Construction Engineers at Work

By Ken Thomson

Every building has a level of Construction Engineering involved in its planning, designing and construction. Simply, the more complex the building, the more extensive the engineering is involved to bring a building into reality.

Construction Engineering focuses scientific calculations and analysis into the design of the building and the sites on which they are situated.

As a General Contractor, we depend on the work of a variety of Engineers to provide the information and drawings that meet local building codes, address environmental issues, and insure that buildings and intelligently and safely designed.

When Facility Builders & Erectors acts as the Design Build Contractor for a project, the interaction between the Engineers and the Contractor is a dynamic process with the Contractors knowledge of construction costs and constructability being a factor the design of a project.

Many projects today require a Planning Approval, prior to applying for and securing building permits. Cities and counties have all created their own standards for aesthetics and a process to assess a project's impact to the overall community. Architects provide these aesthetic solutions, taking the information developed by the engineers and translating the information into the project plans.

In today's urban environment, it is common to have engineers address a diversity of issues on any given project. Creating a set of planning documents for a given project Architects, Civil Engineers, Geotechnical Engineers, Environmental Engineers, Traffic Engineers, Acoustical Engineers and Landscape Architects are utilize in the preparation of the plans. When a project is submitted to a City or Agency for approval, the City Engineer will review and assess these plans.

If the project is considered to have a potential impact on City Services such as, traffic, utility needs and noise or regional issues regarding air quality or water quality, then an engineer specializing in that discipline has the knowledge, skill and education to quantify and define those impacts.

Designing a concrete tilt-up or conventionally designed structure, the architect works closely with a local structural engineer to marry structural requirements with architectural appearance. A building project with a Pre Engineered Metal Building, utilizes the structural engineering capacity of the manufacturer to deliver this complete component of the project. Armed with the manufacturers information, along with the a Soils Engineering report identifying the bearing values for the site specific soils, the local structural engineer can design the appropriate foundations for this Steel Building.

An Energy Engineer can look at the same Pre Engineered Steel Building from an Energy efficiency perspective and recommend the appropriate insulating values for the roof, walls and glazing systems. The same information can be used by the Mechanical Engineer to ensure an appropriately sized HVAC system.

As design standards evolve to minimize the impacts to our environment, Construction Engineers look closely at all components of a building to find efficiencies. Examples of at work are natural lighting in lieu of electricity, toilets that use no water versus toilets that use 5 gallons per flush, and air conditioning motors that operate more efficiently. The efficiencies are new lighting types and high efficiency motors reducing electricity needs, stronger buildings to withstand winds and earthquakes, and improved insulation systems to maintain interior comfort.

Civil Engineers design the roads we drive on and the drainage systems we hardly notice, that carries our storm water away. In efforts to improve our environment, these same engineers are designing storm water detention and retention systems, allowing local groundwater supplies to be recharged. They design filtration systems, cleaning storm water before it leaves a site, providing a key step in the process to clean up the runoff going to our oceans.

Construction Engineering is around all of us, in our homes and our work places. More dramatic representations of Construction Engineering is found in your favorite buildings, bridges and amusement park rides. At Facility Builders and Erectors, the team works closely with all the Construction Engineering disciplines to ensure each construction project is defined and delivered in the manner intended by the Engineers.