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The Structural Engineer

TO THE EDITOR of the Structural Engineer. ECONOMICAL BASES FOR STANCHIONS. Sit,-The statement by “Controvertist,” in the November issue of The Structural Engineer, that sheds in which the posts are embedded a couple of feet into the ground successfully defy the elements, and the calculations, would appear to indicate that failures of structures of this type are unknown.

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The Structural Engineer

Mr. HUGH DAVIES said that Mr. Robertson had to-night given a display of his extraordinary versatility and breadth of view in regard to some abstruse problems of architectural design, moreover although he had written an eminently readable paper for the purposes of the meeting he had not bothered to read it but had given an equally interesting lecture of a different character without any notes and apparently without any previous preparation. Those who had known Mr. Robertson for a good many years, and had admired his work at the Architectural Association, knew that he had in an unusual degree attempted to realise the problems of the structural engineer, and to co-ordinate the aims of the structural engineer with those of the architect. In his lecture to-night Mr. Robertson was concerned primarily with the aesthetic aspect of design; and if there waa one characteristic that had particularly impressed the present audience, it was that Mr. Robertson had very largely abandoned the habit which architects of twenty or thirty years ago followed of interpreting architectural design primarily in terms of ethics. In those days we had heard much about honesty, truth, and other ethical attributes: Mr. Robertson had indeed mentioned the quality of honesty in building but it was to point out the absurd lengths to which undue adherence to such principles might lead designers of buildings when dealing with details in iron, concrete and other modern materials. Instead of that Mr. Robertson had unfolded some of the elements of the aesthetics of buildings as exemplified in the work of a few modern architects, and had done this in a manner that all had been able tograsp and appreciate. As an architectural expert who had interpreted the principles upon which structural engineers had, often unconsciously, created beautiful structures, and structural engineers would feel it was an encouragement to go on following out the ideas they had frequently expressed when building bridges and similar structures. He (Mr. Hugh Davies) would have very much enjoyed it if Mr. Robertson had elaborated a few more of the principles of design with which engineers were specially concerned. In the early part of his speech he had referred to the aesthetic qualities of the Parthenon, and of some notable Roman buildings, and his analysis of the motives underlying the form of such buildings and the manner in which the motive was given expression had been very illuminating. One would have liked it if Mr. Robertson had gone on further to elaborate another type of construction which was very interesting to structural engineers, and particularly to ferro-concrete constructional engineers, namely the dome. There were those who held the opinion that the dome had not been fully explored in this country as a motive in modern construction. But the Americans had seized upon it and had given some extremely interesting demonstrations of the application of domes to modern requirements in structural wor

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The Structural Engineer

Mr. EWART S. ANDREWS said this was the third occasion on which he had heard Mr. Bossom at the Institution. On each occasion it had been a real intellectual treat: and Mr. Bossom had always given those who heard him material that was very well worth their more mature consideration. To-night Mr. Bossom had not only advocated progress from the technical and scientific point of view, but had put it, on a vcry high plane of social service. Mr. Bossom said in the course of his lecture that America had probably built more in the last thirty years than all the rest of the world in the previous three hundred years. That kind of remark brought them very close to realities. He had been very much interested in Mr. Bossom’s reference to the progress schedule, and would very much like to know whether Mr. Bossom thought that under London conditions the progress svhedule would result in a saving of money as well as time. His impression was that here we paid for thc increased speed. Another point which Mr. Bossom had accentuated was one that must impress anyone who knew how things were done in the United States, and that was the way in which in America the comp1ete scheme was apparently always drawn out in full detail before they obtained the possession of the site. The fact that we often failed to do that here was not the fault of the structural engineer or architect. The diff1culty was that the clients often did not make up their minds that they wanted to do anything until a few weeks before work was begun. The result was that in some jobs the foundations were started before the client had made up his mind as to what was to be done on thec upper floors, and when the walls were a little way up there was some radical alteration causing delay in the work, mental and moral damage to the engineer, and general inefficiency: all of this could have been entirely avoided if the comp1ete structure had been designed before starting work. Mr. Bossom had referred to the fact that, although in America labour costs very much more than here per hour, yet the total cost of building was much the same. He (Mr. Andrews) did not know how to explain this amazing fact, but members of the Institution would be glad to bc informed-if they had not, already heard of it-that a very important joint committee had been formed with a view to getting some kind of standardisation and greater progress in the building by-laws. The Institution was reprosented on that committee by Mr. Searles-Wood and himself, and he had great hopes that something would come of it. It gave some sort of idca of the kind of work that had to be done in this sort of affair, when it was stated that in New York no less than 107 sub-committees had been formed in order to handle the building code. He was sure he was speaking on behalf of the members, particularly of the junior members, when he assured Mr. Bossom that structural engineers would not lag behind in carrying out the great work that hc foresaw for the future.

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The Structural Engineer

STANDARD AGGREGATES. - The Standard aggregates shall be prepared from uncrushed Thames ballast. This consists of gravel and sand from the Thames Estuary and from lowlying land adjoining the river in the Thames Valley; it normally contains not more than 2 per cent. by weight of chert and 2 per cent. by weight of white veined quartz. It shall be free from shells, and shall be thoroughly washed and dried.

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The Structural Engineer

This Act, which comes into force on January 1st next, requires the employment of qualified civil engineers to design and supervise the construction of large reservoirs, and to make periodical inspections of large reservoirs, and provides that an engineer will not be accepted as qualified to carry out this work for the purposes of the Act, unless he is a member of the appropriate panel of civil engineers to be set up under the Act.

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The Structural Engineer

PART III.-WORKMANSHIP. GENERAL-Where the word Engineer is used in this Report it is to be taken as meaning the structural engineer who acts on behalf of the employer. All workmanship shall be in accordance with best modern practice to the engineer's approval, the necessary accuracy being observed to ensure that all parts will fit together on erection.

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The Structural Engineer

In the sense that there is nothing new under the sun the title of this paper is misleading. In the sense that the ideas set forth could be dug out of literature found on dusty shelves the title would be deceiving. In the sense that the present writer has been emphasizing these ideas for a decade or two the title is camouflage. Edward Godfrey

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The Structural Engineer

Thames House, which members of this Institution had the opportunity of visiting during construction, consists of two large blocks adjoining Imperial Chemical House, in Grosvenor Road, with a river frontage of 560 ft. R.Travers Morgan

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The Structural Engineer

The time has arrived when the English structural engineers have the opportunity of making a most material contribution towards our national progress, and with it, aid a return to better times. Alfred C. Bossom

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