Getting your Design Assumptions Right
An Guide for Structural Engineers to get your design assumptions or design criteria right.
All Civil & Structural Engineers are involved in Designs & Calculations every day. Some structures are
minor such as concrete drains & culverts, but some can be major like tower frames, retaining
walls, multi-storey buildings, space frames, bridges, major roadways etc. The list of structures are
infinite but one factor is common: Every structure require careful design and and analysis otherwise failure
will definitely occur.
When that happens, it will be very costly and lives are usually lost. The collapse of a bridge, a
multi-storey apartment, an underground tunnel, a land slide, all these issues are not tolerable or acceptable
by the public and laws of the country. There are many reasons why structures fail. It could be the fault of the
design engineer, the contractor, the owner, or the operator, or simply the changing environment not forseen by the
designer. Whatever it is, the Engineer will always be in the fore-front and will be the first person accused of
being wrong, careless, corrupted or simply did not exercise professional care. SO engineers, be forewarned, take
your design responsibilities real serious, like a heart surgeon.
In this series of articles we will provide guidelines by which proper Design Methods and Assumptions can be
made and designs carried out properly, for many common structures in practice. We will cover the following in
more details :-
- Format for Design Assumptions for Common Structures.
- Format for Presentation of Calculations
- Codes of Practice & Standards
- Check Lists
- Use of Excel
- Use of Specialised Design Software
- Professional Practice & Liabilities, Professional Indemnity Insurance
- Construction Supervision
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Authur- Philip Goh (B.Sc, MIEM, P.Eng. MICE,
MEC Engineers, Civil & Structural Engineer