Event Detail

Investigation, Analysis, and Remediation of Building Failures - NEW (60362018)

Thursday, March 8, 2018 - 8:30am to Friday, March 9, 2018 - 4:30pm

Building structures can fail in a variety of ways. While catastrophic collapses are featured on the news, less dramatic building failures might be of interest mostly to the building owners and their insurance companies. Whether the failure is spectacular or mundane, when occurs, it is generally necessary to determine what caused it and whether it is possible to remedy the damage.

The task of failure investigation typically falls to structural engineers and other design professionals; it requires a deep understanding of how similar structures have failed in the past and where their weak points are. For this and other reasons, the skills of a successful design engineer are not necessarily the same as the skills of a successful failure investigator. Yet the subject of failure analysis is not widely taught in the engineering colleges, where the main emphasis of instruction is design. As a result, it takes years of practice for the engineers performing failure investigations to acquire the required knowledge.

The seminar aims to shorten the learning curve by discussing the practical engineering issues involved in the investigation, analysis, and remediation of various building failures. The presentation starts with a definition of failure and explores the types of structures that tend to fail more often than others. After the main causes of failure are examined, the attendees learn about the process of investigation for both simple and complex failures. For each of the common structural systems - steel, concrete, masonry, and wood - the instructor outlines the most common causes of failure and explains how they tend to occur. The problems with anchor bolts, investigation of fire-damaged buildings, and failures of the building envelope are addressed as well. 

The emphasis of this seminar is on the technical issues, not on other aspects of forensic practice such as report writing, testifying, etc., which are addressed in other ASCE presentations. The discussion is illustrated by many practical examples and case studies. The audience is encouraged to ask questions throughout the presentation, and the seminar concludes with the final Questions and Answers opportunity.


Alexander Newman, P.E., F.ASCE


Seminar Outline

TIME: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.


Introduction: What is a failure?
Main causes of failure
The process of failure investigation
Failures of steel-framed buildings and metal building systems
Failures of anchor bolts
Failures of concrete buildings


Failures of wood-framed buildings
Failures of masonry buildings
Structural investigation of fire-damaged buildings
Investigating failures of the building envelope
Conclusion, final Q&A, post-course test


Hyatt Place Flushing/LaGuardia Airport
133-42 39th Avenue
Flushing, NY 11354
Hotel Website: https://flushinglaguardia.place.hyatt.com
ASCE Hotel Rate: $169 Single/Double
Hotel Cut- Off: 2/21/2018