“A common misconception is that structural engineers are only needed from the initial design phase of a building,” says Travis Miller, Owner and Senior Structural Engineer with Miller Engineering. The wide variety of building skins has contributed to structural issues later in the life of buildings because it is impossible to know how to abut all combinations. Forensic engineers and building envelope specialists can determine and work with structural engineers to remedy a problem in an existing building with structural issues.
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- - A common misconception is that structural engineers are only needed for the initial design phase of a building. But really, we're needed a lot throughout the whole lifecycle of a building.
My name is Travis Miller and I am the owner and Senior Structural Engineer for Miller Engineering. Our firm started off with just one person. And now we have 14 employees who are working in several fields.
Forensic Engineering is the process of coming into a building that's having some kind of problem. Oftentimes when a forensic engineer is called out to a job site, we don't know exactly what the problem is. It could be related to settling, it could be related to moisture, it could be related to something that just wasn't built properly in the past.
And so we have a number of tools at our disposal including thermal imaging cameras and moisture meters and those types of things that can allow us to see if moisture has gotten into places that it doesn't belong. And it even gives us an indication of how much moisture and even how long moisture's been in there so that we can decide what to do next.
Building Envelope Consulting is also called Building Enclosure Consulting. Basically, you have to think of a building as having a skin on it. It has a roof that's a skin, it has walls. And then you can even have to worry about moisture coming up from below. And if that moisture gets into places it doesn't belong, it can cause significant structural problems.
And so, we have a Building Enclosure Department that goes in and helps to solve some of those problems. And occasionally when they are solving a water problem, they realize that this is a structural problem. And then so that sort of feeds into our Structural Department and our Forensic Department. And the three of us sort of feed each other that way.
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