Black Friday Sale Ends Today!
CompTIA and TestOut have joined forces, accelerating the shared goal of empowering millions of students. Learn More ❯
Login Free Trial

From the Ground Up

Posted by TestOut Staff on

The Transcona Grain Elevator, built at Transcona in Canada's Manitoba province, is notorious in civil engineering circles for its near collapse in 1913. The structure's bin house — the part that includes the bins, or vertical cylinders (65 of them in this particular instance), where grain is stored — famously tilted 27 degrees to the west in a single day. This occurred shortly after the structure's initial opening, when it was filled with 875,000 bushels of grain.

Transcona Grain Elevator

The problem, not detected during construction, was the composition of the stiff blue clay soil beneath the foundation of the bin house, which held 20 percent more water at depth than near the less-spongy surface. Soil mechanics, or the science of calculating the load-bearing properties of various soil layers, had barely begun to be studied in 1913. The builders didn't even realize they'd made a mistake until the literal tipping point had been passed.

Rather incredibly, the entire bin house rotated on its foundation as the soil compressed, remaining intact even as the combined weight of structure and grain dragged against it. Eventually, four years later, engineers and builders were able to install load-bearing piers and restore the bin house to its original upright orientation. We couldn't find any information about how much that cost, but we're going to assume that it wasn't what you'd call a cheap fix.

One important lesson from this story that applies in many different areas of life is to use care when laying a foundation. Foundations are especially important when it comes to education, where later learning relies on one's having a firm grasp of introductory concepts and principles. It's often possible, when pursuing IT certification, to skip steps and get more glamorous credentials that have greater visibility without earning precursor certs.

On the other hand, taking the time to thoroughly understand and assimilate the content presented via so-called "foundational" certifications can prevent later failures caused by knowledge gaps. A recent article at that stresses the importance of foundational certs is worth reading for anyone making a career transition to IT. You don't want to be on the job, after all, when your skill set suddenly tilts 27 degrees in a single day.

Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →