I was pleased to receive the "Best Of" award for structural engineer the third year in a row.
The white award is for a Frank Lloyd Wright - ish house in the Seattle area in 2000 that used a lot of innovative structural concrete.
The Paul Harris plaque is a Rotary International award - I'm a member of my local Rotary club and a big fan of what they're all about.
Background and General Info
My engineering specialty is structural analysis. I'm a licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.) in California and Washington.
My early career included quite a bit of civil engineering (water, sewer, roads, drainage, land development) as well as structural. In the past ten years, I have narrowed my practice to structural only.
I do 100 +/- jobs a year: residential, commerical, and industrial. About half involve new construction and half are repairs, upgrades, additions, or remodels.
As a consultant, my goal is to save the client money through efficient design. In the world of structural engineering, in most cases more concrete, wood, and steel is not better, it just costs more.
From 2011 - 2016 I was the structural expert on an international team of consultants who traveled all over North America helping big builders get "Lean". Lean means the elimination of waste in business. Essentially anything a customer won't willingly pay for is waste and should be removed from the process. For example: oversized beams, headers, and posts; more concrete and steel than is needed; framing hardware such as holdowns, straps, and clips that will never actually see load; and shear walls that will never resist wind or earthquake forces.
I'm such a proponent of lean, in 2010 I published a book on the subject: Green Framing - An Advanced Framing How-To Guide.
I'm always happy to look at upcoming projects - please contact me if you'd like a proposal.
How I Work With Architects and Designers
The Best Way to Collaborate
After 30 years of working with dozens of architects and designers, I've determined that the most efficient way to collaborate is for me to stick to analysis while the arch/designer handles the design. This means that I look to the arch/designer for complete plans before I start the engineering process.
What Should Plans Include?
In order for me to provide a proposal for engineering I need a full architectural plan set, including accurate framing plans (roof and floors), foundation plan, floor plans, sections, and elevations. I.E., the plans should be essentially complete.
Will I Work With Arch/Designers During the Design Process?
I strongly encourage archs/designers to coordinate with me during the design process. IE if they're in doubt about a particular shear wall, or beam size, or column placement, or joist layout, etc. I encourage a call or email right then. I do not charge extra for this service. It's all teamwork, which is the key to any project's success.
Full Analysis or Partial?
I always recommend a full structural analysis consisting of gravity and lateral analysis. Doing this:
* Reduces liability for the Owner and arch/designer.
* Helps ensure smoother permitting and construction.
* When I see expensive over-design, I make cost-saving recommendations. Usually I find enough of this to cover my entire fee.
* Helps ensure a strong, code-compliant structure far less likely to have future problems such as drywall cracks, bouncy floors, settlement, and the like.
Sometimes an arch/designer only wants me to do lateral (wind and earthquake) analysis. Sometimes they just want help with retaining walls. Sometimes it's just a beam or two. I'm okay to provide whatever services are requested, no more or less. When a partial analysis is requested, I specifically exclude and disclaim responsibility for the other structural items that I don't analyze.
"Clean" Floor and Foundation Plans
My structural drawings use the arch/designer's floor plans as a base. Therefore, before I start analysis I need from the arch/designer, in pdf format, a "clean", to-scale, version of their floor plan (for each floor if multi-story), and their foundation plan. "Clean" means no dimensions, text, symbols, or hatching - just the linework. Note I only need "clean" floor plans and foundation plan, not clean versions of the other architectural sheets.
To summarize, before I start analysis I need, in pdf format, to scale:
* Full architectural plan set, including framing plans, foundation plan, floor plans, sections, and elevations.
* In addition to the above I also need "clean" floor plans and foundation plan.
Format of Plans
I only work with pdf format. I do not work with CAD. Nor do I want or need paper copies of plans. Any plans sent to me should be pdf format, emailed. Contact me to start an email correspondence. If you have paper plans you can get them scanned to pdf at Kinkos, Office Depot, Blueprint Company, Bayshore Office Supply, or any other retailer who has a large-format printer.
Errors and Omissions Insurance
I do not carry errors and omissions professional liability insurance, haven't for twenty years. If that is a requirement for your project, I will not be able to help you.
Deliverables I Provide
Usually I provide three, 24x36 (D-size) paper copies of wet-stamped structural plans called S sheets. These should be inserted into the architectural plan set prior to submittal for building permit. Every set of S sheets is also scanned to pdf so if requested I can email them to whoever needs them. I also provide three paper copies of wet-stamped calculations on 8.5x11 paper.
Some arch/designers want to do all of the drafting themselves and do not want S sheets from me. That's okay, I'm happy to work with each arch/desinger individually.
I almost never am involved in the construction process. IE I do not inspect the jobsite to ensure the builder has constructed correctly and completely what is shown on my S sheets. If, however, an Owner wants to retain me for these extra services, I'm happy to perfrom them at my standard hourly rates. Contact me for my current billing schedule.
That said, I encourage phone calls and emails from Owners or builders who may have questions during constrution. I do not charge for these communications, they are included as part of my standard service for every job. My main goal is to ensure every project is built right, the first time.