The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Non-Destructive Testing IZFP in Saarbrucken, Germany have been working on building robots that can inspect buildings for damage. The current prototype, which made its first inspection in 2011, significantly reduces the amount of time needed to inspect, compared to having a human carry out the inspection, and also does not interfere with the usage of the building. Germany has put a strong focus over the past few years on inspecting many of the country’s concrete buildings. Most of these structures were built in the years following World War II and have begun to deteriorate over the last 60 years due to heavy loading and inclement weather. The current standard of using test engineers to inspect buildings with their naked eye is both time consuming and not completely accurate. It can also require special equipment such as cranes and helicopters to inspect parts of structures that are difficult to reach.

The first of several claims related to the Panama Canal’s $1.6 billion in cost overruns will begin arbitration in Miami next week. The first dispute to be heard by the arbitration court will be a $180 million claim over the cost of draining an area to create work space near the Pacific locks of the 50-mile (80-km) long canal. The project’s contract states that if a disagreement between two parties arises during any part of the project, the two sides must first analyze the other side’s claim and then head to an adjudication board. In the event that these two measures cannot bring an agreed upon solution, the dispute would then head to arbitration. 

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Many Cleveland residents were woken early on Saturday morning by the noise from the Inner Belt Bridge demolition. Controlled explosives were used to demolish five of the nine steel spans of the bridge over the Cuyahoga River around 6 a.m. local time. The Ohio Department of Transportation closed all roads within a 1,000-foot radius during the demolition. They also set up a viewing area for the public to watch the demolition nearby.  A video showing the span collapsing in a matter of seconds can be found here.

French architectural firm Chartier-Corbasson has joined in on the green structures trend by unveiling their own concept for a building made from the recycled waste of its occupants. The idea turns the traditional skyscraper financing model on its head by using the paper and plastic waste from current residents to build panels for the building’s continued construction and growth. As more and more material is recycled from the tenants, the building would keep adding floors. Thus, the faster people move into the building, the faster new floors can be added. Chartier-Corbasson believes there would be enough material produced in one year by the building’s residents to create the building’s facade.

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Santa Clara’s city council unanimously approved the $6.5 billion City Place Santa Clara mixed-use development on Tuesday. The project will be built next to the San Fransisco 49ers new stadium, Levi’s Stadium, and will be constructed over the next 10 to 20 years. The approval from the city council allows Steven Ross’s development firm Related to begin the final planning phase. Santa Clara officials are excited by the development and look forward to getting a new downtown area after the city’s previous downtown was torn down in the 1950s and 60s.

TNO Diana's seminar on Structural & Geotechnical Engineers Handshake for Seismic Soil Foundation & Structure Interaction Analysis & Design of Civil Structures took place on the 21st of June 2014 in Delft, The Netherlands.

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An overpass under construction in Belo Horizonte, Brazil collapsed last Thursday killing two people and injuring 19 others. The bridge collapsed while vehicles were driving below the overpass and a commuter bus, two construction trucks, and one car were struck by the falling span. The video embedded under Media below shows the bridge overpass collapsing.