BUILDING SYSTEMS AND CONCEPTS
Gary C. Hart
The author went to his doctor to report his latest Kidney Stone attack. Prior to the visit he had to take a blood test, have an X-ray session and then the latest Cat Scan imaging session. The doctor showed him the images from the sessions to impress upon him how "high tech" he had become. Then he discussed the options available to the author to stop kidney stones.
This visit to a modern "high tech" doctor and the doctor's process to meet the author's needs was enlightening. It was clear to the author that the doctor took three basic steps: First, he explained the results of his analysis in terms that the author understood, even though chemistry was the author's worst subject in college. Second, the doctor presented the options for stopping future Kidney Stone attacks. Third, the doctor, when pressed by the author, who knows probability and reliability theory, stated that there was NO guarantee that if the author followed all of the doctor's orders that those dreaded Kidney Stones would not come back again, i.e. they would stop! These three basic steps illustrated the fundaments of communication that must take place in this scientific and high tech age. What the doctor really did was to provide the bridge between the science of medicine and non-doctor descriptions of the options, and then very importantly quantified, based on his experience and the analysis of the author's case facts, the probability of success for different options that could be selected by the author. That is, science the author could not understand, options the author could understand, and then quantification of success for each option based on scientific analysis. Finally, the author had to make the decision on which option to take - not the doctor!
This is a Tall Buildings conference paper, so what does it have to do with Kidney Stones? Wait a minute and the answer will come.
Structural Engineers are professionals in this "high tech" age just like doctors. They work for clients that really have no technical training or experience to evaluate their work except when the dreaded Kidney Stone, or the Design Basis Earthquake or Wind occurs. In the structural engineers natural hazard world, it hopefully will never occur. (Some would argue that