Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Structural Steel Building Collapse

I have not written anything in my blog for quite a while. Not being a good writer plus a dry topic makes a deadly combination! Ha ha. Well, greetings to all my Muslim friends and readers and a “Selamat Hari Raya”.

I read in the newspaper a couple of weeks ago about a Steel Building collapse in Perak. (Steel roof truss with I-beam Columns). This is another ‘black-eye’ to the Malaysian building industry. This only add to the woes plaguing the industry with collapsing ceilings, cost over-runs etc. This is definitely not a “Malaysia Boleh” moment.

Anyway, having experienced this kind of incident in the past…..this is something that I wish nobody has to go through. It is terrible for the owner, the consultants and the contractors. An investigation has to be carried out to determine the cause of failure. It could be a design, fabrication or an erection error. In the meantime, there will be a lot of finger pointing and sleepless nights for those involved.

I believe one of the way to minimize these kind of incidents are through the preparation of Method Statements. Method statements are prepared by the contractors and basically outline the steps they intend to store, fabricate, transport and erect the structure. This is submitted to the consultant who have to approve the document before any work is carried out. I believe more and more consultants nowadays require this.

Most contractors think this only incurs extra paperwork and cost. They are wrong! Method Statements in fact can help them save cost and maximize their profits. With an approved Method Statement, it provides a guideline to his staff of what needs to be done. It avoids misunderstanding and delays which costs much more.

It is also good for the consultants, as it provides them with a guideline for them to ensure that the work done is according to the statement. When things are done right, everybody benefits !

I’ll be happy to provide a sample of a Method Statement that I did previously for one of my clients. Its free! Just email me at ccslim@gmail.com. Or better still, if somebody would like to engage my services to prepare one. Ha Ha. My rates are low!

Friday, May 25, 2007

PARLIAMENT HOUSE – Consider Alternatives & Cost Savings Solutions

Hi Everbody! Sorry for the lapse in posting. I have been away outstation tending to some work problems. Not to worry, I won't bore you with that.

However, it got me thinking that there are always solutions, the problem is, that most people are reluctant to think and come up with alternatives. Hence, I did manage to write an article on the Water Seepage at Paliament House. The article is as follows :

PARLIAMENT HOUSE – Consider Alternatives & Cost Savings Solutions

As a structural engineer working in the local construction industry, I read with interest the articles on water leakage at Parliament House. From past readers’ comments, I understand their disappointment over cost-over runs, leaking pipes, falling ceilings in new buildings constructed at millions of Ringgit of the tax payers money. Undoubtedly, all these reflect badly on those who work in this industry.

However, instead of just criticizing, those who can, should propose possible solutions to these problems. For example the leakage at Parliament House, from the photos in the newspapers, seem to indicate the roof is basically a concrete flat roof. One of the most common problems associated with flat roofs is ponding. Ponding refers to when water collects in pools of water on the roof. Any cracks on the surface will result in water seepage via capillary action into the building. I assumed, based on the newspaper report, that this is the main cause of the water seepage into the building.

The straight forward or common solution, is to hack the concrete roof and replace the entire water proofing system and its protective layers and then concrete back the roof. This I humbly believe is both very expensive and time consuming.

Making the assumption that if we can keep the flat roof dry and free of water, we will not have this water seepage problem. Based on this, a new roof supported by steel trusses can be installed over the present roof, keeping the old roof dry and eliminating the water leakage problem. Due to the versatility of steel, an architect can be brought in to ensure that the new roof blends or even enhances the existing structure.

This could be a more economical solution. The money saved, could be put to better use by the Government, on things that can directly benefit the people. I am also sure, that there are more effective and better solutions and I urge especially those in the industry to offer their solutions to the Government for them to consider.

From: steelmsia.blogspot.com

Name: Christopher Lim Chee Seng

Address : No. 11A, Jalan Pusat BCH 1 / 2, Bandar Country Homes, 48000 Rawang,

Selangor Darul Ehsan

Telephone No. : 03-6733 8306

H/P No.: 012-3701187

Friday, May 18, 2007


Thank God its Friday! I am sure that everybody out there looks forward to the weekend where they can get some time to spend with their families. More so, I think, for those in the construction sector.

It’s a fact that the local construction sector has not been doing very well for the last few years. I have a number of clients closed down and I also have a number who venture overseas to survive these tough times. To look on the bright side, maybe we should take this as in incentive to contribute and make this industry more efficient, more cost effective to compete with those overseas. As usual, I will be happy to read your comments on this.

Here’s hoping everyone is safe from leaking pipes and falling ceiling. On that note, have a happy & restful weekend!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Free pdf file

Today, instead of just free steel software, I would like to try something different today. I have a copy of a pdf file “Imposed Loads”, which I created sometime ago. These Imposed or Live loads were extracted from the Uniform Building Code (Laws of Malaysia). It is in the form of a table and provides a guideline on the loads to be used depending on the type of building and its usage. I find it useful as I can store this on my pendrive or computer instead of carrying the Code book around. As usual it is free. Interested parties, feel free to contact me.

This is related to a small job we recently did. A mezzanine platform was built in a shoplot. After it was completed, the owner wanted a proper engineering analysis report to ensure that the structure is sound. So we had to work backwards and check on the structural integrity of the members. Not to further bore you with this story, the usage of the platform has to be known before any analysis so as to determine the required loading to be applied. I better stop, sometimes, I even bore myself. Please comment if you have any questions.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Free Section Properties Software

I added another picture yesterday. This is of a canopy that we designed at Semua House in Kuala Lumpur sometime ago. I hope this makes my blog a little more presentable. As usual any comments are most welcomed.

I have another free software to give away today, titled “Pipes”. In my line of work, it is quite often that my clients, prefer the use of pipes to be used for columns or struts for canopies. It is supposed to be more aesthetic than angles, square hollow sections etc. I wrote this simple program to help me calculate the section properties of pipes. You just have to input the diameter and thickness, and the program will provide you with the various sectional properties, like area, radius of gyration, weight (kg/meter) etc. Let me know if you are interested.

I have been told that my blog is a bit boring (well, actually not just a bit boring but a lot). If anybody has any idea how to make it more interesting, please let me know.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Thanks so much to those who have left comments. Comments and even criticisms are most welcome and appreciated. Although compliments would probably make my head swell, I think I can live with that. Seriously, I will be so happy, if people would visit and comment.

To FB4U, thanks so much for your encouragement.

To shadow, yes I am civil/structural engineer. Civil engineering is such a wide and varied field. For me, with my limited knowledge, I deal only with steel structures and buildings. I have been told that it is foolish to limit my scope to only steel engineering. Too late for me to change now. As for your choice of which course to take, my only advice is to choose carefully and consider all aspects. Pick something that you are really interested in, as you probably have to live with it for the rest of your life. Good Luck and feel free to write if you have any other questions. I believe Petronas Twin Towers is steel framed. Unfortunately, I had no part in that.

I have another free software that I downloaded from the internet sometime back. This spreadsheet software is named “Steel Beam”. It analyses and design steel beams based on simply supported or even cantilever. The design is based on BS5950-1 : 1990. It is quite easy to use and I believe that it can be quite useful for engineers, engineering students and steel contractors. If anybody reading this is interested, do let me know. I will send it to you for free!!!

Free Software

I have at the moment, an Excel Spreadsheet titled “Structural Sections02”. It is a spreadsheet with the sectional properties (dimensions, area, moment of inertia, weight etc.) of Universal Beams, Universal Columns, Square Hollow Sections and Rectangular Hollow Sections. I find it particularly useful when designing steel members. If anyone is interested, please let me know