The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 82 (2004) > Issues > Issue 1 > Are 'structural surveys' proper engineering?
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Are 'structural surveys' proper engineering?

When the President proposed the title of this paper to one of the authors some months ago, it raised a number of interesting points. Firstly, it was quite clear that despite the best endeavours of the Construction Industry Council (CIC) and the construction industry professional institutions and associations to eradicate the phrase ‘structural survey’ from the terminology of the industry, it seems it has clearly become a generic term that defies eradication. Secondly, it reminded the same author of a conversation some 40 years ago in the design office of a large consultancy firm. Junior engineer to senior engineer: ‘A lady’s on the phone; she’s got a house in Hendon – says it has some cracks and distortions. Huh! Can we come out and do a structural survey on it? Surely that’s not a proper thing for consulting engineers to be doing?’ ‘Not only is it proper’, replied the senior engineer, ‘but you have to be absolutely certain that you do it properly. If you don’t, you’re in trouble; if you do, you’ll learn a lot more about buildings and structural engineering from sorting out problems than you’ll ever learn in the office doing new-build design!’ In a nutshell, addressing those topics is the theme of this paper. The paper addresses mainly smaller buildings, say below five storeys and upon which rapid opinion may reasonably be expected by the client, but includes all types – commercial, domestic, industrial, whatever! So probably 95% of the UK building stock is encompassed by the comments within this paper. Brian Clancy, BSc, CEng, FIStructE, FICE, FCIOB, MRICS, MCIArb Consulting Engineer, Cheshire Bob Stagg, BSc, CEng, FIStructE, MICE Alan Conisbee & Associates, London

Author(s): Clancy, Brian;Stagg, Bob

Keywords: surveying;buildings;engineering;skills;risks