In this episode, we talk with Jarrad Morris, P.E., RA, NCARB, a structural engineer with experience in architecture and construction, about his expertise in quality control and building dynamics. He highlights the importance of understanding the evolution of quality control in structural engineering and shares best practices for ensuring a high-quality product. Jarrad also explains the concept of stack effect in building design and offers insights into mitigating building movement, noise, and vibration.
***The video version of this episode can be viewed here.***
Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Jarrad:
- How has quality control evolved in structural engineering, and what are the current best practices in the field?
- How important is quality control in structural engineering, and could you explain the significance of the stack effect in building design?
- How do you handle and come up with innovative solutions for the challenges in your role?
- How does building movement play a critical role in structures?
- Are there additional factors contributing to building movement, and in addressing this, do you typically use slosh dampers, mass dampers, or employ alternative methods?
- How do you handle noise and vibration issues in buildings?
- What emerging technologies in structural engineering are you excited about, especially in quality control and building dynamics?
- Do you have advice for aspiring structural engineers, architects, or those interested in construction who are aiming for success and impact in their careers in this field?
Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About the Evolution of Quality Control in Structural Engineering Practices:
- Jarrad started with construction basics but switched gears when faced with post-construction issues. Now, he’s all about proactive planning, using flexible checklists to avoid last-minute chaos. The aim is for a smooth construction process with thorough preparation and minimal mistakes.
- In tall buildings, the stack effect, where hot air rises, can cause trouble. Elevator shafts and stairwells unintentionally turn into chimneys, creating issues like doors not closing, elevators malfunctioning, and potential damage to mechanical systems. Old codes worsened this with openings at the top of elevator shafts. The open ground floor introduces cool air, leading to a cascade of problems, affecting everything from functionality to safety.
- In tall buildings, the stack effect, driven by air buoyancy, becomes a challenge, particularly beyond 40 stories. The suggested approach involves isolating elevator shafts and stairwells, ensuring airtight seals, and avoiding unnecessary heating to mitigate airflow problems. The reverse stack effect in summer is highlighted, cautioning against open windows in multifamily dwellings. Construction may reveal initial airflow, but real issues emerge during the occupation, affecting elevators, doors, and occupant comfort. The taller the building, the more significant the stack effect, making preventive measures crucial, particularly beyond 40 stories.
- In today’s tall glass buildings, specific codes ensure proper ventilation with enough light and air. However, if you open those large windows, it can throw off the carefully planned airflow. Apartments are structured to maintain positive pressure, a rule from these codes to stop unwanted air or smoke from spreading. Opening your window might upset this balance, letting air from other apartments in and causing issues for the ventilation systems in kitchens and bathrooms, disrupting the overall building dynamics governed by these codes.
- Tall buildings need to move to avoid damage, especially in the wind. The taller they are, the more they sway. Trying to make them too rigid can cause vibrations and issues. Wind doesn’t always hit them straight on, so buildings might twist, especially if they’re not symmetrical. Some have tricks like slosh tanks to lessen the feeling of movement. Connecting the inside and outside too tightly can lead to cracks and noises. It’s a delicate balance between letting a building move naturally and keeping it safe and comfortable for people inside.
- In tall buildings, they use slosh tanks filled with water at the top of residential towers to counter swaying. Exceptional structures like Central Park Tower and Taipei 101 have a seismic mass damper, a massive structure to absorb and counteract wind forces. While slosh tanks are common in residential towers, seismic mass dampers are rare and mainly found in specific tall structures. Commercial buildings usually skip these measures as the investment might not be worth the benefits.
- In tall buildings, they recommend using a special track in partitions to let them move with the floor above, avoiding cracks and noises. Dealing with rotation during shifts between floors is tricky, especially at wall intersections. The suggestion is to let partitions move freely to prevent issues. It’s crucial to restrict movement from main structures but allow elements like window walls to flex with the wind. Using gaskets for sealing and accommodating expansion and contraction ensures structural integrity in these tall buildings.
- For quality control in construction, OpenSpace is a game-changer. This camera tour system captures every stage, from concrete pouring to wall piping, by taking photos at various points in the project. It’s a practical and cost-effective tool, whether mounted on a hard hat or handheld, providing a comprehensive view of progress. OpenSpace compiles layers floor by floor into the cloud, ensuring accuracy and preventing future issues. It’s a significant advancement in construction quality control, offering an efficient way to monitor and track developments on-site.
- For architects, commitment to their passion is crucial; finding a practice with mentors enhances continuous learning. Structural engineers benefit from dedication to their craft and seeking firms that offer diverse design experiences. In construction management, working with a supportive team and engaging in various projects, from commercial interiors to large ground-ups, develops a well-rounded skill set. The key theme is staying engaged, seeking mentorship, and diversifying experiences in their respective fields.
More Details in This Episode…
About the Guest: Jarrad Morris, P.E., RA, NCARB
Jarrad Morris is a seasoned senior project manager at Triton Construction Company, renowned for his adept handling of various building-related issues and defects, both in existing and new structures. His approach to project management is rooted in a deep commitment to quality control and assurance, developed through extensive personal experience and insights gleaned from his colleagues.
Morris’ expertise shines in his proactive engagement early in the design process. He emphasizes the importance of constructability and correctness, often addressing and rectifying design shortcuts and inadequacies to prevent future complications. His keen eye for detail and commitment to excellence have been instrumental in resolving complex challenges such as roof and facade leaks, noise issues due to improperly isolated equipment, and the unique problems associated with supertall buildings, particularly those related to stack effect.
His unique career trajectory, which spans from the realms of design to fieldwork, gives him a holistic understanding of the construction industry. Morris’ background in both architecture and engineering enables him to offer innovative solutions, particularly in areas like noise, vibration, building movement, and structural integrity. His ability to anticipate potential issues and communicate effectively with design teams has led to significant improvements in project outcomes.
Morris’ expertise extends to specialized areas such as detailed joint and assembly design, aimed at minimizing noise and cracking, a testament to his comprehensive approach to building design and construction management. His innovative thinking and problem-solving skills have made him an asset in the field of construction and project management.
About the Hosts
Mathew Picardal, P.E., SE
Mathew is a licensed engineer, practicing on structural projects in California, with an undergraduate degree from Cal Poly Pomona and an M.S. in Structural Engineering from UC San Diego. He has designed and managed various types of building structures, including residential wood apartment buildings, commercial steel buildings, and concrete parking structures and towers. He also hosts the new YouTube channel “Structural Engineering Life,” through which he promotes the structural engineering profession to engineering students who are not familiar with the industry perspective.
Rachel Holland, P.E.
Rachel is an experienced R&D engineer, developing and patenting multiple new structural connectors. She also offers her expertise to both the end user and specifiers as a branch engineering supervisor. She represents Simpson Strong-Tie as a deck expert, educating others on how to properly build code-compliant decks. Before her career working for a manufacturing company, she spent many years working for engineering consulting companies. She earned her Architectural Engineering undergrad degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from California State University, Monterey Bay. Rachel is a licensed P.E. in California, Arizona, and New Mexico.
This Episode Is Brought to You by Menard
Menard USA is a specialty ground improvement contractor that works nationally providing design-build ground improvement solutions at sites with problematic soils. Menard works closely with civil, structural, and geotechnical engineers to minimize foundation costs for a wide range of soil conditions, structure types, and loading conditions. To learn more about Menard USA, or for help on your next project, please visit www.menardusa.com.
Please leave your comments or questions in the section below on the evolution of quality control in structural engineering practices.
To your success,
Mathew Picardal, P.E., SE, and Rachel Holland, P.E.
Hosts of The Structural Engineering Podcast