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Industry Axis

Steel: A Beautiful Mess

steel Domino Park - Photo Courtesy Jeanie Abbett

Not everyone sees an intricate jumbling of steel as a beautiful mess, but I do.

As we grind through engineering and drawings with computers assisting us every step of the way, we become disconnected. Construction schedules are so fast that we step on site and see steel progressing so rapidly, worried about the milestone dates, we don’t step back to observe the achievements and the sheer beauty of the steel.  

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Kansas State University: CNS629 Tilt-Up Construction

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Kansas State University and Professor Kimberly Waggle Kramer, are leaders in promoting tilt-up construction to its students in the Department of Architectural Engineering and Construction Science (ARE/CNS). As one of the only universities in the US offering a full semester-long course in tilt-up construction, students of CNS629 learn about all aspects of the tilt-up construction process.

Needham DBS was invited by Professor Kramer to do a special topics guest lecture. Jason Blankenship, a 2007 BS/MS graduate of K-State ARE/CNS, presented on the topic of Tilt-Up Sandwich Panels. Topics covered included: history of sandwich panels, energy code background, wythe connector types, and non-composite and composite panel behavior, mechanics, and construction processes.

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Rising to the Challenge

Project_Dylan_110618-68-copy Project Dylan

Project Dylan is a new prototype fulfillment center for Amazon. The warehouse building has an approx. footprint of 700,000 SF slab on grade and another 1.95 million SF of elevated deck. The exterior is clad with 330,000 SF of full height composite insulated tilt-up panels. The panels are non-load bearing for gravity but as a VE alternate on the project, the panels do carry large shear forces for seismic loading.  

With the tallest panel standing at 81’-1” tall, Concrete Strategies (CSI) set a company record for the tallest tilt-up panel ever erected on a project and an industry record for the tallest composite panel ever constructed. This was accomplished utilizing an innovative composite panel design by Needham DBS.  Meadow Burke introduced the Super 62 which was used on this project.  The composite panel industry is on the frontier of emerging design technologies, the innovation is ripe to propel our industry in to the future.

Mike Stein Attends Lenexa State of the City Address

20190220_11465_20190228-171459_1 Mike Stein and his Daughter attend State of the City.

Needham DBS’ Mike Stein attended the Mayor’s 2019 State of the City address for Lenexa, KS on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 at Hyatt Place & Lenexa Conference Center.

A few of the highlights of the presentation by Mayor Mike Boehm, in his 17th address:

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Olathe West High School: A Case Study in Tilt-Up Collaboration

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The team that delivered a tilt-up concrete panel solution for the award-winning Olathe West High School project were invited to present at the 42nd Annual Scholer-Peterson Concrete Conference at Kansas State University on February 2, 2019. Jason Blankenship with Needham DBS, along with Travis Downing with McCown Gordon Construction and Aaron Curtis with Lithko Contracting gave a presentation highlighting the challenging design and construction aspects of the project and outlined the process the team used for successfully executing the complex project.

Some of the key points of the presentation were: reviewing the factors in selecting a tilt-up approach, the challenging lateral system design, execution of the segmented arc “black box” panels, detailing coordination, the use of cast-in thin brick and insulated panels.  In addition, the use of BIM for tilt-up panels was discussed. Revit was used for the BIM not only as a design coordination tool, but also as a platform for tilt-up panel detailing, and then leveraging the benefits for construction use.

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Needham DBS 2018 Annual Meeting

Needham DBS Board of Directors held their Annual Board of Directors and Shareholders Meeting to present financials to current shareholders on Friday, January 18, 2019. The meeting was held in the Fireside Room at the Shadow Glen Country Club followed by dinner in the Main Dining Room.

ENR Spotlights Project Dylan

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Engineering News Record, ENR, Magazine spotlights Project Dylan, currently under construction in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

Link to the article E-Commerce Logistics Test Limits of Tilt-Up Construction.  

Needham DBS: Kansas City 2018 Christmas Dinner

2018Christmas-NeedhamKC2-2 2018 Christmas Dinner at Grunauer

Needham DBS' Kansas City Office celebrated the success of 2018 with a year end Christmas Dinner. The dinner was held at Grunauer in Kansas City's Historic Freight House District on Saturday, December 15, 2018.  Employees and their spouses enjoyed an Austrian-German meal of appetizers, dinner and dessert.

Needham DBS: Fort Wayne Christmas Dinner

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Needham DBS' Fort Wayne Office celebrated the success of 2018 with a year end Christmas Dinner.  The dinner was held in the Boardroom at Ruth's Chris Steak House in downtown Fort Wayne on December 8, 2018.  Employees enjoyed an evening of great company, dinner, libations and bountiful desserts.  

Sean Wonderlich Passes NCEES Exam

Sean Wonderlich passes the Fall 2018 NCEES Principles of Practice of Engineering (PE) Exam. The PE civil/structural exam is a civil breadth and a structural depth examination. The breadth exam contains questions from all five areas of civil engineering. The depth exams focus more closely on a single area of practice in civil engineering. Examinees work all questions in the morning session and all questions in the afternoon module they have chosen. The exam is an 8-hour open-book exam. It contains 40 multiple-choice questions in the 4-hour AM session, and 40 multiple-choice questions in the 4-hour PM session.

Needham DBS appreciates the effort put forth by employees who invest their time and effort to take the exam. Congratulations Sean!

Needham DBS presents at Fall 2018 JOCO Licensing Seminar

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Karen S. Hand, PE, President of Needham DBS, presented a 2 hour seminar to about 90 contractors for the Fall 2018 Johnson County Contractors Licensing Educational Seminar.  The presentation of "Temporary Wind Bracing of Tilt-Up Concrete Panels" was at 8 am-10 am, October 30, 2018 at the Overland Park Convention Center.  

OSHA regulates the construction of buildings with concrete panels by requiring the panels to be temporarily braced to prevent panels from overturning or collapsing during construction. The Tilt-Up Concrete Association's brace document provides contractors and engineers with detailed instructions to interpret the existing codes and apply the forces to panels during the construction phase of the project.  Significant changes have been implemented since the last version. The guide is intended to be used in conjunction with ASCE/SEI 7-16 for access to the figures and tables. Attendees learned historical background leading up to the current guideline.  Major changes to the TCA Guideline for Temporary Wind Bracing of Tilt-Up Concrete Panels During Construction were presented as well as jobsite safety tips and case studies for bracing Tilt-Up Construction.

Composite Tilt-Up Panels - The Future of Tilt-Up Walls

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Jeffrey Needham, Needham DBS, sponsored by the Concrete Promotional Group (CPG), presented "Composite Tilt-Up Panels - The Future of Tilt-Up Walls" to the AIA Nooniversity held on October 10, 2018.  The presentation explores the current state-of-the-art in composite tilt-up panel construction and explains developments in design methods for tilt-up composite panels.  The difference between solid panel design and the two-wythe composite design will be illustrated and the limitations of the current composite design methods will be shown.  The future of composite panels in tilt-up construction concludes the talk. 

Thanks to Christy Martin, Executive Director for CPG, and the Kansas City AIA for the opportunity.

Mock-Ups: Worth Their Weight In Gold

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What could make a 72'-6" panel more complicated?  The introduction of a new product.  The iconX composite connectors for insulated panels brought a lot of questions from the tilt-up subcontractor and the general contractor. The project is complex and the panels are very large.  Therefore, the decision to build a mock-up panel was worth its weight in gold.

Prior to the pour, the contractor got hands-on with the iconX composite connector and insulation to develop a marking and handling system to make the project run smoothly. The contractor then studied the sequencing of embeds, welded wire reinforcing mats, miscellaneous rebar placement, iconX connector and insulation installation, concrete placement and finishing and lifting/bracing hardware placement.  

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Needham DBS Announces New Management

The Board of Directors of Needham DBS is pleased to announce the following management changes effective July 1, 2018.

Karen Hand, P.E. is the new President of the firm. Karen will direct all operations of Needham DBS and will also manage the Kansas City office. Karen started her career with Needham and Associates in 1998 after working for two other Kansas City firms. She is a civil engineering graduate of Missouri University of Science and Technology and holds a Master’s Degree in Engineering Management from the University of Kansas. Karen will continue to be a leader in concrete construction on the Board of Directors of the Tilt-up Concrete Association and as a member of American Concrete Institute Committee 551 on Tilt-Up Concrete Design and Construction.

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Needham Presents to Joint SEAKM and CPG Meeting

Jeff Needham will present "Composite Tilt-Up Panels - The Future of Tilt-Up Walls" to CPG & SEAKM members..  The meeting will begin at 4pm with an opportunity for networking followed by the presentation from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm.  CPG is providing drinks and appetizers to enjoy.

Presentation Summary:
The continued adoption of energy codes is pushing tilt-up designers to use more edge to edge  insulated panels. Using the two wythes of these panels working together in composite action is a logical solution for engineers to provide a strong and very efficient insulated panel. The use of composite design has been limited due to thermal bow concerns, lack of good design methods, and limited connector types.
This presentation will explore the current state-of-the-art in composite tilt-up panel construction and explain developments in design methods for tilt-up composite panels. The differences between solid panel design and two-wythe composite design will be illustrated and the limitations of current composite design methods will be shown. The future of composite panels in tilt-up construction will conclude the talk.

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AGC of Kansas State Building Award Recipients

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Associated General Contractors of Kansas has recognized two Needham DBS projects in the announcement of the 2018 Awards.  Winners were announced in March and appeared in the Wichita Business Journal on March 9, 2018.

Shulthis Stadium received the "Award of Excellence" for New Construction up to $2,000,000.

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David Mittendorf Retires

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David Mittendorf, Vice President and longtime manager of the Fort Wayne, Indiana office of Needham DBS retired effective September 1, 2017. Dave remains on the Board of Directors and will continue to consult with Needham DBS.

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Needham DBS Provides Education

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The company culture at Needham DBS places a heavy emphasis on higher education, continuing education and career advancement opportunities.

Founder, Jeff Needham, earned a MSCE from University of Kansas in 1980 while working full time. With an appreciation for hard work and an eagerness to learn throughout his career, Needham began offering tuition reimbursement to his employees and encouraged all engineers to take at least core subjects in the master’s level engineering curriculum.

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Denver Premium Outlets Under Construction

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Needham DBS has been working with Cincinnati Architect, FRCH, and Owner, Simon Property Group, on the design and construction documents for the Denver Premium Outlet for the past few years. Contracts for the construction were worked out early summer and the flurry of shop drawings for the 330,000 sq foot complex kept the office busy over the summer. The groundbreaking ceremony with local officials and Simon Property executives was held on October 5, 2017 and construction is now well underway. All tilt up panels have been formed, cast and set in to place. Most of the structural steel has been erected and roofing is being installed over much of the deck.

Located at the intersection of I-25 and 136th Avenue in Thornton, Colorado, the facility will have a fantastic view of the mountains to the West. The open-air shopping center is expected to open in Fall 2018.

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Needham DBS Hosts Annual Meeting and Christmas Party

Needham DBS Board of Directors will be assembling to hold their Annual Board Meeting as well as present financials to current shareholders on Friday, Decemer 8, 2017.  Needham DBS will close the Lenexa office at 4:30 pm to hold a small reception to welcome Fort Wayne employees Director, Dave Mittendorf and his wife Cathy, Doug Bulmahn, Tim Fraser, Craig Scherschel and his wife Amanda who will be traveling to Kansas City for the weekend. 

The Needham DBS Christmas Party will be held on Saturday December 9, 2017 at Grunauer's Private Dining Loft in the Freight House District.

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