BASELine is our quarterly newsletter. Check back every quarter for the latest issue or drop us a line if you’d like to be added to our mailing list.
“Unprecedented” was perhaps the most often-used word of 2020 but it truly describes the year it was. In the winter issue of BASELine we always recap highlights of the year. Despite it being a very challenging year, we are thankful to have had highlights that were only possible because of our loyal, valued clients and BASE employees. We appreciate everyone’s continued support and wish everyone a safe and prosperous 2021.
Engineering challenges don’t stop when construction starts. We explore projects where BASE has provided contractor assistance or other construction engineering to help owners and contractors solve unique challenges.
A message from COVID-bearded BASE President Steve Baldridge, how our projects were affected by the pandemic, and how our special inspectors continued to work despite local work-from-home orders.
Stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19 began nationwide in March. Whether with kids or pets, in pajamas or using a makeshift desk, the BASE team continued servicing its clients and projects from home.
Highlights from 2019 including project milestones, BASE achievements, and what’s on the boards for 2020.
Earthquakes in Chicago? We look at the City of Chicago’s upcoming transition to the 2018 International Building Code (IBC) and updates to the Honolulu Building Code and UFC.
Urban hotels are often on tight sites, zero lot lines and encounter other challenges of building in crowded cities. Read about how those challenges were overcome in five hospitality projects.
The design-build delivery method has become more popular in recent years as project owners, particularly the Department of Defense, discover benefits that can include a more efficient design, faster schedule, and reduced cost. Design-build fosters teamwork, collaboration and innovation, but for projects to be successful members of the design team and the contractor must coordinate and optimize their efforts together.
Highlights from 2018 including project milestones, BASE achievements, and what’s on the boards for 2019.
A look at what’s been moving including BASE offices, construction of 730 N Milwaukee, students moving into new collegiate housing, and product moving onto shelves at the new Whole Foods Market in Honolulu.
Like an inspired Rocky Balboa training montage, BASE is inspired to fulfill client needs and program objectives in every project. Our recent work on aviation projects reflect our ability to “roll with the punches” and adapt quickly to changing requirements and roles to keep projects running on schedule and on budget.
In his run for New York governor in 2010 Jimmy McMillan, founder of the Rent is Too Da*n High Party, declared that rents in New York City were “too da*n high!” While the perennial candidate and activist may be a bit unorthodox, it is true that affordable housing is hard to come by in many cities with demand severely exceeding supply. Cities like Chicago and Honolulu are placing much of the burden on new construction, taxing them with payments or mandating subsidized units making it tougher to build anything. What is needed in any scenario is more affordable construction methods and BASE has been a collaborative partner in assisting development teams reduce the cost of construction. In this issue we highlight the affordable projects we’ve worked on over the years.
Highlights from 2017 including project milestones and BASE achievements.
Though not quite as fast as the F-14 Tomcats flown by Maverick and Goose in Top Gun, fast-track delivery accelerates the overall schedule by commencing construction before design is 100% complete. In this issue we discuss how fast-tracking can reduce the cost of construction financing for owners, provide new homes faster for buyers, offer services or goods more quickly to the public, or decrease overcrowding in school districts in time for a new school year.
Post-tensioning (PT) is a method of strengthening concrete that allows for construction of architecturally creative designs and structures that would otherwise be impossible for projects with multiple site constraints. In building construction, PT allows for longer clear spans, thinner slabs, and fewer beams. This can help maximize allowable density and height on the property which creates more sellable area and generates cost savings by reducing the overall weight of the building, saving on construction materials needed for seismic and gravity loads.
BASE has offices in diverse locations around the world, each in areas that are prone to different extreme forces of nature. In Chicago it is dealing with tornadoes, in Hawaii tsunamis, and in Guam severe earthquakes. Standards are continuously evolving and reflect a better understanding of these extreme events. This BASELine discusses some of the upcoming changes to building codes and standards that will impact building construction in these areas.
Highlights from 2016 including project milestones and BASE achievements.
How we solve unique structural challenges on renovation work.
While structural analysis and optimization of a structure’s design is important, all too often engineers get lost in the numbers and don’t stop to think about how the building will actually be constructed. For concrete-framed buildings the largest cost driver is not the quantity of structural materials; rather, it is the cost of temporary formwork systems and the labor to install and remove them. On a typical project the cost of formwork amounts to 40 to 60% of the structure’s cost. This BASELine discusses the importance of formwork considerations in structural design.
Project economic viability often requires a diversification of different uses and it is not uncommon these days to see office, hotel, residential, and retail components mixed into large projects. The challenge of melding different uses is that each has an optimal and unique structural grid and MEP layout. Once different uses are stacked vertically, the transitions between structural grids/systems must be efficiently addressed. From a structural standpoint transitions may be accommodated by creative solutions such as sloped columns, stepped shear walls, transfer girders, long span truss systems, etc., with each solution having distinct design challenges and cost impacts.
Highlights from 2015 including project milestones and BASE achievements.
Independent project reviews are becoming more commonplace in our industry. These reviews can take many forms including peer reviews for code compliance, value engineering studies, and constructability reviews. Other forms of project reviews include those required for construction, such as shoring and reshoring requirements, tower crane and man hoist support and attachments, and framing modifications required for temporary openings in a structure for construction equipment. All of these reviews require a structural engineer with an appreciation of the importance of construction means and methods, who can quickly provide unbiased and beneficial input to a project team.
In this day and age when firms in the U.S. commonly outsource work to India as a method of cutting costs and remaining competitive, engineering jobs in India are being offshored to US-based BASE. Through “reverse offshoring” we have provided engineering services for projects in India since 2008 and our work has ranged from full design to peer review and value engineering.
On January 12, 2015 we reached this milestone thanks to the support of our valued clients, partners, and dedicated employees. Today our resume includes 1,774 projects worldwide and in this issue of BASELine we thought it would be fun to look back on some of our projects in a timeline.
Highlights from 2014 including project milestones, new projects, and BASE achievements.
Meet our special inspection team and learn about the services provided by our Testing & Inspection division.
2014 marks the fifth anniversary of our Guam office! Although we opened in 2009, our work in Guam actually began a decade earlier with mostly military facilities. In the 15 years since, our Guam work has expanded to provide structural design and special inspection services for both public and private sector projects across the island.
Over the last 10 years we have designed 20 parking structures including stand-alone structures, basement parking garages, and parking facilities as part of transit centers. Because urban locations often have severe constraints such as tight sites in heavily congested areas, we work collaboratively with the design team to come up with structural schemes that are cost-effective and constructible. A great design can also produce a building configuration that provides more parking stalls than originally planned and adds safety and security by eliminating blind spots and hidden areas.
Highlights from 2013 including project accolades and our largest commercial construction projects.
Our hospitality resume includes the full spectrum of projects from urban high-rises to large resort master plans and smaller, intimate resorts. Large resorts require coordination of commercial structural systems with the numerous functional and aesthetic requirements of the hospitality industry. Smaller scale resorts require the knowledge and use of residential style framing often combined with heavy timber or steel to open up large areas of the units to the environment to achieve a cozy, secluded atmosphere.
Two of our projects utilizing post-tensioning (PT) were recognized by the Post-Tensioning Institute in their national 2013 PTI Awards program: Joint Traffic Management Center Parking Structure and Trump International Hotel & Tower. PT is a method of strengthening concrete that allows for construction that would otherwise be impossible because of site constraints or architectural design. In building construction, PT allows for longer clear spans, thinner slabs, and fewer beams. These benefits result in the ability to maximize both the allowable density and height on the property, as well as a reduction in seismic mass and savings in construction materials such as concrete and reinforcing steel.
Optimizing a high-rise’s design is more important than ever before in today’s market. To create cost-effective structures, BASE collaborates with its clients to review projects while focusing on value engineering. Peer reviews and value engineering not only result in more economical construction costs, it also can make a significant contribution to sustainable design.
Highlights from 2012 including project milestones, new projects, and BASE achievements.
This issue discusses the new version of UFC 4-010-01 “DoD Minimum Antiterrorism Standards for Buildings” dated 09 February 2012.
2012 marks the 5th anniversary of our Testing & Inspection division. A question we often hear is, “Isn’t it a conflict of interest to have the structural engineer of record perform special inspections on the same project?” The answer: far from it. Read about why in this issue.
The continued economic slump has not deterred major national retailers from expanding in Hawaii. Brands such as Victoria’s Secret, Ross Dress for Less, Safeway, and Walgreens have all recently opened flagship stores in Honolulu and other retailers have relocated and renovated existing shops. BASE’s experience in new construction and renovation delivers commercial and technical solutions that create exceptional value for our clients.
Highlights from 2011 including project milestones, new projects, and BASE achievements.
Structural Engineer magazine ranked BASE in the top ten of its 2011 national ranking of the Best Structural Engineering Firms to Work For. This issue highlights major awards that BASE has been fortunate to receive over the years.
BIM can be a tool for the sharing of a 3D model of a project by the architect, engineers, contractor and the project owner and provides potential to expedite the coordination of all components of a project, creating opportunities for more efficient team collaboration and communication. BASE was an early implementer of Bentley analysis and Revit modeling software and today uses BIM for a variety of project tasks.
BASE has long been involved in the advancement of the design of buildings to mitigate the impact of natural and manmade disasters and in the development of the following reports and publications that guide designers to create more disaster resilient communities.