STRUCTURAL DESIGN

structural design

PSE provides innovative structural engineering design solutions for large, custom single-family residences, multi-family apartment/condominium complexes, low-rise commercial facilities, warehouses, and ancillary structures (retaining walls, screen walls, and swimming pools) utilizing a variety of building materials such as dimensional lumber, engineered wood products, rolled steel, light-gauge steel, CMU, masonry, and cast-in-place concrete.  PSE’s design expertise includes the following types of structural systems: conventional/post-tensioned ground-supported foundations, conventional/post-tensioned elevated foundations, pier-and-beam elevated foundations, wood/steel/CMU superstructures, masonry/concrete/CMU ground-supported or elevated retaining walls, mechanically stabilized earth retaining walls, gabion retaining walls, ground-supported or elevated screen walls, and ground-supported or elevated pools.  PSE also provides structural analysis and engineering design solutions for remedial work associated with the aforementioned types of structural systems.

CIVIL DESIGN

PSE provides limited civil engineering services for individual residential lots.  PSE’s civil engineering expertise includes conceptual site planning and development of grading plans for individual residential lots in order to determine the finished floor elevation of the proposed structure, establish positive drainage away from the structure, and identify locations/heights of retaining walls, if warranted.  In addition, PSE performs earthwork (cut/fill) volume estimates, erosion control plans, drainage area maps, and design of residential low-water crossings/driveway culverts.  Further, PSE also provides remedial drainage solutions for existing residential lots.

FORENSIC INVESTIGATION

PSE provides structural forensic investigation services concerning soil-structure interactions, performance of structural systems, evaluations of building envelopes, and determination of cause, origin, and extent of peril damage for a variety of clientele including owners, builders, contractors, warranty companies, insurance companies, and law firms. Soil-structure interaction assessments include investigations relating to design, construction, historic/current site effects, and moisture source influences. Structural system assessments include investigations relating to current or latent design and construction issues. Building envelope assessments include claims relating to roof coverings, veneers, flashing, and weather resistive barriers. Peril assessments include investigations relating to hurricane damage, tornado damage, windstorm damage, lightning strikes, hail, floods, earthquake damage, explosions, fires, and vehicle-structure collisions. PSE performs site investigations and devises protocols for site-specific investigative tests that may include relative elevation surveys, geotechnical borings, geophysical resistivity surveys, ground-penetrating radar surveys, groundwater monitoring, water chemical analysis, test pit excavations, material strength tests, and water application/infiltration tests. PSE’s forensic expertise includes investigations of single-family residences, multi-family apartment/condominium complexes, commercial facilities, and warehouses as well as ancillary structures such as retaining walls, screen walls, and swimming pools. PSE conducts investigations, performs analysis, and reaches sound conclusions based on evidence supported by engineering principles and a scientific method.

BUILDING ENVELOPES

A building envelope is the system of components that physically separate the interior environment of a building from the exterior environment.  PSE provides a full range of building envelope evaluation services for new and existing single-family and multi-family residential structures, which include product research, client education, on-the-job training, construction phase observations (inspections), consultations, forensic investigations, litigation support, and/or expert witness testimony regarding roof coverings, exterior veneers, sheathing, weather-resistive barriers, window/door installation, flashing systems, and more.  With respect to new structures, PSE researches manufacturer specifications of selected building products for examination of code compliance, material compatibility, and installation procedure.  In addition, PSE educates clients regarding proper implementation of their selected building products, which may include on-the-job training with subcontractors to ensure proper installation procedures.  Further, PSE also performs construction phase observations (inspections) to verify as-built compliance with applicable building codes and manufacturer installation instructions.  With respect to existing structures, PSE performs forensic investigations, which may include destructive testing observations, for evaluation of as-built building envelope conditions to provide remedial recommendations, litigation support, and/or expert witness testimony.  By soliciting the input of an experienced building envelope professional during the earliest stages of construction, the client can reduce warranty callbacks and mitigate their risk of being associated with the new building envelope litigation frenzy sweeping the state.

CONSTRUCTION PHASE OBSERVATIONS (INSPECTIONS)

PSE provides a full range of construction phase observation services for large, custom single-family residences, multi-family apartment/condominium complexes, light commercial facilities, warehouses, and ancillary structures (retaining walls, screen walls, and swimming pools) in order to verify compliance of field work with design plans and specifications.  PSE’s construction phase observation services include, but are not limited to, observations of foundations prior to and during concrete placement, concrete sampling/testing, post-tensioned strand stress verification, original construction elevation surveying, superstructure framing, and final grading.  PSE also works closely with geotechnical engineering firms and can assist with coordination of lot preparation and/or soil remediation activities such as stratum excavation verification, controlled fill placement (compaction/moisture-density), and post-injection soil sampling/testing.  Further, PSE provides third-party construction phase observation services for quality-assurance/quality-control (QA/QC) of structures designed by others.  PSE’s staff includes engineering technicians who collectively hold the following certifications: Residential Building Inspector (International Code Council, ICC), Concrete Field Testing Technician – Grade 1 (American Concrete Institute, ACI), Level 1 Unbonded PT – Field Installation and Level 2 Unbonded PT – Inspector (Post-Tensioning Institute, PTI)

SOIL-STRUCTURE SITE ASSESSMENT, S3A®

It is a known fact that even properly designed and constructed foundations built on expansive soil conditions are still at risk for undesirable performance due to potential unforeseen (anomalous) subsurface conditions that are not typically encountered in standard geotechnical soil borings.  As a result, PSE provides a unique pre-construction site assessment service, which exceeds the standard of care for typical site development, combining site observations, geographical information systems (GIS) technology, civil grading plans, site-specific geotechnical information, and construction materials testing (CMT) documentation to identify potential site anomalies that may pose additional risk for adverse soil-structure interactions.  PSE utilizes our structural design experience, in conjunction with our forensic investigation experience, to provide recommendations for remediation/mitigation of unique lot conditions (i.e. mature trees, retaining walls, etc.) and existing site anomalies.  PSE also coordinates and/or reviews services performed by civil, geotechnical, and CMT professionals to ensure that no discrepancies are apparent in data provided by each party for a specific site.  PSE’s S3A® services have been beneficial in aiding owners/builders with lot selection and/or identifying additional site-specific remediation/design considerations for budgetary purposes and risk mitigation.

EXPERT WITNESS

PSE is available to provide desk reviews, investigations, and/or expert witness testimony for use in mediation, arbitration, and litigation concerning soil-structure interactions, design/performance of structural systems, building envelope evaluations, remedial solutions, and determination of cause, origin, and extent of peril damage.  PSE’s unique position as a structural engineering design firm and a forensic investigation firm lends significant credibility to its testimony, since PSE’s experience as structural engineering design firm provide beneficial insight into its forensic investigations of existing structures.

CONSULTING

PSE provides a full range of engineering consultation services to developers, architects, builders, and owners for all project phases – from preliminary studies to post-construction evaluations – for most aspects of residential and light commercial construction.  PSE understands that a successful project amalgamates design and construction requirements.  By soliciting the input of an experienced engineering professional during the earliest stages of the planning process, the client can be conscious of engineering solutions affecting cost, construction, and performance to satisfy the project design needs while avoiding costly surprises and changes.  PSE approaches every consulting project by being highly responsive to client needs and dedicated to providing safe and durable engineered solutions needed to make the project a success while considering the most efficient use of the client’s invested money.  PSE’s consulting expertise includes permitting requirements, site evaluations, review of geotechnical information, review of architectural plans, selection of appropriate foundation systems, contractor education/references, peer review of designs by other firms for quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC), and value engineering of designs by other firms.