Spring 2022 News

Halfway through spring – according to the calendar more than the weather – the 2022 construction season is off to another fast start. This is one of the busiest times of year for Richard J. Driscoll, Consulting Engineer (RJDCE) and that trend continues this year. Like a lot of firms, RJDCE has a growing backlog and is experiencing delays and cost increases from outside services and vendors. The lack of available schedule “float” every week and frequent disruptions result in unpredictably long delivery times for certain services.

Task Order Contract Opportunities

RJDCE continues to search for an as-needed project assistant to support field observation and data collection for structural condition assessments. Applications are being accepted here. In addition, RJDCE is anticipating needing additional help to prepare construction drawings for a variety of structural alterations and temporary structure projects. As such, RJDCE is seeking to engage an experienced structural designer/drafter on an as-needed basis. Both opportunities are offered as task order contracts. For more information, contact RJDCE.

Licensed in Maine

To better support clients in northern New England, RJDCE has become licensed to provide engineering services in the State of Maine. Currently, RJDCE is focusing on offering excavation support and underpinning analysis and design, and other “site-structural” engineering services to support construction on urban sites, especially in the Portland area. With the addition of Maine, RJDCE is licensed in seven northeastern and mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia.

Timber Framing Assessment

Over the past several months, RJDCE has had the opportunity to assess several nineteenth-century timber frame structures, including contributing structures to historic districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as transitional structures from the early twentieth century that contain elements of timber framing and wood light-frame construction methods. While elements of timber frames are similar to posts and beams that might be used in modern wood-frame construction, connection methods and system behavior differ significantly from modern construction.  Like other historical structural systems, timber frame structures were designed empirically, and present uncertainties as to material properties and load response of structural systems. The slow evolution of timber framing methods affords a degree of predictability to the structural layout and design intent, along with some characteristic modes of malperformance. However, once timber framing became somewhat of a lost art, alterations to existing timber frame structures often impaired their performance, failing to recognize how the structure functions as a whole, structurally. RJDCE is pleased to be developing services to support the assessment and rehabilitation of timber frame construction.

United for Infrastructure Week

May 16 through May 20 is United for Infrastructure’s 10th annual Infrastructure Week celebration, which has sought to raise awareness of infrastructure deficiencies in the United States and how they impact the American people. No longer a punchline, with the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (a/k/a the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law) in 2021, this year’s celebration is about implementation,  emphasizing the concept of not just an infrastructure week or even year, but an infrastructure decade. Learn more here.

May is Deck Safety Month

Each May, the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) organizes a deck safety campaign to raise awareness among building owners and especially homeowners about the importance of regular inspection and maintenance of wood decks. May is a good time to examine a deck for damage or deterioration from the prior winter and make repairs before placing it in service for the warmer months. Decks are exposed to the weather and therefore have a service life less than that of the buildings they serve. Poor detailing can hasten deterioration or cause damage to the building to which the deck is attached. Decks are also subject to heavy loads from occupancy and snow and typically include non-redundant elements and connections. Existing decks that were built before the enforcement of recent construction codes commonly include structural details that are now understood to be deficient, if not hazardous. Having a knowledgeable person check the structure of a deck for damage, deterioration or hazardous design and construction defects can reduce the risk of injury from a deck failure.