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Hire an Experienced Structural Engineer

Hire an Experienced Structural Engineer
 

Structural engineering is a special field of engineering that deals with the analysis and design of structures that support or resist loads. Structural engineering is not really thought of as an exact science, especially when it comes to retrofitting older buildings.  Therefore, there is usually more than one design possibility when it comes to planning a commercial seismic retrofit. Depending on the professionalism and experience of the engineer chosen, building enhancements can be added that may increase the construction costs by more than fifty percent.  When considering a commercial seismic retrofit, it is important for commercial property owners and the property management team to keep in mind that spending more on construction costs does not necessarily ensure a stronger building structure.

Because designing a retrofit is not an exact science, there are a variety of different strategies that can be used when creating a seismic retrofit plan.  An experienced engineer should produce plans for a seismic retrofit based on the most economic means possible, keeping with the goals of increased safety and a lowered PML.  Most property owners will want to ensure that construction costs are kept to a minimum without short-cutting the integrity of the entire structural design.  When choosing a structural engineer, it is very important to consider the following points:

  • Does the engineer have experience with seismic retrofit design for existing building structures?

  • Does the engineer integrate innovative, safe and cost-sensitive designs, while preserving the architectural aesthetics of the structure?

  • Does the engineer do a walk-through with a specialized, experienced contractor to discuss design construction during the initial concept phase of the project?

  • Does the structural engineer have several referrals from previous retrofit customers?  Is the engineer willing to give you contact information so you can personally speak with past clients?

  • Within about the last two years, how many seismic retrofit plans has the engineer created?

While it may take some time to interview and verify an engineer’s seismic retrofit expertise, it is a crucial part of the initial process if you plan to employ a specialty contractor for your seismic retrofit project.  You will find that many engineers and contractors have varying experience and skill levels.  You will want to find a qualified engineer who has previous experience in designing seismic retrofits and who is well-informed about existing building structures and familiar with the most current state and local building safety codes.

If you have questions about commercial seismic retrofitting in the Los Angeles area or would like to learn more about how to strengthen your California real estate property to withstand the forces from major seismic activity, call Saunders Commercial Seismic Retrofit today.  Our professional team has the expertise to work alongside your chosen structural engineer to get the best value for a seismic retrofit of your commercial property.

Southern California Office

(949) 646-0034

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