Innovative Solutions for Engineering Systems
August 9, 2021
By: Emily Dunham
While 2020 was the year of pivoting, the AEC industry was challenged with adapting design, construction, and material selection. Not only did the impacts of COVID affect our work environment, but like most everyone in the AEC industry, we have had to be innovative in our approach to design. Our engineers are working alongside designers to select structural systems that are as cost efficient as possible and still allow the team to maintain a reasonable schedule. We are leading initial design conversations with the team to identify long lead-time items and to select the appropriate building material, whether that be concrete, steel, wood, etc. This is shifting our traditional thinking of engineering design to innovative approaches both at inception of the design and with modifications in the field. When items become unavailable in the field, we are working collaboratively with the contractor to modify based on systems available at the time.
Not only is our approach to structural engineering changing from traditional systems, our approach to civil engineering is requiring us to identify cost effective measures in water, sewer, and stormwater designs. In one instance we identified metal piping for the storm water system as a betterment for a municipal client but it was not part of their local ordinance. Through our cost analysis and presentation of benefits using proprietary data and data from the state Department of Transportation, we were able to modify the existing ordinance for the city to include metal as an alternative to concrete and save the owner from cost and schedule increases.