Ohh a branch..can we call them the Branch Jonesenians?
Sorry, no offense I just couldn't resist.
I think this post applies to this as well.
In 1996 Nova on PBS did a show on Controlled Demolitions:
They interviewed Stacey Loizeaux, a demolition expert, about her trade. I am going to take a couple of excerpts from the transcript.
NOVA: What kind of analysis goes into figuring out how to demolish a building?
SL: Well, we've got what we refer to as our historic database, which is largely in my father and my uncle's brain. Ninety-five percent of our
knowledge has come from hands-on experience—learning, watching different structures, watching the way they move. A lot of times my father and my
uncle will walk in a building and they'll say, "Oh, this is just like the such and such building. This is what we're going to do." So, there
really isn't a class you can take. There's no book you can read that's going to teach you how to do this. It's really a practical physical
understanding of how buildings work. You know, just because an engineer designed a building to work one way, it doesn't mean that, when they built
it, that that's actually how it's working. We have to go in and decide what is load bearing, what is not—what is safe to remove, what isn't. So
there's quite a bit of in-the-field analysis that goes on.
NOVA: Do you tend to look at blueprints?
SL: Well, 90 percent of the time we don't have them. A lot of times those plans have been misplaced or have disintegrated into dust. But when we do
have them, yeah, we use them but we don't rely on them. There's a difference between 'as drawn' and 'as built'. And you never trust the
drawings. That's why we do test shots, which is going in and picking out a few key columns and actually loading them with explosives and shooting
them ahead of time, to understand the loads within the columns.
NOVA: I understand that Controlled Demolition was hired to bring down the remains of the Oklahoma City Federal Building. Were you out there for that?
SL: That was a little too much for me, emotionally. I asked not to go on that job. My father and my uncle went out.
NOVA: How did they describe it?
SL: Well, any time you have a damaged structure it's a totally different animal. I mean it is much harder for us to bring down a structure that's
already damaged, because you no longer know how the forces are working. In that building, there was literally one column left in that whole building.
When my father got to the site, there was a man very gingerly trying to dig debris off the building to uncover bodies. And my father said, "Stop. If
you move that pile one more foot the whole building is going to come down." And so we worked closely with the fire and rescue teams. The whole
building was basically full of, you know, classified information. So we actually had a contract with them to remove any classified materials from the
building that we could locate—thousands and thousands of pieces of paper. But, it was just very heart wrenching, you know, because they were still
recovering bodies right up until days before we actually brought down the building. My uncle and my father worked quite a bit in Mexico City in '85
following the earthquake and they had helped pull bodies out there. So, it's not like it's ever old hat, but they'd been there before.
I encourage EVERYONE to go read this whole article. It was from 1996 so we don't have to think it was anyway biased by 9/11 stuff.
[edit on 18-2-2007 by GwionX]