Some people, being asked, “Paper or Plastic?” is a simple question of preference.  But for others it’s a matter of choosing for the sake of the environment.  Think about the choosing process you go through when deciding on a doctor, or a mechanic, or which bank you go to.  The decision is most likely chosen by the results of the outcome you are wanting.  Of course, you must know what outcome you are wanting if this is to be accomplished.  Are we looking to going to a certain mechanic because they will repair your car just enough so you can sell it?  Or are you going to this mechanic because they will fix your car so that you can drive it for miles and miles without having to come back to the garage any time soon. Neither choice is bad, it all depends on the outcome you want.  It’s also important to be aware that you may not use the same mechanic for both types of service, so it’s important to understand what outcome you want, before fully making such a decision.

Every three years, there are changes made in structural building codes.  Through this, it is necessary to come up with alternate ways of thinking and expanding thought processes.  It is also necessary to understand the purpose of the changes so there is no frustration or miscalculation.  At times, owners or contractors get frustrated with what they are building because they can’t just make simple estimations like they have done in the past.
The result of changing codes comes from learning lessons gained from further testing, the increase in certain regulations, and of course at times pressures that come from a political nature.  In any case, following a certain procedure to decipher answers can become more and more complex over time.
Structural engineering is a profession where being exact is not only important when being tested in the classroom, but also out in the actual world.  Because of this, you may find engineers that might take a more conservative position from that of others.  Because structural engineering involves multiple discussions with clients, and a review of multiple codes, to cursorily review the work of another engineer and deem it conservative is simply not realistic.  Consider dealing with an attorney and then having another attorney question everything your attorney has found without having the same intimate conversations with you that your attorney has had.  It would be incongruent to think that an outside attorney knows what’s best for you without really discussing it deeply.  The same can be said here.  Of course, in structural design there are regulations and codes that bind an engineer, but each and every design can be very individualized.

Our lives consists of the choices we make.  These choices can be very difficult, and others can be pretty basic.  The decisions we come to are generally based on past experience, what our prejudices might be, and sometimes due to our habits.  Paper or Plastic may be more complex than what meets the eye.  Likewise, so is structural engineering.

At PSE we believe we are engineering a better world.

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According to the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey), it is estimated that about 607 million Mt (Metric tons) of all construction aggregates have been put through production and shipped off to the U.S. for consumption during the second quarter of this year (2015).   

The USGS has estimated that during the first half of 2015 about 994 Mt was produced for consumption.  Comparing that to the same half year in 2014, this is an increase of 5%.

Comparing with what was used or sold in the second quarter of last year (2014), construction aggregates produced for consumption are estimated to be decreased in 4 of the 9 geographic divisions measured in the second quarter of this year (2015).  Additionally, in twentyfour of this link the forty three states production for consumption actually increased.  The five states leading in this area are (in ascending order) Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, and Texas.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that about 360 Mt of crushed stone have been produced and have shipped throughout the United States for consumption during the second quarter of this year (2015).  This is an increase of 5% in comparison to last years second quarter.  The initial estimation for the first half of this year was 589 Mt.  So this year 6% more has been produced.

Global Survey

Timetric’s MIC ( Mining Intelligence Center) recently did a survey of 630 managers of mines throughout the globe and found that there are more mines expecting an increase in South America during the next year, compared to other mining regions throughout the world.

 Those surveyed were requested to lay out any spending changes that are being planned over the coming year, that differ from the previous 12 months.  According to this study, in South America, a greater share of those surveyed have plans to spend more over the next year.   

  The answers offered to those surveyed were, ‘significant reduction, slight reduction, stay the same, slight increase, and significant increase.’  With spending freezes currently taking place around the world in the mining industry, comparing each planned out spending trend throughout the globe provided interesting and varied results.  Sixteen percent of those surveyed in South America stated answered ‘significant increase’ in what they will be spending over the next year.  This was the highest percentage in comparison to any of the other regions like North America with 3%, Europe and Australia with 4%, Asia with 9%, and Africa with 10%.