September 2017 Print

President's Report

I look forward to serving as this year’s Utah Section President, allow me to introduce myself.  I am Anthony Schmid, I work for and am a partner of McNeil Engineering.  We have offices in Sandy, Logan, and St. George, Utah.  I currently work out of the St. George office and primarily do structural engineering for residential and commercial projects.  I have been involved in ASCE since about 2012 where I started at the branch level serving as the Southern Utah Branch Secretary/Treasurer working my way up the ranks to President.  After 4 years of serving on the branch level I decided to run for President Elect for the Utah Section.  I enjoy living in the St. George area where I have three daughters and when I am not out hiking and enjoying the outdoors with them you can find me on the pickle ball court, a game that has recently became pretty popular in Southern Utah.

In my role as President I would like to continue the great work that Matt Roblez has begun by increasing membership to ASCE and establishing the importance of being a member.  As civil engineers we sometimes fall in the back ground of everyday life and it is up to us to make people aware of our importance.  ASCE on a societal level has made a huge effort to highlight its importance as well as what engineering entails by funding the production of a full length film titled “Dream Big” that highlights the achievements of civil engineers.  This film was released last year at various IMAX theatres across the country and I believe it is getting more availability in additional formats as this year progresses.  I have yet to see the film, but know that some branches are trying to get it in their area. I highly recommend seeing it when you have the opportunity.  I know I will the first chance I get.

One benefit to being an involved member of ASCE is career development.  Being involved on the branch and section levels has given me opportunities to attend leadership conferences.  Many of these conferences hold training sessions on being a great leader. These sessions have helped me as an ASCE leader as well as given me tools to utilize in my professional career.  Other aspects include networking there are so many people that you meet being involved with ASCE from all over the country at the various meetings.  In one of my presentations on why to join ASCE I hit on this point briefly by saying “people hire people” this is a great opportunity to meet people by going to your local branch meetings. You never know where that next big project or job will come from.

I want to thank all those that volunteered to hold positions at the branch level and also at the section level.  Remember that it is time to renew your memberships. We have done very well in the past on getting members to renew early and encourage everyone to keep up this great tradition.

Anthony Schmid

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Technical Article

Structural Engineering and Code

It is my opinion that structural engineering is one of the more code intensive branches of Civil Engineering.  At the time that I sat for the exam to get my professional civil engineering license in California the international exam was based off of the International Building Code.  To get licensed in California I had to take the additional survey and seismic test.  The seismic test was based off of the California Building Code which referenced the Uniform Building Code at that time.  So I had to take into account the two different codes while I was testing.  Recently California Building Code references the International Building Code which has become standard practice for most states.  American Society of Civil Engineers publish what they call the ASCE 7 which is adopted by the international building code and referenced for loading on buildings and other structures. I would like to briefly discuss the different design methodologies to help clarify the effect of the change in wind design that occurred not too long ago.   This will help prove my point that structural engineering is code intensive.

Currently the code references two different design procedures Strength Design (Load and Resistance Factor Design) and Allowable Stress Design.  When I attended college we were taught LRFD design for both reinforced concrete and steel design.  I was under the impression that there was a big push for everything to go to LRFD.  Although my wood design class still used the ASD methodologies.  The main difference between these two design philosophies is how the safety factor is generated.

For allowable stress design a safety factor is used to reduce the allowable stresses in the material being designed therefore called Allowable Stress Design (ASD). Allowable Strength Design better determines design for higher safety factor needs where a building is more prone to environmental pressures or must bear heavier loads that stress a specific portion of a building. The economy is achieved through building with materials that will keep the failure rate, and thus the repair and maintenance rate, to a minimum.

In strength design both the load and the stresses are factored to maintain an acceptable degree of safety.  Typically the factor for the stresses is less than 1 and the load factors are greater than 1 depending on load combination being used therefore called Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD). Strength Design provides a uniform reliability number for the building as a whole and in uses and environments where the safety factors are low. Strength Design will result in a more economical design for a building with fewer special needs for customized areas of reinforcement.

Now that we have a little background behind the two design philosophies I would like to discuss a change to the wind provisions that took place from International Building Code 2009 (IBC-09) to the International Building Code 2012 (IBC-12).  The ASCE 7 changed design wind speeds to bring them to an ultimate level similar to seismic loads as a result the maps reported wind speeds that were much higher than previous maps.  At first appearance this increased the overall wind load on building and structures.  But by adding a load factor of 0.6 in the ASD load combinations and removing the 1.6 factor for LRFD design load combinations, it has been my experience, this does not increase the wind load on the structure.  In most cases it is slightly less than wind loads calculated using the previous versions of the code.  Is this another push to try and narrow down the design philosophies to strength design?  Or just an attempt to level the field for lateral loads so that they are figured out at the same level (ultimate) then can be utilized in your preferred design philosophy?

As I have demonstrated I believe that structural engineering is one of the most code intensive branches of Civil Engineering.  The codes are always being updated and it is up to us as design professionals to be aware of these changes.  The International Building Code is providing less and less design content for various materials, instead it references other codes to be used for the actual design of the material.  For example concrete chapter references the ACI 318, Structural steel references ANSI/AISC 360 this is similar for other materials included in the International Building Code.  As structural engineers we have to be aware of the various code references and adopted standards to perform our design.    Initially everything was done using ASD design methodologies, then there was a push to convert to LRFD design.  It seems now the codes and standards accommodate both design methodologies which has even expanded what each code needs to cover, increasing the content in each code that the professional needs to be well versed in.  Ultimately it is up to the design professional to determine the best design approach to be used to get the most economical and required design performance for each particular project.

Anthony Schmid, S.E.

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Wasatch Front Branch Update

The new Wasatch Front Branch leadership has been meeting all summer in order to plan the upcoming year.  We kicked off our monthly luncheons in August with Jason Allen, P.E. and Director of the Mountain States Concrete Pipe Association.  Along with a lot of great information about concrete pipe, I think many of us learned a bit about the basketball foul shot.

Our next Luncheon will be a joint meeting with the Younger Members Forum and the University of Utah Chapter on September 15th from 11:30 to 1:30, at the University of Utah.  The subject will be “Updates to the Salt Lake City Airport Expansion Project”.  The Luncheon will be held at the Warnock Engineering Building Room 1230, and we hope to see many of our members there.

We want to also thank everybody that ran for office with this year’s Wasatch Front Branch.  Our Officers this year are Darren Burton (President), Mark Chandler (President Elect), Sarah Albano (Secretary/Treasurer), and Jeff McBride (Past President).  If you would like to contact us to discuss any ideas for upcoming luncheons or activities, for membership questions, or for any other reason we can be reached at .

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Northern Utah Branch Update

My name is Tom Dickinson. I have been performing engineering design and project management work for the past three years while working toward completing my bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. In past lives I’ve been a Carpenter Foreman, a Building Inspector/Plans Examiner, and a Stormwater Inspector. Past professions have prepared me well for my newer role performing engineering work. Graduating from USU this year, I now enjoy being able to put in a full day’s work without the need to run up to campus to attend class or work on a group project (yuck!)

I am eager to work with other Northern Utah Branch (NUB) members as branch President this year. I, and the NUB board, have decided to expand member participation at board meetings. To do so, we will create subcommittees to take on certain tasks. The intent is to lighten demands on office holding members, increase participation of current active members, and to help groom potential future NUB (or ASCE) office holders. More to come on this in the near future

NUB’s fall service project will be held on September 16, 2017 where we will help the Trails Cache Association and the Cache Valley High School Mountain Biking Team cut new trails at Beaver Mountain. Upon completion of service, we will hold the opening social serving hamburgers, hot dogs, and plenty of beverages to rehydrate. We will also be presenting recipients of this year’s scholarships.

Member meetings begin in October where we will hold monthly lunch and learns. This year we will try to rotate events throughout the northern region in order to better serve members in the outer reaches.

The NUB’s primary goals this year will be to expand the reach and member participation throughout the region and into Box Elder, Morgan, and Weber Counties. Other efforts will focus on member training (lunch and learns), expanding NUB reach in effort to involve members in the outer reaches of the northern region, and improving involvement with YMF and USU Student branches.

I appreciate the opportunity to be involved in such a great organization and look forward to meeting new people as the branch expands its reach to other areas of the region.

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Southern Utah Branch Update

Greetings from beautiful southern Utah!  We hope you had a great summer and were able to get a little vacation time in.  The leadership for this year will be: Kirt McDaniel, President; Aaron Anderson, President-Elect; Todd Gardner, Secretary-Treasurer; and Jared Madsen, Past-President.  I work at Jviation; Aaron works at Bowen and Collins; and Todd and Jared work at Alpha Engineering. 

We are excited for the coming year and are committed to providing luncheon presentations and workshops/conferences that are pertinent and useful.  Some of the topics we are considering for luncheons this year are:  drones/photogrammetry, drainage, licensure, concrete and a legislative update.  We will be hosting the annual conference with APWA in February and our keynote speaker will be ASCE National President Kristina Swallow! 

Our next event will be a luncheon held on Thursday, September 14 at noon at the DXATC Emergency Training Response Center, Room 1E (610 South Airport Road).  Tom LaRue with ADS will give a presentation on pipe innovations.  Hope to see you there.  


Jviation, Inc. | Kirt McDaniel, P.E. Project Manager | Direct 435.574.5308 | Cell 435.632.9980 | 

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Central Utah Branch Update

The Central Utah Branch is excited for another season of branch meetings and the opportunity they provide for us to network and catch up with our fellow Central Utah engineers.  We would like to welcome Ben Willardson of CWE Engineers as our 2017-2018 CUB Branch President-Elect and express our appreciation to Degen Lewis who served as our 2016-2017 President.  We are looking forward to some great meetings this year and we hope to see as many of you as possible!  We kicked things off on August 31st with a VIP tour of the newly expanded LDS Church Provo Missionary Training Center.   Our guide was Andy Kirby, LDS Church Senior Project Manager.  The new buildings feature extensive glass exteriors to maximize use of natural light and create a sense of openness between the MTC and surrounding areas.  Large meeting rooms, rooms for practice lessons, and indoor/outdoor study areas are all designed to enhance the missionary training experience.  Existing residence halls have been remodeled to increase capacity, update mechanical and utility systems, improve landscaping, and enhance living areas.

We are working on speakers to tell us about the Last Chance Diversion Dam project on the Bear River and the Millsite Dam project in Emery County.  We are also looking forward to hearing from University of Utah Professor Marie Jackson regarding her research into Roman concrete.  And, as football season is upon us again, we are trying to secure an artificial turf representative to tell us about the science of modern playing fields.  Please plan to join us, and bring a colleague!  We would love feedback on speaker ideas from our members so let us know if you have a suggestion or are willing to speak on a project you are working on.  If you are not receiving our emails with meeting date and time information please contact our Secretary, Steven Lord to make sure we have a correct email address for you. 

Jeff Egbert, 2017-2018 President, Central Utah Branch

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Younger Member Forum

Welcome to the new year of ASCE Utah Younger Member Forum (YMF).

We just had an exciting event in Utah last month. We were able to enjoy “almost” full eclipse. Where were you during Eclipse 2017? Here’s some fun facts: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to predict a loss in worker productivity. Here’s how the math breaks down: there are about 87 million U.S. workers, making an average hourly wage of $23.86. If they all took about 20 minutes to scout out a spot to see the eclipse and then watch the whole thing unfold, it would cost an employer $7.95 per person, or, when multiplied by 87 million, about $694 million in lost productivity. Americans skipping out on work to go watch the eclipse may have resulted in productivity losses for their bosses, but don’t feel too bad about it. Seven hundred million sounds like a lot, but by its own accounting, the firm says the U.S. economy collectively lost $615 million from people setting their brackets during March Madness opening week; $1.7 billion per hour from people dis-cussing the Super Bowl the following day; $1.9 billion per hour during Cyber Monday. 50 minutes of Facebook costs the economy 1.75 billion daily!! (Vanityfair)

We also have an exciting year ahead of us. We have started with board meeting in August and social event at the Living Room trail. We have had some of the hottest days on record in Salt Lake City this summer. Our group decided to beat the heat with an early morning hike up to the Living Room behind the University of Utah on Saturday August 19th. Five engineers (and five dogs) got to the top of the 2.2 mile hike just before the day’s heat started to set in. We had a great time catching up on our summer activities and getting to know each other on the hike. Four of our board members were joined by newbie, Jonathan Howse who just moved to Salt Lake City from Orange County and is working for Parsons. We are happy to have him join our group. Keep an eye out on upcoming activities, we try to plan an active outdoor activity a couple times a year!

Are you getting ready for the Fall 2017 Professional Engineer's Exam? Let ASCE Utah Younger Members help you prepare with our bi-annual review course. The 10 session course will run Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6-8 pm starting September 12th through October 12th leading up to the October 27th exam date. We will cover all the exam topics including Construction (Breadth & Depth), Structural (Breadth & Depth), Geotechnical (Breadth & Depth), Transportation (Breadth & Depth), Environmental and Water Resources. In addition to receiving great review and problem solving help from experienced professionals, the course will provide discounts to Kaplan and PPI for reference material. It is not too late to register for the courses.

Course Location: Jacobs Engineering in the Salt Lake Hardware Building
155 N 400 W Suite 550
Salt Lake City, UT 84103

Start date: Sep 12th

Pricing: Member $300 and Non-Member $400.

Sign up here! Contact Heather Hamilton with any questions at

If you know somebody who is an expert or just interested in becoming our webmaster, please let us know at Last but not least, join us and ASCE WFB for networking and lunch with the University of Utah students. We were awarded a STAY grant by ASCE National and will be leading a technical tour of ongoing construction activities at the SLC Airport Expansion Project with 20 students. This event will be held on the University of Utah Campus in the Warnock Engineering Building Room 1230. Hope we’ll see you there!

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Structural Engineering Institute Chapter

Welcome to hurricane season.  As I read news reports of the preparations and damage sustained, I start to ponder the role of structural engineers in preparation and resilience.  There have been two storms pass through different areas in the US.  It’s too early to tell the actual damages, but here are a few observations and questions that might be answered.

  1.         Do improved building codes help prevent losses?  The answer is yes based on comparisons between Andrew in 1992 and Wilma in 2004.  Statewide, Florida made significant changes to the building code after Hurricane Andrew.  For example, mobile home anchorage was vastly improved, and it was evident in 2004.  This kept people in their homes.  Should we be paying attention to mobile home and modular structure anchorage in Utah?  It is a code requirement that has been demonstrated to reduce damage and save lives.  I suggest the answer is yes.
  2.        Are there areas where a small effort could pay a big dividend?  I think there is.  The question I have is if $100 worth of nails and truss anchors could prevent thousands in wind damage and subsequent water damage.  Based on the aerial photos of sheathing losses and partial framing losses, I think it is probable that a bit of hardware and some nails could go a long way.  It will be interesting to read the damage reports and see what recommendations follow.
  3.        Do our detailing requirements show a complete load path for wind forces?  I would hope so, yet I continue to see incomplete load paths and missing detailing on drawings.  The contractor won’t do it unless it’s on the drawings.  (And the contractor might not do it if it IS on the drawings.)  We need to do our part to design and detail a complete load path.  There were documented cases in Florida of non-code compliant construction leading to losses.  Most, if not all of the contractors I work with want to do a good job.  Let’s do our part to help them build code compliant and resilient structures.

There are a lot of economic and social costs that come from engineering decisions.  Our building codes have life safety covered quite well.  Let’s do our part as a profession to maintain that.  I propose that we increase our standard of care to help reduce smaller, non-life-threatening damages that increase the social and economic costs.  To survive a natural disaster, only to be faced with a wreck for a house, empty and damaged stores, and nowhere to work, can hardly be called a success.

Conrad Guymon <>

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Utah Geo-Institute Chapter

Event: August 17th, 2017

Location: University of Utah

Participating Organizations: Utah Geo-Institute Chapter of ASCE and SEAU (Structural Engineering Association of Utah)

Utah Geo-Institute

The Utah Geo-Institute Chapter hosted a dinner meeting in collaboration with the Structural Engineering Association of Utah (SEAU) at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah on August 17th 2017.  The presentation was also broadcast to satellite groups across Utah and Idaho.  The event, which was attended by a mix of both Structural and Geotechnical Engineers, featured a presentation by Dr. Shideh Dashti, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor, University of Colorado Boulder).  Dr. Dashti represented ASCE’s Earthquake Engineering EESD) committee as part of the ASCE’s Speaker’s Bureau program.

Dr. Dashti presented a new semi-empirical, probabilistic model for predicting settlement and tilt of shallow-founded structures on liquefiable ground during earthquakes. This research considered the current state-of-the-practice in using free-field conditions to assess liquefaction settlements relative to recent post-earthquake and experimental observations.  Her team’s findings will be published in the coming months, but included observations that the current state-of-the-practice can significantly underestimate and misrepresent the settlement of structures, as it ignores soil-structure interaction and the key mechanisms of deformation active under the foundation. 

Experimental method of study included a series of centrifuge experiments. The results were used to evaluate predictive capabilities of 3D, fully-coupled, dynamic finite element analyses of soil-foundation-structure systems using the PDMY02 soil constitutive model implemented in OpenSees. An unprecedented numerical parametric study, exceeding 63,000 simulations, followed to identify the most optimum intensity measure (IM) for predicting permanent building settlement on liquefiable ground: cumulative absolute velocity (CAV). Dashti’s team developed their own ground motion predictive equations for obtaining CAV, applicable to all tectonic environments. The numerical database was used to develop the initial functional form of the predictive model for foundation settlement and tilt, which was subsequently validated and adjusted with case history observations to bring in the complexities of the field. This integrated observational, experimental, numerical, and statistical approach has led to the development of a mechanistically-sound, simplified probabilistic predictive model, validated with case history and experimental results,  which fits well within a performance-based seismic design framework, enabling more reliable evaluation and future mitigation of the liquefaction hazard facing structures.

At the close of her presentation, Dr. Dashti led a charged discussion on the urgent need for the standard-of-practice to evolve in facilitating better communication between the Structural and Geotechnical engineers to include structure foundation characteristics (e.g., width, aspect ratio, contact pressure, foundation embedment depth, depth to susceptible layer(s), thickness of susceptible layer(s)) as well as the properties of the superstructure (e.g., inertial mass and height) among others in liquefaction settlement assessment.

Dr. Dashti explaining parametric sensitivities found in her liquefaction settlement research.

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