Snow Drifts – OUCH!!!

Well, over the weekend we got that first big snow fall of 2019. For those of you that love to play in the snow, I am happy for you. For those of us that would rather be boating at the lake on a warm day in July, our time is coming! Reality is that during winter there is snow. Snow can be fun but it can also cause damage to your facility. As a structural engineer, I get a little nervous when I see all of the drifted snow lying on a roof! Many times serious problems are just around the corner. So I wanted to share some hopefully helpful, tips on the safest ways to remove the excess snow from your roof and protect your roof members.

  • Visually inspect your roof system to identify any unusual deflections of beams or joists. If areas are found, start removal of the snow in this area. Remove approximately one-half of the snow depth in a pattern that does not cause an unbalanced loading condition on the roof members. After half the depth of the snow is removed, remove the remaining half in the same manner.
  • The shoveling pattern should progress from each side of the building towards the center. On larger roofs, it is recommended that additional people work from the center of the building to the ends.
  • Never use metal shovels to “scrape” the roof down to the surface. Remember, the objective is to relieve the excess loading condition due to the weight of the snow, not to completely clear the roof panel of all snow and ice. Attempting to scrape the roof will result in broken fasteners, tearing, fractures or holes, which could create roof leaks.
  • Keep gutters, downspouts and roof drains open and free flowing to prevent water back-up and ice build-up on the roof. Ice damming conditions are especially likely on the north side of the building and in shaded areas. Installing heat tape in gutters and downspouts can also be used as a precaution; however, heat tape should be checked regularly and may not be 100% effective in extremely low temperatures.
  • Always be watching for extreme deflections of the roof members and listen for unusual noises. When snow and ice build-up on your roof, it is always a good idea to listen and to watch. Your building will speak to you!

Snow can be fun but it can also be the cause of structural failures and water leaks. Give us a call; we can be of help in identifying unsafe conditions at your facility.

Solve the Right Problem

We received a call from a past client about an expansion project they were looking to do. He said his boss must have been looking at one-too-many aerial photos of their facility because his instruction was to “make the building square”.  This building had been added on to multiple times over the years which made it sprawled out and not well connected. His boss’s solution was to tear down the parts that stick out and fill in the areas between. This may be a solution that will make the facility look good to the birds flying overhead, but it would do very little to solve their real problem which is a need for “more efficient space”. His boss was correct in that his operation was not efficient. His mistake was that he jumped to a solution before he identified the real problem, which has everything to do with the flow through the facility.

You may have a building that has been added on to many times, one that has never had an addition, or maybe you are looking at building new. Whichever the case, how the building flows should always be the starting point for your building needs. Before you start thinking about walls and square footage, we suggest that you:

  • Identify each of your work areas and the tasks that will be accomplished in those areas.
  • Determine the type of relationship each task has to the other tasks (Absolutely Necessary, Ordinary, Undesirable, etc.)
  • Create a flow chart of how your organization functions from the information gathered

Had his boss done these steps he would have identified the right problem and found an effective solution. Whether your facility is used for manufacturing, retail, offices, or a church, PDMi we can help you create a flow chart and develop a facility plan that will be the right solution to the right problem. Give me a call.

Tis the Season…

Tis the Season… this is one of my favorite times of the year, from Thanksgiving Day through Christmas to New Years. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

I enjoy the Holiday Season because:

  • Over the holidays I get to spend quality time with family and friends.
  • The people I meet are generally in a festive mood – even the Bah Humbuggers.
  • I love the traditions; from the big meal at Thanksgiving, to giving of gifts on Christmas morning, to the New Year’s Day reflections on what was & looking forward to what can be.

I have come to know that the Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year’s season is all about relationships and here at PDMi we are thankful this holiday season for the relationships we have had throughout 2018 and look forward to strengthening those relationships in 2019.

Our Staff wishes you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Don’t Forget the Inside

When asked, most people describe a building by its size, shape, and exterior materials. Some Designers & Property Managers believe that a building is just the covering that keeps weather off of what is going on inside. The exterior of the building is important (a topic for a future eBits) but in reality, it is the interior design and layout which facilitates the experience and function for the people who work inside.

We are working with a client on a new Corporate Office building. Along with the layout of offices, conference rooms and support spaces we have been working through the many offerings of finish materials & furnishings available to make the workspace enjoyable for their staff and customers. This process takes time and there are many compromises along the way, but it is well worth the effort when the space comes together.

Interior design should be more than picking out paint & flooring colors. Ideally the components of good interior design include:

  • Efficient floor planning with an understanding of the volume of each space and the flow between them.
  • Selection of proper materials with respect to budget, sound & light control, durability & maintenance, and timelessness.
  • Selection of furniture & furnishings that increase productivity and collaboration.

At PDMi, we are committed to serve our clients with the best facility design, architecture, engineering & management, including the interior spaces. With that objective in mind, we strive to keep abreast of ever changing building codes, construction technology, and material offerings & trends. After all, the design of a building is only as good as the success of the people and the business that functions with-in it.

Please give me a call if we can help your business keep up with this ever changing world.

Corner of Compromise St. and Success Blvd.

All our projects begin with a meeting where we talk with the client about the scope of the project and their expectations for the process of doing the project. I can’t tell you how many times the client looks like the “deer caught in the headlights” as they come to the realization that they may not get everything they want and there may be “bumps” along the road to completion. The thing that amazes us most is that often the “deer in the headlights” client is the one that has gone through a building project before. We just had this happen again last week with a client who wants to build a new office building.

As they come to the realization of how the process will work, I like to say “Welcome to Realville, USA”. Realville is where Compromise Street intersects with Success Boulevard. Every project has a Compromise Street and you will travel down it. Traveling along it is not a bad thing (after all it leads to Success Boulevard) unless you find yourself on it unexpectedly. In other words your travels are not managed properly.

Three areas of the project where compromise will need to be managed are:

  • Budgets: There are no free lunches and every scope item and quality issue has an associated cost. There is always compromise in the Scope x Quality = Budget formula, but at the end of the road will be success if managed well.
  • Construction Technology: It is not always what you build, but how you build it. Site conditions, weather, material availability, or schedule will often dictate the final detail or function of a part of the project.  Managing the how, and the technology of the how, will keep you between the guardrails.
  • Regulatory Agencies: Understanding, from the start, the regulations and building codes that apply to your project will keep you from getting caught on a side alley that adds time and unexpected expenses.

Give us a call. We would love to meet you at the city limits of Realville and travel to Success Boulevard with you.