6C — August 20 - September 16, 2021 — Architects/Engineers — Owners, Developers & Managers — M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal


A rchitects /E ngineers By M. Alexis Herr, PE, ECS Mid-Atlantic Combating Delays Due to Geostructures

get delayed and expens- e s mo un t . That ’s why it ’s critical to carefully p l a n o u t these aux- i l i ar y s i t e s t r u c t u r e s W

hen geostructures are designed poorly, projects invariably

structures, such as those used for excavation support or slope stability, are typically con- sidered early in the design process. But all too often, smaller site structures such as retaining walls, weir walls, bioretention tanks, aggregate piles, or foundations for pre- manufactured structures are overlooked until the permit or construction phases. These smaller structures are usually laid out by the civil engineer, but their structural design tends to be an afterthought. When this happens, builders scramble to hire an engineer

just as the design phase is wrapping up. The engineer- ing design gets rushed, and the engineer no longer has the capacity to plan out an optimal structure. One real-world example: A civil engineer recently de- signed bio retention tanks for a popular chain of standalone restaurants. The civil drawing showed the wall layout with wall heights and a generic wall section detail. However, the walls actually required a custom engineered design which considered their heights, property line restrictions, and

the heavy traffic load behind the walls. The base building was permitted and construc- tion underway before an engi- neer was engaged to design the tank walls. The resulting walls required an additional per - mitting review which delayed construction, and if kept as in- tended, would require deep and expensive keys to prevent slid- ing. Fortunately, simple design changes such as the inclusion of grade beams eliminated the construction costs of installing a key. Earlier involvement with the geostructural engineer may have incorporated these

changes more seamlessly and allowed for the walls to be permitted with the building, reducing delays. Similar delays occurred on a transportation center in which the site walls were placed such that they would load the deep- er garage foundation walls. If there was an opportunity to incorporate easy changes, con- struction costs could have been significantly reduced. Open and frequent communication early in the project between the civil, site wall engineer, and garage engineer can catch conflicts like these during the schematic design phase. On this same project, cais - sons designed by the geo- technical engineer for slope stabilization saw the last minute addition of supporting a pedestrian bridge. The new bridge loads required design of a transfer girder and an understanding of how loads from both the earth and bridge would be distributed between the row of piles. Overdesign of the piles would be costly without this understanding and proper time to finesse the design. ECS’ geotechnical engineers and structural engineers who specialize in geostructural design operate in tandem to provide a seamless and optimized layout of your site features. Use of a single engi- neering firm for both services alleviates communications is- sues and allows for advanced coordination with the site civil. We look forward to helping with the success of your next geostructural project. M. Alexis Herr, PE is principal at ECS Mid-At- lantic LLC. MAREJ Becker Morgan Group ranks highly for 8th consecutive year DOVER, DE — Engineer- ing News Record (ENR) rec- ognized Becker Morgan Group as a 2021 Mid-Atlantic Top Design Firm for the eighth year in a row, ranking the firm #68. This ranking represents an 18-point climb up the list from the prior year. “We are proud of our talent- ed staff and thankful for our devoted clients who have made this achievement possible,” said founder and president W. RonaldMorgan, AIA. MAREJ

M. Alexis Herr

early in the design process. Geostructures are struc- tures that rely symbiotically on the earth to maintain their form and function. Large geo-

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