Tag: structural engineering services

Structural engineer

How Can Structural Engineers Build in a More Sustainable Way?

Waste is a common problem among many different industries worldwide, and the construction industry is one of the leaders in producing waste. However, with society becoming more aware and conscious of the materials they are using and how to properly dispose of them, structural engineering companies are also doing the same. This involves altering practices and procedures, disposing of waste differently, eliminating harmful compounds when using building materials and more. All of these combine to make more sustainable buildings and protect our planet as well. Here’s how structural engineering companies are building more sustainably today.

Incorporate Zero Waste Practices

Zero waste practices mean using products and materials that can be reused instead of discarded when they are no longer needed. A common example of this is when a structural engineer designs a building by using bolts for connections rather than welds. The bolts can be reused when the building gets remodeled or demolished, but anything welded will simply have to go to the landfill in most cases.

Eliminate Volatile Organic Compounds

Breathing in volatile organic compounds can be dangerous when ingested in large amounts. Building materials have traditionally contained these volatile organic compounds, but structural engineering companies are now being more conscious about the products and materials they use to ensure they don’t include them. Not only are these materials better for the environment, they also protect the construction workers who come in close contact with them.

Compost Waste Instead of Dumping in The Landfill

It’s easy for a structural engineer to say they’ll throw any waste in the landfill. However, many structural engineering companies today are composting some of their organic waste on the actual construction site when possible. This reduces the amount of waste in the landfills and also eliminates having to pollute the air with trucks driving to and from the landfills.

A Conscious Effort Will Go A Long Way

Being conscious of reducing waste and building in a more sustainable way will pay dividends for our environment in the future. The job of a structural engineer is to ensure a new project or a renovation project is designed in a safe manner, and also in a sustainable manner. Of course, it’s not always possible to apply all of these practices in every single construction product, but simply having sustainability in the back of the mind is a positive step forward for the environment.

BE Structural uses sustainable practices whenever possible. As a structural engineering company, it’s our job to ensure every building is designed and constructed safely. However, we are also very conscious of the environment we live in and the safety of the air we breathe. Quality does not have to be sacrificed when incorporating sustainable practices, so contact us today to see how we include these practices every day.

Structural engineering

How the Structural Engineering Industry is Changing with Technology

Technology impacts every industry in many different ways. As technological advancements continue to develop, structural engineering professionals always have to stay informed to ensure they are using the best practices. Whether it’s by incorporating more energy efficient materials or boosting productivity and efficient processes in the construction process, technology is typically beneficial for a structural engineer. Here are some of the main technological advancements used in structural engineering today.

The Use of Drones in Construction

Drones are used by structural engineering professionals to take aerial photos of a construction site, monitor activities and survey areas where accessibility is limited. The photos taken by drones have high resolution and can be used to take measurements, create digital models and much more. Plus, the use of drones is much safer for a structural engineer when it comes to surveying tall areas like roofs or bridges.

3D Printing

3D printing has significantly developed over the last several years. And in the coming years, it is expected to become an even more valuable resource for structural engineering professionals. Using 3D printing allows experts to create more accurate design details, as well as more customization for projects. 3D printing is typically used most effectively for commercial properties or in large-scale residential complexes.

Data Analysis Tools

There is a lot of data collected by a structural engineer before, during and after any construction project. Analyzing this substantial amount of data is important, but sometimes isn’t possible due to the sheer quantity. Data analysis tools continue to develop today to help structural engineering experts analyze the data collected most effectively. The technology, software and cloud solutions available today help gather significant amounts of data quickly and make it easily accessible to all members of the construction team to promote efficiency, accuracy and more.

Augmented and Virtual Reality

Augmented reality tools are typically used at the beginning stages of the design process. One of the main uses for these tools is to visualize how a particular construction design will fit in any given area. This allows structural engineers to identify any potential errors or complications and can fix them before the project even begins.

Virtual reality technology includes scanners and drones to collect information. This technology is helpful not only in the design process, but also to allow project managers to constantly monitor the progress of the project without having to be physically present. Accuracy and efficiency are the two main benefits of virtual reality tools and are increasing in importance every day.

BE Structural stays on top of the latest technological trends to ensure the most valuable resources are being used at all times. Any structural engineering company that doesn’t adopt the latest technology leaves room for critical errors which could be prevented. By combining technology with our years of experience and substantial knowledge, we are your go-to resource for any construction or renovation project. Be sure to contact us to learn more about the technology we use today.

Structural engineering company

What Materials are used in Sustainable Structural Engineering?

As people and companies become more conscious about energy consumption, perspectives in structural engineering are changing as well. It’s easy to upgrade appliances or install energy efficient equipment into new home designs, but those can get costly very quickly. The good news is there are sustainable materials used around the world today that are safe for the environment and can make very nice homes. Here are some of the materials a structural engineer will consider using when building a sustainable home.

Earth Bags

Earth bags are made of polypropylene material and are filled with soil and other inorganic materials. They are designed to hold up better than concrete or bricks, since the bags will not crack or be easily damaged during events like an earthquake. Earth bags are used prominently today in developing countries to build sustainable homes.

Earth Blocks

A structural engineering company will sometimes use earth blocks instead of bricks to create a more sustainable design. The earth blocks consist of a mix of clay, rubble and subsoil and are compressed at a very high pressure. In fact, earth blocks are actually stronger than concrete blocks or bricks, but only use a very small amount of cement. By using a small amount of cement, earth blocks are sustainable and reduce the amount of carbon emissions released into the atmosphere.

Retrofitting

Seismic retrofitting can be used to rebuild, repair or strengthen structures in general. After a structural engineer evaluates a building, they can perform actions such as repairing any damage, increasing shear wall density, strengthening ground conditions and more. Seismic retrofitting has helped strengthen thousands of buildings worldwide, especially in developing countries that experience earthquakes and other natural disasters.

Trombe Walls

Trombe walls are used in sustainable structural engineering to create more of a passive solar design in homes. The outside of the walls are made with plastic or glass panes, and the inside of the walls have a higher heat capacity. What makes these walls sustainable and energy efficient is the fact that the external wall will absorb the daytime heat and transfer the heat into the home when needed. Trombe walls are used effectively in areas where sunlight is present the majority of the time and people want to create a more sustainable and energy efficient design for their structure.

BE Structural is a team of experts with a wide range of experience. Our structural engineering company has worked with sustainable materials in different construction projects, and we always practice innovative thinking. It’s important to work with a qualified structural engineering professional if you’re considering using sustainable materials for your next construction project, so contact us to see how we can help you.

Building envelope engineering

5 Key Components to Help Identify a Building Envelope Failure

By the time a building envelope fails, a thorough investigation has to take place to determine the exact cause. There are many reasons why this failure can occur on any given building, but identifying the issue takes some experience. With a building envelope inspection by a professional, most issues can be identified and corrected before major damage occurs. However, there are some signs you can look out for as well to help identify the potential for failure.

Air Leaks

If air leaks out of a building through windows, doors or attics, potential problems could arise. There could also be air leaks in a building you aren’t even aware of until your energy bill skyrockets. Air leaks are problematic because they can lead to condensation if the humidity from outside is being pulled inside.

Water Penetration Vulnerabilities

Sometimes poor design or construction of a building can lead to water penetration vulnerabilities over time. During the course of building envelope engineering, a significant amount of sealant is used to prevent water penetration, but even the tiniest oversight can cause big problems.

Insulation Breakdowns

Insulation in a building is more functional than simply keeping you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It also acts as a barrier to prevent outdoor elements from getting into the home and causing problems with the building envelope. Without insulation, extreme temperature difference indoors compared to outdoors can create moisture and lead to building envelope failure.

Differential Movement

Thermal expansion of concrete, masonry or other building materials can lead to differential movement. This is one of the most difficult features for the average person to identify, since the changes are so subtle. Too much differential movement can cause the structure to fail in different ways. Getting a building envelope inspection frequently is sometimes the only way to identify and correct this issue.

Condensation

Condensation that builds up on windows during certain times of the year is generally harmless when it’s wiped away. However, when condensation builds up in between wall cavities, it could eventually cause building envelope failure. This type of condensation is more difficult to identify, and when you do, most of the time the majority of the damage has already been done.

BE Structural has a team of building envelope engineering experts to help you identify potential failures in your structure. If you have the ability to identify any of these signs on your own, then don’t hesitate to give us a call to schedule an inspection. It’s always a good idea to schedule regular inspections anyway to prevent building envelope failure from occurring in the first place.

Facade engineering

Adding a Level to Existing Structures in Major Metro Areas

Any time you want to add a level to an existing structure, there are many different considerations to keep in mind. First off, if you live in a major metro area, you are likely very limited in space. You may also consider building underground due to the lack of space, but this may be impossible due to poor soil or other issues.

Finding the best facade engineering consultants can help make the process as seamless as possible. While adding a level may be difficult, there are very rare times where it is impossible. There may have to be a little give and take from the homeowner, since many variables go into the addition.

Getting Scale and Proportion Right

How you add a level to your home or building depends on the existing building envelope. A facade engineering consultant will do a survey of your home to determine how much room you have to build outward and upward. Many homeowners wish to keep the design and proportions of their home intact as much as possible, which could present challenges during the addition process. Adding on usually isn’t the problem, but finding the right scale and proportion is.

Finding Room to Expand

As mentioned, the major challenge of adding a level in metro areas is lack of space. This lack of space could lead to the need to remove walls and ceilings in order to properly expand. While it may not be ideal for the homeowner, it’s sometimes the only option facade engineering consultants have.

Adding a Level Requires Give and Take

A homeowner’s vision and a facade engineering professional’s vision are sometimes completely different. A homeowner knows what they want the structure to look like, but a contractor knows what can and can’t happen. Finding a facade engineering company willing to work with you to get as close to your vision as possible will help make the building process much easier.

Discuss the overall shape of the home, the proportions and how much interior space can be added. There will still be some problems that arise along the way, but as long as both parties are on the same page, there shouldn’t be any issues that can’t be overcome.

At BE Structural, our professionals are willing to take the time to work with every homeowner to make their home additions as desirable as possible. We will be straightforward and honest with you throughout the entire process and will strive to meet your vision closely. If you’re thinking about adding a level to your home, contact us to see how we can help make the process seamless.

BE Structural structural engineering company

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 residential structural engineer

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.

BE Structural contract structural engineering services

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

“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 structural engineering services

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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