Industry rewards structural engineers on 20th anniversary of September 11



As the nation solemnly celebrates the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the American Institute of Steel Construction thanked structural engineers.

As first responders searched through the debris at Ground Zero, engineers, many of whom were affiliated with the Structural Engineers Association of New York or other member organizations of the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations, protected them by ensuring that the partially collapsed structure was noisy as excavation progressed in precarious conditions.

During the search for victims and the clean-up, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration identified more than 9,000 hazards; although there were a few injuries, none endangered their lives. This is a remarkable achievement given the nature and complexity of the job, and structural engineers have played a major role in using their unique skills and knowledge to help others do what they do. best – a true demonstration of the unity and teamwork that marked the immediate response to the attacks.

“Providing specialist structural engineering knowledge that helps first responders determine the overall safety of buildings in the event of a tragedy is at the core of the mission of NCSEA and its member organizations,” said NCSEA President Ed Quesenberry, PE , SE.


“The NCSEA is extremely proud of SEAoNY for its immediate and dedicated response to the tragic events of September 11th. We still mourn the loss of the nation two decades later and are ready to serve our communities in the future. “

Meanwhile, other professional teams from the AEC jumped into action to analyze how damage from the airstrikes led to the degradation of the larger structural system and the eventual collapse of the north and south towers as well. than 7 World Trade Center (which was damaged by the collapse of the Twin Towers and subsequent fires).

Within a year, an assessment team formed by the American Society of Civil Engineers, its Structural Engineering Institute, and FEMA had completed the first technical report, and a group led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology followed suit. not with a detailed analysis.

“ASCE has been honored to play even a small role in responding to this tragic event, and on this anniversary we join the nation in mourning and remembrance,” said said ASCE Executive Director Tom Smith.

“We are grateful to the structural engineers and others who came out without hesitation to provide their expertise to assist first responders in the recovery effort. Since that day, ASCE and its members have been committed to advancing the technical knowledge of the profession on the performance of these buildings in the hope of making future buildings safer.

Other groups, including the American Institute of Steel Construction and the International Code Council, have incorporated the results of these studies and other research on robustness and resilience into updates to construction specifications and other standards.

For example, AISC Specification for structural steel buildings now includes structural integrity requirements that are a direct result of these studies, and other non-structural elements reinforced by building codes (such as battery-powered lighting and photoluminescent strips on stairs) specifically intended to help builders occupants of a building to react well in the event of an emergency requiring them either to take shelter in place or to evacuate.

Today, the place where structural engineers and first responders worked together on rescue and recovery efforts are home to new buildings that are, themselves, the result of 20 years of thinking and improving the understanding.

“This 20-year progression of the site is built on a 20-year progression of being shocked, learning from it, understanding the lessons we needed to incorporate into the codes, and the buildings being built today in. actually using these lessons, ”said IACS President Charles J. Carter, SE, PE, PhD. “It’s a transformation of our understanding, our methods and our approaches – the background that is embodied in these buildings in addition to all the other buildings that are being built today. “

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