Brady Heywood

Brisbane, Australia

Brady Heywood

Brisbane, Australia
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Brady S.P.,Brady Heywood
Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities | Year: 2012

The role of the forensic process in investigating structural failure is discussed. Forensic engineers utilize a range of expertise to investigate structural failure. The role of this process in the design of new structures is self evident, but the process has a number of important roles to play in the overall response to structural failure. The key to determining structural causation is the application of the forensic process, which aims to objectively identify the technical cause or causes of failure by using available evidence. The forensic process of collecting evidence, developing failure hypotheses, testing each hypothesis against the collected evidence, and determining the most common cause of failure, is a process of analysis, rather than synthesis. The accurate determination of causation will be very difficult unless the design engineer is able to put aside the traditional design process and apply a forensic process.


Brady S.,Brady Heywood
Structural Engineer | Year: 2014

Sean Brady explored in more detail the technical cause of the Quebec Bridge collapse and the human factors that played a key role in the incident. One of the first significant technical issues manifested itself early in construction when it was discovered that bridge members arriving on-site were heavier than expected. The cause of this discrepancy was a self-weight miscalculation by the bridge's designer, the Phoenix Bridge Company. The Royal Commission conducting investigations into the collapse identified that the buckling of one of the lower chords in the anchor arm, located near the main pier initiated the progressive collapse of the structure. The Commission concluded that the failure of the member was not related to detailing, fabrication, or material quality, but it is was a result of defective design.


Brady S.,Brady Heywood
Structural Engineer | Year: 2014

Sean Brady shared his views on the events that resulted in the collapse of the Quebec Bridge in Canada in 1907, killing 75 people. The Quebec Bridge was one of the world's most ambitious bridge engineering projects. The collapse of the bridge and casualties resulted in significant changes being introduced within the construction industry and the formation of the American Institute of Steel Construction and the American Association of State Highway Officials to address such issues in the future. Investigations conducted into the cause of the collapse revealed that the Phoenix Bridge Company had carried out the self-weight calculations for the final design based on the initial proposed length of 488m and had not updated its self-weight calculations for the revised length.


Brady S.P.,Brady Heywood
Forensic Engineering: Informing the Future with Lessons from the Past - Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Forensic Engineering | Year: 2013

Learning the lessons from structural failure necessarily involves investigating the organisational and technical causes of failure, and ensuring these lessons are disseminated to the wider structural engineering profession to prevent reoccurrence. Yet despite the obvious benefits of such an approach, individuals and organisations are generally reluctant to disclose or acknowledge failure, and these psychological reactions can dominate their ability to learn the critical lessons. Understanding the role these psychological reactions play in inhibiting learning is a key step in developing practical methodologies for ensuring the lessons of past failures are not forgotten. This paper reviews and discusses some of the unique aspects of anticipating, responding to, and learning from all forms of failure, not only those of a structural nature. The paper reviews the barriers to learning, the challenges of identifying and analysing failure, the importance of 'near-misses' in anticipating failure, and explores how these insights can provide guidance to the structural engineering profession on how best to ensure effective learning occurs.


Brady S.,Brady Heywood
Structural Engineer | Year: 2014

Sean Brady explores the role that implicit assumptions play in undermining experts' judgment. Sean Brady states that it is necessary to examine how experts think and use their expertise to understand the challenges faced by them in conservation work. He explores the model detailed by Dane to achieve these objectives, while many conceptualizations of expertise exist. Dane explains the nature of expertise by comparing a novice's expertise with that of an expert. A novice's expertise comprises schema, attributes and linkages. The expert's expertise contains more knowledge than the novice's with more attributes.


Brady S.,Brady Heywood
Structural Engineer | Year: 2014

Sean Brady assesses the strengths and weaknesses of applying engineering analysis to the forensic process. The objective of the forensic process is to identify the cause of engineering failure in a forensically effective manner. It relies on an engineer's forensic expertise and experience as it is a process of analysis. The forensic process is characterized by evidence collection, the development of a wide range of failure hypotheses, and the testing of these hypotheses against the collected evidence simplifying performance assumptions. Sean Brady examines two practical issues that can manifest relating to evidence collection and engineering analysis and discusses how an engineer with a predominantly design background can avoid these issues and develop their forensic capability. He states that a focus on analysis at a very early stage in the investigation can prove a major distraction from the main task of evidence collection.


Brady S.,Brady Heywood
Structural Engineer | Year: 2014

Sean Brady highlighted the systemic management failings that resulted in huge financial cost and significant reputational damage to a high profile project during the Montreal Olympics Games in Montreal in 1976. The project was considered as an example of poor planning, poor project management, fraudulent practice and corruption, and served as a warning of the dangers of architectural and financial free-rein combined with political ambition and immovable deadlines. Mayor Drapeau and architect Roger Taillibert were responsible for failing to manage the project efficiently. Mayor Drapeau scrapped the original plans and selected architect Roger Taillibert, without competition to deliver the games. Delays and cost overruns continued, with many caused through waiting for Taillibert to finish the plans, while labor issues began to adversely affect the site.


Brady S.,Brady Heywood
Structural Engineer | Year: 2013

Sean Brady shared his views on the consecutive failures and missed opportunities that resulted in the catastrophic collapse of the I-35W highway bridge in Minnesota, US. Three major renovation and modification projects were undertaken on the structure during its lifetime. The Minnesota DOT had no policy that specifically required contractors to obtain permission from the NTSB to carry out such renovation and modification projects on the bridge. The failure of stockpiling led NTSB to investigate whether Minnesota DOT would have granted approval for the stockpiling if such a request had been received. The investigation uncovered a systematic breakdown in the layers of protection that engineers erected to prevent such failures. Documents from the preliminary design stage were uncovered, which provided some insight into the gusset plate design. These calculation sheets indicated that gusset plate thickness was determined based only on the forces that were expected to pass across the splices between chord members.


Brady S.,Brady Heywood
Structural Engineer | Year: 2013

Tinsley and co-researchers describe some strategies for identifying and reacting to structural failure near-misses. Near-misses are defined as situations where the potential for failure exists, but good luck intervenes to prevent it. Structural design, and certainly construction, can be, by their very nature, high pressure environments. The fundamental issue is that when decisions are made under pressure, there is a tendency to rely on heuristics and rules of thumb, thus increasing susceptibility to cognitive biases. A more objective assessment of risk is required. The researchers suggest that individuals should seek out deviations from the norm. Unless the root cause of a deviation is understood, it is difficult to evaluate potential consequences, so it should be considered essential. By purposefully thinking about worst case scenarios, however, we articulate consequences and can adjust our decision making process. Evaluation of projects at every stage is also necessary.

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