Design and Construction Failures: An Educational Resource


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Title: Design and Construction Failures: An Educational Resource

Author(s): Pericles C. Stivaros

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 285


Appears on pages(s): 1-21

Keywords: Construction Failures, forensic education, formwork failures, punching shear failures, two-way slabs.

Date: 5/1/2012

Construction failures are not as rare as we wish them to be. They occur far more frequently than we realize or admit. A wide variety of construction failures occur every day ranging from life threatening dramatic collapses to many other Alow consequence@ failures and defects such as excessive floor sagging, concrete cracking, spalling, and honeycombing, increased long term deflections, bulges, misalignments, and failures that can cause serious maintenance and serviceability problems later in the life of the structures. Though there is no way that failures may be entirely eliminated, they can be minimized. How can these dangerous and costly failures be prevented? The answer is rather simple; it requires knowledge, competency, and care. Education and training are the only way to improve these qualities. The need for forensic education is essential. This paper provides a brief account on the cause and prevention of construction failures and non-performance. Failure case studies in concrete construction are presented. Failure investigations identify errors to be avoided and provide useful educational lessons to practicing engineers, as well as to engineering students. This paper argues the need for forensic engineering courses in engineering schools and provides suggestions on how these specific case studies can be integrated into a classroom instruction lecture. This paper is a dedication to Dov Kaminetzky who contributed largely in utilizing construction failures as an educational tool. His strong belief that the key to minimize failures is education is reflected in this paper which includes part of his work.