Case Study | 9.13.2017

Full-Service Façade Design as the Specialty Structural Engineer

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Protective Design

Key Technologies

High-Fidelity Modeling

Multi-Hazard Coordination

PEC offers façade design and specialty structural engineer (SSE) services to architects, engineers, and contractors. As the specialty structural engineer, we provide a complete facade system design, from each component to the connections into the supporting structure. By providing a complete solution, we help building owners and project team reduce potential schedule overruns and unexpected costs associated with typical delegated-design approaches.

What We Do

Our specialty structural engineer services include:

  • Structural façade engineering for components including glazing, mullions, cable supports, metal panels, and other panel systems for ALL conventional and extreme loads
  • Design and coordination of façade supports including embed design, transfer brackets to accommodate offsets in the facade and structure, attachment point engineering, local edge-of-structure reinforcing, and connections that accommodate movement of the facade and the structure
  • Design and coordination of structural bracing of façade systems including kickers, torsional bracing, and lateral bracing
  • Design and detailing services for components, connections, and entire systems

PEC provides specialty structural engineer services for the following systems:

  • Curtainwall with glazing, metal panel, and other panel types.
  • Storefont with doors, transoms, and side lites
  • Punched or ribbon window with H-frame or other supports
  • Cable-supported glazing and other catcher systems
  • Other specialty glazing systems

Our engineers leverage extensive experience in design and detailing of complex façade systems to provide efficient design solutions to our clients. We communicate directly with our clients through standard CAD tools such as AutoCAD and SketchUp, and through parametric modeling software such as Autodesk Revit, and Rhinoceros/Grasshopper which allows for faster and easier coordination.

In addition to designing facades and their supports for conventional loads like dead, live, and wind loads, our licensed engineers have expertise in façade design and detailing for extreme loading from blast (shock and debris impact), ballistic impact, seismic forces and displacements, extreme weather events, and hurricane and tornado debris impact.

Design methods range from simple analysis to delegated testing and, where required, we employ high fidelity, non-linear and dynamic analysis methods and tools to meet project requirements without excessive cost and conservatism.

How We Can Help

Specialty Structural Engineer Services for Design Bid Build Projects

In support of Architects and Structural Engineers on Design-Bid-Build (DBB) projects, PEC coordinates the design and proper detailing of the façade and corresponding bracing requirements. We work with the design team early to identify all required miscellaneous steel, embeds and steel reinforcements that must be included in the structural bid package and to define the delegated design scope, criteria and requirements. As a result, delegated portions of the design are bid and engineered quickly and correctly by the selected sub-contractors.

In this role, PEC’s SSE services reduce the burden of coordinating façade requirements that often fall upon the Architect and Structural Engineer of Record (SER) during the design phase and improve the speed and quality of sub-contractor submittals during the bid and construction phases by creating a clear division of responsibility and design requirements for delegated façade design items.

Specialty Structural Engineer Services for Design Assist Projects

In design-assist pursuits, PEC serves as the full-service façade engineering and design consultant providing coordination services to the design team in early phases of the project and providing full design, detailing and coordination services through construction to ensure seamless integration of the façade and structure. In these unique and highly specialized projects, we integrate directly with the Architect and SER and team with a specialty façade manufacturer to provide a highly specialized and collaborative end product which can achieve things not typically feasible under the standard design build and design bid build project structures. Integration and collaboration are the highest priority for PEC in these unique teaming situations and our primary focus is ensuring that the architectural vision and integration with the structure showcase each unique facades.

Specialty Structural Engineer Services for Design Build Projects

PEC directly supports specialty façade manufacturers and installers as their go-to SSE in fast paced design build (DB) project formats. Our licensed engineers identify project scope including design requirements and necessary delegated design items and provide designs that effectively meet project requirements and integrate with the intent and location of SER designed supports and anchor points. By leveraging our ability to design for all load cases, including extreme loading from blast and extreme weather events, along with our experience in designing façade bracing, attachments, anchor points and embeds, our engineers provide façade design services that can meet any delegated design scope requirements as a single source specialty structural engineer support contractor.

For additional information on our specialty structural engineer (SSE) services and our façade design expertise, or to find out how we can help you on your next building envelope design, coordination or detailing project, contact Aldo McKay or Eric Sammarco.


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