Perspectives & Insight

  • Stormwater Retention Pond
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    Stormwater Management: Meeting Regulatory Requirements & Reducing Costs

Stormwater Management: Meeting Regulatory Requirements & Reducing Costs

A key consideration for a civil engineer during site design from both a regulatory and cost standpoint is stormwater management. On the regulatory side, in recent years, agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and, locally, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) have been encouraging property owners and engineers to provide infiltration methods on-site, rather than directing stormwater into detention basins that ultimately discharge to storm sewers or streams. This standard can be achieved through, amongst others, the following practices:

Permeable Pavement – Permeable, or pervious, pavement allows water to infiltrate into the ground directly in small openings. This type of pavement can be asphalt or concrete, though the most common form is pavers. The gap between pavers is filled with small stones that allow stormwater to penetrate below. In large rain events, water that cannot be absorbed into the ground is conveyed to a storm sewer. While permeable pavement costs more up front than traditional asphalt or concrete, additional stormwater measures may be smaller or unnecessary depending on the site. It also yields long-term savings in stormwater fee credits (see below) because regulatory agencies consider permeable pavement similar to grass.
Bioretention Cells – A bioretention cell is a […]

November 29th, 2017|Perspectives & Insight|

Why You Need a Building Assessment

Northeast Ohio’s buildings are aging. While we are seeing new construction and renovations aplenty with Cleveland’s renaissance, there are still many facilities past their prime. This is largely due to the fact many of our region’s buildings were constructed during the 1970s-80s construction boom. Unfortunately, most building materials are expected to last 30 years, which means many facilities are in need of repairs, especially in Northeast Ohio where our buildings are subjected to abuse by salt, causing components to deteriorate quickly.

Because of this situation, we often try to educate our clients about the importance of scheduling a building assessment. Often, owners recognize that their building needs some sort of repair only once it starts to leak. Usually, it’s leaking due to one of the most common failings – roofs, masonry or sealants. At this point, not only is there a need for an exterior repair, but there is also a need for interior water damage repairs.  Building owners and managers can limit building repair and maintenance expenses by having an assessment performed.

During a building assessment, architects and engineers take stock of the state of your building. We examine the envelope, HVAC system, and electrical components. We then look for things […]

  • 3D Laser Tracking for Industrial Equipment Alignment
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    Industrial Mechanical Equipment Alignment – Meeting the High Accuracy Demands of the Future

Industrial Mechanical Equipment Alignment – Meeting the High Accuracy Demands of the Future

The application of surveying in the industrial sector is demanding increasingly precise measurements. This is because manufacturers, industrial designers and fabricators must achieve maximum production from their machinery to remain competitive in today’s marketplace.

The accuracy of installations affects the quality of the product, speed of production, number of unsalable products, equipment life, and possibly the manufacturer’s equipment warranty. If anything goes wrong, the plant will incur losses. This is of concern not just to the plant, but also to the installation contractor, as the surveyors installing the industrial equipment could be liable for those costs. Given this environment, it is crucial to utilize the latest technologies to meet today’s accuracy standards and ensure proper survey record documentation.

Still, the most common measurement tools currently utilized for industrial surveying are optical instruments, often with a micrometer capable of readings within a few thousandths of an inch. To be fair, this technology is still effective in some cases. However, the optical instrument can supply only one measurement field – an X, Y, or Z reading. To obtain measurements in X and Z (elevation) in one instance, two different instruments (a transit and a level) would need to be set up. To obtain X, […]

An Overview of Life Cycle Cost Analysis

Life cycle cost analysis (LCCA) is the holistic investigation of facility costs to assess the total cost of ownership. This includes building, maintenance and operations costs as well as the residual value of a building or a portion thereof. This process becomes useful during design as architects and engineers evaluate possible alternatives that differ in cost (both initial and long-term) but offer the same performance. For example, this calculation would be used when analyzing whether it makes sense to invest in a higher efficiency HVAC system with a greater initial cost but lower maintenance and operating costs.

To determine the answers to such questions, design professionals utilizing LCCA look at multiple factors and make recommendations based on an individual owner’s prioritized goals. The owner may be seeking to decrease hard maintenance costs, increase asset value or produce an overall savings. Each of these scenarios would necessitate a different decision.

In most cases, LCCA looks at the overall cost over the expected life of the building – i.e. “If X is implemented instead of Y, Z will be saved over so many years.” This is usually the value owners are considering when evaluating alternatives. In addition, owners often also need to know […]

  • X-Bracing and Lateral Force Resisting Systems Web Post Image
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    Why is the Roof on My Equipment? A Primer on X-Bracing and Lateral Force Resisting Systems

Why is the Roof on My Equipment? A Primer on X-Bracing and Lateral Force Resisting Systems

In manufacturing and heavy industrial organizations, the focus of all production facilities is the process and equipment within the structure. When upgrading or expanding systems, engineers attempt to best utilize as much existing space as possible, often resulting in the need to remove or modify the existing building structure. The most common casualty of process modifications is an x-brace, which appears to be “useless”; however, removal of x-braces and other lateral force resisting systems (LFRS) can create a life safety hazard and risks destroying equipment in your facility. These catastrophic problems may not be apparent until it is too late.
An x-brace is part of a structure’s LFRS and is typically used to resist wind, seismic loads and other less common types of lateral loading. The brace is how the forces applied in a horizontal direction at floors or the roof are transferred to the ground. (Seismic works slightly differently, but for the purposes of this discussion, we will ignore this.) Due to life safety considerations, the current building code in Ohio requires buildings be designed to a mean recurrence interval of 700 years (5% probability of exceedance in 50 years) for wind and two-thirds of the 2,475 year (2% […]