Learning from Failures

by Lev Zetlin, Zetlin-Argo Structural, Investigations Inc, New York, NY, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Reducing Failures of Engineered Facilities


Modern technology and innovation have created a gap between what the design drawings predict with respect to safety and serviceability of a structure and the real safety and serviceability of the constructed structure. Statistical data show a definite trend that claims and construction failures, which vary within a wide range from minor serviceability nuisance to catastrophic collapse, have been on the increase in the last few years. This trend continues for many structures built in the last 20 years. The reasons for the present trend in the increase of failures and in the ensuing claims is discussed in the article. The answer lies in the rapid rate of change in modern technology in the various fields of engineering and physical sciences. Each innovated material, component, etc. usually lives up to its promise. It is the effect and 'chain reaction' that innovation in one factor has upon the other factors and on the whole structure that causes problems and makes the 'routine' engineering design theories not fully applicable in accommodating the 'chain reaction. '

Subject Headings: Structural safety | Serviceability | Failure analysis | Innovation | Claims | Structural failures | Construction methods | Statistics

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