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Following Court decisions in a number of recent cases-notably Anns v. London Borough of Merton-the period of time during which a chartered structural engineer could find himself answerable in tort on a charge of negligence appears to have been stretched to infinity. Although this ‘beyond the grave’ responsibility has not been tested, there can be no doubt that the current state of the law in this respect is, to say the least, uncertain.
Our Christmas test We wonder how many readers were puzzled with the problem set in this column last month. As we said at the time, the problem came from Martin Ashmead, and we now publish his letter: While checking steelwork calculations a few weeks ago, I came across a solution to a bracing bay configuration that amazed me. The framework was determined by the need for a door to be installed in a traditionally braced bay, i.e. diagonal bracing node point being raised from the foot of the column to a point above the door opening. Verulam
Engineers working in the building and construction industries have always had to be aware of and take precautions against, the potential aggressiveness of soil contaminants such assulphates to the materials they use. They also need to be actively concerned about possible hazards to site investigation teams and to construction workers (the construction industry is always a high-risk industry), and to the environment, e.g. movement of contaminated materials may cause water pollution, etc. The presence of contaminants may also circumscribe solutions to engineering problems such as the choice of methods of ground improvement or selection of foundation designs. M.A. Smith