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The Structural Engineer

Arup Research & Development has carried out a series of studies commissioned by the Building Research Establishment on the subject of building performance and costs-in-use. This paper gives a brief commentary on the results of that research, explores the implications and application thereof in the context of the definition of client requirements, and outlines a methodology whereby these performance requirements may be taken into account in an explicit manner in the design and property management processes. K.H. White

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The Structural Engineer

The Canary Wharf project comprises the construction of 12.5 M ft2 of office and retail space in 24 buildings. The buildings are grouped into four neighbourhoods focused around the major public spaces known as Westferry Circus, Founders Court (Cabot Square), Docklands Square (Canada Square), and Blackwall Place (Churchill Place). For reference during construction, the buildings are known by a number and a prefix related to the above grouping, e.g. the building known as FC2 is building 2 in the Founders Court (Cabot Square) neighbourhood. Phase 1 of the project, comprising approximately 4.5 M ft2 net of office and retail facilities and the supporting infrastructure, is divided into 10 fairly distinct building parcels, as follows: 1: Westferry Circus and West India Place 2: infrastructure comprising roads and watercuts west of Docklands Square (Canada Square), Founders Court (Cabot Square), and Blackwall Place (Churchill Place carparks). General pavings to plazas and promenades and retail buildings west of DS7 3: building DS7 4: the Canary Wharf Station to the Docklands Light Railway 5-10: buildings FCl to FC6 inclusive R.S. Davie

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The Structural Engineer

Few building clients have sufficient understanding or experience to be specific regarding the life expectancy of the buildings they commission. In general, the tacit assumption by both clients and designers is that buildings will last as long as their owners want them to last and are prepared to invest in them. However, it is clear that decisions taken by the client or the designer can have a profound impact on the lifespan of a building and the cost of keeping it in beneficial use. The ‘intelligent client’ will be aware of this but will still look to his designer or consultant to advise him on the life-affecting aspects of his project. In any event, it is, in my opinion, part of the designer’s duty to consider these aspects and advise the client of the options available, coupling past experience with some vision of possible future events. J. Rodin

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The Structural Engineer

This 1/2-day colloquium has developed from the 1990 Henderson Colloquium held by the British Group of IABSE at Pembroke College, Cambridge. The proceedings of this will be available shortly. The topic under discussion at Cambridge was ‘The design life of structures’. In simple terms, the purpose of the colloquium was to bring together about 30 experts, while asking them to contribute a paper on some aspect of the subject, and, most important, to take part in a debate on the feasibility of developing design life concepts, which might permit the construction industry to consciously design and construct structures which perform ‘better’ in service-life terms. G. Somerville

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The Structural Engineer

In late 1984, a consortium of financial companies joined together to initiate master planning for the redevelopment of Canary Wharf, located in London’s Docklands, to create a modem zone of infrastructure and new office buildings to serve as a new centre for financial trading. The consortium, Canary Wharf Development Companies (CWDC), including First Boston Properties, Credit-Suisse, and Morgan Stanley International, engaged the architectural-engineering firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) in January 1985 to work with themselves and the London Dockland Development Corporation (LDDC) in developing: (1) an overall masterplan for the entire project; (2) the architectural-engineering construction documents for the entire infrastructure works; and (3) prototypes for some of the initial office building blocks which were to be developed. D.S. Korista and J.G. Burns

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The Structural Engineer

The 50-storey all steel framed office tower is the focal point of the Olympia & York Canary Wharf project, presently nearing completion on the Isle of Dogs in east London. It is one of 24 proposed buildings located on and around the wharf. R. Bergmann and R.H. Campbell

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The Structural Engineer

I admit to being somewhat sceptical, at first, of the claim made by my senior engineers that there is an increasing lack of appreciation of structural behaviour by our young graduates. Some old engineers have always bemoaned young graduates’ lack of design experience. Our practice doesn’t have moaning old engineers, and it’s not the job of the universities and polytechnics to churn out graduates stuffed to the eyeballs with Code clauses. But it is their job, I suggest, to instil understanding of structures. I checked the senior engineers’ claim and was disturbed by the findings. W.G. Curtin

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The Structural Engineer

In Britain the beginning of the 19th century heralded some remarkable achievements in the field of engineering. Among these, and perhaps one of the greatest, was the construction of the docks within London. The docks were spread over an area of 8 1/2 square miles, contained on land immediately to the east of the City along a length of the River Thames. At their peak, some 50 000 vessels used the docks each year; nearly a 1/4 million people annually arrived and departed, together with some 60Mt of cargo. It is a tribute to the original designers that the docks remained in use for 150 years before they became outmoded. However, with the cessation of use in the late 1960s, dereliction rendered some areas inoperable, while decay and vandalism caused many buildings to become dangerous and unsuitable for future use. I. Mudd and J. Brazier

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The Structural Engineer

When considering the life to be expected from a structure before any major repairs are needed, it is important to remember that most structures are likely to require some maintenance during their service lives. This is especially true where structures are exposed to the demanding conditions of the natural environment as well as having to cope with often onerous ‘manmade’ loading. A structure could in particular circumstances be designed with a very limited life in view and with no provision for maintenance, but such structures are the exception rather than the rule. D.A. Holland

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The Structural Engineer

There are probably relatively few cases where a client and designer embark on a project with an explicit statement of working life, and in the absence of reliable data on the service life and maintenance costs of various forms of construction, a client may take the easy option of accepting contemporary norms of quality, which may imply no more than the minimum to comply with statutes and national standards. H.P. Webber

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The Structural Engineer

Identification of what needs to be inspected, when and how It is not possible to inspect economically all parts of a building or civil engineering structure. The rear face of a basement wall against which backfill has been placed or the condition of the embedded length of concrete or steel piles are examples of items which are extremely expensive to inspect. They have therefore to be detailed appropriately. Any structure should be classified into areas or items which cannot be inspected regularly, those which may be inspected regularly, and those which definitely need to be inspected frequently. This classification should be carried out at the design concept stage: it is the responsibility of the design team. M.S. Fletcher

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The Structural Engineer

A variety of opinions were expressed by the participants at the Cambridge colloquium, as they had been asked to present their thoughts on design life from different viewpoints. The debates ranged widely as new opinions were outlined. For this colloquium the main opinions have been assembled and examined by pairs of presenters as client requirements, legal and organisational, and technical considerations. It is evident that there is considerable agreement on some of the principles and some of the difficulties which the concept of design life entails. So how best to make progress and signpost the way ahead? D.W. Quinion

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