38 votes

What are those large poles for that are always in front of US stand-alone store buildings?

They are called bollards. Their function is to provide safety for pedestrians from traffic, distracted drivers who may encroach into the sidewalk, or runaway cars e.g a driver who inadvertently ...
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30 votes
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Why dig out and then fill in before building a large structure?

This is to make sure they know what the foundation is made of. For all they knew there may have been an old tunnel underneath that would have collapsed when the new building is put on top. London is ...
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29 votes

What are those large poles for that are always in front of US stand-alone store buildings?

They are called Bollards. But these aren't defensive as suggested. Look closer. There's no curb. This is a new style of store (from the architecture) and curbs have been eliminated for ADA reasons ...
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21 votes

Why dig out and then fill in before building a large structure?

There are a few reasons why the footprint of large buildings are excavated and replaced. All of the old building must be removed - Typically, older buildings will have been built with weaker ...
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12 votes
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What's the purpose of these small closet-like-rooms-without-a-door?

I do not know, I've never been there and I have no other information other than what is in your question. However, ... I'd say that best guess, until somebody who knows more presents, is your ...
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9 votes

What are those large poles for that are always in front of US stand-alone store buildings?

Bollards and other defensive oriented structures significantly predate the 2016 Nice attacks. They have been in place at the construction of many buildings in the US and across the world for decades ...
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8 votes
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Why aren't counterweights used more for garage doors?

It makes me wonder why some sort of counterweight system isn't used instead. I'd guess it's because residential garages are normally a bit limited on space and the counterweights need somewhere to go....
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8 votes

What concerns would I need to consider for building a swimming pool of gold coins?

The weight of the gold would be about 52,110,000kg, over 900 meters square of floor area. This is about 82.4psi of floor pressure, or, under standard gravity, 57.9kN/m^2 live load. This is only an ...
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8 votes
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Will lightning strike an aluminum rod in a pot on my balcony?

xkcd has a fantastic description of how lightning works. This video is also quite good (especially as of 0:56, but the rest is worth watching as well) since it shows lightning in super slow motion, so ...
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7 votes
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Why is it more common to use ceiling fans instead of air pumps?

Mainly cost difference. And also, a fan is sufficient for the job. The problem being solved is thermal stratification. That's caused by a lack of vertical mixing; the warm air rises to the top, the ...
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6 votes

Water pump at top floor or bottom?

Think about the pressures. With the pump above the supply line, the pressure at the input of the pump will be lower than the supply. At roughly 2 PSI per foot, you're down about 18 PSI. Since air ...
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6 votes
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Is it OK for a 2 story house not have a column or pillar

As @SamFarjamirad states it's best to consult a knowledgeable construction engineer where you live, or in your region, because such people would know the building codes & construction practices ...
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5 votes
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How is biaxial bending considered for reinforced masonry design?

Unity Equation The Unity Equation is a very standard method of analyzing a section under combined loads. Even though the masonry code doesn't specifically call it out in the reinforced pages, it would ...
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5 votes

Why dig out and then fill in before building a large structure?

If one side of foundation has soil packed more loosely than the other side, the foundation may cause the ground to sink, and building may crumble. Even if it has a steel-reinforced concrete foundation,...
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  • 181
5 votes

What concerns would I need to consider for building a swimming pool of gold coins?

"Swimming" would be about impossible. IF the gold conveyed buoyancy as water does, which it wouldn't, - at full density you'd "float" with about 5% immersed. If mean density due to packing was about ...
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5 votes

Why aren't counterweights used more for garage doors?

Seems like to me the reason is a counterweight provides a constant offset to the door weight and that weight changes as the door is brought back to horizontal. I suppose there would be a way to design ...
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5 votes
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Humidity in home is much higher than outside

Sounds like you have covered your bases. The only thing I can recommend is gathering data and considering some scenerios to evaluate that data against. I am not an HVAC guy but can give you the 1000ft ...
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5 votes
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Is there any way I can be sure a wall is NOT load bearing?

That wall has not been designed to be load bearing by a structural engineer. As you say, it only has a single header (top beam) rather than a double, and the verticals aren't cut accurately enough. ...
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  • 3,145
5 votes

When an elevator has two buttons next to it, ^ and v, what do they actually mean?

The elevator control system stores various bits of information in a logical fashion. The system will be optimised to maximise the utility of the lift. This generally means moving the maximum number of ...
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  • 7,519
4 votes

Why aren't counterweights used more for garage doors?

I’ll be installing a custom counterweight for my new garage door – it requires some clever engineering to make it work since a residential garage door doesn’t have a fixed weight: its track bends ...
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4 votes

Foiling vortex traps around buildings

CFD I ran this situation through a couple of simple 2D CFD models. As you can see from the pictures below, one way to keep debris from gathering in this area is to increase the velocity of wind in ...
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4 votes
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Office Complex Foundations/Base Depth and Undeground Water

(1) What is implied by "Underground water level varies from 5-6m" for the construction? Typically this means that the groundwater table starts between 5m and 6m below grade. In other words, if you ...
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  • 3,587
4 votes
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Why were pneumatic thermostats commonly installed in buildings?

In the 1940's and 50's, dynamic system controllers were invented which used air pressure to work. It was possible in fact to design and build not only analog control mechanisms but also binary logic ...
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4 votes
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Concrete Slab Deformation

What is the technical term for this? Bending downwards is called sagging. (Technically "sagging" isn't moving downwards; it's bending in a shape that looks like the mouth on a smiley face). One ...
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  • 3,145
4 votes

What are those large poles for that are always in front of US stand-alone store buildings?

They are to prevent "smash and rob". A situation where someone steals a vehicle and drives through a store front to rob the store. Usually an accomplice drives a second vehicle to escape.
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4 votes

can ceramic be used as a building material?

structural ceramic does have some applications in things like engine parts, but its cost and manufacturing difficulty makes it a less ideal choice for something as large as a building foundation The ...
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4 votes

can ceramic be used as a building material?

One of the foundational principles of structural engineering is obviously safety. And one of the foundational aspects of safety is the ability to show warning signs prior to any accidents. In the case ...
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4 votes
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How is electrical building code defined and applied to new constructions?

New homes are inspected by local authorities to comply with local building requlations. As Mike says, give them a call. The National Electrical Code (NEC) are standardized guidelines for electrical ...
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3 votes

Will lightning strike an aluminum rod in a pot on my balcony?

The paths of lightning can not be predicted with certainty, so it becomes a question of probability. I'd say that your rods are quite unlikely to be hit by lightning, considering that you are 3 ...
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3 votes
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Can a dry-pipe or preaction valve be used to create a branch off a wet pipe sprinkler system?

Yes, this is permissible NFPA 13 7.1.3 explicitly permits this: 7.1.3 Auxiliary Systems. A wet pipe system shall be permitted to supply an auxiliary dry pipe, preaction, or deluge system, ...
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