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Remember When?

Remember When?

Remember When?

While replying to another thread, i started explaining how many sheets comprise a typical set of construction documents for a commercial or light industrial project in our (small) office.

Reminiscing with the piers of my firm, while working on an addition to an ornate cathedral and adjoining school, upon completion of the construction documents, including civil, architectural, structural, fire protection and MEP, there we 66, 30x42 sheets.

While this may be small in comparison to many of you, what is interesting is that the complete set of original construction documents of the original building was composed of ONLY 9 sheets.

Anyone care to share similar experiences or stories?

(BTW - Since I am not inquiring of or for technical assistance, if this is considered an inappropriate forum for such topic, please let me know and i will gladly relocate it to the suggested forum. The only other semi-applicable forum I could think of is "Where is Engineering Going In The Next 5 Years?" My submission applies to where it has been and where we are now.)

RE: Remember When?

I know we were discussing different definitions of "pier" in another thread, but I believe that's "peers" ;)

I'm always amazed by the level of draftsmanship and planning that went into drawings we see from 1920s-1960s bridges. Many of the major iconic bridges of the day were "designed" on less than 20 sheets.

Of course, there were then 200-300 sheets of steel fabrication drawings to get all the rivets in the right places.. but still..

RE: Remember When?

Lomarandil, thank you for the spelling correction. I'm usually pretty conscious of spelling. My only defense for this one actually makes me feel good that i, apparently, (while intending to remain humble) must be SO structurally minded, that this particular mistake could almost be construed as an honor!

On the other hand, where in the OP do I state that I was actually of sound mind during my reminiscing with “the piers”? It IS late in the week, I AM stressed out and I really COULD use a(n) (e)vac(u)ation. Maybe I really WAS reminiscing with “the piers”. Their thoughts and opinions are typically more foundational and concrete than mine.

RE: Remember When?

I'm a relatively young gun around here it seems (30) but I have a similar story with almost the opposite reason for amazement.

At an old employer, while digging through some archived documents, we found what appeared to be an original copy of a small block Chevrolet cylinder head pattern book. This was a book of several hundred sheets, each one showing a perfectly detailed slice of the desired finished product after casting, approximately 1/2 millimeter thick. All drawn by hand. The original release date on the MML sheet was some time in 1953 if I remember correctly. Amazing stuff.

RE: Remember When?

I am always amazed when I get drawings from the 1920-1980's and they dont match what was built. I also really like the incomplete load paths that make retrofitting just such a pleasure.

RE: Remember When?

"At an old employer, while digging through some archived documents, we found what appeared to be an original copy of a small block Chevrolet cylinder head pattern book."

May be Valuable!

RE: Remember When?

BSBVD - Ha! Sounds like your mental health is on a solid footer.

Sandman -- I presume that you are primarily referencing building sets?

RE: Remember When?

Lomarandil....that would be "footing"!lol Couldn't resist!

RE: Remember When?

Come on now...., When the building has been standing for 50-70 years, served its intended purpose and is in good enough shape to be retrofitted for a new or different use, there is a fair to middling chance that the original Structural Engineer saw and selected the right load paths, even if you can’t see them. The fact is, the structure chooses the/its load paths based on our design and detailing, and as good engineers we better be smart enough to recognize and use these load paths, which the structure will take, and they better be complete from top to bottom. You and your client should have told the original engineer what you were going to want to do, when he was doing his original design and for a few extra bucks he could probably have provided for your needs and whims. He could have used a crayon, you pick the color to match your BIM model, so you don’t get all confused, and marked “new beam bearing here, ----->”, and drawn the load paths on the walls, etc. for you. He might have assumed that he didn’t have to draw a crayon line, with a down arrow, down discrete columns, but then again.... When we and our clients want to do really crazy (stupid, almost impossible) things to old buildings, we really shouldn’t be blaming the original designer, when the new load paths become complicated. Buildings often used to be designed to be relatively clean, simple and straight forward, and to be economical to detail and construct. And now, when someone wants to put 70 tons of mech. equip. on a simple/economical bar joist roof or hang two levels of mezzanines from that same roof, we can’t blame the original designer for not providing for that. Also, despite your BIM, CAD and hundreds of pages of computer print-out, et. al., I suspect we could find many instances where your buildings don’t conform exactly to your design and drawings, such as they are. We didn’t always show every two-bit detail, we were generally dealing with more experienced and knowledgeable fabricators, contractors and trades people, who had a vague idea what they were doing and what was needed in typical conditions. And, despite some hair pulling, in retrospect, we had a less adversarial relationship with the local bldg. depts., code complexity and interpretation, and contractors. smile

RE: Remember When?

If the original engineer was alive he would probably tell the client; "that's the way I have always done it" or "that's the way the contractor wanted it". Guess I can tell the client that since the building has stood for 80+ years, we dont need a complete load path and not to worry about those pesky little earthquakes after all the last one occurred over a hundred years ago. What are the odds that another one will occur? It would be so nice if the building was changing use, would be easier to tell thats the reason.

RE: Remember When?

sandman, I experience the same thing in renovations of older buildings as well. I can't always compete with the "just stamp it" engineers who walk around with blinders on. I've had to walk away from a project or two as a result of this. But, in my area of the country, wind=90 MPH and low seismic loads, so the code officials don't check structural drawings much at all. So, adhering to the code while other locals aren't, makes the conscientious engineer less competitive. This is one reason ENG-tips is great, because I can get some diff perspectives to try to remain competitive where I can be.

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