Every architecture firm should work with a qualified engineering consultant. Architects must always look at the practical considerations surrounding their designs, and they need to understand how the engineering constraints affect their ability to execute their building projects. Pedram Zohrevand, an engineering consultant from California, shares his reasons why an architecture firm needs engineering help to succeed.
The Distinction Between Engineers and Architects
Architects design buildings to meet the needs of their clients. They also enhance the appearance of the building for aesthetic purposes both inside and outside. Engineers are concerned with the safety of the building and making sure that it meets the appropriate building codes. Engineers select building materials, analyze designs for their structural components, and design the electrical, ventilation, heating, plumbing, and air conditioning systems.
Different Types of Consultants
Many different types of consulting engineers can be utilized on a project. Some of the different types of consultants include geotechnical engineers, civil engineers, structural engineers, land surveyors, and mechanical engineers. A good engineering consultant will be able to work in all these specialties or will have professional contacts that will get the job done.
Land surveyors are the first consultant that should be brought in. These surveyors can provide the architects and engineers with a clear and accurate report on the physical constraints of the site. Starting with the right information about the site, the architect will be able to tailor the design to the environment.
Geotechnical engineers need to be brought in at an early stage as well. In many states, especially earthquake-prone states like California, geotechnical expertise is highly required for permitting purposes. Any weaknesses in the site should be noted, and the building site should be changed if there are problems that cannot be remedied.
Civil engineers and structural engineers are other keys to the process. A civil engineer will deal with grading, drainage, and driveways. They will also figure out how the home or building will be connected to needed utilities.
Structural engineers have the responsibility to design the building structure, including, foundation, framing, walls, roofs, etc. based on the gravity and lateral loads (caused by wind and earthquake) in order to make sure that the building is safe for occupancy. It is also important to bring the structural engineer in at an early part in the process.
An engineering consultant should check the site for safety before a building project takes place. Soil consistency and water table issues can make the difference between a successful project and a failure. The structural and Geotechnical engineers should investigate the site and incorporate its specific environmental and soil conditions in their designs, or in some cases, recommend the change of site or change of architectural designs.
Engineering consultants can work closely with architects to make sure that the planned building materials will be safe and effective. The choice of building materials is one of the most important concerns that an architect can deal with, and an engineering consultant will be able to answer all of their questions and make suggestions.
Permitting and Zoning
In addition to these responsibilities, an architect’s engineering consultant is able to advise whether the project will meet all relevant codes and zoning requirements. Getting the permits to start a new construction project and to renovate an older one can be a complex process, and engineering consultants bring their expertise to the problem.
The environmental impact of an architectural design needs to be carefully considered before a project is begun. Engineering consultants can help architects understand the requirements for the site, including any environmental regulations that are governing its build-out. The importance of an engineering consultant cannot be overstated when it comes to environmental concerns.
How Engineers Collaborate with Architects
Early on in the design process, architects bring their drafts of the building plans to their engineering consultants. The consultants correct any obvious red flags in the design like structural constraints. The next step in the process is laying out the basic engineering requirements for the design, such as dimensions and locations of structural elements, electrical, water, and sewer connections, as well as heating and air conditioning systems.
If the engineer works closely with the architect from the beginning, everyone will be saved the time and effort that comes with making corrections to the design at a later date.
Construction Depends on Engineers
Architects need engineers in order to do their jobs properly. From site surveying to the construction of the building structure, and placement of utilities, the engineer can help the architect translate their designs into the real world. Pedram Zohrevand understands the importance of the consulting engineer and encourages all architects to engage their services.