Establishing Patterns of Building Failures

by Donald Vannoy, (M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof. of Structural Engrg.; School of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742,
Neal FitzSimons, (F.ASCE), Principal; Engineering Counsel, Kensington, Md.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1984, Vol. 54, Issue 1, Pg. 54-57

Document Type: Feature article


Establishing statistical patterns of building failures can help engineers and architects prevent similar failures in the future and also reduce litigation. The Architecture and Engineering Performance Information Center (AEPIC) at the University of Maryland is doing that but needs all engineers and architects to participate in the program if it is to succeed. Opened in 1982, the Center has gathered and stored data on all types of building failures by type of project (hospitals, schools, etc.), type of problem (glazing/glass/window, etc.), and type of firm (architect, structural engineer, civil engineer, retired professional). Double normalized diagrams of cumulated incidents versus time has been developed by AEPIC for reporting statistical incident analysis. Curves for the above are presented in the article showing the increase or decrease in the number of claims against the firms or in incidents involving material and structures failures. The Center's services, such as information retrieval for a flat fee, a journal for performance analysis, collecting and disseminating the different standards and codes on request, loaning out visual and technical material to professors for lecturing, and other services are described. How contributors can get in touch with the Center is also included.

Subject Headings: Architects | Failure analysis | Structural failures | Statistics | High-rise buildings | Material failures | Information management | Health care facilities

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