The Engineering of Home Construction

construction engineer

Overview

A home takes a central place in the life of Americans. It is an objective that takes many years to realize more so if one is seeking an ideal home. Upon getting a home, one gets a feeling of achievement and pride. Many Americans try to have a home by all means. The competition for getting a home is stiff.

If you have decided to construct a home, then you have made a good decision. However, there are various factors that you are going to consider and these include the following:

-Where you are likely to stay (this is determined by various factors. The place of work or business is one of the determining factors on where one is likely to stay)

-The budget of home construction

-The size of the family

-Purpose of building the home (eg to stay or rent it out)

-The geographical factors

-Whether any materials are already available

-The expected life expectancy of the home

-Whether one will seek the services of an engineer

In some cases, it is not compulsory to hire an engineer for your home construction. However, due to the benefits that come with hiring one, this is an option that you could seriously consider. Again, there are some situations which will warrant that you seek the services of an engineer. In short, it is recommendable that you hire an engineer for your home construction.

This article will guide you on the engineering of home construction.

framing of a house engineering

The and Responsibilities of an Engineer in Home Construction

The building of a home is a peculiar under-taking, and a number of professionals offer their services from the design of the building all the way to post-occupancy. The professionals who are most critical in a home construction include the following:

-Architect

-Quantity surveyor

-Structural engineer

-Mechanical engineer

-Electrical engineer

As you can see from the above, the engineer of a home construction project has a wide scope, and different professionals are going to carry out different functions. It should be noted that each professional is important for the overall project. The safety of the building will be realized if all the professionals work together in harmony.

The structural reengineer is significant in ensuring that the structural system of the home is strong and stable. A home needs to withstand artificial and natural forces. In addition to that, one must be careful to ensure that the building is safe.

The mechanical engineer ensures that the plumbing system of the home is strong, stable, and efficient. In addition to that, if you need an elevator in your home, then this is the professional that you are going to call.

Engineering of a home constriction is a highly regulated industry. The engineers have to prepare answers for the authorities. The decisions that the engineers make could be a matter of life and death. For example, the collapse of the roof could lead to serious injuries and death.

There are various ways through which engineers ensure the safety of the home. These include the following:

-Reinforced concrete columns

-The making of a strong foundation

-The use of floor beams

-The use of high quality materials

Dynamics Shaping Home Construction

Cost

The cost of a home is a big factor in the engineering of home construction. You need to understand that engineers will need a financial commitment from you because your home is going to be a work in progress.

In the US, the cost of building a home is a complex issue and cannot be pre-determined easily. However, with the right professionals, you might be able to have the rough estimate of the project.

The cost of home construction can either be higher or lower than average depending on the main conditions of the area in question. Parameters which can lead to a higher cost of building a home include the following: endangered species habitat, conflicting utilities, buried storage tanks, and ground water.

Reliable and experienced architects do not concentrate on cutting down on the cost of home construction. Rather, they concentrate on the quality of the home construction and the need to meet, and indeed exceed, the expectations of the clients.

However, there has been a situation where a home construction engineer tried to lower the cost of home construction. In such cases, the outcomes were worrying. For example, if the inspectors notice that a home has not been constructed in a professional and safe way, then they can order that the home be demolished.

Again, if the tenants find that your home is not safe and healthy, you could be sued. A court case can be time consuming, and is an expensive process. Such a process is going to drain you. In addition to that, a court case could erode the reputation of your company. Rather than waiting for such a thing to happen, why not concentrate on the best engineering possible for your home construction?

Whatever choice you make in the engineering of home construction, never compromise on the quality of the home construction materials. Such a choice is going to be counter-productive to the home construction plans and will make it difficult to have long-term plans of the home.

The Time Factor

When it comes to the successful construction of a home, time brings an issue of a delicate balance, and it is a sensitive issue. On one hand, a fast project could mean a poor quality and poor quality outcomes. On the other hand, a slow home construction project is going to translate to a high cost of construction.

What is important is to create a healthy balance between high quality and speed. As far as possible, it is important to ensure that the home construction project follows a pre-determined schedule in order to try and complete the building in time. However, one should ensure that the project is not in any way rushed.

home construction engineer

Benefits of Hiring an Engineer

There are several reasons why you should hire an engineer for your home. To start with, any construction project could require certain permits. Authorities will require that you seek certain permits. Look at the following situations which will require the intervention and the approval of the authorities:

-A home that is constructed near a school or school-going children

-A home built on a shaky ground

-A home located in an area that is prone to natural disasters

-A mammoth home construction project

In such cases, authorities might hesitate to approve a construction project due to the issue of safety. The process of seeking the permits can over-whelm you. Again, there is no shortcut whatsoever to this process. Rather than looking for such permits on your own, seek the services of an engineer. Such professionals are in the industry already and they have the right network. Again, the engineer can represent you in a critical meeting and answer pertinent questions for you.

One of the most critical stages of home construction is the foundation. The engineering course is a long and difficult course. It requires courses at university, internship, and experience. Therefore, when you hire an engineer, be assured that you are seeking the services of a qualified, competent, and experienced professional.

There are some areas in the US where the construction process could have foundational problems. For example, in Sacramento, CA, most homes are built upon clay soil and this poses a big construction challenge. The people of California may be fascinated by red dirt, but this poses a big construction problem for a general contractor Sacramento. This is because it contains a lot of clay and moisture. In addition to that, Sacramento fluctuates between drought and heavy rains, and this makes it difficult to build a home or expand a home.

Similarly, Florida has its fair share of foundational problems. This is because of the poor conditions of the soils. The people of Florida should understand that a cracked building is possible. Therefore, there should be concrete prevention measures early enough. A prospective home owner in Florida should understand the surface. The surface of some places in Florida could be unsteady due to limestone.

In such a case, an engineer is best placed to manage the problem early before it occurs. It is better to hire an engineer who understands the local environment and the local factors that influence home construction. Hire a structural engineer early, than waiting to do cosmetic repair later in the life of the home.

If you have an engineer, you are going to follow the recommended building codes. These codes are described at the local level, state level, federal level, and even at the international level. Individual jurisdictions are going to have a set of codes which should be followed. Following building codes shows that one is making an effort to follow best practices. Jurisdictions use building codes in order to ensure safety and quality of the construction process.

Hiring an engineer can help you build a home bearing in mind the importance of land conservation, sustainability, and environmental protection. Such engineers have the appropriate knowledge on such endeavors and they will not hesitate to assist you.

Factors to Consider When Looking for an Engineer for Your Home Construction

There are several factors that you should consider when choosing an engineer for your home. To start with, check out the official qualification of your engineering candidate. It is possible for one to acquire engineering skills through hands-on, but this is an area you should not consider due to the risks that it carries. It is important that you look for a degree holder, and if possible, someone with a post-graduate degree.

Look for construction skills which are specific to the building or home in question. Look at the type of home you want, and ensure that you source engineering skills which are in tandem to the desired project outcomes. A general structural engineer may not suitable for your construction needs.

An engineer cannot rely on textbook knowledge in order to solve construction problems. There are other sets of skills which play a critical role in achieving optimal outcomes in engineering for home construction. Other important attributes that can help an engineer in the construction industry include the following:

-Out-of-the box thinking

-Creativity and innovation

-The use of wisdom and discretion

-Social skills such as conflict resolution

When it comes to the construction sector, be sure to check other projects by the same engineer. For example, if the engineer says he operates in Palm Beach, ask for a portfolio and evidence of past construction work. In other words, you are going to follow the principle of, do not tell me, show me. Such projects will help you evaluate the credibility of the professional in question and thereafter make a prudent decision.

Evaluate the credibility of what the engineer is promising to do and see if there is a possibility that he could be truthful and professional. The engineer should give answers that carry a time-frame. Vague answers are a red flag.

At the same time, ensure that you clearly ask about the cost of the project. This is an issue that both of you should consider as the payment modality varies. Generally, the structural engineers are paid based on the following three main options:

-Pay per hour

-Percentage of the total cost

-Payment per square foot

-A price based on the entire project

Be warned that some of the engineering firms could carry hidden fees. Therefore, make sure that you clarify on this. If you are not able to, ask your lawyer or accountant to help you on understanding the fees.

Conclusion

The engineering of home construction plays a critical role in ensuring that there are optimal quality outcomes in the process of home construction. This has to be done and you have to ensure that you have the right engineer. It could be said that an engineer is indispensable in the construction of a safe and a high quality home that is going to stand the test of time.

The Engineering Behind Restaurant Design

restaurant design engineering

 

The United States has around 925,000 restaurants, and there are new ones opening every day. In 2015, for the first time Americans spent more on dining out than groceries. For the 12 months to March 2016, a total of $157.5 billion was spent at restaurants and bars, and $151.8 billion at grocery stores. This illustrates the change in emphasis in malls from retail to dining. Malls are becoming lifestyle centers and not merely places to shop. Technology is playing a greater role than ever in the restaurant Design Engineering of new restaurants, with both audio engineering and lighting technology becoming crucial to the success of restaurant ventures. People expect a greater level of design from restaurants today.

Opening a Restaurant

Cornell University has looked into the restaurant business and has concluded that 26.16% of restaurants fail inside the first year of trading. The second year is not much better with 19.23% failing. Even the third year is risky with 14.35% closing. One way of increasing the chances of survival is to assemble the best possible team at the design stage.

Restaurant Design Engineering factors to consider include the following:

· Electricity supply

· Water supply

· Sanitary and grease waste

· Gas supply

· HVAC

· Cooker hoods, ducting design, and venting

· Fire alarm and sprinkler design

When thinking of opening a restaurant it is essential to establish whether all the services required are available or possible to install.

Building Codes

Attempting to subvert or ignore building codes is very unwise and a suitably qualified engineer should ensure compliance, especially egress codes which define how many exit routes there are from the building.

Accessibility Issues

Likewise, taking short cuts on meeting accessibility requirements, to save space, can ultimately result in a lot of extra expenditure.

The Restaurant Type

The type of restaurant envisaged has consequences for the Restaurant Design Engineering required for construction.

Fast casual restaurants

The design of this type of restaurant should facilitate the correct customer traffic flow. Which would be door > service counter > payment > beverages > seating.

Quick service restaurants

These restaurants operate in smaller spaces which reduces the initial cost of opening. Key to this will be the kitchen design, which will compress the maximum amount of kitchen equipment into the smallest possible space. The seating follows that same pattern. The maximum amount of seating that can be fitted into the smallest space.

Full-Service Restaurants

These restaurants do not have a service counter, instead will feature server stations located close to the seating area. Most space is devoted to customer seating and it should feature wide aisles, including paths to the kitchen.

engineering for restaurant design

Common Restaurant Design Engineering Problems with Commercial Spaces Used for Restaurants

The foodservice industry is notorious for the complexity of regulations and these regulations are taken very seriously. Legal consequences of non-compliance or inadequate compliance can be harsh. It is therefore essential to consult with a qualified restaurant engineer before progressing in a new restaurant opening.

Commercial spaces are rarely in a condition that makes them suitable for restaurant use unless that was what they were originally designed for. They will usually be lacking essential; features that a dedicated restaurant require. Regulations are different from state to state, so for this article, we will use New York City codes. For restaurants located elsewhere, business owners should check with a local expert.

No Kitchen Exhaust

All commercial kitchens should be fitted with exhausts that direct the fumes to the roof, or any other area that the building codes allow. They must be fitted with an oxidizer or precipitator to control emissions.

Water Supply is not Adequate

Perhaps you were unaware that commercial kitchens require water that is hotter than other commercial premises. This means that the premises will need a dedicated system to provide hot water.

No Grease Traps

If the commercial space was not originally built as a restaurant space, then it will not have grease traps. This will require the floor to be dug to provide the required grease traps.

Inadequate Electricity Supply

Refrigeration and cooking, in a commercial kitchen, takes a substantial electricity supply. Most general commercial spaces will not be fitted with adequate power to meet these needs. The power supply will probably need upgrading.

Insufficient or non-existing Gas Supply

Large cooking appliances require a lot of gas to function correctly. A general commercial space is unlikely to have an adequate supply, if indeed it has any gas supply.

Cooling Facilities May Not be Adequate

The heat generated in any commercial kitchen may require any existing cooling system to need upgrading.

Limited Height

A general commercial space may not currently have enough headroom to incorporate hoods, ducting, and other kitchen equipment.

 

restaurant engineering planning

Restaurant Design Engineering in the Age of the Pandemic

We are entering a new age where the current pandemic has put many restaurants out of business. Some of the closures have been directly due to lockdowns, where the restaurant is forced to close, but other closures are simply because people no longer feel safe in restaurants and consequently are eating at home more, be it takeaway food or home cooked.

This has forced those that design restaurants to take into account the possibility that the current pandemic will not quickly go away, or that future pandemics may occur. Having seen the devastating effects of this pandemic a prudent restaurateur is quite likely to want to have a restaurant engineered in such a way that it is more resistant to this scenario.

According to the Zagat Future of Dining Study, 84% of customers say they are far less likely to visit a restaurant if it is operating at full capacity. At the beginning of the pandemic, many restaurant brands started to build a lot of plexiglass cubes to protect their customers. The problem is that nobody wants to eat in a fishbowl.

One definition of engineering is: “the action of working artfully to bring something about.” This is how Engineers are involved with Restaurant design.

Foyers are always somewhere that become congested, with people waiting for their tables. We are approaching a time when there will be no need for the foyer as technology will allow diners to wait in their cars until they are notified through their phone that their table is ready. They can then walk straight in and take their seats.

When we look at seating, the design of the seating area needs to be revisited. When creating new seating areas, designers will look at solutions that are not fixed. The current pandemic may or may not come to an end soon. Creating internal architecture that is optimized for a pandemic situation may result in a costly redesign in the future to take away the barriers. Far better to hang discrete partitions that separate diners while necessary, but may be removed in minutes if the situation alters and public perception changes.

Subtle changes to everyday features of a restaurant are part of this Restaurant Design Engineering. Replacing door handles and push pads with foot operated pads that open doors, allows what is often a hot spot for bacteria to be done away with. A rotary door frequently disrupts entry and exit and causes congestion. It will be preferable to have an alternative to the main entry point for egress, resulting in less congestion.

The choice of interior construction materials can also play an important role in reducing the spread of a virus. For example, copper tiles provide a naturally antibacterial surface.

There was a piece on National public Radio a while ago that if you are in a loud restaurant it is a bad sign because aerosols spread, through projecting the voice, to compensate for the noise, will increase the number of droplets of any virus expelled from the lungs. Now we know that a loud environment makes people anxious we need audio engineers to explore ways of reducing sound levels.

There are so many ways that an engineering approach can be used in the design of restaurants that can cope with this new world. Yes, this pandemic may end soon, but who knows if there will be more appearing. A prudent restaurant owner when planning new outlets will be wise to have restaurants that are designed to handle these problems, environments that can change in minutes to suit the current climate of opinion.

So, while I put a sub-heading of Restaurant Engineering in the Age of the Pandemic, I should really have left out the reference to the pandemic, because engineers can learn from current events and incorporate the lessons into the regular design.

Restaurant Design Engineering

In previous generations, people opened restaurants and paid very little heed to any idea of a theme, or concept. They just opened a restaurant and served food. Maybe a restaurant would acknowledge some local delicacy and feature it on the menu, but that would probably be it.

Then a generation ago the idea of the “Themed Restaurant” became the big thing and restaurants were opened where you dined in something resembling a railway carriage, a Roman ruin, or a Polynesian village. A lot of attention was paid to the environment, and the costumed serving staff, but unfortunately, they did not invest the same care and attention into the food and in producing good food.

Today we have moved on from those days. Most of the themed restaurants failed as people realized how bad the food really was. Now restaurateurs have learned and plan all aspects of a restaurant in great detail to ensure that it serves the needs of the customer.

Earlier we discussed how some companies are learning from the current pandemic in planning future restaurants. They learned, and the people doing this learning are the engineers who bring technology, interior design, and psychology together to build restaurants that work and still meet the food standards regulations, whilst remaining profitable.

If there is a theme today it has to be adaptability. Today restaurateurs exude confidence and offer, seemingly with ease, a very appealing experience. It seems so natural and the public does not have the slightest idea that it is all the result of putting into practice concepts that have been devised to provide a given response. Once a concept is selected, equipment designed specifically for that concept is installed, and the décor is carefully thought out to provide the optimum look for that theme.

Behind the scenes, professionals are ensuring that the technical equipment, the regulations, the building, and staff all come together in just the right way.

Much of this is brought under the umbrella title of “Branding.” Branding is the combination of advertising and design elements that people begin to associate with the concept. On a very simple level, what colour do you associate with Coca-Cola? Red of course. Take Pepsi Cola and they have blue. It is no mere accident. Someone has put together a whole plan that lists concepts, colors, and features that must be associated with the brand. These days every restaurant is branded and every element of the restaurant is pulled together to portray exactly what the designer wanted to achieve.

So, to finalise, we can say that every element of a new restaurant opening, down from the empty shell where the restaurant will be constructed, through the connection of appropriate utilities, ensuring building codes and food regulations are complied with, these are all engineered to get optimum results. The branding and the interior design are all part of this process, which is built around the type of cuisine that the outlet offers.

It is an all-encompassing process that requires expert knowledge to implement, and will typically involve a team of professionals working together to make it all happen.

Just one final example. Think about Starbucks. The coffee machines are located on the counter so that the staff can converse face to face with the customers while they brew the coffee. This was a revolutionary move in Restaurant Design Engineering, brought in as part of what Starbucks was engineered to be. Before that coffee machines would be on the back wall and staff would face away to make the coffee. Something so simple made Starbucks so very different.