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The reality between history and functionality of a structure.

posted Jun 16, 2018, 8:16 AM by jeffery jim

I was scrolling my timeline and I saw this post together with a heart-wrenching message attached to it. The writer is a former worker at Maybank Jalan Pantai and wishes that building to remain as it is a historical building. As for me, this is one of the many shots i called upon when it comes to structural integrity. It is not one of my landmark calls but i did it with integrity.

Structural investigation returned with heavy weight options; financially. Usually i will talk about the technicality of my findings but in this case, i will let it rest as classified information.

Historically and culturally, the building housed one of the earliest if not the earliest bank in North Borneo. From architectural point of view, i would say it did not have much colonial essence or styling to it since it was constructed circa 1950s.

After conducting cost-benefit analysis for engineering and operation management & economics by utilizing what i learned recently, i delivered my deliberation. I clarified and reckoned that engineering cost, operational & economic cost, and cultural cost cannot outweigh the cost for undertaking risk when it comes to human life.

When simpletons ask me about the marvel of engineering, I can share a lot but there are times when technology simply cannot guarantee the preservation of life. No doubt there are several structural rehabilitation principals and methods, however these can only remedy the issue momentarily. A cancerous-like building cannot prolong its lifespan and conventionally a structure lifespan is limited to 50 years.

Remedies only capitalizing on risk redistribution when it comes to ultimate limit state but it will never reduce plausible risks comes with it especially when it comes to human life. In laymen term, i can reduce the risk of delaminated structure due to induced carbonation and corrosion by strengthening it at columns with high grade steel members, glue some CFRP around beams, inject some epoxy into slabs and at the same time reducing loads from its commercial functions. There are trade-offs. What if these trade-offs cannot converge with risks involved?

As a specialist, i am fully aware of the limitations of grout, steels restrengthening, other engineering materials and even the lifespan of carbon fiber reinforcement plate. All these can be calculated by considering premeditated events and risk involved but these can never reduce a little bit of uncertainties or worst, a warranty of sound structure. These are the basis for my recommendations.

At time, forget about being an engineer or a scientist. Go deeper into your soul, you will find that special you who embrace humanity over useless theories. I still carry strongly the value and the motto of my University; "In the Name of God for Mankind."

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