Friday, October 06, 2006

Engineering Does Matter!

Geotechnical Assessment in Local Construction Development?

The government has announced to adapt geotechnical assessment in all construction projects either in highland or lowland. Where constraint has been given in highland area with angle of repose of more than 30o and height more than 300m previously, the new policy will be looking into wider area even in lowland. Geotechnical assessment in not similar with the environment impact assessment, it will be concentrate on the sustainability of the soil to retain loading, others, the subsurface condition, the existing of groundwater level, the bearing capacity, the collapsible and compressible properties, the rate of settlement and many more. Well, after all, we are talking most of the time about to design the foundation system here. Even to many technical person, is rather late, but as wise man said, better late than never. When dealing with the last frontier of loading to be imposed on-the foundation, the consideration of safety might be two or even three times of the ultimate load. Consider as conventional, but it will give a great relief to the design office and engineers.
The technical aspect above can be related to our life as a muslim. If we consider prayer as the column (pillar) of religion, the foundation definitely is Syahadatain. Required daily prayers are five times a day and night. Which mean we required to articulate Syahadatain at least 9 times for a complete set. The factor of safety to remain our foundation in a good shape at least 1.8 approximate 2 (9 divide by 5). That can be adopted as minimum value in construction works. But of course, if the engineers wanted to sleep well at night, they will suggest more than that perhaps 2 or 3 or even 4 at a time. That implies in technical and practical in construction practiced. Therefore, it will too reflect in our daily life to maintain our foundation in a good shape and will not collapse even a very worst twister attack. But bear in minds, to increase the factor of safety, we rather can repeat Syahadatain with or without pray, which mean it still flexible and will not give extra burden to us, right (Quran2:45)? In simple words to widen the area of the foundation, it never meant to have more column (pillar), but having more pillar means that we can built greater building and very safe too. But what will happen if we do not achieve the minimum value of safety (1.8 - 2.0)? In retaining wall design, it is for sure cannot sustain the overturning effect, which in short, it will collapse in capsizing action or definitely upside down!
As the government has suggested to asses on the last frontier recently, Lord God have reminds us 1400 years ago. Do we reflect then?

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