The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 9 (1931) > Issues > Issue 1 > Discussion on Mr. Bossom's Paper
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Discussion on Mr. Bossom's Paper

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.