Finding Cost Saving Opportunities in Building Structural Design




Villarreal, Jose Ignacio

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The purpose of this Thesis is to gather and present the combined best practices of seeking cost economy in structural design of buildings, using the most commonly used structural materials of steel, reinforced concrete, wood and reinforced masonry. The information is a collection of individual research and correlated results from questionnaires sent out to structural design firms throughout the United States. The expected result of this research is to provide a training guide for new engineers, on the best practices application of engineering principles for economical structural building design.

The questionnaires asked experienced structural engineer to evaluate the usefulness of 35 cost-saving ideas gathered from a variety of technical publications, as well as provide mentoring advice that he or she may offer to an engineering intern. This information is then correlated into design instructions with recommendations to be made to a structural designer in the initial phases of structural design. This information covers basic decisions such as bay spacing, steel connection details and ways to reduce the costs of reinforced concrete systems. The end purpose of this data compilation is to create a list of helpful advice that can be used with a structural engineering finite element analysis computer program when the designer is selecting systems or components, which could then result in lower costs for the owner. The ultimate goal of the system is to elevate the standard of care afforded the building owner in order to provide a more cost-effective structural solution. Another benefit of this research is to provide Architects and building planners with an enhanced understanding of the structural engineering design process, in the selection of the key building components and systems.

The conclusion of this research is that structural engineering design firms would be well-served to incorporate these relevant best practices techniques, in order to save production time, reduce fabrication costs, and ultimately produce a more economical building without reducing the structural integrity or safety. By making this available to engineering students, these students can bring these recommendations to their new employers and provide an instant and better value to their design teams.


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Building, Cost, Design, Savings, Structural, Survey



Civil and Environmental Engineering