Author: Tapsell, H J
1 January 1933
First published: 1 January 1933
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Tapsell, H J
The President, proposing a very hearty vote of thanks to Mr. Creswell for having put the matter so clearly before the members, said he was wondering when structural engineers would have the opportunity to acquire legal knowledge in addition to all the
scientific knowledge they must possess; perhaps the matter was one which might be placed before the Institution’s Board of Examiners. Mr W.C.Cocking(Past Member of Council) paid a tribute to Mr. Creswell in respect of his very happy knack of drawing the attention of professional men to various matters, often of very great importance, but which had previously escaped their attention, and said that the paper referred to many matters which professional men did not often consider.
The designers and manufacturers of steelwork for buildings have expressed continuously, for several years, their view that it is possible to economise to a considerable extent, and with safety, if building regulations would permit. This urge for economy has not arisen suddenly,and has no relation to an economic crisis; the urge arises from a realisation that steel can be utilised to better advantage, particularly in pillars, because greater stresses are justifiable than are at present permitted. The experience of other countries and their development of the more economical and advantageous employment of steel has been noted by British engineers. They have shown that, given less restrictions, they are capable of competing for overseas trade, but they are just as eager to utilise their steel in the most
economical way in the home market. It is unquestionably the opinion of a large body of
structural engineers that existing regulations are in many respects of a very conservative character and will bear rather drastic revision under several heads.
F E Drury
It has been felt for a long time by those with much practical experience that the
statutory requirements governing the employment of structural steel in buildings were
quite unnecessarily onerous and tended to produce structures unnecessarily expensive, in which the economic benefit to be derived from the proper employment of constructional steel was to a large extent lost. Consulting engineers in particular have been in revolt against this attitude for many years, and have been firmly convinced that a lower standard of strength, i.e., smaller floor loads and higher
stresses ought to be permitted. This view was also taken by the Steelwork Association,
who took the long view that if steel buildings could be really economically designed with limitations imposed only by physical requirements and not by indefensible statutory requirements, it would in-the long run benefit industry from every angle.
In conformity with this general idea of cheapening building with steel and doing
whatever research was necessary to define authoritatively the proper standard in regard
to all matters in connection with its employment, the Committee of Council, after con-
sulting the Institution of Civil Engineers,arranged for the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research to arrange for this scheme of co-operative investigations.