Fort Wayne

Industry Axis

Jeff Needham Earns TCA College of Fellows Status

Jeff Needham has been inducted into the Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA) College of Fellows for his years of service and commitment to the tilt up industry spanning over three decades. He accepted this appointment during the Awards Gala of the 2017 Tilt-Up Convention and Expo in Miami on Friday evening, September 29.

The Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA) College of Fellows honors the rich tradition of service to the Association on behalf of the industry. The College of Fellows cultivates awareness for the community of professionals dedicated to the mission of the Association, and elevates the service of its members to the entire industry. Fellows establish this service through their organization's commitment to membership and participation and are elected to fellowship by a jury of their peers.

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Northland Christian School Hosts Construction Open House


The Northland Christian School administration organized an Open House for staff, parents and students to visit their new school, currently under construction. The administration offered time slots on September 18th, 19th and 21st to tour the construction site. Teachers showed off their future classroom areas, students enjoyed seeing the construction equipment and building materials. Taking their first walk down the corridors and entering in to their classrooms in a construction environment is a different experience. We hope that students are inspired by the rawness of the building and seek a future in Construction, Architecture or Engineering.

The school will open with 400 students from Pre-K to 12th grade. In order to reduce the amount of money the school will need to finance, they are currently fundraising to provide furniture and items needed for each classroom. Sign up to sponsor a room or purchase a desk on the Northland Christian website.  http://www.northlandchristianed.com/newbuilding

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Composite Concrete Panels - The Future for Tilt-up Walls?


As I have watched the tilt-up concrete construction industry develop over many years, I have appreciated the way it has become a preferred method of construction for many building types. This growth has been based on a number of improvements in construction and design technology, such as larger mobile cranes, the recognition and adoption of slender wall design in building codes, and a growing appreciation for the flexibility and speed of tilt-up methods. The widespread adoption of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) embraces the tilt-up industry, which already provides a fully code-compliant panel. The industry has the potential to make these panels more structurally efficient through the use of composite panels. This is a huge opportunity many designers and contractors may be missing.

To view the entire article published in the Summer 2017 Issue of Tilt-Up Today Magazine, visit http://tilt-up.org/tilt-uptoday/2017/08/08/composite-concrete-panels-the-future-for-tilt-up-walls/

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Tilt-Up Convention & Expo - Miami

The TCA announed today that the Tilt-Up Convention & Expo in Miami will continue as scheduled.  The hotel and convention center in Miami suffered some landscape damage but otherwise withstood the sustained winds and storm surge from Hurricane Irma.  The Miami airport is reopening today and travel will be back to normal by the time of the convention.  The convention will begin on Thursday, September 28.

Jeff Needham will be presenting "Structural Design of Composite Tilt-Up Panels" on Saturday, September 30.  

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Tampa Premium Outlets Reopens

This year has been tough for our projects in the hurricane regions.  The strength and durability of tilt up construction in strong sustained winds and projectiles has performed very well.

Tampa Premium Outlets closed on Saturday, September 9 in preparation of Hurricane Irma and reopened on Tuesday, September 12. "Due to weather conditions, individual retailers will determine if they will open. With thousands of Floridians without power, the center is open to the community, offering people a place to visit, take advantage of dining options and amenities, charge their phones or just take a break from the overwhelming events that have taken place because of Hurricane Irma."

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Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets Reopens

Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets closed on Saturday, September 9 in preparation of Hurricane Irma and reopened on Tuesday, September 12.  "Due to weather conditions, individual retailers will determine if they will open. With thousands of Floridians without power, the center is open to the community, offering people a place to visit, take advantage of dining options and amenities, charge their phones or just take a break from the overwhelming events that have taken place because of Hurricane Irma."  

Accelerated Joist and Deck Delivery


Needham DBS delivered joist and deck to a project site in Wichita Kansas just 6 weeks from award of the steel contract. Although this feat seems routine to our firm, the realization that this is nearly impossible to achieve otherwise is definitely something to brag about.

Needham DBS has long standing relationships with joist vendors and has working knowledge of the detailing requirements for the projects. With the experienced staff at Needham DBS, the joist and deck erection drawings and detailed cut lists are created by our own staff in house. The detailing tends to be the bottleneck for the joist manufacturers especially when approval drawings go out and don’t come back in a timely window. If plant schedules allow room for projects to get in to production on short notice, Needham DBS can provide the list and slip right in to the schedule.

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Tanger Outlets Texas City Reopens


The Tanger Outlets located in Texas City TX closed at 5 pm on Friday August 25 as Hurricane Harvey was developing into a Category 4 Hurricane with sustained winds up to 130 mph.  The store reopened September 1 with special store hours.  Many retailers remain closed due to staffing conditions but power and services are available.  

Needham DBS designed the project in 2011 for 130 mph winds and used tilt up concrete panel construction.  Prior to Hurricane Harvey making landfall, Needham was in concact with the Architect and Tanger Site Manager to discuss necessary precautions related to the storm.  The roof was designed to a higher level of uplift that code with Factory Mutual Global Risk wind parameters at perimeters and corners to keep the roof in tact.  The tilt up wall panels perform extremely well in sustained winds and are durable for projectiles so the design team was not concerned about the structure itself.  Testing and maintaining scuppers and overflow scuppers for high intensity rainfall projections was key.  The site received an estimated 37 inches of rain.

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Houston Premium Outlets Reopens


Houston Premium Outlets located in Cypress TX, on the NW corner of the outer loop closed at 1 pm on August 26th as Hurricane Harvey makes landfall and remained closed until noon on Friday August 31st however many of the retailers remain closed until they feel it’s appropriate for their employees. The shopping center has opened to provide residents a place to visit with electricity, restaurants and others services.  

Our heart goes out to all the residents of Houston and the surrounding communities that have endured so much over the last week.  Prayers for helping hands and gracious hearts as the cleanup process begins.

Needham DBS Summer Internship


The Fort Wayne office of Needham DBS welcomed Annie Nielson for a summer internship. Annie is an undergrad student at Brigham Young University studying Civil Engineering and will receive her Bachelor of Science Degree in December 2017. She will enter in to the Master Degree program immediately after graduation. We hope to have her back again next summer.

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BUILDing Muscle


Employee News:

Karen Hand is not only building buildings, she’s building muscle.

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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


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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