rough terms it takes about 5 times longer to assess existing than it does to design and specify new.
In design terms. You do not spend $1000 on engineering to save $1000 of concrete. It is better to have the increased resistance of the concrete, than calculations saying not required. Nor do you really want the delay involved proving can use less concrete. Design, therefore tends to stick to tried and tested, not minimum material. Also minimum material doesn't produce minium cost, often better to accept use of more material, to reduce fabrication time and labour costs.
Design therefore does not make use of the most complex theories but the most practical mathematical models, which provide reasonable solutions in an acceptable time frame. If more time is available and weight is critical, then more complex theories are put into the design effort. But for typical building projects, this is not desirable.
Owners tend to get both beam sizes and connections wrong. Builders tend to be about right with beam sizes, but connections are less than desirable or simply no good. But this is only relative to traditional residential scale structure. Move away from the traditional scale, and builders don't get beam sizes or connections right either.
Dominant loading conditions are wind loading lifting building up and pushing building over. These forces are huge compared to people jumping up and down on the structure or pushing against it. So move out of the lowest wind loading class, where traditional gravity loading tends to still control, and buidling experience starts becoming invalid. The intuitive feel for size of members starts becoming flawed, and the numbers become important. Though for those doing the numbers they may have done them several times before already, so they may know already, which says some time with progress on project. That is progress on project is not hindered by production of calculations for regulatory approval. The calculations become a formality not a necessity.
This issue in particular I want to look closer into this year. There has to be a better way to provide evidence-of-suitability than keep producing calculations for various projects by different people, but otherwise similar calculations. There is a lot of time, effort, space, and paper wasted on such calculations.

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