The March issue of Structure Magazine features an article by GMS Principal Forensic Engineer Dan Eschenasy entitled “Underlying Causes of Exterior Sign Accidents.”
The March issue of Structure Magazine features an article by GMS Principal Forensic Engineer Dan Eschenasy entitled “Underlying Causes of Exterior Sign Accidents.”
Dan Eschenasy PE. F.SEI
Principal Forensic Engineer
A new version of the New York City Building Code becomes effective this 7th November. Will it impact the recent years’ trend of increase in the number of cases related to Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law – §881 Access to adjoining property to make improvements or repairs (RPAPL 881)? In older areas of New York City (NYC), the building density is such that any new construction or even some alterations cannot be executed without accessing the adjoining property for inspection and installation of protective devices. As a result, the negotiations and cases are generally based on the sections prescribing the protection of adjoining property of NYC Building Code Chapter 33 Safeguards during Construction or Demolition. Even though the 2022 Building Code edition has only a limited number of changes to these Chapter 33 sections, this engineer proposes that the changes in subchapter 3306 Demolition related to temporary weather protection and building assessment may provide increased opportunities to negotiate licenses to access adjoining properties. Separately, it is most probable that additional sources for negotiations may be found in the new 1817.3 Evaluation of adjacent buildings for suitable methods of support.
Congratulations to our own Phoebe Wang, GMS structural engineer, for publishing an article within AISC’s Engineering Journal, Second Quarter 2021, Volume 58, No. 2.
On Friday, November 6, 2020, GMS Associate Partner Jessica Mandrick, joined several prominent structural engineers to present ASCE 7, Minimum Design Loads and Associated Criteria for Buildings and Other Structures at the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations (NCSEA) Structural Engineering Summit. NCSEA in partnership with its Member Organizations supports practicing structural engineers to be highly qualified professionals and successful leaders.
The competing factors governing structural design and dimensioning of reinforced concrete slabs create opportunities for optimizing the cost and performance of reinforced concrete flat-plate slabs. Using a slab prototype from an existing building, this study compares designs using different strengths of reinforcing bars and concrete.Download Article
GMS Partner Karl Rubenacker attended the International Code Council’s Committee Action Hearings in Albuquerque, May 4 and 5 on behalf of the NCSEA existing buildings code advisory committee. These hearings offered code officials, architects, builders, engineers, and other design professionals the opportunity to provide input on proposed code changes to the Group B International Codes® for 2021.
At GMS, we view active involvement in professional societies as a key way to develop and retain bright young talent. We are proud to have seven employees participating in various ASCE/SEI 7-22 and ASCE/SEI 24-20 committees and subcommittees for the latest code cycles.
Several of our engineers traveled to Fort Worth, TX, to attend the 2018 Structures Congress, where engineers are inspired, connect with leaders in the profession, and learn from experts. The congress is organized annually by the Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
At this year’s NASCC Steel Conference, organized by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) in Baltimore, the Applied Technology Council (ATC) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) presented modeling techniques, quality assurance techniques, challenges and engineering decisions involved in the recent blind prediction contest held to advance knowledge on design and modelling of deep wide-flange columns.
Jennifer Lan was a panelist on an EERI Technical Case Studies Webinar, during which speakers who conducted reconnaissance following the September 19, 2017 Puebla-Morelos earthquake presented geotechnical and structural case studies. Jennifer’s presentation described the reconnaissance methodology and provided an in-depth analysis of building performance, using two buildings that were damaged during the earthquake as case studies.
Ramon Gilsanz presented at the Structural Engineering Talks in Austin, TX. This event hosts speakers with atypical, non-technical presentations that are lively, philosophical, inspirational, thought-provoking, and/or make engineers re-think the approach to structural engineering.
On Friday, the members of the ATC reconnaissance team reviewed their individual observations. Specific buildings were also identified for ongoing monitoring.<!–more–>
Having reached out to local engineers, building owners and residents, the team received helpful information about the earthquake itself, as well as the consequent building performance. Some residents invited our team members into their apartments to see the damage in person. The 9/19/17 earthquake caused structural damage — damage to buildings — precipitating 44 collapses. Many buildings also experienced non-structural structural damage (i.e. the shaking of contents within the buildings), or damage caused by geotechnical failure.
On this day, Laura Hernandez also assisted University at Buffalo Professor, Andreas Stavridis, with the instrumented inspection and measurement of a damaged building. Prof. Stavridis, member of the ATC team, conducted instrumented investigations of one building each day throughout this reconnaissance trip.
On Thursday Laura’s team continued its route around the southern neighborhoods. They continuously saw buildings with nonstructural masonry infill walls that seemed to have acted as lateral resisting elements, evident by the in-plane damage.
On Wednesday, the ATC reconnaissance team sub-groups were rearranged. Ramon and Jennifer’s group visited the Condesa neighborhood in the northern part of the city. Here the team assessed two buildings, one of which suffered some damage, and the other nearly none. Another group, including Laura Hernandez, focused on the southern area of Mexico City where they saw several structures with distinct damage
GMS engineers and the other members of the Applied Technology Council (ATC) reconnaissance team arrived in Mexico City and coordinated their plan of action to study the effects of the 9/19/2017 earthquake on building structures. The first morning, they met at the WSP office to organize the reconnaissance for that day. In order to maximize the use of the researchers’ time, the team was divided into three smaller groups. Each went to a different section in the city to evaluate damage.
GMS engineers departed for Mexico City on Monday to be joined by remaining members of the Applied Technology Council (ATC) reconnaissance team reviewing the aftermath of the 9/19/2017 earthquake. The goal of this reconnaissance mission is to perform detailed assessments of reinforced concrete structures with all levels of damage. The reconnaissance will focus on identifying the likely cause of collapse in concrete buildings that performed poorly, and the likely cause of good performance in non-collapsed buildings in the immediate vicinity.
Mexico is one of the world’s most seismically active regions, sitting atop several intersecting tectonic plates. On September 19, 2017, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake hit the Greater Mexico City area killing 370 people and collapsing 40 buildings. The quake occurred on the 32nd anniversary of the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, which killed around 10,000 people. The 1985 quake was commemorated, and a national earthquake drill was held, at 11 a.m. local time, just two hours before the 2017 earthquake. Twelve days earlier, the even larger 2017 Chiapas earthquake struck 400 miles away, off the coast of the state of Chiapas.
In support of ongoing U.S. Government-funded research and development projects in earthquake engineering, the Applied Technology Council (ATC) Endowment Fund is sponsoring a team of experts to investigate the performance of buildings in Mexico City following the event.
Several of our engineers ventured to Denver, CO, to present their papers, studies and projects at this year’s Structures Congress. The congress is organized annually by the Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The 16th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, organized by the International Association of Earthquake Engineering took place from 9th January to the 13th January 2017 in Santiago, Chile. The conference covered engineering seismology, tsunamis, geotechnical earthquake engineering, design of new structures, assessment and retrofitting of existing structures, infrastructure and lifeline systems, preparedness and emergency management of large earthquakes, as well as social and economic aspects, and urban risk assessment.
GMS Associate Jessica Mandrick wrote an opinion in the STRUCTURE magazine column, Structural Forum.
Natural disasters devastate communities, destroy structures, halt livelihoods, and take lives. With each event, engineers aim to improve our practices to lessen the impact of future incidents. Reconnaissance trips following natural or manmade disasters can provide a valuable education.
On October 18, 2016, Ramon Gilsanz of GMS presented to the members of the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY) about global trends in earthquake design and resilience.
The lecture looked at common features of buildings in a variety of regions across the world which are prone to earthquakes. Such features include weak ground stories, considerations for adding new floors, alterations and enlargement of existing buildings and the potential for soil failures like liquefaction and lateral spreading. Using his experience from earthquake reconnaissance trips to Chile, Virginia, Greece, Taiwan and Ecuador, Mr. Gilsanz then discussed the impact of resilience in structures, specifically how to apply lessons from other cultures to improve the built environment here in New York City. He concluded with a review of the NYC Building Code provisions for resilience.
On the evening of April 16th, 2016, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck northern Ecuador, offshore from its west coast. The event drew the attention of the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Association, due to the several hundred casualties, tens of thousands homeless, and destruction along the west coast, with evidence of severe ground motions and geotechnical failures.
Jessica Mandrick presented at the SEAOC Technical Session on the recent Taiwan Meinong earthquake.
Jessica Mandrick, SE presented fifth in the Session titled Learning from the 2014 South Napa and 2016 Tainan Earthquakes during the 2016 Annual Conference of the Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC), October 12-15 in Ka’anapali Beach, Maui. The focus of this session was to highlight the lessons learned during the GMS and USGS reconnaissance trip to Tainan, which took place in February 2016 in collaboration with EERI, ATC, and NCREE. The team visited the city of Tainan and its vicinity to survey, study, and document damage and site-related observations from the recent 6.4 Meinong Earthquake. The focus of the paper/presentation included observed design and construction issues as well as the societal response to the earthquake.
GMS is very excited to announce that we are now a continuing education provider in The American Institute of Architects Continuing Education System.
Our first course, Understanding Resilience through a Musical Analogy can be presented in person by Ramon Gilsanz, author of the STRUCTURE magazine article upon which this presentation is based. The course is accredited for 1 Learning Unit of Health, Safety, and Welfare (HSW)-related training (1LU/HSW).
Ramon Gilsanz represented GMS at the first International Conference on Natural Hazards and Infrastructure (ICONHIC) on June 28-30 2016 in Chania, Greece.
Joe Mugford and Cathy Huang represented GMS at the 16th US-Japan-New Zealand Workshop on the Improvement of Structural Engineering and Resiliency, which took place in Nara, Japan on June 27-29 2016. At the conference, GMS presented findings from the post-disaster reconnaissance of the recent Kaohsiung/Meinong earthquake in Taiwan.
Ramon Gilsanz and Akbar Mahvashmohammadi attended the Eighth International Workshop on Connections in Steel Structures (Connections VIII). Researchers, designers, fabricators and steel industry representatives gathered in Boston on May 24-26, 2016 to collaborate and share knowledge within the areas of strength, behavior, fabrication and design of connections for structural steel and composite steel/concrete frames.
On Saturday, April 16, 2016 a massive magnitude-7.8 earthquake rocked Muisne, Ecuador, with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII (Severe). GMS’s Ramon Gilsanz and Virginia Diaz traveled to Ecuador to help in relief efforts, assist other rescuers and collect data on the performance of structures during the event. The reconnaissance trip was coordinated by Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance Association (GEER), sponsored by the National Science Foundation, with additional support from the Applied Technology Council (ATC).
Last month a team including Gilsanz Murray Steficek (GMS) engineers Ramon Gilsanz, Cathy Huang, Jessica Mandrick and Joe Mugford, Cerea Steficek from the Earth Sciences department at Northeastern University and Mehmet Celebi from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) accompanied by Sheng-Jhih Jhuang from the National Center of Research for Earthquake Engineering in Taiwan (NCREE) visited the earthquake stricken city of Tainan and vicinity to survey, study and document damage and site-related observations from the recent 6.4 Meinong Earthquake. GMS coordinated this effort with the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), and the Applied Technology Council (ATC).
Ramon Gilsanz, Phil Murray, Jonathan Hernandez, Jessica Mandrick, Sanaz Saadat, Joshua Peng, Mark Beltramello and John Hinchcliffe attended the 2016 Geotechnical and Structural Engineering Congress in Phoenix, Arizona. This unique Congress was a joint endeavor of two sectors within the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the Geotechnical Institute (G-I) and Structural Engineering Institute (SEI).
To complement this year’s conference in New York of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the CTBUH Journal has published a case study of the redevelopment work that GMS is undertaking with Alchemy Properties and SLCE Architects at the Woolworth Building.
On October 26, 2015, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology held a Rapid-Fire Conference to celebrate the accomplishments of Professor Eduardo Kausel over 40 years in MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The “Rapid-Fire Conference @MIT” was a day full of enlightening talks and intellectual discourse on important engineering and scientific issues of our times. The occasion sought to bring together colleagues Prof. Kausel had met in the academic community throughout the years that had influenced his own work.
Ramon Gilsanz was interviewed by the History Channel for their series Engineering Disasters.
Every year the ASCE Metropolitan Section Structures Group hosts a four evening Seminar that focuses on the most interesting construction projects and structural engineering topics.
GMS staff gave several presentations at this year’s seminar.
Several of our engineers ventured to Portland, OR, last week to present their papers, studies and cases at the 2015 Structures Congress. This congress is organized by the Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Seismologists, earthquake engineers and seismic code experts understand the science of earth that moves and the structures built on it, but many of the concepts involved may be too abstract for architects, builders and the public. This article offers an analogy to help explain seismic design and presents three different construction techniques used in Chile, Japan and the United States that counter an earthquake’s effects.
Two major earthquakes hit the Cephalonia Island of Greece on January 26th and February 3rd of 2014. An extensive United States (U.S.) reconnaissance mission was mobilized to document the post-earthquake condition of several two and three story reinforced concrete (RC) structures that were designed according to the local seismic code.
As current leaders in structural engineering approach the end of their careers, it is increasingly important that young professionals take active measures to step into leadership roles. Leadership transition plays a vital role in the profession, but always brings with it challenges that differ from those of past generations. This article highlights select challenges identified by the ASCE Structural Engineering Institute’s Young Professionals Committee.
Over the past few months, GMS has participated in reconnaissance after the sequence of Magnitude M5.2 and M5.7 earthquakes that occurred in the Ionian Island of Cephalonia earlier this year. The Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance Association has released the report of its findings.
Jessica Mandrick presents a case study of the New York City Rescue Mission along with several other buildings.
In response to the expanding exposure of buildings to abnormal events, Karl Rubenacker uses a 30 story high-rise office building as a case study to present practical methods and verification procedures by which structural engineers can incorporate disproportionate collapse resistance into their buildings as part of an overall multi-hazard design process.
At a recent AIANY conference about earthquakes and New York City, Ramon Gilsanz, founding partner of Gilsanz Murray Steficek LLP and Chair of the NYC DOB Structural Technical Committee responsible for the 2014 NYC Building Code revision, compared earthquakes to music to help explain the components of seismic design.
Ramon Gilsanz represented the Applied Technology Council at the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance in Cephalonia, Greece