Why You Should Consider Wood Framing for Your Next Construction Project

Structural engineering is the reason we have so many wonderful buildings that have stood the test of time. This discipline is responsible for understanding a building’s strength and stability, and how it will react to its environment and other external stimuli. Throughout the centuries of building structures, engineers have worked with various materials, from adobe bricks to steel beams, but one material has proved to be particularly advantageous for many projects: wood. Specifically, wood framing is one of the most popular materials used to frame projects such as homes, small commercial developments and multi-family units.

Speaking with RMG’s Structural Group Manager, David Schmidt, we learned more about wood framing and all its benefits, challenges and practical applications.

Wood Framing Benefits

  1. Renewable

As the only renewable building material, wood is the smart choice for environmentally-conscious builders. It takes less energy to extract, manufacture and transport wood and releases fewer greenhouse gas emissions than both steel and concrete. Additionally, planting new trees in place of the ones used for framing helps combat climate change with tree’s natural process of converting carbon dioxide into oxygen (photosynthesis).

With RMG’s commitment to the environment, choosing wood framing for many residential and light commercial projects just makes sense.

  1. Better Insulation

Because wood offers “higher levels of thermal resistivity versus other framing materials” (about four times more than steel or masonry), wood framing is more energy-efficient for building and the client post construction. This is due to the cellular structure of wood, which naturally has air pockets inside of it. These high levels of thermal resistance are especially helpful in Colorado’s cold winter climate.

  1. Easy-to-Use

Wood requires fewer certifications and less technical skills than other materials such as concrete and steel. Additionally, it does not need welding or other special techniques that can add to the timeline and budget of a project. Wood is also a readily available, “off the shelf” product that is easily obtained at local big box stores. Finally, Wood is easy to maintain and repair as it ages, and it can be exposed and finished, providing an aesthetically-pleasing structural system. Wood can be used in a variety of structures, from residential to clubhouses to multifamily units, as well as commercial buildings.

Issues With Wood Framing

  1. Deterioration

Because it is a natural material, wood is considered nutritious for many insects, such as: termites, beetles, ants and even some species of bees. Additionally, wood is particularly susceptible to fungi due to its carbon and nitrogen contents. Fortunately, these issues can typically be avoided with techniques such as coating, drying and applying wood preservatives, as well as providing adequate weather proofing to seal the exterior of a building.

  1. Fire Hazard

Arguably the most well-known issue with wood is that it can catch on fire easily. Considering it is made mostly from organic carbon and hydrogen compounds, adding oxygen to the mix can cause the wood to burn. To prevent this risk, fire retardants are used to reduce the wood’s flammability.

Wood framing is a reliable and long-lasting solution for your structural engineering needs, which is why it is so commonly used. If you’re looking to build a residential or small- to mid-commercial project, consult with a professional. This is especially important in states like Colorado where things like snow loads need to be considered. To schedule a consultation with our experienced team, click here.

5 Things to Look for in a Structural Engineering Firm

The Pyramids of Giza, the Acropolis of Greece, the Coliseum of Rome—what do all of these architectural marvels have in common? Structural engineering that has stood the test of time. No matter your building project, having a trustworthy and reliable structural engineering firm can ensure your legacy will stand tall for years.

 

Top 5 Things to Look for in a Structural Engineering Firm

Our senior commercial engineer, Mark Weidhaas, breaks down the top five qualities of a structural engineering firm you should look for:

1. Longevity

Experience, quality construction documents and competitive pricing are key for any structural engineer to stay in business. RMG has been serving the Colorado Front Range and beyond since 1986, and have over 30 years of experience in building relationships with other design professionals, general contractors and builders. A longstanding firm with great relationships will provide the quality, timeliness and fair cost required for your project.

2. Responsive

No matter the size of your project, it deserves a structural engineering firm that will respond quickly to your concerns and field comments to keep it on schedule. At RMG, our team of design professionals is led by a highly-skilled project manager who is designated as your point of contact. A responsive firm will keep you informed with regular communication, reply to questions and concerns in a timely manner and makes you feel like you are the only client.

3. Staffing

Having a talented, flexible team is essential for the building experience. Having a dynamic group of professionals all under one roof helps projects move forward faster and more efficiently. At RMG, we balance staffing to be available on both large and small projects. We currently have 85 skilled engineerstechnicians and professional staff eager to work with you, solving problems and coordinating with your team to make the project successful.

4. Experience

No two projects are alike. Because of different construction materials, building codes, geotechnical foundation restraints, contractor abilities, etc., it’s important to have a structural engineering firm with experience in many types of jobs. RMG has the experience to design and clearly convey those designs in our construction documents. Our 7 structural professional engineers have a total of 175 years of experience in solving problems between them. We know a thing or two, because we’ve seen a thing or two.

5. Licensure and Continuing Education

A successful structural engineer does not stop learning once out of school. It requires a life-long education using new technologies and ever-changing building codes. RMG’s professional engineers are licensed in 25 states, including Colorado, with the capability to become licensed in additional jurisdictions if needed. Our engineers keep their knowledge current by regularly attending continuing learning programs and are involved in the engineering community by serving on regional building department boards. They volunteer their time as leaders of engineering and technical society organizations, such as: ACEC, AISC, CRSI, SEA Colorado, ABC, NSPE and PTI. Two of our principal engineers were Colorado State Presidents of the National Society of Professional Engineers, in 2006-2007 and 2009-2010.

Having a dedicated structural engineering firm will help your project stay on schedule and under budget. We have a wide range of integrated services with offices all across the Front Range to help your dream become a reality!

Contact us today or learn more about our structural engineering services here.