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Major Challenges in Wastewater Management

Wastewater Management

Wastewater treatment systems are designed to treat used water so it can be recycled safely and put back into the environment. Advances in technology have begun to make these processes more streamlined than ever. These advances do not mean that there are not challenges to overcome when it comes to wastewater management.

Energy Usage

Energy requirements necessary to operate a wastewater treatment plant is one of the biggest challenges they face. The wastewater filtration process consumes between 3 and 15% of the nation’s electricity annually.

Many wastewater treatment plants need upgrades throughout the United States. Here are some of the biggest challenges ahead and some potential solutions to fix them.

Recently efforts have been focused on discovering greener approaches to treating wastewater. By incorporating greener processes, we can reduce energy consumption and lessen the overall strain to the power grid.

Staffing Issues

Similar to other industries, finding qualified plant operators has become a challenge. Properly trained workers skilled in the process of wastewater treatment is a must. There are not enough employees to go around. Another aspect of this issue is that typically treatment facility operator management can account for up to 30% of annual operational costs.

Finding ways to incorporate automated processes and remote operation tactics may help. Such improvement will help reduce the reliance on employees as well as labor hours needed. It may not fill in the gaps in employment needs or reduce all operation costs, but it would lower the stress and burden on existing employees and budgets.

Sludge Protection

Sludge is the residue generated during wastewater treatment. A major challenge environmentally for wastewater treatment facilities is how to dispose of this excess sludge produced during the process.

Safe and long term solutions for sludge disposal is an essential component of any properly operating treatment facility. Sludge can be recycled and used in agricultural applications because it contains organic matter and nutrients useful to agriculture.

Treatment Plant Environmental Footprint

Though wastewater treatment plants are designed to filter water and make it eco-friendly, they can leave their own environmental footprint from the treatment process. In simplest terms, the organic matter removed from the water needs to go somewhere.

There have been recent improvements in green technology that improve the way water is being treated. These innovations will help reduce the environmental footprint left behind by water treatment facilities from disposal of what is left behind after clean water has been discharged.

These are, by far, not the only challenges facing treatment facilities and the process of wastewater management. These particular areas are the most glaring and most impactful. We recognize the many issues facing local municipalities and private industry when it comes to wastewater management. BE Structural is here to help find innovative ways to address these challenges with engineering services for wastewater treatment facilities and large equipment supporting biosolid technology.

2020 structural trends

2020 Structural Engineering Trends

Structural Engineering Trends for 2020

The world is continually evolving and changing around us as each year passes. One group that feels the impact of this change is structural engineers.
Structural engineers are deeply involved in how to develop the areas we live in and the structures in which we live and work. They are required to meet the shifting demands of our ever-changing world. To meet the demand, solutions are needed, and these solutions develop into yearly trends. Looking to 2020, here are a few trends that seem likely to take shape.

Funding and processes

Innovations in technology are being rolled out at an unbelievable pace. These advancements allow both engineers and builders to streamline their processes. By improving processes, this enables teams to lower overhead and turn around jobs more quickly and efficiently.

Going green

As technology improvement has developed, one of the areas most impacted is the environment. New techniques are allowing structural engineers to take advantage of methods that reduce energy consumption on new projects. The benefits of these changes will be seen and felt for decades to come.

Modular construction

Though not necessarily new, modular construction continues to be an innovative way to design and construct buildings more quickly without sacrificing their integrity and safety. This process is mainly employed in the commercial building industry where box units are either stacked or set side by side.
More recently, modular construction methodologies have begun to be used on residential projects such as basement construction for new homes. There are even areas where entire sections of the home are built off-site and assembled on the foundation, reducing time and labor.

Zero waste practices

Not necessarily a new trend, zero waste practices are becoming more prevalent and look to be more widely adopted. Adopting zero waste practices benefits all involved as it reduces waste when certain materials see their end of life functionality. By incorporating methodology that
takes this into account, parts can be replaced rather than disposed of entirely. One example would be using bolts rather than welds. The benefit of this method is that in future expansion, bolts could be reused rather than entire welded sections needing to be demolished.

Sustainable materials

As a desire for sustainability has increased, so has the progress of new methods of construction. Structural engineers have designed and implemented technology to improve building safety. One example is systems designed to detect seismic activity in areas prone to earthquakes. This technology allows the buildings to detect and react to changes in the earth as they occur. As if this were not enough, engineers have also more recently designed 3D printing and concrete that, upon damage, can repair itself! 
As technology continues to advance, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for the engineering process and building improvements. As in the past, these advancements will be exciting to watch develop and even more beneficial to us all. BE Structural is positioned to take advantage of these advancements as they occur. Contact us today to see how we can work together and take advantage of these new trends.

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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!

BE Structural structural design

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.

B.E. Structural structural engineering company

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!

What Makes a Great Salesperson?

be structural knows great sales peopleAs of late, I have seen many blog posts and articles asking this question: What makes a great salesperson? Those of us in the sales management and sales leadership realm seem to be on an eternal quest to find the secret to identifying and hiring not only the best and most qualified sales people, but also those that possess inherent qualities that set them apart from the rest of the bunch. As a sales director for a structural engineering firm, I am also intrigued by the idea of a few key indicators that can be used to filter out the most qualified sales employee during the hiring process.

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A truss is a structure composed of straight members forming a rigid framework. The basic components of a truss consist of a top chord, a bottom chord, and web members, see Figure 1 below. The web members can be vertical or diagonal, usually a combination of both. More info

Solar Panels

Southwest solar hotspots

2013 was another record year for the U.S. solar industry. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, there was a 41% increase in solar installation levels in 2013 over 2012.  More info

Residential Structural Engineering

Hurricane retrofitting your property

Hurricane Retrofitting

Almost all areas of the country are subject to high winds, so it’s important to ensure that your home and property can withstand a high-wind storm no matter where you live, but especially if you live in an area prone to hurricanes. More info