Stabilizing facades with windows to floor level is a challenge for the structural engineer
The Architect's passion for large windows presents a challenging design for the construction engineer, who needs to ensure that the stability in the longitudinal direction of the building, as the facades often need to be included as shear walls, this is where the complitation arises.
"Our building construction designs are becoming more and more advanced each day. The stabilizing cores of the building are becoming fewer and fewer and we must now activate parts of the building that in prior cases did not have to. This adds an additional and significant amount of pressure for the construction engineer." - says Anders Suldrup, from Erik Pedersen Construction Engineers.
Erik Pedersen Construction Engineer is currently calculating the structural design on more than 650 apartments on a ten-storey apartment building in Vasbygade, Copenhagen. In this project, the length-stability ratio of the open facade is measured. Dennis Kristensen set up a meeting with Anders Suldrup to discuss the new challenges they were encountering and how the could solve them.
"It's usually not our task to reinforce the walls, but we must know that i can be done. We calculate all our stabilizing walls in FEM-Design, and enter into a more detailed dialogue with the pre-fab wall supplier. By using the software, we gain significant savings on the quantity of reinforcement used, compared to the previous old-style stringer method. The biggest gain comes from high rise buildings, where the deformation of the wall disk makes it possible to find more direct load paths. When we allow the walls to deflect, we can redistribute the forces, in favour of the amount of reinforcement. We have also made considerable savings for our builder regarding the drag anchors, as we can now calculate in greater detail, "says Structural Engineer Anders Suldrup."
Anders has calculated several projects this way. "We often model the walls. We do not make 3D total models because we have difficulty controlling where the horizontal load is carried. We want full control and overview, as well as printouts that are easy to explain to at 3rd party."
I asked Anders if he had good any advice for engineers who would like to start.
"Yes. I started to look at the webinar videos on YouTube. I watched 30 seconds at a time, and used it in the software. Here I got used to the hotkeys, and it saved me so much time later-on. A year ago, we employed a recent graduate engineer, who already knew the programme from the Technical University of Denmark and got started quickly."
FEM-Design is now our main programme for both simple, complex and complicated construction design.