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Though some engineers object, most modern structural Codes or design standards use partial safety factors, i.e. y-factors. With certain exceptions, there are generally two y-factors - yf for loads and ym for resistances.
Popper has argued that the growth of scientific knowledge takes place as a result of the falsification of theories. Some of his ideas can be applied to engineering knowledge as well, but the falsification of the calculation procedure model (CPM) cannot actively sought. When engineering failures do occur, therefore, they provide invaluable opportunities for the growth of engineering knowledge, provided that we can isolate the component of the CPM that has been falsified. The two cases of failure discussed in this paper indicate that the design philosophy component of the CPM has been falsified. The two resulting suggestions for changing the CPM are (i) to control the progression of collapse in a structure so that greater warning given and (ii) to take into account the sensitivity to deviations from specifications when selecting structural alternatives.
A world-class facility has been developed by the Building Research Establishment at its
Cardington laboratory near Bedford. This facility can be used for testing structures up to 10 storeys in height under static, dynamic, accidental and fire loads. A 1O-year research programme to study the behaviour of complete buildings includes tests on steel, reinforced concrete, timber and masonry buildings. The first test building is a steel-framed structure representing an ofice block. Construction of the building has started, and a 2-year programme of research encompassing vertical loading, serviceability, vibration, blast, and fire and smoke tests is planned.
G.S.T. Armer and D.B. Moore