WHAT KIND OF HIGH-PROFILE ENGINEERING CONSULTING
WORK DOES DR. MIHOLITS DO?
provides Proactive Engineering Consulting services on
high-profile engineering projects which
have a significant litigation risk potential in the form of failures
He does this specifically to provide proactive solutions to those
problems which have a significant potential for litigation and
thereby forestall these litigation actions. Only certain kinds of
project conditions are amenable to this approach because of reasons
such as designs, timing, etc.
he has dealt with include environmental (health & safety); nuclear
power and nuclear fuel cycle (radiological health & safety); regulatory issues; legal concerns;
etc. His objective is to solve existing problems by way of:
(1) engineering, health and safety, and environmental corrective
actions; (2) educating the Client regarding the scientific, medical
and engineering aspects of the problem; and (3) etc.
real world, failure events should occur in the Engineering Design Analysis & Problem
Solving Phase. For a failure to occur, you need a
structure that was under-designed either through: (1) calculation
errors; (2) excessive and inaccurate cost-saving measures; (3) an out-date design
code; (4) a structure was or will be overloaded in the future; (5) defective materials; (6)
construction errors; (7) construction inspection errors; (8) an act of God; and/or (9)
other unknown reasons.
- If an
engineer evaluates (audits) the facility design and finds
everything in order, then an
undesirable incident such as a bridge failure should
- If an
Engineering Design Analysis & Problem Solving activity is not performed, then there is the potential exists
that any problems which may exist may not be discovered and/or identified
and thereby corrected. Then it is possible that an undesirable
may occur. The end result is possible litigation.
presentation shows the relationship between both activities and most
importantly, the importance of both
Dr. Miholits' Proactive Engineering Consulting centers around
three types of services.
undertakes an engineering project at plant 1 where an incident is
expected to occur because there was one at a similar facility (plant 2).
This project is not expected to lead to regulatory or legal action.
Example: the engineer is aware of a design flaw at another
nuclear power plant (plant 2) which led to the leakage of radioactive materials
which was followed by litigation. The consultant knew that the same
design was used at his plant (plant 1) which means that an accident could
occur at his plant (plant 1). Solution: sell the need to fix the design flaw at
his plant (plant 1). The steps he goes through includes:
He obtains the first level of information
by doing a Forensic Research activity (i.e., initial research, investigation and analysis
phase). He obtains more information via the Engineering Design
Analysis & Problem
Solving Search activity. This allows him to obtain the engineering and scientific
information needed to perform a Paper Study. This is needed in the
process of developing a solution to high-profile civil,
environmental and nuclear fuel cycle
engineering projects and problems.
Then as an Proactive Engineering Consultant, he will use this information plus his
engineering knowledge and experience of the subject areas to address the
high-profile engineering projects he specializes in (listed below). This
work is normally performed on engineering projects
which don't have a legal involvement. However, legal issues may be
uncovered during the course of the project as they are
high-profile. If this happens, this condition will be
treated accordingly. As an example,
regulatory concerns and legal issues would be addressed while he
assumes the Expert
Witness Consultant role.
undertakes engineering projects in the planning phase. the original designs in many plants have features which can lead to regulatory
and failure problems. To avoid this, he would propose design changes to avoid downstream litigation.
In this case, the consultant knows of design flaws as he reads the
literature as to what is happening at other plants.
undertakes engineering projects which have been built and are in operation.
Proactive Engineering Consulting
(aka engineering problem solving & design analysis) is used to determine if steps can be taken to prevent problems in the future
which can lead to legal actions. The act of reinforcing a retaining wall in
advance because the original design was based on 1960 earthquake standards
and the wall is now subjected to increased loads is wise decision as it
prevents the wall from coming down in the event of a Big Earthquake.
has undertaken such activities. Example: he was
engaged in a proactive problem solving activity which led to reinforcing a
35 foot retaining wall at SLAC. This wall was designed and built in the early 1960s to
existing earthquake standards. Because a 67,000 pound transformer and 25,000
pound concrete pad was added at the top of the wall, it was necessary to redesign the wall to
current earthquake standards. This redesign and reinforcement action
eliminated the potential for this wall to fail in the event the most
severe earthquake occurred today in the San Francisco Bay area, such that it
could have an influence at the SLAC site..
The two construction
photos shown above illustrate the aforementioned Case 3 engineering project
(dimensions are approximate).