23 November 2023: electrical switchboards fires and faults

A recording of the FESA Zoom presentation from last Thursday November 23 on "Electrical Switchboards - fires and faults" by Peter Hart and Martin Mulcahy is available here.  Note:  you will need to copy then enter this passcode to play the recording: +8+Jb+pv

October 2023 - building collapse and lessons for engineers

FESA member Geoff Fletcher spoke on the 2013 collapse of a multi-storey building in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  34 members and guests were present at this interesting talk, which was preceded by our AGM.

The collapse killed over 1,100 people and injured some 2,500.  It is claimed to be the deadliest accidental structural failure in modern history.  Geoff, an engineer, outlined incompetence, shortcuts, greed, lack of review, and third world low-paid garment manufacture factory stacking,  But just what does "accidental" mean? Numerous people faced murder charges as a result, from a litany of failures - negligence, recklessness and corruption in administrative, design, construction and operational controls. The public suffered - and their need for engineering competence and ethics (in any discipline) has never been so great!

Geoff's main takeaways for ALL engineers were these:

  • Check your own character before starting your calculations and computer!  Uncompromised ethical standards are always paramount.
  • No “something” is better than a bad “something”!
  • Be careful with whom you get into bed!
  • NEVER fear inspection / verification / 3rd party reviews. Encourage it!
  • NEVER progress past an unexplained, unsolved problem.
  • You mght get away with breaking the laws of the State, but never the laws of physics.
  • You get not what you EXPECT, but what you INSPECT.
  • Imagine one day being cross-examined in Court re your actions!

A good evening of networking  and a fine meal rounded things out well.  The presentation was professionally recorded and is available here now.  


21 September 2023

Dr Reza Javaherdashti spoke to FESA via Zoom on 21 September (from Croatia) on Microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC), with a focus on off-shore engineering due to its importance for Australian industry.  MIC refers to the influence of micro/ macro-organisms on the kinetics of corrosion processes on metals, caused by adhering to the interfaces (usually referred to as “biofilms”-which, in fact, is a wrong terminology).

The presentation focussed on the necessity of understanding MIC mechanisms as per API 580/581 and how forensic engineering methods may or may not be useful in dealing with failures stemming from MIC mechanisms. During the presentation, some interesting aspects of MIC (such as EMIC) which are very important to interpret high corrosion rates were presented.

Some facts and figures about its importance from a corrosion science and engineering point of view as well as the names of some important bacteria associated with MIC were briefly explained.

A one-hour recording of the presentation is here.  If needed, the Passcode is tGb1E^cz

Reza also gave us the following links to Youtube clips, giving further information on the topic:


24 August 2023

45 people attended a presentation on Waterproofing by Karl Wootton.  It was a very informative talk, well illustrated, with practical illustrated examples.

The talk (37 minutes plus 4 minutes introduction) is here.  The Q & A session was not recorded by request - candour, confidentiality, etc.

27 July 2023

42 people attended a Zoom presentation by slips, trips and falls expert Richard Bowman, who spoke in helpful detail about surfaces, gait, falls, standards, protocols, expert evidence - with good examples.

His session has been recorded (50 minutes plus Q & A) and is available here:

Passcode if needed: *E?Q%uW5 

22 June 2023

60 members and guests attended to hear barrister Tim Sowden speak helpfully on Effective Expert Evidence.  He addressed rules of evidence as they affect experts; things you can, can't or must do; what gives a barrister confidence in an expert;  hot tubbing; recent leading cases affecting experts;  subpoenas; and numerous interesting questions from the floor.

Tim's Powerpoint slides are here;  and separately, here is his 38 minute presentation.

An excellent night of conversation, questions and answers, discussions, networking and as usual, a fine meal and drinks.




27 April 2023:

Engineer Ted Metcalfe delivered a presentation to 30 present on Professionalism, Ethics and Protecting the Public