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Industry Axis

BCA Summer Bash

Needham DBS provided event sponsorship for the Building Contractors Association Summer Bash on August 10, 2017. The theme of the event is "Building Bridges Between Generations." This event brings together BCA young professionals with the regular membership to provide networking opportunities in a fun, casual setting. Over 130 members filled the Old Barn at Salomon Farm for the 3rd annual Summer Bash. Guests enjoyed picnic fare, refreshments, games, and live entertainment by musician Adam Strack.

Bengfort Receives Master of Science Degree

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Timothy D. Bengfort, PE completed coursework for his Master of Science in Civil Engineering from University of Kansas in December 2016. Graduation ceremony for fall and spring graduates was held on Sunday May 14, 2017 at 10:30 am. Tim graduated from University of Kansas in 1997 with his Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering with a Structural Engineering focus.
The Lenexa office personnel joined in a surprise congratulatory celebration. Jeff Needham presented him with a special bonus for his hard work and commitment to push through coursework and meet his educational career goals. A huge shout out to his family for their patience and understanding for the hours of work he put in to his Master Degree.

Building Analysis - Where's the Beef?

Pre-engineered metal buildings are popular with owners and developers since they provide a low cost economical solution for low rise steel framed construction. The PEMB supplier custom engineers the building to meet the code and owner specified minimum design load requirements. Using welded three plate columns and rafters with thicknesses varying in 1/16” increments and unlimited configurations for material utilization, the supplier has the ability to optimize the design to a great degree of precision. The PEMB supplier minimizes the cost to the owner but limits the flexibility to do future upgrades.  This has owners asking "Where's the beef?"

What does the owner do to plan for expansion, install a new roof or install new equipment? These scenarios, as well as many others, create additional loads on the building or changes how the building performs. Many of these modifications, renovations and expansions occur years after the building was designed and put in to service. The building codes are continually changing, the owner may not have a set of the existing building drawings, or the site visit may reveal undocumented changes to the building. These are just a few challenges faced when deciding if the existing structure can adequately support the new loads being applied to the building.

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Scherschel Elected President-Elect to ISEA

 

Craig M. Scherschel, PE, Needham DBS, was recently elected to the position of President-Elect of the Indiana Structural Engineers Association (ISEA). Craig will serve as President-Elect from June 2017 to May 2019 after which he will serve ISEA as President from June 2019 to May 2021. He previously served as Secretary of ISEA from June 2015 to May 2017.

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An Evening in Paris - A Modern Masquerade

An Evening in Paris - A Modern Masquerade

Needham DBS sponsors a table at the 2017 Evening in Paris – A Modern Masquerade, a fundraiser for Academie Lafayette, a French Language Immersion Public Charter school in Kansas City MO.  The event was held at the Uptown Theatre on April 29.

Karen S. Hand and husband, Brian, chose steampunk themed costumes while guests Jeanie Abbett and Kyla Benjamin sported Art Deco style costumes (masks designed and created by Jeanie Abbett). Guests Bing and Mary Yzon were the superhero duet, Green Lantern and Black Canary. Needham DBS hosted four Academie Lafayette teachers Benoit Combreas (Oak music), Leila Sammou (6th), Yannick Mauvois (Oak PE) and Pascale Mauvois (5th). Guests participated fundraising events including the Wine Pull, Tombola, silent auction and live auction taking home lots of goodies. 

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Build with Strength Campaign Kicks Off In Kansas City

Needham DBS fully supports the Build with Strength campaign.

The Concrete Promotional Group (CPG) launched Build with Strength (BWS) in the Kansas City market on February 16, 2017 with the help of Michael Wymant, NRMCA, Senior Director Building Innovations. Build with Strength supports the use of concrete in Mid-Rise Construction projects and is focused on reminding developers and owners of the benefits of concrete in building construction. Multiple meetings were hosted and included a CPG members only kickoff, Nooniversity with Architects and Happy Hour with Engineers.

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We Know Aviation.

We Know Aviation.

Needham DBS 2017 Advertising Campaign - Ad 2

We Sell Steel.

We Sell Steel.

Needham DBS 2017 Marketing Campaign - Ad 1

Let's Take Back Our Profession

In the February 2017 issue of Structure magazine, the Structural Forum section contains a passionate debate on the complexity of ASCE 7-16. (For non-engineers, this is the standard that prescribes loads for buildings and is adopted into building codes.) It has become increasingly complex since its inception in 1982 and author Jim DeStefano argues that it is time for this to stop. He states that there is no evidence that more complex loading data actually creates a safer structure. He recommends "we take back our profession".

On this point I strongly agree. In fact, it has been my experience that increasing complexity leads to less safe buildings due to misapplication of code criteria. The code is so complex that for many simple structures it is far easier to just use older procedures and just slightly over-design the building. In most cases, it has little impact on the cost of construction.

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The Results Are In! Three Pass Exams.

Needham DBS celebrates three employees who passed the October 2016 NCEES professional engineering exams.

Jeremy Stech passed the 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.

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Needham DBS - 2017 Trade Show Events

Needham DBS - 2017 Trade Show Events

Needham DBS has scheduled to exhibit at two trade shows in early 2017.  Come by and visit if you are in the area.

The first show will be the Construction World Expo in Fort Wayne, Indiana on February 22nd and 23rd. The Expo will be held at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.

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Shulthis Stadium - Rebuilding History

Shulthis Stadium - Rebuilding History


Shulthis Stadium in Independence, Kansas is lays claim to be the location of the first night game in organized baseball under permanent lights. The game was played on April 28, 1930 between Independence KS and Muskogee OK teams in the Western Association League.

Originally constructed in 1918, the grandstand at the park was in dire need of rehabilitation for years. Citing the amount of deterioration and the cost of restoration, the Unified School District moved forward with a plan to replace the grandstand with a new structure that would be a close replica of the original building. It would once again become a functional structure for athletic events held at the school while honoring the grandstand’s historical significance.

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Grove Performing Arts Center - Inventing the Right Brace

Grove Performing Arts Center - Inventing the Right Brace

What do you do when you need to brace over 100 tons of concrete panels 70 feet in the air, and the longest standard brace available will only reach up about 45 feet? You design, fabricate and deliver your own custom bracing system!

Needham DBS was hired to design precast concrete panels as part of a value engineering effort for Crossland Prefab & Crossland Construction, Inc. at the Grove Performing Arts Center in Grove, Oklahoma. The project consists of load bearing precast panels for a FEMA safe room (storm shelter), a 1,200 seat auditorium, and a 70 foot tall stage area. Working within practical fabrication, shipping and erection limits, Needham DBS leveraged 3D REVIT modelling to layout almost 160 concrete panels containing over 2,600 embeds coordinated with structural steel, MEP and architectural models. Accommodation for structural framing, mechanical duct openings, architectural reveals and details, even special panel lap details for missile protection in the safe room was all performed in 3D for streamlined coordination and detailing.

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High-Strength Welded Wire Reinforcement in Tilt-Up Construction

High-Strength Welded Wire Reinforcement in Tilt-Up Construction

High-strength welded wire reinforcement (WWR) mats offer a viable alternative to traditional tied rebar mats in tilt-up concrete panels.  Using WWR can result in overall decrease in reinforcing steel tonnage for the project, and allows much faster placement.  Both of these factors can improve the project schedule and budget.  However, there are critical differences in the panel design that must be considered.

When properly designed, the use of WWR can improve the economy and performance of a tilt-up project.  For engineers, specifying WWR can result in a more precise reinforcement design with better confinement and control of shrinkage cracking.  For contractors, the use of WWR can simplify installation and result in significant labor and schedule savings.  Material savings for single mat panels are typically minor, but are more significant for double mat panels.  Involvement of the tilt-up engineer is always critical to ensure the WWR utilized is appropriate for slender wall design.

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The Andersons Celebrates Grand Opening of New Headquarters

The Andersons Celebrates Grand Opening of New Headquarters

There was excitement and anticipation for the ribbon cutting and grand opening of The Andersons new $54 million Corporate Headquarters in Maumee, Ohio. On October 3, 2016, the wait was over and The Andersons opened the doors to their 128,000 square foot facility. The building emphasizes openness with exposed structural steel members and a large open interior atrium space with an expanse of natural light. The open atrium space was a main design feature that allows better collaboration and interaction between the various divisions within the company. The building also features expansive windows, cantilevered conference rooms into the main atrium space, trading pits and a boardroom with outdoor patio. A common theme utilized in the building was agricultural features such as the use of lighting made from sections of corrugated steel grain silo and reclaimed wood.

Needham DBS was chosen as Engineer of Record after successfully completing work on another Headquarters office with the same architect. Needham DBS worked with the client and the architect, The Collaborative, Inc. to design an expressive open building that integrates the exposed structural steel framing and bracing into the building architecture. Needham DBS created a 3D Revit structural model that was then integrated into the architectural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing models to provide better coordination, a smoother transition and efficiency in the design, detailing and construction process.

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Needham DBS Exhibits at 2016 Tilt-Up Convention

Needham DBS attended and exhibited at the 2016 International Tilt-Up Convention and Expo.  The event was held at the Colorado Convention Center in Downtown Denver Colorado on October 10 through October 12, 2016.  

The convention kicked off on Monday October 10, 2016 with a buildings tour followed by the Awards Gala.  The Gala event began with a cocktail hour with drinks and live music followed by dinner and the awards program.  Awards presented during the event included the Alphonse Engelman Safety Awards, Tilt-Up Achievement Awards and the TCA Professional Awards.  The entertainment was provided by Rocky Mountain Bluegrass offering a great selection of traditional bluegrass and contemporary newgrass.  Needham DBS recieved an award for Warren Theatre Broken Arrow.  Jason Blankenship, Karen Hand and Craig Scherschel of Needham DBS were in attendance to receive the award.

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Rebranded Needham DBS

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With the launch of a new name and a new logo, Needham DBS, formerly Needham & Associates, is sharpening the company's focus on providing time and cost savings while maintaining high-quality work for contractors and owners.


Jeff Needham, CEO of the company said, "Needham has integrated Design Build Steel, formerly a sister division, into the fold of services we provide. Our industry needs more hands-on engineers, someone who can take the project from concept, to design and detail, and to the field, making sure there are no gaps. Our structural steel framing systems and design-build delivery system provide contractors with precious time so they can focus on construction. Needham DBS was an early adopter of BIM and uses Concurrent Design and Detailing to accelerate construction schedule. Time, higher industry quality standards, and low project cost all come together for our clients."

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Needham DBS Presents at JOCO Contractors Licensing Seminar

Karen Hand, P.E. gave a 2 Hour Presentation titled “Tips for Successful, Profitable and Safe Projects...From the Desk to the Field” at the Johnson County Contractors Licensing Seminar. The seminar was held at the Overland Park Convention Center on October 24, 2016. The seminars are held twice each year. Contractors are required to take coursework to maintain their contractor licenses in Johnson Country. The presentation was sponsored by CPG, Concrete Promotional Group.

Abstract: As a structural engineer I have noticed a concerning decline in quality of design and construction documents. The purpose of the presentation is to address areas of concern and bring those to light so that you can plan for more successful projects. Thinking big picture in addition to narrowing in on details can allow you to view projects differently.

How To Pick Your Structural Engineer

I am always surprised how owners select the structural engineer for a project. 

Very often the selection is based on a long-standing, trust-worthy relationship.  This approach is most similar to the selection of an attorney, accountant or other professional service.  The personal relationship remains a valid way to approach the engineering selection process.

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Needham DBS Hits a Home Run

Needham DBS Hits a Home Run

In a May 26, 2015 The New York Times article titled “A House of Worship, Converted",  Andrew Keh describes the resurgence of minor league baseball in South Bend, Indiana.  The focus of the article is the conversion of a Jewish Synagogue into the South Bend Cubs team store.  It is a fun article and a great example of repurposing an existing building.

Contained in the article is another story, the construction of the team training facility that is behind right field in the articles' photos.  This typical looking building is not really typical at all.  It took the creative engineering skill of the Needham DBS staff in Fort Wayne to "pull one out" in the bottom of the ninth.  When a major pre-engineered building company had to back out the contract for this building due to their delivery problems, Ancon Construction of Goshen, Indiana, called on Needham DBS in the ninth to "pitch hit".   And boy did they!

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