This structural engineering firm employs the most advanced engineering techniques and processes. Their expertise is in performing intense studies and analyses of structural components utilizing technologies such as radar, lasers, acoustics, pulse velocity or impact, fiber optics, x-ray, ultrasonics, and a variety of monitors for cracks, tilts, winds and environments for extensometers and large scale movements. In addition, the firm is increasingly embracing concepts of sustainability and “green” construction techniques and processes.
Principles of engineering and physical science were relied upon to create new or improved designs, methods, and processes. The firm designed and evaluated alternatives to ensure that the plans would meet specific requirements. The firm’s research and development cycle was continuous and iterative as each phase of development yields additional data that was leveraged to achieve a result. Numerous R&D initiatives were simultaneously pursued each year, and each initiative was unique.
Initially, the firm reviewed drawings and technical specifications then identified areas for improvement with a core focus on alternative material usage and the improvement of the structure. Team members took the proposed designs and converted them into a digital format where in-depth analysis of the designs took place. Research activities often included, Green Building Design/LEED, seismic analysis, alternative material experimentation, load and grade computations, acoustical quality improvements, and stress factor evaluation. Strength and stiffness were critical considerations when designing a building as proper load support must be introduced to avoid stresses caused from seismic activity. At this stage, hypotheses was developed as to what engineers believed would be the most likely development track, capturing technical information relative to codes and by-laws, principles of physics, and overall risk.
Problem solving was iterative and included the evaluation of alternative solutions through studies, topographical data, material performance under various environmental conditions, and load stresses.
This firm utilized software tools to develop 2D, 3D, mathematical, and analytical models. The firm used REVIT, BIM and CAD software platforms to determine if engineering calculations met specification requirements related to geometry, materials, and constructability. Data was collected to evaluate failures, errors, and related performance requirements. At this stage, the process returned to research and conceptual design if the failure was significant.
During testing, the firm ran simulations to test digital prototypes created within the modeling phase of development. Virtual tests were used to test multiple design scenarios against numerous criteria. As an example, to predict design failure before it occurred in the field, they ran static and dynamic simulations to evaluate the performance of the design over time.
Detailed design and development, and construction often run concurrently due to technical complexities encountered in the field. Once construction began, certain aspects of plans often failed or needed to be redesigned in order to execute the correct sequence of work.
Total federal credits for this A&E firm in the current year were $275,000 given annual R&D expenses of approximately $4.7 million.
Federal credits for this A&E firm
Annual R&D expenses