Failure Information Needs in Civil Engineering

by Glenn R. Bell, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc, Arlington, MA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Reducing Failures of Engineered Facilities


If we are to learn from failures of engineered facilities, failure information must be in a useful form, and it must reach those who can effect improved practice. This paper discusses, from the perspective of a design professional, the type and level of detail of failure information required, and to whom it must be disseminated. While much attention has been focused on disseminating failure information to the design professional, the designer is only one of many actors, within and outside of the design-construction process, who needs information on failures. The required forms of the information vary in level of detail, specificity, and technical content. Past and present efforts at information dissemination are reviewed; the notion of a communication network for failure information is proposed; and several difficulties to be overcome in disseminating such information are discussed. The paper concludes with the writer's recommendations for short- and long-term efforts at failure information dissemination.

Subject Headings: Failure analysis | Architect/Engineers | Information systems | Industries | Network analysis | Quality control

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