Structural Integrity & Investigation

posted Jul 20, 2019, 7:43 AM by jeffery jim

Many engineers asked me what is the hardest discipline in civil and structural engineering. The answer is quite easy, everything is very hard to masters within the period of 5 years. But if you insist on a single answer, it would be structural integrity and investigation which is required for professional diagnosis and prognosis of a degraded or dilapidated structure.

This particular discipline is the mother of all disciplines in civil and structural engineering. It involves relevant interpretations in material science, construction method, and others which answer evidences retrieved and tell-tale signs. Further to that it involves all sort of perspectives during planning, execution, testing and reporting. There is no definite answer but it involves learned estimation in order to put things in place chronologically. In some cases, remodelling is required which serves as reverse engineering backed by testing; an opposite journey for engineering philosophy.

In the market, there are several consultants or professional engineers who are able to do decent reporting ever since the utilization of emergency grant to make good schools a decade back. Nevertheless, these reports are rather simplistic.

In order to make conclusive prognosis, there are several things which are required. Among these are;
- Geology, geotechnic and soil taxonomy, 
- Geophysics and seismology,
- Hydraulic, hydrology and geohydrology,
- Micro and macro climate and weathering,
- Material Science, chemistry and testing,
- Structural and fire engineering and physics,
- Project and construction management,
- Statistics,
- Guts and sense

Without these, validation of findings may not be tied down accurately. Interpretation is limited and thus, it will reduce the capacity of putting processes and events in chronological order for scientific explanation.

In no way, a justification should be based on common occurrences, and limited perspectives and understanding. This contributes toward cognitive bias and self-deception which in a way limits the possible chances in exploring the unknown and uncommon. It is almost as close as guessing soil condition without executing ground exploration or worst, guessing a spot to drill oil in the vast sea.

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