Design

The Downside to Theory – A Structural Engineer’s Perspective

Theory has always been the basis behind all engineering design.  And it is no wonder… it is a necessity to lay the foundation – the building blocks which allow for unlimited creativity.  As engineers we use theory to help open our minds to creativity and innovation.

However, too much theory has a hidden downside.  By relying solely on theory, we can limit the very thing we as engineers strive to advance.  Such idea limits the possibility of innovation as we become bound by strict rules that do not allow for deviation.

In this view, we become limited by a completely theoretical world without compromise, which hinders new viewpoints and trains of thought.  This simplified approach requires conformity to the “norm” – to what is generally “understood” as correct, but discourages creativity.

Yes, many times these are actually the best solutions to many engineering problems. But by blindly “assuming” these are the “only” correct approaches is a disservice to the profession.  It is our duty as engineers to find the most creative and innovative solutions in all we create.  And by using theory only as a tool (and not the answer), we can continue to progress the profession in limitless ways.

ZLS Consulting, Inc. (c) 2017. All rights reserved.

The Creative Side to Engineering and the Sciences…

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I was inspired to write this article because of the frustration I had with the educational system and its overall approach to educating the general public and more specifically, our younger generation, of the endless possibilities that are available to those who open their eyes to these professions.

My hope is that I can share in my own experiences to help open the minds of our youth, so that they can truly understand and appreciate what makes these fields so amazing. I wanted to show the side of engineering that most people tend to overlook… the side that enjoys the same creative and artistic expression that you would “normally” only expect from a painter, a musician or a photographer. Sadly enough, it goes without reason, that the areas of science in general, do not share in this image of creativity and expression…

With all the technological and medical advances we have made over in the history of the world, including new technologies that our world today cannot live without, it’s hard to imagine why so many people overlook these advances as purely as mere science without creativity and expression… Highly unlikely.

The structural engineering profession is no different. In school, when I was growing up, engineering and similar fields seemed be understood as pure (100%) science with limited room for creativity and expression. However, what was clearly “understood” to most of my peers, was what was REQUIRED of them to excel in these fields. For those of my peers that were not quite as successful in these areas (math and physics), they were “automatically” steered into an easier and more comfortable direction/path.   Maybe things would be different if our educational system focused on teaching not just pure science, but what actually makes these professions exciting, to help to spark their imagination and curiosity…

Instead of learning about the beauty and the possibilities that lie in the structural engineering field – such as our world’s history of engineering marvels… the Egyptian pyramids, the Roman coliseums, our amazing skyscrapers and bridges… We are taught only what tends to make us drift away – the requirements to “make it” in this field… in the case of many engineering fields, to “be smart at math or physics”… What a great way to streer away our youth…

Funny thing I’ve learned about the structural engineering field is that once you learn and understand the fundamentals, you do not need much math and physics after all… Seriously… AND when you do, we have calculators and computers to make our lives much easier.

Don’t get me wrong, structural engineering (theory) is in fact math and physics based, but in actual practice, many engineering disciplines just use what is learned in school as a basis for more formalized building codes. Again, yes, these codes are based off the underlying fundamental theory, but nonetheless, adopted by committee agreement to satisfy an arbitrary factor of safety…

What I’ve found about engineering is that TRUE engineering is more creative than pure science… YES, you have to know the fundamentals, but once you do, then everything else is a piece of cake…

When I talk about engineering as being highly creative, I am referring to those engineers that actively seek NEW and CREATIVE solutions to problems. Yes, I’ve seen my share of “engineers” who wouldn’t know how to be creative if their life depended on it, and who rely strictly on what is “standard” or what has ALREADY been done before… I DON’T call that engineering and I DON’T consider them engineers for the most part… I call that/them being only highly resourceful and knowing where or what to copy…

For those that actually engineer, you all know what I am talking about. We use our background and knowledge in simple engineering fundamentals – more in principles and concepts rather than equations/formulas… to find new and innovative ways to create. Just look around you… these engineering marvels are EVERYWHERE where you least expect them… it’s just that they tend to get unnoticed because of the ease at which they were put together and blend with the environment. You DON’T notice them because they WERE MEANT to be engineered and designed that way… Now that’s what I call pure genius…

Trust me, as a structural engineer I see it everywhere I go… these amazing marvels that spark my own imagination and creativity. And everyday I am amazed at the technological advances we have seen in engineering and in ALL sciences.. THIS IS NOT pure science- it’s the best of creativity at work… You just have to open your eyes to see it and appreciate it… Who knows, maybe one day our educational as a whole will take notice and try to adopt and instill this very way of thinking to our young and impressionable youth…

ZLS Consulting Inc. (c) 2017

 

 

A quick road map to life’s little roadblocks… random thoughts to get you “moving” through the day…

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The road of life is tough. There are too many obstacles around us every day trying to stop us in our tracks… But don’t be discouraged. This is a “normal” part of life…

Drive through these “road blocks”… Or take a detour… There is ALWAYS a way.

STOP driving blind or in the dark… open your eyes and turn on your headlights… YOU WILL find direction and the light…

ALWAYS know YOUR DIRECTION… Use a compass or map to guide you… Create YOUR own road map and FOLLOW it ALWAYS…

Always STAY on the road… Stay on YOUR path… and KEEP ON DRIVING…

And… DON’T run out of gas… Fill up your tank when it’s empty… and keep on going… and going…

Until… YOU REACH YOUR DESTINATION…

ZLS Consulting Inc. (c) 2017

SPECIALIZED SEMI-CUSTOM RESIDENTIAL & COMMERCIAL DESIGNS – SALE 10% OFF, VALID THROUGH 4/14/17.

SPECIALIZED SEMI-CUSTOM RESIDENTIAL & COMMERCIAL DESIGNS

Bearing Wall Removal w/ New Header & End Column Design (Standard Foundation) – Description coming soon. Some exclusions apply.

Price: $500.00

Bearing Wall Removal w/ New Header & End Column Design (Raised Foundation / “Crawl” Space) – Description coming soon. Some exclusions apply.

Price: $600.00

New Single Family Residence, Single (1) Story, Up to 1000 sf Living Space w/ 2 Garage, 400 sf – Up to 3 Bedroom, 2 Bath. Various design configurations available. Structural engineering and design with Civil PE stamp. Includes applicable calculations. Full size 5 drawings.

Price: $3000.00

New Single Family Residence, Single (1) Story, Up to 2000 sf Living Space w/ 2 Car Garage, 400 sf – Up to 4 Bedroom, 3 Bath. Various design configurations available. Structural engineering and design with Civil PE stamp. Includes applicable calculations. Full size 5 drawings.

Price: $4000.00 (+ $1500.00 for 2 story)

New Single Family Residence, Single (1) Story, Up to 3000 sf Living Space w/ 3 Car, 600 sf Garage – Up to 6 Bedroom, 4 Bath. Various design configurations available. Structural engineering and design with Civil PE stamp. Includes applicable calculations. Full size 5 drawings.

Price: $5000.00 (+ $1500.00 for 2 story)

Please check back for updates. Thank you. – ZLS Consulting Team

ZLS Consulting Inc. (c) 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Real Estate Inspection Services by Trained Professionals…

Home buyers beware… When doing your due diligence in purchasing of a new (older) home, make sure to have the best home property inspector take a look at the property first. Trust me, you want to make sure that he/she is able to find the property’s “problem” areas or any issues regarding the property BEFORE you decide to go further. In doing so, you can eliminate any potential headaches AFTER moving in…

What’s equally as important is the potential “bargaining chip” that a complete and thorough home inspection can provide. Proper home inspections can offer either a means to “back out” of a deal or even to renegotiate for potential credits to the home buyer.

The sad truth about most real estate property inspectors is that they are usually not trained to properly address a property inspection. Many of these individuals often just use templates and follow a generic checklist to identify common “visible” issues. But this process may completely overlook the REAL problems that may ACTUALLY exist…

So next time you are on the house hunt, ALWAYS get a professional who can get the job done right…

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Check our website : http://www.mystructuralengineer.com to get a FREE property home inspection checklist / template for all of you who would rather do it yourself..

ZLS Consulting offers the highest quality real estate / home buyer inspection services at the most affordable prices:

Southern California – General Residential Property Inspection (“Home Buyer” Inspection) 

Residential inspection performed by trained professionals to help prospective home buyers determine the general condition of a property before purchasing. Includes general property inspection and condition report. Currently offered only in Southern California area (with more areas to follow).

Price: $425.00 (+$0.50 per mile each way – call or email for more details)