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Residential Engineering: What Don't We Do?

If you’re a homeowner or a contractor looking for a structural engineer, you’ve probably called around, confirmed availability, collected pricing, and checked out websites. But now what? How do you choose? And how is Driftstone Consulting different from any of the other consulting firms when it comes to residential structural engineering?

What do we do different? Let’s start with what we don’t do:

1. We don’t rely on the prescriptive solutions of Part 9 of the National Building Code:

  • We design concrete components in accordance with CSA A23.3 – Design of Concrete Structures. This means that we know the exact strength of foundation walls, grade beams, and structural slabs. Rebar is placed with intention and not with rules of thumb.

  • We design structural steel components in accordance with CSA S16 – Design of Steel Structures. We don’t depend on span tables or the maximum allowable deflection. When beam spans get long, we discuss the design deflection with you and make sure that we are working within acceptable constraints.

  • We design wood components in accordance with CSA O86 – Engineering Design in Wood. We work with both dimensional and engineered lumber. When it comes to tall walls, we look for opportunities to maximize the use of standard 2x6 lumber by means of wind beams and other techniques.

  • We look at where there are efficiencies or cost savings, whether through a Part 3 or a Part 9 design, and we make sure that you understand the performance criteria where appropriate.

2. We don’t stick to standard details:

  • Yes, we have standard details that we prefer to use. However, we will not decide that you can’t do something just because it doesn’t fit within the constraints of our standard details. We will work with you and we will design a solution for you.

  • If you are a contractor, we will do our best to work within your standard details, but we won’t accept them as proven. We will review your details and identify areas where we recommend increasing strength or where there may be potential cost savings.

3. We don’t take a single-solution approach to foundation design:

  • We consider site-specific geotechnical conditions and make recommendations based on the available information. We ensure that the homeowner or builder is aware of increases and reductions in performance based on certain foundation types in certain conditions.

  • We work with foundation types including concrete piles, helical piles, driven piles, spread footings, and thickened edges.

  • For helical pile foundation types, we request a copy of the pile log for approval to ensure sufficient capacity was reached at every pile.

What do we do differently? We provide a quality, thorough design that is tailored to each project. We pay attention to detail and we work to identify efficiencies and solutions. We listen to contractors and we do our best to provide constructible designs using local skills, methods, and materials.

Do you have a project in mind? Let’s chat – give us a call or send us an email. We’d love to hear from you!


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