Innovation

Risk and Probability

Throughout the global engineering profession, there is an ongoing academic discussion about the need to contextualise risk for society in an increasingly complex and interconnected world. Structural engineers, as experts in risk associated with the built environment, are more often relied upon to explain the contemporary concept of risk to clients, partners, and associates.


Grant Roe, BE(Hons) MEngSc MBA MIEAust CPEng NER, Managing Director, Costin Roe Consulting, is a leader in the profession of structural engineering in Australia. Costin Roe Consulting, a multiple award-winning civil and structural engineering firm with offices in NSW, VIC, and QLD, is renowned for its involvement in high-bay warehousing and infrastructure projects.

In the 2016 article, ‘Structural reliability and risk-informed decision-making by property owners‘, Grant Roe referred to ISO 2394 in explaining the management of risk as a balance between event probability and commercial feasibility. Construction costs rise in proportion to the degree of risk mitigation. It is therefore not practical to extend mitigation measures to meet the consequences of every conceivable possibility.

Risk and probability

Chaos theory: when the present determines the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future.

Engineers rely on deep knowledge and numerous tools, calculations, and codes to make structural determinations and recommendations. In Australia, as in many nations, buildings tend to be ‘over-engineered’ in that the basic loadbearing and resistance qualities of buildings must be many times greater than necessary to withstand whatever could be reasonably predicted to occur across the building’s entire lifespan. Accordingly, people in Australia can be given high confidence in the structural reliability of buildings whether residential, commercial, civic, or industrial.

Still, anywhere in the world, events of remote probability will occasionally occur. The freak hail-and-ice storm which swept through the Eastern Creek area of Sydney on Anzac Day in 2015, causing several warehouses to collapse, has been cited as an example of a relatively improbable event which occurred. This is where insurance plays a continuing role in structure-related risk management, the insurer making their own expert calculations on exposure to risk, and setting premiums accordingly.

The ‘Internet Of Things’ (interconnectivity) and risk

Chaos theory: Double-compound-pendulum

The double-rod pendulum animation is one of the simplest dynamical representations of chaos.

The 4th Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) – beyond computers and automation towards cyber-physical systems/AI (artificial intelligence) – impacts all levels of society and industry. Buildings are made ‘intelligent’ from the design engineering in BIM through to completion, occupancy, and ongoing utility. Building documentation can be managed in a live digital environment, with sensors and other indicators effectively feeding real-time building performance intelligence back into the building. “The greatest challenge in engineering today remains the management of human knowledge,” said Grant Roe of the need to capture more expert professional knowledge, from engineers themselves, into the clusters of data which comprise the growing wealth of structural intelligence.

With the huge amount of information on building performance being continually updated and analysed, along with information about associated impacts and environmental happenings (‘big data’), there is further reassurance of structural reliability for the greater community. The connectivity and immediate accessibility of information in Industry 4.0 mean that building codes, regulations, and practices will be updated more rapidly in the future if required in response to evident change. These responsive adjustments could swing both ways, over time, in that while engineering requirements may be increased to mitigate emerging risk, there may also be instances where engineering requirements could be reduced, such as if the probability of a specific type of risk is diminished by the emerging volume and detail of information about the risk factor.

In the meantime, while some element of risk is always a fact of Life, it’s reassuring to keep in proper perspective the risks generally associated with structural engineering and building construction. According to a recent article in ‘The Structural Engineer’, an authoritative international magazine for professional engineers, the risk of death from structural failure is about the same as the risk of being struck and killed by lightning. “It does happen,” said Grant Roe, “but rarely and unpredictably.”


References:

https://www.istructe.org/thestructuralengineer – article by Professor Richard Clegg and Simon Pitchers
https://www.costinroe.com.au/structural-reliability-risk-informed-decision-making-property-owners/ – structural engineering commentary citing Grant Roe BE(Hons) MEngSc MBA MIEAust CPEng NER
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_theory – chaos theory explanation

Dux Hot Water, Moss Vale NSW

Some owners and occupants of new high-bay warehouses are concerned to find the pristine appearance of floor surfaces becoming blemished by black marks that resist cleaning. Grant Roe, BE(Hons) MEngSc MBA MIEAust CPEng NER, explains why this common problem is often misunderstood and prescribes the appropriate solution.

Dux Hot Water, Moss Vale NSW

The floor surface of a new warehouse looks pristine but can soon become blemished by vehicle traffic leaving ‘nasty’ black marks.

There can be technical misunderstandings behind trade-level advice as to what causes black marks to accumulate and persist on the surface of new warehouse flooring. Due to these technical misunderstandings, ineffective remedies can be recommended with well-meaning intentions but unsatisfactory results.

Costin Roe Consulting is one of the world’s leading engineering firms in high-bay warehouse design from both civil and structural engineering perspectives, and winners of the ACSE NSW Award for Excellence in Structural Engineering for work including the high-tech concrete pavement at Veolia complexes in Woodlawn and Banksmeadow. Europe has led the world in high-bay warehouse design and automation. Each year, the firm’s Managing Director, Grant Roe, spends time in Europe examining the latest developments in high-bay warehouse engineering, and in Australia, he is acknowledged as an engineering expert engaged with numerous successful high-bay warehouse design and construction projects. A recent Q&A session with Grant Roe, on the topic of warehouse flooring, delivered the following explanations and recommendations for warehouse flooring maintenance where cleaner appearances are required.

Cause and effect determined through physics and logic

The curing compound used in the concreting process, to achieve greater precision and efficiency, is often blamed for the ongoing accumulation of undesirable floor markings. In fact, the curing compound is formulated for rapid break-down and dissipation. “Any effects from the curing compound are gone after six to twelve months. So, whatever its contributing factor may have been for a brief period following construction, people are finding the black marks keep accumulating and resisting all the usual attempts at cleaning and preventative treatment,” Grant said. With the curing compound dismissed as the prime suspect, the discipline of engineering looks objectively at the forensic evidence and the science at work behind evident factors.

“When rubber tyres are rolling normally over warehouse floors there is no problem. However, new warehouse flooring offers less friction for tyres to maintain traction and keep rolling normally. When reduced friction causes loss of traction, the tyres slip and slide, and the rubber can heat to the point of burning. The slipping and burning actions leave behind carbon and rubber residue, appearing as black marks on the floor,” said Grant. “The problem has become more apparent in recent years because forklifts have been modified to become more powerful, the wheels are smaller in diameter, and more energy is being applied at the interface. It’s a worldwide issue, as similar concerns have been raised and solutions sought in other countries for some time.”

Grant went on to explain that white tyres had been tested as an alternative but the white rubber was found to be not as durable. Since black tyres last much longer, and perform better for heat absorption, changing to white tyres for cosmetic reasons would not make sense commercially. Yet, for some warehouse operators, aesthetic appearances will matter almost as much as performance. This is where engineers can more accurately identify the cause of problems and prescribe the most efficient means of achieving the desired aesthetic result.

Floor densification treatment the answer for increasing friction

The answer to persistent black marks on new warehouse flooring, as explained by Grant Roe, is simple, practical, and readily available in Australia.

“Floor densification is a good solution, combined with controlled surface grinding. Although this approach may sound counterintuitive, increasing the friction, and thereby minimising the loss of traction, are the keys to resolving the problem. When properly executed, the grinding modifies the surface and combined with the densification treatment, the friction properties of the floor surface are changed. The densification treatment also serves as a surface sealer, providing easier removal of any tyre markings that may occur. This combined grinding and densification treatment is used quite widely in Europe but not so much in Australia where the products and trade-skills are available but the prescriptive expertise is still emerging,” said Grant. “The answers I’ve given today are intended to assist local building owners and maintenance service providers.”


For specific assistance with new warehouse flooring projects and any remediation or maintenance issues, call Costin Roe Consulting on 02 9251 7699.

APEC Haus - Costin Roe Consulting Engineers

Costin Roe Consulting successfully designed the lifting beam for the raising of continuous 60 to 70 metre-long Kingspan insulated roof panels at APEC Haus, the US$37 million Leaders’ Conference Centre being constructed at Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, in preparation for the APEC Summit to be held in November 2018.

APEC Haus

Architectural illustration of the completed APEC Haus project [image: Jim Fitzpatrick Architects].

APEC Haus has been cited in PNG news media by the PNG prime minister, Peter O’Neill, as set to be “converted into a world-class museum” after the leaders’ meeting. “Many of our artifacts, thousands of years old and held in museums (elsewhere), we want to bring back here,” Mr O’Neill was reported as saying.

The PNG-focused employment website ‘People Connexion’ ranked APEC Haus as the second of “6 building projects set to change Port Moresby” in their APEC 2018 update.

Conrad Gargett was successful at tender for the documentation of APEC Haus Leaders’ Conference Centre, Papua New Guinea, designed by Jim Fitzpatrick Architects (Concept Design and Project Design Director).

The Conrad Gargett website describes the APEC Haus project:

Built on reclaimed land near Ela Beach in Port Moresby’s central business district, APEC Haus is an iconic design resembling a Lakatoi Sail. 

The interior design will also create a unique Papua New Guinea experience using a contemporary palette inspired by traditional materials of the region, shell, clay, timber and metal, to identify different functional spaces within the building.

It is envisaged that the purpose built convention centre will generate revenue after APEC, by hosting a gallery in addition to an upstairs function and conference space.

APEC Haus - Costin Roe Consulting Engineers

APEC Haus lifting beam designed by Costin Roe Consulting [image: Kingspan Insulated Panels Pty Ltd).

APEC Haus - Costin Roe Consulting Engineers

APEC Haus lifting beam designed by Costin Roe Consulting [image: Kingspan Insulated Panels Pty Ltd).

APEC Haus - Costin Roe Consulting Engineers

APEC Haus lifting beam designed by Costin Roe Consulting [image: Kingspan Insulated Panels Pty Ltd).

Tanaz Dhondy wins international award

Costin Roe Consulting design engineer and PhD candidate, Tanaz Dhondy, received an award for ‘Best Oral Presentation’ following the delivery of her preliminary research findings at the inaugural International Workshop on Coastal Reservoirs held in January 2018, at the University of Wollongong.

Tanaz Dhondy wins international award

Tanaz Dhondy received the oral presentation (research) award at the IACRR Workshop 2018.

Titled: Investigation of the chemical and physical properties of sea sand for the possible use in concrete for coastal infrastructure, Tanaz’s award-winning presentation summarised the preliminary findings of Stage 1 of her PhD research.

Tanaz described the invitation to speak at the International Workshop on Coastal Reservoirs as “an amazing opportunity”, and receiving the award for ‘Best Oral Presentation’ at the event “an honour”.

“Around the world, cities appear to be running out of water. But is it the water that is running out of the cities?” – IACRR

Tanaz Dhondy speaks at the IACRR Workshop 2018.

Tanaz Dhondy speaks at the IACRR Workshop 2018.

Hosted by the Centre for Coastal Reservoir Research (CCRR) at the University of Wollongong, the world’s first international workshop on coastal reservoirs (CR) was held in collaboration with the International Association for Coastal Reservoir Research (IACRR).

“Major cities around the world are actively pursuing coastal reservoirs as a sustainable solution to their water problems. CR is an innovative technology that can recover floodwater entering the sea without desalination,” said the IACRR in promoting the workshop, which invited water resources planners, researchers, engineers, and scientists to review and assess the feasibility of coastal reservoirs in securing universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water.

Horsley Drive Business Park aerial view

Civil engineering by Costin Roe Consulting at Horsley Drive Business Park Stage 1 has been ‘Highly Commended’ for ‘Excellence in Integrated Stormwater Design’ and the achievement of ‘world leadership in sustainable design’.

CRC Stormwater Design Excellence

Commendations were accepted on behalf of Costin Roe Consulting by representatives of the local municipality, Fairfield Council.

Costin Roe Consulting was given special recognition during the annual award presentations at the Stormwater NSW Conference 2017, held in Newcastle where the firm maintains its second-largest office in NSW and national civil engineering headquarters under the supervision and mentorship of director, Mark Wilson.

In reviewing the Horsley Drive Business Park Stage 1 project, located at Wetherill Park in Western Sydney, the judges said:

“The Costin Roe Consulting team and their key stakeholders are to be congratulated for their demonstrated leadership in both sustainable and integrated stormwater planning and design.”

“The redevelopment of 21.3 hectares of degraded land has resulted in significant benefits for water quality, biodiversity, and the local economy.”

“The project sets the benchmark for sustainable and integrated industrial development being the first project of its kind in Australia to be awarded the 6-star Green Star Rating, acknowledging world leadership in sustainable design.”

Stormwater NSW congratulated “the whole team involved in the Horsley Drive Business Park Stage 1”.

Key stakeholders included The Western Sydney Parklands Trust, which owns the site, and Frasers Property which entered into a development agreement with the Trust to establish a mix of facilities that would meet the highest sustainability benchmarks. As a result, the Horsley Drive Business Park is the first and only industrial precinct in Australia to successfully target a ‘6-star’ Green Star rating (Green Building Council of Australia), certifying ‘World Leadership’ in sustainable design. Mark Wilson credited Newcastle-based Costin Roe Consulting civil engineer, Mitchell Cross, for outstanding contributions on behalf of the firm towards the successful completion of HDBP Stage 1.

More about Horsley Drive Business Park

 

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