Why Buildings Fail: NCARB's Newest Monograph

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) introduces the tenth title in its Professional Development Program monograph series, Why Buildings Fail. Written by Kenneth L. Carper, a registered architect and professor at Washington State University, Why Buildings Fail investigates those projects where performance does not meet expectations. Although catastrophic structural collapse often receives the greatest amount of attention, it is not the only type of building failure. This monograph identifies the issues present when technical (e.g., internal systems run amuck or don't run at all) and architectural (e.g., inappropriate cladding is chosen and must be replaced) problems characterize a building project.

Carper presents a conscientious mix of case studies and examples-not so much to lay blame but to encourage a greater appreciation for the sources of poor performance. As Carper notes, "Failures seldom result from a single error made by an individual." In fact, nonperformance can be caused by natural and human-made factors as well errors made during the planning, design, construction and operation stages. In his conclusion, Carper also reviews failure-avoidance strategies as well as failure litigation and dispute resolution.

Instituted in 1993, NCARB's Professional Development Program and its monograph series were created in order to address the increasing need for continuing education and professional development verification. Why Buildings Fail joins the following titles already available: Sustainable Design, Professional Conduct, Low-Slope Roofing I, Seismic Mitigation, Subsurface Conditions, Wind Forces, Fire Safety in Buildings and the on-line based Energy-Conscious Architecture. The Council's monograph series provides architects with a useful and portable means to earn professional development credits as they are exposed to some of the field's most thought-provoking topics. All U.S. jurisdictions accept NCARB Professional Development Program monographs for compliance with state continuing education requirements.

The successful completion of the quiz accompanying most monographs equals 10 contact hours in Health, Safety, and Welfare and 10 AIA Learning Units. Successful completion of the Wind Forces quiz equals 14 contact hours in Health, Safety, and Welfare and 14 AIA Learning Units. All monograph quizzes may now be completed on-line, a convenience that offers immediate results as well as the acknowledgment of completion for those passing the quiz. The regular price for most titles is $195; NCARB Record holders may purchase them for $125 each. To order a monograph or any other title from NCARB's Professional Development Program, contact the Council at 202/783-6500. Or visit NCARB's web site at www.ncarb.org/publications.