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Mr Immediate Past President, ladies, gentlemen, members and guests, I should first like to convey my thanks to members of the Institution for electing me as President of this great Institution of ours. To be elected President is a great honour, but I am very well aware that great responsibility accompanies that honour, particularly in view of the responsibility that Chartered and Incorporated Structural Engineers have for public safety. Professor L.A. Clark
Mr P. Maranian (Brandow & Johnson Associates, California, USA): I have five comments on the excellent paper by Byfield & Nethercot. ( 1 ) From how many mills were samples taken? Did this represent most of the major producers in Europe? (2) Did any samples come from mills outside of Europe (e.g. South America, Japan, USA)? (3) The paper mentions that webs have much higher yield stress than the flanges. There has also been some concern recently in the USA that along with the higher yield stress in the web, very low toughness has been found in the ‘K’ area (junction between flange and web). This has typically occurred in rolled sections but is somewhat alleviated when gag straightened methods are used. Were any studies carried out on toughness characteristics of steel? (4) Were any studies carried out to determine variation due to mill processes, i.e. semi-killed, killed, silicon, continuous casting, etc? (5) A few engineers on the west coast of the USA have been somewhat concerned regarding the distribution of non-metallic inclusions (e.g. sulphides, silicates) and their detrimental effect on the performance of welds. Have there been any recent studies carried out on this aspect?
Risk assessment can be a valuable aid to decision making but, having become fashionable, is in danger of being considerably oversold. It is applied to very different circumstances that bear only the broadest resemblance to each other. Each is likely to require a different methodology. Thus, to a lawyer, risk management relates largely to the avoidance of legal liability, the quantity surveyor will see it as an aid to controlling a budget, the HSE will relate it to accident avoidance and the structural engineer to maintaining the stability of structures. Such themes are old; only their collective title is new. Nevertheless, codification of some hazards and risks is developing new methodologies which have spawned extensive guides and manuals. All human endeavour includes some risk, the analysis of which may in one case be scientifically and/or statistically based and, in another, calls on judgment, instinct or prejudice. Even assessments scientifically arrived at are rarely exact. Inevitably, therefore, most risk assessments are subjective and need to be recognised as such. Awareness of the benefits and limitations of such assessments has become important to engineers. This paper takes an overview of these: it does not aim to be another manual; its conclusions are strategic and not specific to structural engineering. S.B. Tietz