Keywords: assessment, codes of practice, epistemic thinking, errors, ontology, probabilistic, safety, risk, specifications, surprise, structural design, modelling, failure, precision, accuracy, microzonation, ownership, functional restrictions, impact, structural life
Structural design codes of practice and their limits
Structural design codes of practice have been replaced and revised since their inception some 100 years ago. This paper first provides a review of the background to the use and the probabilistic form of codes of practice in structural design. The topic of assessment is the treated in two parts involving epistemic and ontological thinking. Firstly, the evidence of the success of the modelling in codes is examined; secondly, matters leading to possible omissions and errors are discussed. Two suggestions for future work are the detection of impending surprise and the possibility of schemes to predict disastrous outcomes. The discussion considers features of assessment including the ownership of codes, functional restrictions, the effect of impact, structural life, the independence of failure and safety, microzonation and economic and social objectives. One repeated theme is the tendency towards increased precision rather than enhanced accuracy in such assessment studies.