Safety has been a passion in my professional life. This passion was ignited in a classroom on during the week prior to the commencement ceremony. About 100 of us soon-to-be graduates joined the local chapter of the Order of the Engineer. The group’s purpose is to call attention to the obligation of all engineers to use their technical education ethically in shaping the world around us. Ethical practice of engineering and the allied professions occasionally requires great courage, and always requires that we maintain the highest standards of personal integrity.
I was thinking about this oath last fall while attending World of Concrete – India. During this brief visit, one of the leading news items was the collapse of a residential structure in a nearby city. The commentator reported that the owner was under scrutiny for not following the building regulations during construction.
As I developed the educational program for this year’s World of Concrete-India, I felt the need to do something to help prevent this tragedy from happening again. I’ve included a 90-minute presentation on “What’s New in Masonry Construction”. My presentation’s theme is to provide examples on how North American engineers, contractors, and material suppliers have worked together to efficiently build with reinforced concrete block (RCB). In this overview session, I’m planning on using case studies to examine recently completed projects to showcase new installation and design techniques. I want to focus on the systems and approaches designers, engineers, block manufacturers, and contractors use to speed projects and lower costs on masonry projects.
This could be a message foreign to my classroom audience. India does not have a formal trade or code-focused association that promotes block construction. The majority of concrete block is used as filler, not loadbearing. And I get the impression that in most cases the value that reinforced masonry construction provides the owner is not of any concerns.
Yet in my meetings with our World of Concrete – India Educational Advisory Board and from discussions with 2013 attendees, I found a great deal of interest in learning North American masonry construction approaches.
And now I’m asking for your help. I’d like to include projects that you’ve just completed as examples of what structural masonry can provide. Think of this opportunity as a way to not only spread the word about masonry, but how to increase the safety of those across the world who rely on our products.
You can send your suggestions and projects to [email protected].