Call for Papers – Learning from failures in the new millennium

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Forensic Engineering Journal is planning a themed issue on ‘learning from failures in the new millennium’ championed by Finch Principal Consultant, Rajen Lavingia.

This themed issue of Forensic Engineering will look back at what we have learned in the 21st century from the recent failures and mal-performances. Papers are invited from academics, practising professionals, government officials and insurance professionals.

Engineers have come a long way in learning from the failure of structures since the mythological collapse of the Tower of Babel. Learning from failures has played an important role in the evolution of engineering for the human civilisation, be it the Egyptians learning from the failure of the Pyramid of Meidum or 20th century engineers learning from the disintegration of the Columbia space shuttle during its descent. Twenty-first century failures and disasters include hurricane Katrina, Fukushima, BP Deep Water Horizon, the Indian Ocean tsunami and disappearances of airplanes, to name but a few.

A failure has many consequences, including loss of lives, reputation, trust, resources and impact on ongoing similar projects around the world. The impact of this failure on the consequences varies based on the severity of the failure and the extent of its impact. However, a failure is also the best teacher and on most occasions offers opportunities for learning and change. A failure also shows that the existing concepts need to be revised to prevent recurrence of similar failures.

Analysis of planning, design, preparation, execution and controllable variables is required to learn from failures. A failure may also require unlearning previously acceptable theories.

Papers are invited from practising professional engineers and academics alike. Topics to address (though not limited to this list) could include:

  • Impact of codes, standards and legal framework on failures and vice versa.
  • Impact of a failure on similar projects and structures around the world.
  • Major structural collapses.
  • Mal-performance of structures.
  • Root cause analysis of large-scale failures.

To submit your abstract, e-mail a proposed title, author list and 200 words of text to Ben Ramster at [email protected] (+44 20 7665 2242)


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