Engineering Mistakes & Ooopsy Daisy's

Here's aircraft-related engineering failure that shares some of the blame for the UK not being a name in the jet airliner world (until Airbus, which isn't a really a UK business).


The problem with engineering is that it's often "Heads you lose, Tails you don't win". If you get it wrong you pay, and it you get it too right you also pay.

 
So, relying even more so on others to verify that the work of others hired by the "not the lowest bidder" isn't going to land you in hot water. I guess that once work actually begins you aren't inspecting welds, torques, tie offs, or checking the slump on every pump, let alone the timings between them to ensure integrity of those yourself either.
Oh ffs. We're building a power station not a bloody swimming pool pump house.
 
[rant]

Oh look, another one in the USA...........what a surprise[not].

Ok, so I am a US citizen now, and I live in the US, I also spent 50 years living in other places where for the better part of 20 years was involved in property development. I had to learn UK building Reg's, was fortunate to be able to observe construction on mainland europe regularly, became an advanced plumber & CORGI registered gas engineer, and passed the water regulations course along with a few others.

In the US I regularly see, or notice, construction projects just waiting for a visit from the Emperor. A fortune is wasted on having to redo projects more frequently than they would need attention, or remediation, in europe. In Texarrse you are lucky to find house and small building footings that will be over 23" - 24" in depth - compared to a minimum of 40" in the UK. The result is cracking caused by failure of the footings - by failure I mean that the concrete footings snap.

I watched the construction of a new urban railway station over the last 18 months with platform walkways at a level of around 4 feet over the track level. The foundation for the platform was down around 3 feet, concrete simply poured onto flattened dirt with some re-inforcing bars laid out - eventually the concrete will slowly sink into the dirt when the annual monsoon type rains hit loosening up the clay and dirt. The thing that really gripped my fascination was when they were laying the water and drainage pipes, I even spoke with the site engineer about it asking him why they do it like that. The actually laid all the water and drainage pipe inside the platform walls and then buried them all under hardcore infill and topped it all off with 6 inches of concrete. When I spoke with the site engineer the question I asked was "How would you know if there is ever a leak, and how would you fix it"? I got a blank look.

They do the same with pipes during house construction. As a UK plumber and gas engineer I now that pipes need to be visible, or at least accessible, to easily trace leaks and repair them. In the US I see natural gas pipes being hidden in the cavity of houses when they build - don't want those scruffy pipes showing. Most water and drainage pipes are buried under the concrete floor slab so you don't know there is a leak until your floor starts to get wet.............oh yeah, in many States here they do not know what a damp proof membrane is, and a damp proof course in brickwork is something they have never heard of, seriously, not joking.

Roads: Roads in Texarrse look like they were built in the 18th century, yet most are not even ten years old. They clear the path of the road, level the ground and then put down those grids of re-inforcing steel. Then to top it off they pour somewhere around 10 to 12 inches of concrete. No hardcore, no sub layers, no gradual build up. The Romans used to build better roads than the Texans, I know this for a fact as I used to run along a section of the original Roman Watling Street.

I have had this conversation with engineers and site managers in Texarrse and all I ever get back is, "they are built to code (building regs)", then they go on to agree with me that their code is shite and it should be tougher. Yesterday I was chatting with the heads of school at a college for construction management and mechanical services. They were asking me about the differences between US and UK building reg's and both told me that the US has a long way to go to catch up with europe.

The house I live in costs around a $1million. I look at it with my knowledge of UK plumbing and construction regulations and I know that if I transplanted the house to the UK it would fail a building reg's inspection on everything from: Footings to roofing, plumbing to drainage, and energy efficiency is a joke, the windows are piss poor and the insulation leaves much to be desired - oh and the road at the end of my driveway is collapsing because there is a drain there and water pools and is getting under the 10" - 12" of concrete washing away the sub-soil. Those problems carry across to engineering projects too.

[/rant]
I absolutely understand what you're saying, but I have a different perspective.

Take the Eisenhower Interstate system. Built in the 50s, under his presidency, as he brought back his experiences with autobahns in Germany.

The Eisenhower Interstate system extends to 50,000 miles. Fifty thousand miles. Much of it is dogshit concrete 20ft sections, possibly asphalted over now. Some has now been completely reconstructed, but building 50 thousand miles of 4- or 6-lane roads was always going to be a hell of a project.

But look at what it's done for the economy. Fedex or UPS Ground can get a pallet of anything (rubber dogshit, diamonds, rabbit vibrators, beer, pineapples, whatever) from one side of the country to the other in a couple days at very reasonable cost. No more two-lane meandering highways.

There's an old saying. "The housewife prefers utility over quality". I'll take that, and I'll take the Eisenhower Interstate system. Shit as it is compared with German autobahnen, UK motorways etc. A colossal achievement.
 
[rant]

Oh look, another one in the USA...........what a surprise[not].

Ok, so I am a US citizen now, and I live in the US, I also spent 50 years living in other places where for the better part of 20 years was involved in property development. I had to learn UK building Reg's, was fortunate to be able to observe construction on mainland europe regularly, became an advanced plumber & CORGI registered gas engineer, and passed the water regulations course along with a few others.

In the US I regularly see, or notice, construction projects just waiting for a visit from the Emperor. A fortune is wasted on having to redo projects more frequently than they would need attention, or remediation, in europe. In Texarrse you are lucky to find house and small building footings that will be over 23" - 24" in depth - compared to a minimum of 40" in the UK. The result is cracking caused by failure of the footings - by failure I mean that the concrete footings snap.

I watched the construction of a new urban railway station over the last 18 months with platform walkways at a level of around 4 feet over the track level. The foundation for the platform was down around 3 feet, concrete simply poured onto flattened dirt with some re-inforcing bars laid out - eventually the concrete will slowly sink into the dirt when the annual monsoon type rains hit loosening up the clay and dirt. The thing that really gripped my fascination was when they were laying the water and drainage pipes, I even spoke with the site engineer about it asking him why they do it like that. The actually laid all the water and drainage pipe inside the platform walls and then buried them all under hardcore infill and topped it all off with 6 inches of concrete. When I spoke with the site engineer the question I asked was "How would you know if there is ever a leak, and how would you fix it"? I got a blank look.

They do the same with pipes during house construction. As a UK plumber and gas engineer I now that pipes need to be visible, or at least accessible, to easily trace leaks and repair them. In the US I see natural gas pipes being hidden in the cavity of houses when they build - don't want those scruffy pipes showing. Most water and drainage pipes are buried under the concrete floor slab so you don't know there is a leak until your floor starts to get wet.............oh yeah, in many States here they do not know what a damp proof membrane is, and a damp proof course in brickwork is something they have never heard of, seriously, not joking.

Roads: Roads in Texarrse look like they were built in the 18th century, yet most are not even ten years old. They clear the path of the road, level the ground and then put down those grids of re-inforcing steel. Then to top it off they pour somewhere around 10 to 12 inches of concrete. No hardcore, no sub layers, no gradual build up. The Romans used to build better roads than the Texans, I know this for a fact as I used to run along a section of the original Roman Watling Street.

I have had this conversation with engineers and site managers in Texarrse and all I ever get back is, "they are built to code (building regs)", then they go on to agree with me that their code is shite and it should be tougher. Yesterday I was chatting with the heads of school at a college for construction management and mechanical services. They were asking me about the differences between US and UK building reg's and both told me that the US has a long way to go to catch up with europe.

The house I live in costs around a $1million. I look at it with my knowledge of UK plumbing and construction regulations and I know that if I transplanted the house to the UK it would fail a building reg's inspection on everything from: Footings to roofing, plumbing to drainage, and energy efficiency is a joke, the windows are piss poor and the insulation leaves much to be desired - oh and the road at the end of my driveway is collapsing because there is a drain there and water pools and is getting under the 10" - 12" of concrete washing away the sub-soil. Those problems carry across to engineering projects too.

[/rant]
As a frequent US ‘vacationer’ we always stay in Villas. Looking at the build quality of these & many other buildings we go into, I’m inclined to agree.
We've often commented that ‘Slipshod’ is the word. Style over substance.
 
Dunno what it's like in the UK now but in Aus which never went through "Thatcherism" and the militant constructs unions have never been shackled on a major unionised site the lift operator, gateman and traffic controllers all earn more than the senior project engineers. Only problem is to get those jobs you don't need to be smart, just connected to the union hierarchy.
 
Oh ffs. We're building a power station not a bloody swimming pool pump house.
So, holding the client responsible doesn't do any good after all...

and you employ vagueness as a method to big it up, while you yourself don't realize any particular dangers in the misconstruction of a power station.
 
By the way, didn't the massive Battersea Power Station shell sell for £1.6Bn to be remodeled into housing, which is seriously over budget and past deadlines now?

Surely anything that costs £1.2Bn to construct these days would likely be much smaller... so, it is 50MW of wind or 100MW of solar? Obviously it isn't that dangerous Nuclear stuff... not in your budget, obviously it isn't that dangerous Natural Gas stuff either because you dismiss any dangers.
 
So, holding the client responsible doesn't do any good after all...

and you employ vagueness as a method to big it up, while you yourself don't realize any particular dangers in the misconstruction of a power station.
I'm pretty sure I know more about managing safety in design, build, commissioning and operation than you do.

I'm not using vagueness. Just keeping the level of detail down.

Tell me, please, about your preferred methodology to assure safety, regarding torque in bolted flanges. Nice wide question.

Go on.
 
By the way, didn't the massive Battersea Power Station shell sell for £1.6Bn to be remodeled into housing, which is seriously over budget and past deadlines now?

Surely anything that costs £1.2Bn to construct these days would likely be much smaller... so, it is 50MW of wind or 100MW of solar? Obviously it isn't that dangerous NG or Nuclear stuff... not in your budget.
EfW.
 
Dunno what it's like in the UK now but in Aus which never went through "Thatcherism" and the militant constructs unions have never been shackled on a major unionised site the lift operator, gateman and traffic controllers all earn more than the senior project engineers. Only problem is to get those jobs you don't need to be smart, just connected to the union hierarchy.
Sounds like New York, New Jersey, Boston and Philadelphia. Unions controlling the job site's, division of labour and electricians and plumbers earning $3000 a day - and no, I'm not kidding. I those states and cities many of the trade schools are union owned and run so it keeps everything in the unions pockets.

@vinniethemanxcat how long would it take you to replace 8 wash hand basins? Just take out the old one's and put in the new ones, just take off the old taps, undo the waste, remove the basin, drop a new one in the hole, connect the new taps, re-connect the waste, job done. I looked at the job and reckoned I could do one per hour without killing myself, or breaking a sweat. The septic contractors wanted $1000 per basin, labour only, the Mrs who is running the job for her office told them to phuq oph and managed to get it down to $750 per basin.

Although I am a UK plumbist I cannot do the job in the US as it is part of a larger contract and I am not licensed - I did not fancy doing a four year apprenticeship. US plumbing is not much like UK plumbing anyway.
 
Sounds like New York, New Jersey, Boston and Philadelphia. Unions controlling the job site's, division of labour and electricians and plumbers earning $3000 a day - and no, I'm not kidding. I those states and cities many of the trade schools are union owned and run so it keeps everything in the unions pockets.

@vinniethemanxcat how long would it take you to replace 8 wash hand basins? Just take out the old one's and put in the new ones, just take off the old taps, undo the waste, remove the basin, drop a new one in the hole, connect the new taps, re-connect the waste, job done. I looked at the job and reckoned I could do one per hour without killing myself, or breaking a sweat. The septic contractors wanted $1000 per basin, labour only, the Mrs who is running the job for her office told them to phuq oph and managed to get it down to $750 per basin.

Although I am a UK plumbist I cannot do the job in the US as it is part of a larger contract and I am not licensed - I did not fancy doing a four year apprenticeship. US plumbing is not much like UK plumbing anyway.
Horses heads in beds still prevalent then?
 
I'm pretty sure I know more about managing safety in design, build, commissioning and operation than you do.

I'm not using vagueness. Just keeping the level of detail down.

Tell me, please, about your preferred methodology to assure safety, regarding torque in bolted flanges. Nice wide question.

Go on.
You obviously are relying on others to follow the rules and verify the same... yet claim making the client responsible for relying on them makes everything better... you are simply plugging together calendar blocks and people legos, not truly engaged in ensuring the success of the project.

As to methodology to assure safety regarding torque in bolted flanges, it really doesn't matter if the flanges are structural beam, piping with gasket, or boilers and pressure vessels with gasket. Each have their own calculations, which you will not be verifying... of course with gaskets involved, those calculations get rather squishy with respect to controlling gasket load. The only way to ensure you have met specifications derived from the calculations is with properly lubricated bolts and nuts, using a properly calibrated torque wrench, applied in the appropriate pattern dictated by the object to ensure equal compression of properly fitted and aligned parts. And you will not be there to ensure the workman has done this at all.

Nice wide answer.
 
Horses heads in beds still prevalent then?
Would you believe me if I said "yes".

They are still around, not as big as they once were as the Russians moved in along with the Albanians and Serb's. I had an older American Italian chap on the electricians course with me and he told me some tales about his neighbourhood in Philadelphia. The older one's tend to move down to Florida and kick off some dodgy scams and swindles - there are a few who live around the Winter Park area.

But yeah, they are still around, there are still the odd shootings and disputes, you just don't get it on the news in the UK.
 
Would you believe me if I said "yes".

They are still around, not as big as they once were as the Russians moved in along with the Albanians and Serb's. I had an older American Italian chap on the electricians course with me and he told me some tales about his neighbourhood in Philadelphia. The older one's tend to move down to Florida and kick off some dodgy scams and swindles - there are a few who live around the Winter Park area.

But yeah, they are still around, there are still the odd shootings and disputes, you just don't get it on the news in the UK.
I still get the occasional "secret society" letters in the post from Winter Park. Apparently they watch me and my progress very closely and want to help me in my quest to become wealthy. I also get the occasional letter from the White House, sending me pictures of her, and sometimes him, and even less occasionally them, letting me know that they would love to have dinner with me, if I am the randomly selected chosen one, and my donations would make an incredible difference in whatever crisis is occurring at the moment. The last couple of first couples did the same.
 
I still get the occasional "secret society" letters in the post from Winter Park. Apparently they watch me and my progress very closely and want to help me in my quest to become wealthy. I also get the occasional letter from the White House, sending me pictures of her, and sometimes him, and even less occasionally them, letting me know that they would love to have dinner with me, if I am the randomly selected chosen one, and my donations would make an incredible difference in whatever crisis is occurring at the moment. The last couple of first couples did the same.
They never invite me, the bastards!

Well at least I am happy in the knowledge that I received an invite for, and attended HM’s birthday once.
 

Latest Threads

Top