Support Team

Collaborations with Engineers Can Help Your Project’s Success

I recently interviewed members of engineering firms for a project that required a clean sheet system design. As we talked to the employees, I was impressed at how competent they all were. Any one of them could have done a fine job for us. All of them had experience with curtainwalls and window walls and provided good insight. Of course, we could only choose one firm for the job.

The great part of the process was learning about each firm and getting a little insight into their corporate personalities. All were great, just different.

Our project, has an aggressive schedule. We needed a drafting/shop drawing company with the staffing required to address our schedule needs before the engineer. This also allowed us to ask our drafting team who they’ve worked with, and who responds quickly to issues that arise. We needed this support from an engineer as part our team; not just someone who provides calculations.

Work Together

This may be a good time to talk about bringing your engineering partner on early in the process. Major aluminum suppliers have application engineers who can assist you. Their engineers can review the system for any windload requirements or reinforcement and building live load movement. Also, if you live in an area where seismic activity is a consideration, they can make sure the architect chose a system that will comply with the structural requirements needed. Generally, this will add time to prepare your bid, so
start the process as soon as possible with your supplier.

On our project, we had to match profiles that the architect had incorporated into his design. This put us in the position where we were working on the project and developing the system while also developing the elevations and details. With the extruder, drafting and engineering teams working together with our staff, the project is on schedule. It is important to setup weekly meetings to be sure everything flows smoothly.

Project by Project

Earlier I said you don’t want to have an engineering firm just to provide your calculations. But sometimes that’s all you need when you’re running a standard system and everything falls in line with the manufacturer’s published data. At that point, the engineer may be confirming anchor sizing and spacing for your application.

Remember, you may need engineering support at several stages of the project–sometimes from the very beginning of the estimating process. Find yourself a group of engineers you can consult about your needs and project schedule. When you do, your final product will be correct.

Craig Carson is the vice president and general manager of 8G Solutions in Denver.

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