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Final Thoughts: Certainly Uncertain: Difficult for Engineers

August 8, 2018 - in Articles, Column

Uncertainty. This is a word that engineers have a problem with, as we like to be able to predict what will happen. Nobody wants to design or construct a project for which we can’t predict the performance. Sadly, uncertainty now is part of the future of our…

ReEngineering the Engineer: To Fail or Not to Fail?

August 2, 2018 - in Articles, Column

True confession: I didn’t always want to be a structural engineer. I grew up in the 1960s when the space race with Russia was at its peak. In those…

From the Editor: Bridges to the Future

July 2, 2018 - in Articles, Column

Every time my sister crosses a bridge, she gets anxious. This has happened her entire life, and, although not quite panic-attack-inducing, the anxiety…

Bridge Code: Steel Bridge Design Specifications Revised in New AASHTO Edition

June 25, 2018 - in Articles, Column

Sponsored by:       Interim revisions to AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications (7th Edition) were published in 2016 with a few minor revisions to the steel bridge design sections of the specifications. The 8th edition of AASHTO LRFD Bridge…

Executive Corner: Get Your Firm ‘Sale Ready,’ Even If It’s Not for Sale

June 25, 2018 - in Articles, Column

You’ve decided to sell your house, so you fixed that broken screen door, pruned the hedges and cut the lawn. Why do those things now? Because you want to show your house in the best possible light to potential buyers to maximize its sales price. You’ve…

Infrastructure Outlook: A Bridge Too Far (Gone)?

June 16, 2018 - in Articles, Column

One of the most frustrating things about contemporary times is that people are unable to change their mindset as fast as technology progresses. According to American design expert Donald A. Norman, “Technology may change rapidly, but people change slowly.”…

Final Thoughts: Spring Brings Baseball and Construction Seasons

June 11, 2018 - in Articles, Column

Spring finally has arrived here in the Midwest (Chicago, to be specific): flowers are blooming, trees are budding out, birds are singing, and baseball is in full swing. But April 2018 was the fourth-coldest April on record; the Chicago Cubs home opening game…

ReEngineering the Engineer: Written vs. Oral Communication: You Make the Call

June 4, 2018 - in Articles, Column

I admit I haven’t really embraced the whole texting thing, and I don’t believe it’s an age gap. Although I communicate with our kids that way about half the time—out of necessity—I rarely do so with our clients (unless, of course, I’m running late…

Code Update: Provisions for Cold-Formed Steel Nonstructural Members Clarified in AISI S220

May 13, 2018 - in Articles, Column

For most cold-formed steel framing projects, industry or manufacturers’ design tables are sufficient for specifying and constructing nonstructural partitions. But for projects where the requirements are outside the usual limits, design professionals and…

From the Editor: Old Habits Die Hard

May 7, 2018 - in Articles, Column

I have a theory, and I wonder what you think about it. It has to do with ancient pyramids, spaceships, artificial intelligence, robots and self-driving cars. No, this doesn’t have anything to do with “ancient astronauts” or Chariots of the Gods; it's…