Failures Wiki: A Building Failures Information Source Prototype

Failures Wiki , a pilot program for the dissemination of failures information and educational case studies related to building structures, architectural systems and civil engineering infrastructure is now open to peer review and case study contribution by industry practitioners.  Building, Architectural and Civil Engineering Failures and Failures Practices (BACEF) is a failures education and dissemination site launched through the efforts of students in AE 537, Building Performance Failures and Forensic Techniques in the Department of Architectural Engineering at Penn State.  The site is associated with the  American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)  Technical Council on Forensic Engineering (TCFE) Committee on Dissemination of Failure Information (CDFI), TCFE Education Committee and the Consortium for the Advancement of Building Sciences (CABS).  Moderator for the site is M. Kevin Parfitt, P.E., Associate Professor of Architectural Engineering and the instructor for AE 537.

Development History:  Internally launched at Penn State in October of 2009, the site was initialized with the posting of drafts of the first 19 wiki failure case studies . Case studies were initially peer reviewed by the course instructor and the participating students.  Formal Failures Wiki peer review activities are on going including reviews by members of TCFE and selected industry practitioners.   In November, the site and the pilot project was discussed in committee and presented at the International Educator’s Symposium, a panel session on forensic education as a part of the ASCE TCFE 5th Congress on Forensic Engineering held in Washington, DC.  AE 537 Students continued to revise and expand their case studies throughout the fall of 2009 providing final installments and recommendations on content and format at the end of the year. During Spring Semester 2010, students from the Penn State Department of Architecture enrolled in AE 210 (Architectural Structures I) also contributed strucural failure case studies while working in small groups.  These most recent postings are currently in the  process of final vetting but are available for public viewing and comment on Failures Wiki. 

Get Involved:  Although still in its infancy, Failures Wiki holds promise as a source for failures education and continuing education in the AEC industry.  Failures Wiki is now open for practitioner contributions through general industry comments, peer reviews, corrective modifications and full case study contributions.  Failures Wiki can be accessed from the links in this post or anytime the site blogroll.

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