• When TAE had to move off-post to allow USArmy to grow and get that area back, building 1510 became the office for USFK J4 Transportation Division. Veteran darrel Brown worked in that building during his years at Yongsan.
    In the attached photo we see BG George Akin, USFK J4, presenting retirement gift to Sergeant Major Darrell G. Brown, October 1985 at Yongsan.
  • From: Darrell Brown
    I was the USFK J4 Trans Div Sergeant Major in this building 1982-1985.

  • The quality of concrete structures of the USFK
    In early 1960, Trans-Asia Engineering Associates, Inc. (TAE) a Nevada Corporation built its own offices and laboratory for construction materials testing and investigation of soils for foundation design on the northern hill of the Main Post. It was numbered by the Post Engineer as 1510 and the one-story block building is currently being occupied by the USFK J4 Transportation Division.
    Today I’m concentrating on the TAE’s quality control, in coordination with the US Army Corps of Engineers, Far East District, performed over the reinforced structures built by Korean contractors – one at an EM Barrack located near the old Gate #20 across from the Building 1510, and a rental house in Hannam Village (Niblo Barracks) in Seoul.
    Why constructions fail?
    Signor Bonanno Pisano, a 12th-century artist was the chief architect for the design of the Torre di Pisa in Italy. When the work on the foundation and ground floor began in 1173, Pisano was concerned about the subsoils conditions as he knew the soils underneath was deep and unstable to support 14,500 tons of proposed bell tower to be built with white marble stones. He was not a soil engineer and decided to ignore it mumbling himself “may be OK.” The tower began to sink after the construction had progressed to the second floor in 1178. You know the rest of the story; The tower leaned at an angle of 5.5 degrees, yet artistically standing.
    “It’s the most successful foundation failure in the world,” we architects and engineers call it. The construction had taken some 200 years to complete it so that Pisano didn’t have to cover the leaning tower of Pisa by ivies to cover up his ignorance. Yet we further say that “doctors bury their mistakes, architects cover them by ivy, engineers write long reports which never see the light of day.” Then the contractors would respond, “we call our lawyers and notify the insurance carriers.”
    The Quality Control
    Just like chefs pay their keen attentions to the sources of their foodstuffs for gourmet menu, the same principle applies to the quality control for the concrete structures; the laboratory technicians check the sources of cement, aggregates, sand and quality of mixing water which include sieve analysis, moisture absorption test in aggregates, among others. Than with the sample aggregates and cement, they conduct mixing tests to come up with the optimum mixture with the given materials which shows the rates of cement, gravel, sand and the amount of water to produce the highest bending and compression strengthes. The contractor follows and mix the concrete according the optimum cement/aggregates/water ratio. In the field the technicians conduct slump tests to check the water/cement ratio, and take samples for the bending and compression tests on the 7th, 14th and 21st days. When those results meet with the standard requirements the contractor can continue with the pouring operation maintaining the same mixing ratio.
    However, the field workers have tendency to put additional water into the fresh cement in order to make their pouring operation faster and easier or attempt to reduce cement quantity or use of beach collected salty sand, and so on.
    Once the US Army Corps of Engineers asked TAE to conduct a load test on a two-story reinforced concrete housing under construction in the Main Post, Yongsan Garrison because their field tests for the concrete bending and compression had been failed to meet the required strengths.
    The load test is usually the final solution to accept a questionable concrete structure or reject, which is conducted in accordance with the standards of the American Concrete Institute (ACI). One cement bag weighs 50 kg so it was the most suitable test load and we have placed unopened cement bags evenly on the floor of the concrete that failed to meet the strength tests during the construction. The load test must be done after the concrete had been cured and hardened more than 21 days. A highly sensible dial gage is placed under the floor while the maximum design load is applied on the floor. The needle of the gage indicates with time the vertical length of the sinking floor. After 3 days of observation of the sinking, or bending and rebound of the floor, the final decision is made to whether to accept or reject and demolish the questionable structure completely.
    TAE once conducted the same load test on one of the reinforced rental apartment buildings built by a local contractor at Hannam Village. On those two occasions, as I recall, they survived the death sentence. And I saw the EM quarters in the Main Post near the rear gate safely standing when I visited the Building 1510 in January this year.
    Adding additional safety factors in design
    Why then the contractor’s field tests repeatedly conducted by the Corps of Engineers failed but the questionable structures have passed the load test? The answer lies in here; Korean structural design engineer is well aware of the contractors’ ignorance to observe the technical specifications and cutting corners in the field such as inserting less reinforcing bars, using cheap cement or less quantity, etc. The designer finds himself suffering from insomnia worrying about possible collapse of his design. Only way he can survive from this suffering is for him to over design it. In addition to the standard safety factor he is allowed to use, he adds his own safety factors, for example, enlarging the sizes of columns and beams, put more reinforcing bars unnecessarily, etc. (Haven’t you notice the building columns in Seoul are much heavier than those in Hong Kong and Singapore?)
    Post Script:
    1) 1) One of the most well-known architects Kim Soo-keun (late) covered the façade of his offices he has designed himself in Seoul with a lot of ivies.
    2) On June 29, 1995, a structural overloading, shear failure by impartial live loading, negligence and bribery had caused to collapse of Sampoong Department Store in south of Seoul which sacrificed 502, injuring 937 men, women and children including some expatriates.
    By Nam Sang-so, retired architect/engineer from Building 1510. May 15, 2017.
  • Excellent article. Here is a related story about asbestos on South Post. When the old Seoul American High School bldg (a single story structure) was vacated in 1982 to move into their new SAHS bldg located West of the 8th Army Boulevard at its current location, minor repairs and construction of walls in the former school cafeteria were built to provide office spaces for the Army Community Services (ACS) and the Yongsan Housing Offices. In the summer of 1995, that building burned down due to arson. When the Fire Department entered the building to put the fire out, the firemen immediately found asbestos everywhere. The firemen put out the fire, but later it was realized that the building couldn’t be renovated and construction workers had to wear special suits to prevent the workers from inhaling the asbestos. It took a long time to destroy and extract the debris from this fire. Nothing in the building could be salvaged because everything had asbestos contamination. The building was totally destroyed and a new building was built in its place. The new building was designed as a two-story building and it still stands to this day South of the Dragon Hill Parking Garage..
    • Here, inside this room on the left hand side from the entrance of Building 1510 It is where TAE set up the first construction material testing laboratory of South Korea. ( Building 1510, North Post, Yongsan Garrison)
      Note from Mr. Nam Sang-so Veteran and retired architect and specification writer @sangsonam

    • The ceiling boards containing asbestos
      The relocation of the Yongsan Garrison to Camp Humphreys is being programmed to be completed by the end of 2018. In the meantime, the occupants and residents of the office buildings and houses which had been built before 1965, or 1970, should be aware that there still is a high possibility of the U.S. Forces personnel living under the ceiling boards that might contain asbestos.
      The asbestos warnings have been repeatedly given in the past. Here is the last reminder: Please do not touch suspicious ceiling or wall boards. Do not attempt to repair broken gypsum boards, pipe and warm air duct insulations. If your boiler room chimney is of cement pipe, it would be safe to assume that it contains a high degree of asbestos.
      There will be no concern about asbestos contamination in the new offices and quarters in Camp Humphreys. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Far East District have been imposing strict rules and regulations, among others, in eliminating asbestos infested building materials.
      It was the summer 1965 that when I was the supervising architect for a helicopter hangar construction at K-6 (now Camp Humphreys) which included installation of the then known as Transite pipe for water supply. The inspector from the Corps of Engineer handed me a letter ordering an immediate cease of the installation of the asbestos-cement pipes imported from Johns Manville of Denver, Colorado.
      That’s when we had first become aware of the danger of asbestos. An interesting coincident was that a tall young man with brown hair from Johns Manville, who was unaware of the U.S. Government’s warning in the use of asbestos pipe for fresh water supply, was visiting us in the K-6 field office at the moment. Using our office telephone, the asbestos pipe salesman in confusion called his head office in Denver.
      Johns Manville was one of the major producers of the asbestos-cement pipe, asbestos shingles, asbestos roofing materials. In 1982, facing unprecedented liability for asbestos injury claims, Johns Manville voluntarily filed for a bankruptcy. The toxicity of asbestos and its asbestosis had become known in Korea gradually from 1965. However, taking proper actions to prevent use of asbestos mixed building materials or production of them had not come sooner in Korean market due mainly to lack of the latest information. Asbestos had been imported from Canada and mixed broadly in the gypsum for the wall and ceiling boards and insulations mainly due to its amazingly high strength in fire resistance.
      The handling of asbestos must be done with a great care due to the toxic properties of this substance and its classification as a known carcinogen. It is however important to know that when asbestos is in good condition and remains still and untouched, it does not usually present a hazard.
      On the other hand, the worn out or damaged asbestos poses a great risk to the health and safety of humans as the fibers may flake off and become airborne. At that point, it’s possible for anyone in the vicinity to inhale these toxic fibers, which in turn, can become embedded in the chest. Years later, victims of asbestos exposure can develop serious asbestos-related diseases, such as asbestosis or mesothelioma, according to the research reports.
      The contractors for Repair and Utilities services and the base Post Engineers are well aware of the above danger in handling asbestos mixed materials, so that the occupants are advised not to concern too much about living under suspicious ceiling.
      When I visited the Building 1510 in the Main Post in February 2017, I’d noticed that the ceiling materials were the same old gypsum board mixed with asbestos that had been installed in early 1960s when the toxicity of the asbestos was unknown. And when I was asked, I said that “Just don’t touch it. Don’t attempt to repair it. If occupants are uneasy, apply one coat of a paint specially made to apply on the asbestos suspicious building board in order to prevent possible asbestos dust becoming air born.
      (Noe: I belatedly thank him, a current occupant of the Building 1510, who was concerned about the old ceiling of his offices which prompted me to write this article.)

      HOW I’D TACKLED WITH THE ASBESTOS CONTAINED CEILING BOARDS.
      The Early Child Learning Center is a parent-run, English speaking Montessori preschool and kindergarten now located in Dongbinggo-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul.
      In 1995 the school was located in a large space on the ground floor of the Hill Top apartment in Hannam-dong, when one of my grandsons was enrolled. I saw children throwing balls that often hit the suspended ceiling made of the old and poorly attached gypsum boards (12” x 12”). I quickly notified the head teacher about the possible danger of asbestos dust becoming air born, and she had stopped their ball plays.
      In the meantime, I had taken a few broken pieces of the ceiling boards and ran to the City’s chemical testing laboratory. The lab report revealed that the ceiling board contained a great amount of asbestos. The board members and I had agreed to seal the joints of the block boards with silicon sealant to prevent the dust becoming air born as an emergency measure while the ECLC was looking for a new building to relocate the school.
      It was an easy job for me as I have had several occasions of previous investigations of the ceiling and pipe insulation materials for the same purpose for several foreign missions’ offices and residences in Seoul. Without exception, all the samples I’d taken and tested showed varied degrees of the asbestos.
      For this fortunate early finding, the ECLC presented me a gold colored plaque to show their appreciation for my timely service, signed by the 18 board members and teachers of the ECLC in September 1995. I’m proudly attaching a photo copy of the Certificate of Appreciation.
      By Nam Sang-so, retired architect, one of the ECLC grandparents in 1995.

      • Excellent article. Here is a related story about asbestos on South Post. When the old Seoul American High School bldg (a single story structure) was vacated in 1982 to move into their new SAHS bldg located West of the 8th Army Boulevard at its current location, minor repairs and construction of walls in the former school cafeteria were built to provide office spaces for the Army Community Services (ACS) and the Yongsan Housing Offices. In the summer of 1995, that building burned down due to arson. When the Fire Department entered the building to put the fire out, the firemen immediately found asbestos everywhere. The firemen put out the fire, but later it was realized that the building couldn’t be renovated and construction workers had to wear special suits to prevent the workers from inhaling the asbestos. It took a long time to destroy and extract the debris from this fire. Nothing in the building could be salvaged because everything had asbestos contamination. The building was totally destroyed and a new building was built in its place. The new building was designed as a two-story building and it still stands to this day South of the Dragon Hill Parking Garage..

    • Accidentally encountered a military Top Secret
      Special note to the Korean nationals employed at U.S. or Korean military bases;
      You practically won’t have a chance to come across with a militarily classified information in your employment (like the one stated below), but please be aware that any military takes the classified information very seriously. Don’t be curious or touch or read, or talk about it, even after your retirement. In case you were met by a sensitive information by accident, just walk away from it, and report immediately to your supervisor. (By Nam Sang-so, born in 1933, retired architect/specifications writer. Seoul, February 2017)
      When you buy a real estate the title to which is transferred to you by registering it at the Registry Office of the Courthouse. The registration certificate shows the details of the property descriptions including its location, classification of the land, the area of the building, and the land register shows the metes and bounds.
      The U.S. Forces in Korea occupy a lot of lands and temporary or semi-permanent structures within their military bases. Like civilian property registries, the Department of the Defense maintains the inventory of the overseas real estate. The boundary lines are important not only for the military security purposes but also for the prevention of possible disputes with the neighboring civilians so that the military boundaries are usually set by either chain link, barbed wires or cement blocks topped by razer wires.
      The Post Engineer in the case of army branch maintain their Realty Department which keep the inventory of the army real estates. The USFK do not own the lands but they have the easement rights which are leased from the Korean Government free of charge.
      In early 1960s, I was assigned as Chief of Realty in K-6 (now Camp Humphreys) under a Repair and Utilities contract and was responsible to maintain the real estate inventories of the K-6 base and its tactical sites. A U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer showed me two armored filing cabinets with heavy military locking devices, saying that those are my management responsibility and gave me the code numbers for the locking devices and a thick manual which read “Real Estate management operation – DoD.”
      The property inventory must be updated as new constructions were added or old ones demolished and the report was to file twice a year to the Department of Defense, Washington D.C. I immediately noticed that the filing system has been poorly made by the predecessors of army personnel, some out of the standard requirements of the DoD.
      As a young debutant who was eager to do a good job, I’d decided to completely overhaul the filing system following the DoD standards. Then I came across a motheaten file among other manila holders. It contained a few pages of old papers showing metes and bounds in the bearings and distances and stamped TOP SECRET in red on the top and bottom of the papers. I knew what the Top Secrete in the U.S. Military meant, and put them in an envelope and hand carried it to the Commanding Officer of the Base. At the HQ & HQ Company, a stout old Sergeant was at the desk.
      I showed my badge and introduced myself and handed over the envelope. And explained how it accidentally came to my attention. He shook the envelope upside down and the contents slid out on his desk. As soon as his eyes hit the red TOP SECRET letters, he jumped out and hastily put them back into the envelope, wet the flap with his tongue and sealed it. That told me that he too was not cleared of handling classified material.
      Putting his one hand on the envelope as if to make sure it won’t fly away, he asked me, “Where did you say you found these?” I repeated my answer. “You didn’t make copy?” the old soldier questioned again. “No, I just put them into the envelop and ran over here.” “OK, thanks. Just keep this to yourself, mister,” he told me. “Yes,” I promised. Upon returning to my desk, I typed a memorandum of record for the incident in details, signed, and filed it.
      Some two months afterward of the scary encounter, a tall American lady wearing an army uniform without insignias came to my desk and said she works at the DoD, Washington D.C. She had spent two days to introduce me a newly developed property inventory system, an early stage of computerized system.
      I showed her my memorandum for the accidental encounter of the classified papers. She said “I’ve read the report. You’ve done according to the Standard Operation Procedures, Mr. Nam, don’t worry,” then she smiled, “those papers have been declassified.”
      I wanted to know if the restriction was lifted before or after my encounter of the dammed things. But I knew that having curiosity is a sin in the military facilities. I sealed my mouth. (End)

    • Mr Nam typing report. That famous steel cabinet contained the TOP SECRET file. 1963
      • Accidentally encountered a military Top Secret
        Special note to the Korean nationals employed at U.S. or Korean military bases;
        You practically won’t have a chance to come across with a militarily classified information in your employment (like the one stated below), but please be aware that any military takes the classified information very seriously. Don’t be curious or touch or read, or talk about it, even after your retirement. In case you were met by a sensitive information by accident, just walk away from it, and report immediately to your supervisor. (By Nam Sang-so, born in 1933, retired architect/specifications writer. Seoul, February 2017)
        When you buy a real estate the title to which is transferred to you by registering it at the Registry Office of the Courthouse. The registration certificate shows the details of the property descriptions including its location, classification of the land, the area of the building, and the land register shows the metes and bounds.
        The U.S. Forces in Korea occupy a lot of lands and temporary or semi-permanent structures within their military bases. Like civilian property registries, the Department of the Defense maintains the inventory of the overseas real estate. The boundary lines are important not only for the military security purposes but also for the prevention of possible disputes with the neighboring civilians so that the military boundaries are usually set by either chain link, barbed wires or cement blocks topped by razer wires.
        The Post Engineer in the case of army branch maintain their Realty Department which keep the inventory of the army real estates. The USFK do not own the lands but they have the easement rights which are leased from the Korean Government free of charge.
        In early 1960s, I was assigned as Chief of Realty in K-6 (now Camp Humphreys) under a Repair and Utilities contract and was responsible to maintain the real estate inventories of the K-6 base and its tactical sites. A U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer showed me two armored filing cabinets with heavy military locking devices, saying that those are my management responsibility and gave me the code numbers for the locking devices and a thick manual which read “Real Estate management operation – DoD.”
        The property inventory must be updated as new constructions were added or old ones demolished and the report was to file twice a year to the Department of Defense, Washington D.C. I immediately noticed that the filing system has been poorly made by the predecessors of army personnel, some out of the standard requirements of the DoD.
        As a young debutant who was eager to do a good job, I’d decided to completely overhaul the filing system following the DoD standards. Then I came across a motheaten file among other manila holders. It contained a few pages of old papers showing metes and bounds in the bearings and distances and stamped TOP SECRET in red on the top and bottom of the papers. I knew what the Top Secrete in the U.S. Military meant, and put them in an envelope and hand carried it to the Commanding Officer of the Base. At the HQ & HQ Company, a stout old Sergeant was at the desk.
        I showed my badge and introduced myself and handed over the envelope. And explained how it accidentally came to my attention. He shook the envelope upside down and the contents slid out on his desk. As soon as his eyes hit the red TOP SECRET letters, he jumped out and hastily put them back into the envelope, wet the flap with his tongue and sealed it. That told me that he too was not cleared of handling classified material.
        Putting his one hand on the envelope as if to make sure it won’t fly away, he asked me, “Where did you say you found these?” I repeated my answer. “You didn’t make copy?” the old soldier questioned again. “No, I just put them into the envelop and ran over here.” “OK, thanks. Just keep this to yourself, mister,” he told me. “Yes,” I promised. Upon returning to my desk, I typed a memorandum of record for the incident in details, signed, and filed it.
        Some two months afterward of the scary encounter, a tall American lady wearing an army uniform without insignias came to my desk and said she works at the DoD, Washington D.C. She had spent two days to introduce me a newly developed property inventory system, an early stage of computerized system.
        I showed her my memorandum for the accidental encounter of the classified papers. She said “I’ve read the report. You’ve done according to the Standard Operation Procedures, Mr. Nam, don’t worry,” then she smiled, “those papers have been declassified.”
        I wanted to know if the restriction was lifted before or after my encounter of the dammed things. But I knew that having curiosity is a sin in the military facilities. I sealed my mouth. (End)

    • Building 1510 today (15th February 2017)
      Mr. Nam @sangsonam as you previously said the building is still there but with a different exterior paint.
    •  Building 1510 on the Dragon Hill in the North Post of U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan.
      The photo was taken in May 1970. The one story building is still there but with a different exterior paint.
      Photo from Mr. Nam Sang-so
    • Giant step forward international design/construction biddings

      The majority of the TAE employees were later recruited by Korean construction companies and placed at responsible positions, and the architectural and engineering technologies they had acquired with TAE and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had become invaluable assets for getting overseas construction projects. They knew how to interpret bidding documents that included the terms of contract, special and technical specifications. They knew how to estimate project costs and had a keen knowledge of how to carry out projects using Critical Path Methods (CPM), which is an algorithm for scheduling a set of project activities and is an important tool for effective project management.

      Bid winning news from the Middle East, Southeast Asian and even African countries decorate newspapers often nowadays. The brave Korean architects and engineers with the construction firms active in the overseas can usually trace their roots back to TAE – they know that they have learned from their fathers, uncles and senior engineers and architect s from the Building 1510 in the North Post of Yongsan Garrison, who had taught the latest engineering techniques to many Koreans including the former chairmen of Hyundai Construction Co., Ltd. and or Doosan Engineering and Construction Co., Ltd., and numerous others when South Korea was in the midst of rapid development.

      Korean engineering and construction companies were not afraid of Chinese, Taiwanese or Japanese competitors, who had no experience to learn to read the international bidding documents and to tender the lowest acceptable bids. For several years, I evaluated the construction bids for Korean construction companies, utilizing the architectural/engineering expertise gained in designing numerous U.S. military facilities in Korea, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bangladesh and Negara Brunei Darussalam. I once won an international design competition held for the Jubail Industrial Zone, Saudi Arabia.

      The Building 1510, built with cement hollow block bearing walls, now silently sits on the hill of the North Post, Yongsan Garrison, overlooking the widened Hangang Avenue and high rise apartments in Samkakji with the reminiscent of trams noisily running often releasing electrical sparks high at the trolley. The building was no doubt the headspring of the Korean evolutionary river of the architectural/engineering field.

      The U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan is being scheduled to be relocated into Camp Humphreys by the end of 2018. The new landscape architects for the new Yongsan Park, I hope, will notice that the Building 1510 exists with the great memories of the pioneer American and Korean architects and engineers during the reconstruction era after the Korean War.
      The writer, born in 1933 in Nagano, Japan, is a retired architect. His email address is sangsonam@gmail.com

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