Perspectives & Insight

  • Road Construction Image

    Construction Zones: A Look at How Traffic Maintenance Plans are Determined

Construction Zones: A Look at How Traffic Maintenance Plans are Determined

Ah, summer in Northeast Ohio. The season may be winding down, but construction will be going strong until the cold weather moves in. Of course, we all collectively groan when the orange barrels pop up along the routes of our commutes, but we engineers would like to reassure the public that we do our best to balance safety with minimizing the disruption to traffic in construction zones. We don’t like traffic jams either!

Here’s a look at how we go about forming a Maintenance of Traffic Plan for a construction project that impacts roadways/highways:

The primary function of temporary traffic control is to provide for the safe and efficient movement of vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians through or around temporary traffic control zones while reasonably protecting workers and equipment. The additional objective of the temporary traffic control is the efficient construction and maintenance of the roadway or highway.

In conjunction with the Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (OMUTCD), all temporary traffic control must conform to ODOT’s minimum standard for all traffic control devices used during construction, maintenance, and utility activities plus incident management.

Every work zone situation is different, so several items must be considered in determining the traffic control needed. Questions […]

August 28th, 2018|Perspectives & Insight|
  • S&V Interior Model

    Understanding Levels of Development in Building Information Modeling

Understanding Levels of Development in Building Information Modeling

More is Not Necessarily Better

As Building Information Modeling (BIM) becomes increasingly utilized in our day-to-day work, it is increasingly apparent that there is a need to better explain the Levels of Development (LOD) to which a model can be created.

When a client requests a model, it is on us as the consultant to ask what the intended use will be and from there make a recommendation as to which LOD the model should be created. More detail is not necessarily better. First, the higher the LOD, the more cost the client will incur – we do not want to spend additional time modeling elements above the desired level. Second, the higher the LOD, the larger the computer file. Large model files become more burdensome on computer resources and can be unusable by the client.

Ultimately, we want to develop a model at an LOD where all the necessary information is available, but there is no extraneous detail that has driven up the cost of the project and/or made the file size unwieldy. Sometimes this may mean creating the overall model at a lower LOD but drawing certain elements or areas of the model at a slightly higher LOD. For example, […]

  • Moreland Service Garage

    Service Garages: Thinking Through Specifics to Ensure Successful Design

Service Garages: Thinking Through Specifics to Ensure Successful Design

Today we’re going to talk about services garages. While some may consider these bland, unexciting buildings, they are actually highly important, unsung heroes of municipal infrastructure. They operate in the background, commanding little attention, yet facilitating critical functions. In the event of a potential calamity such as a snow emergency or water main break, these facilities allow maintenance personnel to respond quickly and effectively, so that residents and workers can continue to go about their business.

What’s more, not one is like another. Having completed over 20 of these buildings in the last 15 years, we understand that while they may all have similar components, the ways in which they are specifically designed are vastly individualized. Thinking through these specifics is crucial to success.

Without further ado, here’s a look at the “what” and “how” of service garage design.

First, let’s go over the usual pieces and parts of these buildings. The average service garage may have:


Maintenance – general or specific

Maintenance Bay(s)
Wash Bay(s)
Operations Support

Locker rooms
Break room

Back-Up Power
Access controls

That’s a fairly short list and it looks pretty simple, but if we do our jobs right during the discovery and assessment phase of a service garage project, the actual design becomes much more involved […]

  • Consulting Engineer Value Article Image

    Recognizing the Value of your Engineering/Architecture Consultant

Recognizing the Value of your Engineering/Architecture Consultant

How do you view the engineering/architecture firms you work with? Are the firms’ services just another expense necessary to complete your projects? Or, do you consider the consultants partners that help to take your facility to the next level?

I ask this question because it unfortunately seems that manufacturers today are moving increasingly closer to perceiving consulting engineers or architects as just another cost of completing projects. In procurement officers’ minds, A/E services are a commodity that is interchangeable with internet bidding. This is shortsighted.

When owners procure A/E services by developing a tight scope, it leads to competitive bids on just that—the exact scope laid out in the RFP. But when scopes are bid exact language, the ability of the engineers and/or architects working on your project to serve as collaborators and advisors becomes limited. Think of it like this: Say you had to undergo an operation for a brain tumor. You wouldn’t create a scope of work for brain surgeons to bid on and go with the lowest bidder, would you? Further, you wouldn’t hinder the doctor’s ability to use their experience and expertise to do what is in the best interest of your health, right? And what would […]

February 13th, 2018|Perspectives & Insight|

The REAL Meaning of Industry Buzzwords

As the A/E profession continues to integrate increasingly powerful technology and prescribe evolving industry standards, many “buzzwords” are popping up. With this new vocabulary, there is possibility of confusion when owners and consultants have different understandings of terminology. It is essential to ensure we are all speaking the same language.

This is especially true when it comes to high-precision surveying. Our firm is seeing increased demand for 3D laser tracking, scanning and modeling services for everything from site/civil projects, to full design/builds, to simple equipment placement planning. But what does it really mean to scan a project or provide tracking and survey control?

We want to ensure we are speaking the same language as our clients when we get requests to “create a model” or “provide a 3D scan of X.” For that reason, we are careful to get a full understanding of what the client is looking for when we get such a request, rather than interpreting it at face value. But what has also become essential is sharing the official meaning of these “buzzwords” and phrases. Below are some of the most common terms we hear confused.

3D Laser Scanning
Laser scanning has been around for some time now, but its […]

February 13th, 2018|Perspectives & Insight|