The increased popularity of living and working in cities has placed greater demand on the built environment in urban centers. This demand has driven the construction of new residential and commercial buildings, but also has increased the need for the transportation and utility infrastructure necessary for a complex urban eco-system to function.
Urban Construction is Different
This demand for new urban buildings and infrastructure presents a number of distinct challenges. Available land is scarce and expensive, affecting land use and programming of facilities. As a result, construction is often taller, deeper below ground and closer to existing buildings and infrastructure. Therefore the costs and risks associated with construction in the urban environment are higher than in undeveloped areas, due to logistical constraints and considerations to protect existing facilities on and adjacent to the site. These challenges are compounded when dense urban development requires new facilities to be constructed below ground.
Urban construction is different and requires different approaches to design and construction. What works for rural or suburban projects may be cost-prohibitive or high-risk on an urban site. Proactive risk management and consideration of constructability are important for project success. This requires an integrated approach to foundations, below-grade structures and management of construction impacts to existing facilities above and below ground.
Richard J. Driscoll, Consulting Engineer (RJDCE) helps project stakeholders manage the technical challenges and risks associated with construction in the urban environment. RJDCE specializes in the interface between a proposed structure and an urban site, providing foundation engineering and “site-structural” engineering, including the selection and design of temporary protective works and assessment and monitoring of adjacent facilities. These services are not offered by many traditional structural engineering firms. RJDCE also provides forensic services and risk management for urban and below-ground construction.