BE Structural forensic engineering services

The Various Ways Forensic Engineering Works

Forensic engineering comes in many different forms. Forensic engineering services are most often needed in order to determine why a building or structure failed. However, they can also be used in electrical engineering cases, power plant explosions and other types of investigations. A structural forensic engineer will never see the same case twice in their career, so there are many different ways they have to work in order to get to the root of the issue to determine fault.

Bridge Collapses

When a bridge collapses or starts deteriorating, you can guarantee expert witness services will be on the scene very shortly afterward. It’s important for these experts to get to the scene as soon as possible to look for any signs or clues of why the bridge failed. The failure could have been the result of a natural disaster that compromised the integrity of the bridge, or it could have been because of a design or construction malfunction from prior years.

Commercial Building Failures

Commercial buildings are investigated in a similar way as bridge collapses. However, with more people potentially in a commercial building at the time it could collapse, it’s even more important for forensic engineering services to find the cause.

A structural forensic engineer can be used in court to explain their expert opinion and what they saw when they visited the scene. Many times, their expert witness services can help solve a case and determine who is at fault. Unfortunately, injury, property damage and death and occur at the scene of commercial building failures. That’s why the importance of a structural forensic engineer is unmatched.

Forensic Engineers Get to the Root of the Problem

The main objective of any structural forensic engineer is to determine exactly what happened to cause the building or structure to collapse. Their job isn’t to convict anyone of wrongdoing. Instead, they present the facts as they see them. Many times, they have to re-create the entire story from the time the building was built until the time it collapsed. That’s exactly how they are able to solve a potential mystery.

At BE Structural, we have a team of structural forensic engineers ready to investigate any building or structural failure. We’ve provided expert witness services for these types of cases for many years, so feel free to contact us if you’re in the need of any of our quality services.

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Why You Shouldn’t Confuse Forensic Engineering With Other Types of Forensics

When most people hear the word “forensics,” they think of crime scene investigators trying to piece together evidence to solve a crime. While that is a true assumption in most cases, there are other types of forensics as well. Forensic engineers deal with investigating why a particular building or structure failed. The main goal of all forensic analysts is to get to the bottom of a particular issue, but they go about their jobs in different ways and shouldn’t be confused with one another.

Crime Lab Analysts vs. Forensic Engineers

A crime lab analyst may be directly involved in a legal proceeding in order to convict someone of a crime. A forensic engineer, however, is tasked with reconstructing a situation in which a structure failed, so evidence can be provided in a potential court proceeding. Both types of forensics are aided by expert witness services and other factors to help come to a conclusion.

Differences in Responsibilities

When it comes to building failures, many times an engineering expert witness is required to determine who is at fault for the failure that caused damage or injury. For crime lab analysts, a forensic expert witness may be used to provide a testimony as to what they saw that could have led to the potential crime happening. Crime lab analysts also may not even be involved directly in investigating the crimes. Instead, they just analyze the data and information given to them by the investigators in order to come up with conclusions.

Forensic engineers, on the other hand, are directly involved in the details. They provide their expert witness services to help put together the story of how a building failure occurred. In other words, they find the details themselves in order to determine how or why a structural failure happened and who is at fault.

Work Environments and Employers

Forensic engineers typically visit the scene of an accident personally to try to recreate exactly what happened. Many times these people are independent consultants, but can also be employed by law enforcement agencies. Crime lab analysts work primarily for law enforcement agencies and rarely visit the scene of a crime.

At BE Structural, our forensic engineers are out at the scene of an accident and are experienced in providing expert witness services in order to re-create a story exactly as it occurred. If you’re ever in need of forensic expert witness services to help with your building failure case, be sure to contact us.

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When Buildings Fail: Examining Historical Architectural Collapses

Buildings in general are designed and built to stand for many years with the proper upkeep. However, the reality is buildings fail occasionally, and a structural forensic engineer will be needed to determine the cause of the failure. Buildings can fail for a variety of reasons, including natural disasters, design flaws, poor site conditions or construction defects, among others. Let’s take a look back at a few of the most notable architectural collapses throughout history and the world.

1. Sampoong Department Store – Seoul, South Korea, June 29, 1995

This building collapse was considered the deadliest building collapse in history until the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. More than 500 people died in the collapse and over 900 other people were injured. A forensic structural engineering company deemed the collapse to be the result of structural failure.

2. Viale Giotto Building – Foggia, Italy, November 11, 1999

The Viale Giotto building was a six-story apartment complex, which collapsed in a matter of a few seconds. The vast majority of the people in the complex at the time of the collapse survived. A structural forensic engineer on the case determined the main causes of the collapse were substandard materials used during the construction process and less-than-stellar workmanship.

3. Lotus Riverside Complex – Shanghai, China, June 27, 2009

The Lotus Riverside Complex was a 13-story apartment building that collapsed before its construction was ever completed. Many people in the case testified as an expert witness, since the collapse was a result of trying to rush the project and not using the best quality materials or labor efforts. The majority of the units available had already been sold, so there were understandably many tenants who demanded their money back after the collapse.

4. Savar Building – Bangladesh, April 24, 2013

The Savar Building was an eight-story building, which contained several businesses. Those included different shops, a bank and even apartment rooms. More than 1,100 people died in the building collapse, and more than 2,500 people were saved. When a structural forensic engineer interviewed expert witnesses, it was determined there were multiple cracks on the walls, which rendered it a structural failure.

At BE Structural, we can help provide expert witness testimony in any building structural failures similar to these historical architectural collapses. Be sure to contact us if representation is needed in an architectural failure of any magnitude.

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Why Do We Use Forensic Engineering?

Most people have heard of forensics and relate it to investigating crime scenes. While forensic engineering includes just as much investigating, it is actually directed toward structural failures instead of crimes. Through forensic engineering, experts can determine the cause of a building or bridge collapse, or even smaller scale structural failures. In order to improve on construction processes, forensic engineers must be able to know exactly why buildings failed, so the same mistake doesn’t happen again in the future.

Determining Why Structures Fail

When any structure fails, a thorough forensic investigation is conducted to determine the exact cause—but what’s really the importance of making this determination? If there were any injuries or property damages as a result of the building or structure collapse, forensic engineering results can be used as evidence in a potential court case. Plus, if a certain type of material was the cause of the failure, it can be studied more in-depth to determine if it was the result of a faulty building material, or if it simply can’t withstand a certain amount of pressure or tension.

No Two Cases Are Exactly The Same

When it comes to forensic engineering, any professional will tell you no two cases are exactly alike. Because of that, it’s critical to do a thorough investigation with a clear slate every time there is a building or structural failure. Different structural forensic investigation services are tasked with analyzing debris, inspecting the site and immediate surroundings and interviewing nearby workers or bystanders to get witness testimony. The amount of detail analyzed in each case is extensive and necessary to tell the story of how and why a particular structure failed.

Forensic Engineers Tell a Story About a Structural Failure

In a forensic investigation, a forensic engineer will look at the broad scope at first and then narrow down the investigation as more details arise. The whole point is to basically conduct reverse engineering to determine exactly what caused the structure to fail. The process of getting together the full story could take weeks, months or even years, depending on the case. However, with the systematic process used in any forensic investigation, there is always a story to be told about exactly what happened.

Between our associates, we operate in 49 states nationwide to provide the best forensic engineering services in the industry. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the importance of or the reasons why we use forensic engineering.

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Bearing Wall Removal

Removing a bearing wall in your home can make the interior look completely different. The role of a bearing wall is to support the roof, floors or other walls. Structural engineers design every house differently, so some bearing walls may not be able to be removed. However, people like to remove these walls, when possible, if they need more open space to put in different objects or to just have more room in general.

There are plenty of benefits to removing a bearing wall in your home, but before you jump right into the construction, you need to make sure you know exactly what you’re doing. Most people can’t do it on their own, so here is what you need to know about the process.

Role of Structural Engineers

You can do a little legwork before you even contact a structural engineering company. First off, you need to determine if the wall you want to remove is actually a bearing wall. Check if the ceiling or floor joists are discontinuous over the wall, or if another wall is above it. If this is true, then you’re working with a bearing wall.

When it doubt, you can always call structural engineering services to quickly identify the type of wall needing to be removed. Structural engineers will look at the details of the wall, including the loads, materials, measurements and anything else needed for the project. They will then put together documents for you in order to get the necessary permits and to provide information to a contractor.

The Process of Removing a Bearing Wall

Structural engineers do the majority of the design for removing a bearing wall, but a contractor or architect is needed to do the work. Most of the time, a good contractor is all you need to remove a bearing wall. However, if there are any complications or other work to be done, the structural engineering company may suggest hiring an architect instead.

The process takes a long time and can be difficult to do on your own. That’s why the only way to do it is by using the services of structural engineers and contractors. You never want to put your family’s safety at risk, so hire the professionals to do the work from the beginning.

At BE Structural, we work on designs for bearing wall removals on a daily basis. Be sure to contact us when you’re ready to get your bearing wall removed and open up the floor plan of your home!

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Renovation of Existing Structures and Their Environmental Impact

Commercial and residential buildings are beginning to be constructed with the environment in mind. However, the question has arisen whether it’s better for the environment to demolish and rebuild a new building or to renovate existing ones. The answer may surprise you, as studies have shown it’s more environmentally friendly to spend the resources renovating than building new structures. With the help of structural engineering services, many businesses and homeowners have turned to renovating their current buildings to become green.

Renovations Versus New Structures

When an existing building is torn down, it would take the environment anywhere from 10 to 80 years to recover from the resulting carbon impact. The reason is because there is a lot of stored energy and CO2 hidden in building materials that would all get released into the environment when a building is demolished.

A good residential structural engineer could reduce the amount of negative carbons released into the environment by renovating instead of rebuilding. Of course, the question remains about the difference between short-term and long-term impacts of renovating or rebuilding. The answer varies due to a variety of factors, but there will undoubtedly be some crossover after several years.

Going Green is Better for the Environment

Most people will agree that going green is better for the environment. However, every situation has to be evaluated before beginning. If too many harmful chemicals will be released into the environment by tearing down a building, a structural engineering company may suggest renovating instead. It’s a fine line to follow, but once the right decision is made, there’s no doubt a green building is better than a non-green building.

Where to Begin Renovating?

Before you begin major renovations on your home, be sure to reach out to a residential structural engineer. Not only will they give you advice on the types of materials to use, but they can also suggest whether it’s better to start from scratch. These engineers always have the environment in mind when they work on projects, so you can rest assured that is taken into consideration.

Minor renovations usually won’t have a large impact on the environment, but major ones could impact it significantly. If you have any concerns at all with your renovations, contact us at BE Structural. We are a structural engineering company with your best interests, and the best interests of the environment, in mind at all times.

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Glass as an Architectural and Structural Material

Glass has evolved over hundreds of years and is now used more prominently as an architectural and structural material. Not only do glass buildings have plenty of benefits, they are also visually appealing. Glass is one of the most versatile materials in the building industry, so it’s no secret why a structural engineering company will use it whenever possible. The combination of glass and steel has transformed the industry and created many luxurious buildings along the way.

Architectural Material

Glass has historically been used as mostly an architectural material. It’s commonly used for windows, doors, roofs, skylights and more. With so many types of glass available, and the ability to manufacture glass with different strengths, structural engineers are becoming more creative with their building designs.

When used as an architectural material, glass is also known and employed for developing green buildings. More natural light can enter a building through glass windows, walls and roofs, so it is friendlier for the environment in this capacity. Not to mention glass buildings look much sleeker and more contemporary over traditional concrete buildings.

Structural Material

When glass is used as a structural material, the manufacturing process must be intense and precise. Glass can be strengthened through tempering, which lessens the risk of cracking. When used in structural design, glass must be strengthened more to prevent cracks and other forms of damage. When glass is manufactured it immediately weakens as soon as it cools. However, tempered glass is much stronger and is used by any structural engineering company in building materials.

Future of Glass Buildings

Glass has been around for hundreds of years and it will continue to be around for hundreds or thousands more. As the structural design of glass evolves, you can expect structural engineers’ use of glass to become more innovative. The main concern with glass now is the tendency to crack and break, creating safety hazards.

However, as manufacturing processes continue to evolve, glass could eventually become as strong and reliable as steel. No matter whether glass is utilized as an architectural or structural material, it is here to stay.

If you’re in the process of designing your home or building and thinking of using glass as a primary material, be sure to contact us. At BE Structural, we have used glass as both an architectural and structural material and our structural engineers are experienced with designing any kind of glass building.

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Could These Sustainable Building Materials Improve Our Future?

Despite the naysayers of our society, climate change is real and very much affecting our lives. To minimize the damage, it is important that we begin making changes to the way we live as soon as possible—starting with the ways we build our houses. Engineers across the world have started providing solutions to this complex problem by way of sustainable building materials, which have already debuted as the components of homes and commercial structures. Here are some of the best we’ve seen arise in the industry within recent years.

Layered Windows

Engineers have recently discovered there’s a much more efficient way to insulate windows than current methods allow. By adding a third layer to the typical doubly-layered window, engineers ensure the unit is better able to hold in heat and other forms of energy within a building, improving the energy footprint left behind. Triple layered windows are typically reinforced with an additional insulative coating, as well as paired with special frames designed to further lock in a building’s energy.


“Timbercrete” is one of many new combination building materials to be offered by contract structural engineering services in recent years. It is made by blending typical concrete with sawdust, hence the name. It is regarded as a form of recycling, since sawdust typically has very little use, and is just as malleable as regular concrete.

Woolen Bricks

Experts from Scotland and Spain first came up with this new form of brickware, which takes regular brick and attaches fibers made from seaweed and natural wool. The application of these fabrics, however, is not some trendy fashion statement. Licensed structural engineer teams have found this particular form of brick is much more resilient than the standard bricks we use today—up to 37 percent more, in fact!

In addition, it proves easier to build with, as it hardens automatically as it dries. Compare this to the average bricks, which must be fired during the construction process. The wool and other fibers attached to this new form of brick also provide extra insulation for those living in Britain and other cold weather areas, as they naturally possess stronger hardiness against the climate.

Bales of Straw

The idea of building entire structures out of straw may sound like something out of The Three Little Pigs, but it’s an honest reality! Societies used to carry out this practice back during the beginning of civilization, when all there was to build with were local materials. One of the most convenient and efficient qualities of straw building are its insulative properties. In addition, it’s very easy to replace on the off-chance the structure should receive damage, thanks to its status as a natural resource. You may very well find structural engineering services offering straw building as an option for residential structures in the near future.

There’s a wealth of sustainable building materials to choose from when it comes to your next construction project. To learn more about your options as well as green building in general and other structural engineering services, feel free to contact us!

B.E. Structural commercial property condition assessment

What to Know About the 40 Year Building Safety Inspection Program

The 40 Year Building Safety Inspection Program is a fancy way of saying your building needs to get a commercial property condition assessment when it is 40 years old. This program has been in effect for more than a decade, and applies to any commercial buildings, including schools, in Broward and Miami-Dade county. Property managers or business owners must consult with structural engineers to have a proper inspection completed at 40 years and then once every 10 years afterward. These inspections are designed to keep people safer from possible building failure during extreme weather conditions and other scenarios.

Purpose of the 40 Year Building Safety Inspection Program

The main purpose of the program is to ensure the building is safe from a structural and electrical standpoint. Many structural engineers spend the majority of their time conducting inspections on older buildings, and they are required to prepare a report of their findings. Buildings older than 40 years old may not be strong enough to withstand hurricane force winds and other weather phenomenons, so the purpose of the inspection program is to ensure the building is as safe as possible to prevent injury or death.

All 40 Year Old Buildings Must Undergo an Inspection

In Broward and Miami-Dade county, there are very few exceptions where a building would not have to have a commercial property condition assessment. Even if you haven’t used a particular building in years, the property owner is still responsible for participating in the program. The first step a property owner must take is to look for the best structural engineers. These engineers can help you through the process to ensure compliance from start to finish.

Timeline for the Inspection

When it comes time for a 40-year property assessment for commercial buildings in Broward and Miami-Dade county, the property owner will receive a notice that an inspection is due. At that point, the property owner will have 90 days to find a structural engineer to complete an inspection of the building and submit a report to either the city or the county. The report will indicate what parts of the building (if any) need to be repaired or replaced. The property owner will have another 180 days to complete the necessary repair work. The structural engineer will then prepare another report following the completed repairs.

It’s important to find only the  best Broward and Miami-Dade county structural engineers to complete your 40 Year Building Safety Inspection. Be sure to contact us to get in touch with one of our experienced professionals to help you complete your inspection.

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Four Prevalent Myths About Sustainable Building – and Why They’re Wrong

There’s a lot of information out there when it comes to sustainable building—so much that even structural engineers sometimes have to sift through it all to check what’s accurate and what isn’t. If you’re as interested in the subject as we are, we know you’ve read top to bottom about it. The only issue, however, is separating fact from fiction. You’d be surprised at how much “information” about sustainable building is anything but! To help you know what’s what, we’ve compiled a few myths about sustainable building, as well as evidence as to why you shouldn’t believe what others have to say.

1) You Have to Sacrifice Beauty for Sustainability

This particular myth has long been perpetuated by architects who’ve witnessed less-than-attractive buildings erected in the name of sustainability. While this may have been true in the past, when structural engineers were first deciphering how to create greener buildings in the first place, this certainly isn’t the case now. In fact, this really may not have ever been the case! With a simple Google search, you can easily find beautiful and sustainable structures all over the world. Engineers are discovering all sorts of ways to mold green materials into beautiful forms on a regular basis.

2) Sustainable Buildings Are Ineffective

Some experts believe the energy input of sustainable buildings isn’t much different from their non-sustainable counterparts. However, research and documentation shows this belief is far from the truth. Every residential structural engineer who’s successfully completed a project has seen amazing results in terms of energy and resource conservation. This is why so many people are seeking out more information on how they can “go green.”

Sustainability also offers efficient benefits by way of cost. Researchers are finding the initial value of a home already optimized for sustainability is smaller in comparison to a home that must be renovated into being “greener.” While simply reducing your energy usage and renovating your home for this purpose will cut costs in the long run, building green in the first place provides a much faster means of saving money and energy in comparison to the more gradual decrease provided by energy switching. Converting to greener living in the first place also produces costs within itself due to the change in equipment, meaning homeowners will have to spend even more out of pocket. Overall, it is far easier to plan a “green” home from the beginning than to try to make the switch with a less-sustainable home.

3) Only Hippies Are Interested in Sustainability

The ‘60s have long been dead. Beyond this point, in the face of mounting climate change, we believe everyone should be more invested in green living. You don’t have to be a hippie to simply conserve energy! In fact, the majority of people seeking out residential engineering services don’t reside in communes or anything of the sort, but live in suburbs and cul de sacs, just like everyone else. It’s irresponsible to assume only tree huggers care about climate change or energy conservation. Everyone can make a difference in this regard, and everyone should care about the planet. It’s the only home we all have.

4) Sustainability Is Only A Phase

Again, this is far from the truth! Green building and living has been developing for years and years, originating back during the time of Frank Lloyd Wright, who first called the concept “organic architecture.” Structural engineers have spent decades improving upon the principle, bolstered by governmental concern about resource and energy consumption. The “green living” movement we have now is simply one stage in a long evolutionary chain—one we hope shows no signs of stagnation.

We hope this article provides you with a more factual concept of green living and its importance. To learn more about sustainability and how you can better incorporate it into your life and home, we encourage you to get in touch with us.

B.E. Structural residential engineering services

Four Methods of Increasing Your Home’s Sustainability

These days, everyone’s becoming more invested in living “greener”—and for good reason! Environmental experts and structural engineers alike have been extolling the merits of converting to a more sustainable way of life in the face of rapidly increasing climate change. The only issue, for most people, is figuring out how to live greener! Where do you start? Where are the best places to cut down? Maybe you want to make a few renovations to your home, but are in need of a structural engineering expert to ensure your additions are permitted and professional. If you’re struggling with how to commit to sustainable living, this blog is for you! Read on for a few great and easy-to-implement suggestions.

1. Add Some Solar Paneling

This first suggestion may be one you want to save up for, but it’s well worth the investment! Solar panels are a newer type of energy source meant to replace the common power line. At B.E. Structural, we’ve performed quite a few solar panelling jobs in a variety of styles and locations, from ground-mounted to roof-mounted to ballasted to attached, for both residential and commercial properties.

While you might balk at the $10,000 minimum to install solar paneling on the roof of your home, we feel it’s worth mentioning this is nothing compared to the amount you’ll pay for your electric bill in the long term. In fact, you can set up a payment plan that works very similarly to your current bill, except it can eventually be paid off completely. Afterwards, you’ll enjoy massive amounts of clean energy at virtually no cost!

2. Swap Out Your Toilets

Sometimes the biggest problem with your energy usage can be solved simply by making a few changes to your bathroom. Have you wondered how much water your toilet uses on a regular basis? The average commode can use as much as six whole gallons with every flush, making some bathroom trips much more wasteful in more ways than one! To reduce your water usage, as well as your monthly bill, you can invest in a low-flush unit that uses a mere one gallon with each flush. You’ll notice the difference within a few months!

3. Change Your Light Bulbs

Despite its size, the average light bulb is incredibly wasteful, and can spike your energy bill up by huge amounts. Your typical bulb can cost nearly $14 in contribution to your bill. This is due largely to the type of energy being output. Halogen may serve your needs well, but it doesn’t last nearly as long or save nearly as much money as an LED fixture would. It’s true LED bulbs cost quite a pretty penny, averaging at around $20 a bulb, but compare the $14 charge per bulb for halogen lighting to the whopping $2 a bulb for LED. Any residential structural engineer will tell you there’s no contest!

4. Start Composting

It’s a well-known fact that waste makes…well, waste! However, there’s a bit more you can do with yours and your family’s garbage than simply drag it out to the street once a week. Consider starting a compost heap using some of the more organic bits of what you throw out, such as fruit and vegetable peels and eggshells. This is a great option for people with home gardens, as this compost can be made into fertilizer. If you have family members or friends who are into gardening, you can also simply pass your compost along to them.

There are many other ways of boosting your home’s sustainability, many of which you can receive help with by commissioning your local residential engineering services. If you want to know more about how you can paint a greener home and lifestyle, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to speak to a residential structural engineer!

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A Brief Guide to Sustainable Wood

Are you familiar with the concept of sustainable wood? For most people, the answer would be a confused look and a solid “No.” Most people have certainly heard of wood itself, since it’s used to construct pretty much everything, from houses to commercial buildings to furniture. However, sustainable wood is a fairly new concept, though it’s starting to gain some traction in the world of custom eco friendly home construction. If you’re looking to build a home in the near future, and are interested in making it as green as possible, you may want to consider using sustainable wood for construction. Read on to learn all about what sustainable wood is and what it has to offer.

So, What Is Sustainable Wood?

The source of sustainable wood lies predominantly in what is referred to as sustainable forests. These forests are specially cared for by professionals who work to ensure the living things within the forest’s range are able to live for as long as possible and weather all kinds of damages. Compare this to the average forest, such as the situation with the Amazon, which frequently suffers from its resources being used far faster than they can be replenished.

This isn’t the case with a sustainable forest, or sustainable wood. Should the wood of your home be damaged, you can easily find a replacement and won’t have to worry about harming the tree or tree species it’s produced from. In turn, you will also be able to better support the environment simply by choosing a wood source guaranteed to exist long enough to help combat negative environmental effects.

Types of Sustainable Wood You Can Choose From

You can work with a residential structural engineer to ensure you use only sustainable wood for your home—but how do you know the wood you’ve chosen really is sustainable? Here’s a brief list of some of the most common types of sustainable wood:

  • White Oak can be found throughout the eastern United States, and is well-known for its resilience. You can find it in many different shades. It is best and most commonly used for floors and kitchen furniture, such as countertop bases and cabinets.
  • White Ash’s claim to fame lies with the US’s favorite pastime: baseball! Most baseball bats are in fact made from white ash, which is why it’s considered a home run among residential structural engineers. Outside of the baseball field, you can find white ash as furniture pieces—especially the more intricate varieties. It is quite flexible and easy to shape. White ash generally hails from central and eastern parts of the country.
  • Maple’s not just for sourcing your favorite pancake topping! It’s a favorite among contract engineering services due to its extreme flexibility. It comes not just in a variety of colors, but also strengths. Found all across the United States, maple wood is commonly converted into the most functional parts of the home, from the flooring to the paneling to your built-in kitchen furnishings.
  • Rescued lumber can be pulled from other, pre-existing buildings, such as old barns, that were originally crafted through heavy timber construction. Professionals can save the wood from these abandoned structures and recycle them through the construction of your property. This is yet another great, green method of gathering necessary lumber.

Now that you know a little more about sustainable wood, why not consider implementing it into your home construction or renovation? Our team at B.E. Structural can help you learn more about this important material, as well as help you decide which species of wood is best for your home needs. Feel free to contact us to learn more today!

B.E. Structural residential engineering services

Are There Any Benefits to Micro Homes?

These days, micro homes—incredibly small, often portable homes usually designed for single or couple living—are all the rage. People from far and wide are commissioning residential engineering services to create their own micro homes, marking their appeal as the ultimate cozy and green home…or is it? Do micro homes really live up to the hype? Besides coziness, what benefits can they even bring to their occupants, or the world at large? Keep reading to find out!

Easy to Clean

Naturally, the less space you have in your home, the less area you’ll have to tidy up. Additionally, when you move to a micro home, there simply won’t be enough space to keep all of your things. You’ll have to plan carefully where you want everything to go, and get rid of things you don’t have a place for and/or otherwise don’t need. It’s a great way to get into decluttering, if you’re of that home decorating philosophy. Everything in your home will have its own place and purpose. Best of all, no longer will you have to worry about tripping over things you’ve haphazardly dumped onto your floor!

Carbon Emission Shrinks

Smaller homes also tend to mean much lower energy usage, as you’ll have to power, heat and cool a much tinier space. This is especially great news for structural engineers, who have long toiled to find greener solutions to all sorts of construction-based problems. If you, too, are concerned with living greener, a micro home may be just the ticket.


Does wanderlust run through your veins? If you want to travel more often, but don’t want to have to worry as much about accommodations, you may want to consider purchasing a micro home. They are extremely portable, thanks largely to their diminutive size! All you have to do is attach it or load it onto a truck and you’re ready to go. Best of all, you can easily be entirely self-sufficient even while on the road. Depending on its design, you may need to hook it up to an RV station to receive the utilities you need. However, if you pick a micro home with natural energy storage, you just have to situate it where it can easily gather sunlight and rain.


As it stands, commissioning a residential structural engineer to build your micro home is still far cheaper than purchasing an average-sized home and setting up a mortgage. Smaller homes mean engineers and builders use less resources for its construction, as well as less land area.

Should you decide to live in a micro home, you’ll find your bills and other expenses will significantly reduce! After all, you just aren’t using as much energy or other resources as you would in a larger home. However, both you and your wallet will appreciate the lighter load!

These are only a few of the best reasons to consider building a micro home. To learn more about what makes micro homes great, as well as look into obtaining one of your own, reach out to us to get in touch with a residential structural engineer.

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How Does Structural Glass Improve the Design of Your Building?

Structural glass has long reigned as a favorite building material for almost every professional structural engineer out there—but if you aren’t involved in the industry, this news may just sound confusing. What is structural glass, anyway? How is it used in buildings, and how is it different from any other kind of glass used out there? In this article, we’ll answer these questions and more.

So, What Is Structural Glass?

If you were to ask a licensed structural engineer what structural glass is, they’d tell you, at a basic level, it is glass being used as the shell of a building. Rather than walls, engineers pad the building’s exterior with sheets of glass. This creates not only visual interest, but some amazing environmental effects.

To create structural glass, engineers first have to put it through a process called “glazing,” which is often either doubled or tripled. Glazing boosts the efficiency of structural glass. Specifically, it not only strengthens structural glass, but greatly reduces its chances of generating energy leaks. This allowed structural glass the ability to support a structure, or to be “load-bearing.” In fact, without glazing, there’s a good chance a structural glass building could shatter. Glazing ultimately allows structural glass to be more widely used in today’s buildings, which is great for the industry and consumers for myriad reasons.

Business offices around the country and the world are taking advantage of this unique innovation by incorporating it into their own buildings. Once you learn a little more about the various benefits structural glass has to offer, you may develop an interest in adding it to your own building at some point in the future.

What Benefits Does Structural Glass Provide?

If you’re planning on seeking out contract structural engineering services in the near future, here are some of the best reasons to consider structural glass as part of your building options:

  • Sturdiness. Structural glass isn’t quite the same as your typical glass window. It’s more like a whole wall of glass, scaling from top to bottom of a particular floor and sometimes replacing concrete walls entirely. They are layered and otherwise reinforced to ensure occupants, as well as the structure’s skeletal framing, are as secure as possible.
  • Waterproofing. Any structural glass on your building will be designed to keep excess water out—and be good at the job! This is due to the special glaze that coats each pane, making it effectively watertight.
  • Easy Maintenance. Because the glass is waterproof, it’s also much easier to clean than the average windowpane. If your building or business is very small, you can simply wipe down the windows in a hurry and be done with it. However, if you’re a large company with cleaning staff, they’re bound to appreciate this fact all the same!
  • Sound Insulation. This last advantage is perfect for those whose businesses involve passing a lot of confidential information back and forth. Simply put, with structural glass, what happens in the building stays in the building! You won’t have to worry about passers by on the outside hearing anything and using it for their own ends, providing a bonus layer of security for your daily operations.

Of course, there are many more benefits to using structural glass, but these are some of the most basic and practical we’ve found. In addition, this building material is also visually appealing, with an exterior capable of reflecting the goings-on of outside as well as general light. Be sure to contact us to learn more about how this innovative structural material can boost your building’s design and how a licensed structural engineer could help!

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Our Five Picks for the World’s Most Sustainable Buildings

With the rise in global warming and its various effects, it’s no wonder structural engineers have also kicked off the rise in sustainable construction. Greener and greener buildings have emerged all across the world for this very reason, and they’re continually becoming more and more innovative in a myriad of ways. In fact, so many of them have amassed that we’ve put together a list of some of our favorites. Read on to learn what they are and why they’ve made our list!

1. Pixel

Located in the heart of Australia, the Pixel building has been hailed by structural engineers for its unique features, especially with regards to energy recycling. For instance, in its bathrooms you’ll find mechanisms capable of producing heat from excrement, as well as solar panels attached to the outside of the building that are programmed to keep track of the sun’s movements.

While some of these features may sound grotesque, they actually represent quite a few important milestones within the industry. One of the most important facets of sustainability is the ability to conserve and recycle energy sources as much as possible, even if it’s through slightly messy means.

2. Bahrain World Trade Center

The World Trade Center of Bahrain happens to be just as efficient as it is visually appealing! The structural engineering company in charge of its design kept the idea of improving its ability to gather and use energy in mind. As a result, the building relies in wind energy, which it collects through its towers. Said towers are built to resemble sails—mechanisms commonly known for their ability to catch and glide with air.

3. OS House

Located in Racine, Wisconsin, the OS House may be small in stature, but it’s made huge strides in the world of energy saving! From its specialized plumbing with a system for delivering hot water on demand to its ample solar energy usage, you’re guaranteed to find no other house like this on the market—at least not right away!

4. The Crystal

Inspired by the famous Australian Opera House, the Crystal mimics the jagged structure of the building, but has quite a few noteworthy features of its own. It both recycles any and all nearby waste into new energy and utilizes nothing but electricity as far as its daily energy usage. Its innovations have earned it both BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment) and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) awards.

5. One Angel Square

Also hailing from England, the One Angel Square makes its home in Manchester, where it serves as a plant for all-natural and renewable energy. Like other structures on this list, it is able to recycle energy. However, it also possesses its own farm, where some of its energy output comes from. It has also received an award from BREEAM.

While all of the above mentioned buildings are commercial, you may very well be able to commission some of their features for your own home from residential engineering services in the near future. To learn more about the different advancements in green construction, feel free to contact us!

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Hobbit Homes Are Real, and Here’s How You Can Obtain One of Your Own!

Customized home designs are gaining swift popularity as of recent years, and for good reasons: their flexibility and, most beneficially, their sustainability! People are becoming more aware of climate change than ever before, after all, and its visible effects on the weather throughout the world prompts most to take action however they can. For most people, this means modifying their homes to be more environmentally friendly.

If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, you’re probably intimately familiar with the concept and design of “hobbit homes.” If you also care about going green, you’ll be happy to know these homes can and do exist in the real world, and can even be commissioned and built for your own living needs! Interested? In this blog article, we’ll go over just what it takes to have your own hobbit home.

How Do Hobbit Homes Work?

If you aren’t familiar with this home design concept, we want to take the time to explain just what a hobbit home is. Building a hobbit home is very similar to building a dome home, particularly in terms of shape. Hobbit homes are typically nestled into hills, identifiable by the door placed into the hillside and the pathway leading up to it. These homes come in all sizes, meaning you can have a hobbit home of your own with as much space as you could possibly need.

What Are the Benefits of a Hobbit Home?

The best and most noteworthy feature of the hobbit home, much like dome home floor plans, is its versatility—both before and after building. Not only can you customize your hobbit home exactly to your liking, but once the construction is done, you have further options! Is your home growing too small? You can simply add onto it by requesting more “modules,” or home sections to be further implemented into the hillside. Modules come with all sorts of functions, from rooms to fully usable garages. Furthermore, you can even put the roof of your home to functional use! The grassy layout of the roof of a typical hobbit home makes a wonderful base for a garden, allowing you to grow flowers, vegetables or anything else you choose!

Even if you don’t want to plant anything on your roof, the grass up top will come in handy in case of rain and other weather events. Because of the vegetation up top, you don’t have to worry nearly as much about water damage to your home. Dome home builders ensure your home will be able to withstand the weather since the grass can easily absorb the rain’s moisture. It will then photosynthesize, giving back to the planet and reducing your need to worry about water conservation and home-owning disasters.

Does the idea of a hobbit home interest you? If so, B.E. Structural can help put you on the path to obtaining one of your own! Be sure to get in touch with us and we’ll help you every step of the way, from blueprints to dome home floor plans to location.

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Our Well-Rounded Guide to Dome Homes

For decades, and even today, dome homes sound like a futuristic construction you might expect to see only in a sci-fi novel. However, the truth is they’re very much real, and you can even commission one to be built for your own use as we speak! While most people may be familiar with the concept of dome homes, they haven’t given much thought to the reasons they’re built and the benefits they hold. That’s why, in this blog, we’ll provide you with a crash course in everything you need to know about these marvelous structures and why it’s worth considering living in one.

Where Did Dome Homes Come From?

Experts trace the origin of the dome home as far back as the 1960s, when environmentalism was just beginning to impact our culture and affect the way we wanted to live. Originally, dome home plans came about as a type of rebellion against the typical “white picket fence” structure that still pervades today’s home designs.

People wanted to make a statement that they themselves didn’t desire suburbian life, and they were different from previous generations. The dome home became appealing because of its structure, not just because of its differences from the norm, but because of their accommodative capacity and ability to be built without nearly as many resources.

Are Dome Homes Beneficial?

According to structural engineers and many other professionals, dome homes offer quite a wide range of benefits to their owners and the environment. Should you decide to acquire a dome home of your own, you can expect to experience or contribute to these advantages:

  • Affordability. When you compare a dome home to the average suburban home, you’ll find the cost to build and maintain the former is largely reduced. This holds true across the board. They don’t require as much energy to power, leading to lower utility bills. They also don’t use nearly as many materials during the construction process, and can be built to completion at a much faster rate. If you want to move somewhere relatively quickly, but desire autonomy and long-term savings, a dome home may be your best bet.
  • Flexibility. There are countless ways you can put together your dome home! They’re naturally spacious and have the capacity to store quite a bit of belongings and amenities. If you’re a fan of interior design, you’ll enjoy the ability to easily recreate your surroundings in any way you please, even if it means tearing down a wall or two to expand a room. The good news is renovations can be made quite easily, and dome homes do not have or need the framing walls you see on the inside of traditional homes.
  • Sturdiness. Dome home builders design their structures to be as safe as possible throughout any situation. Simply put, they’re hard to topple! If you choose to live somewhere especially prone to natural disasters, you can rest assured knowing your dome home will stay standing in the event of even the worst weather. Compare this to the average home!

If you’re sold on dome homes, you don’t have to wait to have one built! Contact us and we can not only give you more information, but help you start planning your own dome home as soon as possible.

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Recent Structural Engineering Trends

The world is and has always been constantly growing and changing around us. While we all see evidence of this fact everyday, no other group feels the impact going on around us more severely than structural engineers. The reason why makes sense, with a little thought.

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small businesses

How Political Changes Affect Small Businesses

Everyone pays attention any time political change unfolds, but no one pays more attention than small business owners. A political change can alter the way a small business operates and grows. Both local and national laws can vastly impact what businesses can and can’t do from a financial and legal perspective. If you’re planning on starting a small business, such as a structural engineering company, knowing what’s in store over the next four years or so is critical to get started on the right track.

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Preventing Building Envelope Failure

Hurricane season has just about come and gone, but that doesn’t mean we’re completely safe from natural disasters yet. Recent years have brought catastrophic disasters near the end of hurricane season so now is not the time to relax. June through October is the peak of the season so there is still the possibility of an event happening.

Protecting your home or commercial building during this season takes a little more effort. Building envelope failure generally isn’t a sudden occurrence, but it can seem sudden if you don’t take the proper preventive measures throughout the year. Here are some ways you can protect your building from envelope failures.

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