Alternative Procedures for Investigating Failures

by George F. Sowers, Georgia Inst of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Reducing Failures of Engineered Facilities


Failures of engineered structures continue to occur. This is despite rapid advances in engineering theory, new, more sophisticated methods of analysis, and streamlined techniques for preparing design documents such as computer-aided graphics. Failures occur despite advances in construction planning and growth of construction management and quality assurance programs. It is the lack of clear understanding of why the failure occurred that breeds new failures. Two factors appear responsible: (1) Investigations that fail to find the underlying causes (poor investigative work, or efforts to cover up the problems, or lack of funding); and (2) lack of systematic reporting of the failure investigations in such a way the engineering profession can learn. It is the objective of this paper to examine investigative procedures to determine if a better alternative can be developed to the current procedures that often leave much to be desired.

Subject Headings: Forensic engineering | Construction management | Failure analysis | Computer aided design | Engineering profession | Structural design | Structural failures | Computer analysis

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