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Special Sessions

On  from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. Structures Congress 2019 is offering three special sessions. Make sure to add them to you schedule in the interactive technical program.

View Technical Program Details

Joint SEI/IStructE Workshop on Conceptual Design of Bridges and Structures

Moderator: Ian Firth, FREng, FIStructE, FICE; and David Odeh, SE, PE, SECB, F.SEI, F.ASCE
Presenters: David Odeh, SE, PE, SECB, F.SEI, F.ASCE; Ian Firth, FREng, FIStructE, FICE; Jon Magnusson, PE, SE, Hon.AIA, NAE, F.SEI, Dist.M.ASCE; Paul Kassabian, PE, P.Eng, C.Eng; and Erleen Hatfield, SE, AIA, LEED AP

This special session, held jointly by SEI and IStructE, acknowledges and celebrates the mutual respect and support each Institution has for the other. Since April 2018, the Institution of Structural Engineers has held supplementary examinations in the USA to admit those with professional SE qualifications to full Chartered Membership of the Institution. These examinations focus on the conceptual design aspects of structural engineering and are not concerned with the application of any particular code of practice or design standard.

Conceptual design as a skill also resonates deeply with SEI’s core mission of promoting the structural engineer as leader and innovator. Engineers must master the arts of creative problem solving and critical thinking in order to develop truly innovative new ideas, and they must be able to clearly communicate their vision in order to see it realized.

Consequently, we propose that this special session at the 2019 SEI Structures Congress concentrate on conceptual design. Many engineers, particularly those in the first six or seven years of their career, have little opportunity to do conceptual design work, starting from a blank sheet of paper with a client's brief. Hence it is considered that this special session will appeal particularly to those in that situation but will also be valuable for those more experienced practitioners keen to develop creative and conceptual design skills. Creativity and conceptual thinking is at the heart of what it means to be an engineer, and it is what differentiates the human from the digital elements in the design process. So this should appeal to all attendees.

This 90 minute session will include short presentations from each of the speakers, with a strong interactive element where all participants can actively engage with the subject matter in an extended seminar style discussion. The session will begin with an overview presentation by the moderators followed by case study presentations from featured panelists who have practiced around the world.

Science Not Communicated is Science Not Done

Presenter: Melissa Marshall

Given in an informative and engaging style (see style of Melissa Marshall's TEDtalk), this speech will motivate listeners on the importance of communication to the success and advancement of their technical work. The talk will explore how effective communication is the linchpin between technical innovation and advancement and those that are in a position to advance that research. Important research often does not move forward because the significance of the work is not understood and appreciated by others. Through providing engaging examples and practical strategies, listeners will walk away with a renewed enthusiasm and skill set for communicating their technical work.

Grenfell Tower Fire - The Consequences for Safety

Presenter: Alastair Soane, Director, Structural-Safety

Following the catastrophic fire at Grenfell Tower in London in 2017 there have been two major investigations. The Public Inquiry, is the Independent Inquiry "To examine the circumstances surrounding the fire at Grenfell Tower", and the second is the Hackitt Report; an "Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety." Speakers will describe what happened and, to the extent allowed by legal circumstances, why it happened. This will be followed by findings on the safety and standards used by some in the UK construction sector, including areas where there have been serious failings. Subsequent recommendations made to Government to address the issues, and the progress on these will be described. The impact of fire and structural safety world-wide will be influenced by the consequences of this tragedy.

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