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SIR,-Mr. Cocking's paper,"Some Notes on Modern Steel Frame Construction," is very timely now that structural work is developing rapidly, and soundness of design and practice is more than ever essential. One or two points of outstanding interest are raised by Mr. Cocking, and I venture to offer the following comments on the closing portion of the paper which deals with cases of bad structural design which are becoming standard practice.
Mr. Ferrington has reported to the Council that Mr. H. C. Toy, M.Sc., A.M.Inst.C.E., (Associate-Member), passed away on Dec. 13th. Mr. Toy was a valued member of the Midland Counties Branch Committee and has worked hard for the benefit of the Institution. He was a member of the Bridge Office Staff of the City of Birmingham Corporation. At the funeral Mr. V. H. Lawton, Vice-chairman of the Branch, attended a.s the representative of the Institution.
The forces of nature which work against the structures designed and erected by structural engineers are, by the influence of scientific research and experience, becoming so well known that the factor of safety for contingencies, is, I am told, steadily diminishing. This notwithstanding you sleep easy in your bed with the complete confidence that nothing will cause disaster to the work you have designed and constructed. I come before you to-night to discuss the design of a structure of ink and parchment against which forces of nature are practically innocuous, but for which nevertheless no factor of safety is sufficient to withstand the destroying influence of mental ingenuity and legal interpretation. The structure to which I refer, is the engineering or building contract upon which the professional and commercial prosperity of engineer, employer, and contractor alike, are so often found to be dependent. E.J. Rimmer