Terrorist Targets Need Structural Security

Engineers seek to protect tall buildings from the ground up

EH : Often architects will put special spaces above loading docks because of the longer spans that are needed to accommodate trucks. Sometimes it's a VIP's office, sometimes it's an auditorium, and sometimes?and this really gets me?it's a child care center. This is possibly the worst place to put such spaces because they have a higher risk of being attacked and are structurally more apt to collapse. I see this quite a lot in new design.

BD+C: Any last bit of advice for our readers?

EH : There are a lot of easy, cost-effective things the building community can do to improve security that don't have to be ugly. Designers need to look at the layers of security, starting with the perimeter and working their way in. Keep vehicles and weapons from getting to the building and into it?that's your most cost-effective way to protect the building. The primary thing is to prevent progressive collapse.

The last thing I want to do as a structural engineer is to make the building clunky.