Civil and Structural Engineering

Drainage is the process of diverting stormwater that percolates through pervious or impervious, with the help of a system of drains and then directs that stormwater to an outlet, usually a storm drain system in the street. There are a few different designs that we use for proper drainage; sump pump, downspout, catch basin, area drain, trench drain, french drain, and they all lead to the storm drain in the street. Drainage – Sump Pump The Sump Pump helps convey stormwater from the low point of the property to the high point.  The sump pump… Continue reading…

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We have been looking around for a few months to redo the website. The main goal was to have the site easily legible on a tablet or phone.  Since I have noticed a lot of iPads browsing the homepage and blog.  Next was to try to organize everything so its easier to find.  We also wanted the main information easier to see no matter where you are at.  Obviously the contact us page and phone number are very important to see on every page, even the blog.  And to go one step further a simple… Continue reading…

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What Civil Engineers Do
Civil engineers design, construct, supervise, operate, and maintain large construction projects and systems, including roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and systems for water supply and sewage treatment.

civil-engineers

 

 

 

Work Environment
Civil engineers generally work indoors in offices. However, many spend time outdoors at construction sites so they can monitor operations or solve problems onsite. Most work full time.

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We are dedicated to providing professional and innovative service for our clients covering a wide variety of Civil, Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Geotechnical and Environmental projects.

Our services include, but are not limited to, site visits, concept design, concept development, construction documentation and liaison with architects, builders, contractors and government authorities. These services will ensure the co-ordinated and smooth running of your project.

Call us today to find out how Civil and Structural Engineering Design Services can enhance and assist with the timeliness of your project.

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Commercial surveys
B&W can provide a comprehensive Survey and Report service on all forms of Commercial premises, including Shop units, Office blocks, Industrial developments and Department stores. Surveys are designed to safeguard and inform prospective purchasers, including ‘fully repairing lease’ buyers.

Redevelopment and conversion of existing buildings
We have extensive experience in the conversion of mills, cinemas and other redundant buildings to apartments, offices and retail units.

Industrial development
B&W can provide a comprehensive design service, ranging from the design of steel framed industrial units through to gantries and supports for industrial processes and machinery. We have experience within many industries, such as general manufacturing, food production, warehousing and agriculture.

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Grading plans are checked by both the Structural Plan Check and the Grading Sections. Grading plans submitted together with building plans are reviewed by structural plan check engineers, unless substantial site grading for cut and fill are shown on plans. The Grading Section is responsible for reviewing grading only plans for: tract grading, mass grading, slope repairs, landslides and substantial cut and fill jobs in hillside areas. All grading plans are submitted to the Coordinating Section.

Plans shall be filed and approved by the Department before any permit is issued for the following:

Slope repairs
Landslide repairs or removal
Tract Grading
Mass Grading
Site preparation
Removal and re-compaction for building pads
Basement excavations for new buildings in Hillside area
Pool excavations for new pools in Hillside area
Retaining walls cuts, back-cuts and back-fill

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We decided to go to Downtown Los Angeles and get a view of the staging for the largest continuous pour of concrete in history.

Thumbnails above for easy access to this project.

As more details came out about this project we realized that this would be a huge mess if we went down to the site while the trucks and concrete pouring was happening.  Then the time was announced to start at 5pm on Saturday and we thought let’s just go down there before the process begins.  We were right about that logic, as more streets were closed down then we thought.

So instead of taking the metro Goldline we decided to take a nice Saturday drive.  I was surprised that it wasn’t too bad getting to the area with all of the streets closed.  We parked at Ralph’s on 9th St., my old stomping grounds, and started to walk towards Figueroa.  What a site.  It’s been a while since I have walked around this area.  We moved out of our South Park Loft about 2 years ago and loved that experience.  And now look at all of the building going on!

We make our way to the corner of 7th St. and Fig and I started to feel very excited.  I think Wilson was getting the same feeling too.  Sort of like little kids in a candy shop.

There isn’t too much to talk about that hasn’t been so I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

On the corner of 7th St. and Francisco St. we started to realize after asking countless workers around the site that we weren’t getting into any buildings to get better pictures.  But I did spot a possible area we might get a better view from.

After reaching the Target parking lot we hit the button to the highest floor the elevator would allow.  12th floor here we come.  Only to be greeted by security in a cart saying we can’t be up there.  So we decided why not try going up the stairs and see what we can see.  A ride down the elevator and back up the stairs and we got to the highest point with a window.  After we snapped some pictures we got back on the elevator a few more flights down and ended up getting escorted back down the elevator to the sidewalk with a nice waive saying bye.  At least we got an okay picture from above the excavated project site.

Since we already made the trip down here we decided to circle around and look one more time if we could get a better shot.

And this is what it started to feel like.  We ran into another guy who asked if we had any luck.  He was able to get into the Wedbush building but was told to leave earlier in the day.  Not looking good, but at least there was a great feeling.  A lot of people were walking around with their cameras.  Whether people realize it, engineering is pretty exciting.  Even it is to watch concrete cure.

You know we would figure out a way to get a picture from above.  Engineers are a solving problem bunch of people.  Maybe if someone is coming out of a parking lot we could go up to the top level.  Believe it or not as we were about to head out just this happened.  As we looked around I saw a door open behind the garage gate.  As we went to the stairs we quickly made our way to the top.  I couldn’t believe it, no one was up there already.  I think we are probably the only people without special access to get a shot down on the site without glass windows in front of our lenses.  Since we were told only God could access without special accommodations I guess we were Gods for a few quick seconds today.  And that is good enough since we are already two big civil engineering nerds that love construction sites.

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Today is the day to finish up these Mount Washington grading plans.  I had a very good meeting today with the Civil Engineer plan checker at Redondo Beach, so I also decided to procrastinate and have some fun with these plans.  Fun in Civil Engineering terms is different probably for those outside the field.

I brought the grading plan in to be elevated to start building the 3D model.  I did a few different checks to make sure everything looked right before building the final model.  First off the lines don’t always connect causing me to miss a few elevated lines.  No problem as I can spin the view and see what was missed.  Even the tightest drafting this still happens from time to time.  Before I got the earthwork cut and fill numbers I wanted to see what this looked like against the existing topology.

The contours are hard to see except from an extreme angle.  The grey area is the proposed 1:1 cut slope.  The grey and red contours are the existing topo.  If you look closely the daylight line overlaps both the proposed and existing, meaning this is right.  Another check and that looks good.  Next up is to run the numbers to make sure there is no fill as we can only cut this slope.  0 fill, and we have a winner.

As I played around with the file, I figured maybe this is a good chance to animate this.  So I create a 3D line that steps from the ground elevation up about 10′ overhead.  I set the camera on this line.  For a focus point I created a line about 10′ above the ground and placed it behind the slope.  The animated rendering helps see what is going on.  These animations seem to come out better on pure slope grading.  And once again I tried to turn this Civil Engineering project into a video game instead of work.

YouTube Video

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Today is time to play catch up with some Civil Engineering projects.  Catch up if you count we just got these projects to start a few hours ago.

First on the list are some revisions to the apartment project we are working on in Glendale near the Americana.  It wouldn’t be too much but the developer is trying to have this turned around fast.  What fun, I get to speed through the changes the Architect made while adding more notes and details that the Civil Engineering plan checker wants.  We will also be starting on the plans for another project with the same developer for a project in Venice on the same rush schedule.  Now all we need is that updated survey.

As I try to plan out the day I try to go in some order of what needs to be done and what will take the shortest to longest to complete.  Right now everything is in an extreme rush.  Also none of the projects are a quick slamdunk to finish.  But there really is nothing that puts my brain into gear better than some hillside grading.  This project in Mount Washington is going for an alternate design.  The original grading plan showed a future lot line adjustment so we end up grading less of the lot.  The alternate design will focus on grading the entire lot as is up to the existing property line.  One we reach the property line we will transition from a 1:1 cut slope into the existing terrain.  Things are never as easy as they appear.

First I had to find where the existing slope goes from 1:1 to steeper.  That sets the toe of slope.  Then I grade upwards until  daylight is reached.  Going smooth so far.  This is only going smoothly because I already graded this previously and see where the toe most likely will be.  In fact it looks like the general grading just about works out as I throw a bunch of proposed contours and trim where the daylight occurs.  Next is figuring out how to smoothly transition the 1:1 cut slope to the existing contours.  I then make an imaginary transition area and things look good.  Next I will create the 3D model to get the earthwork cut and fill numbers.  That is the final test to make sure the entire slope is adhering to the Soil Engineer recommendations of only a 1:1 cut slope and absolutely no fill onsite.  The model is also a good double check to make sure the 1:1 cut slope actually works.

Nothing like some Civil Engineering on a nice Southern California day.

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As we get more projects we also accumulate a lot more files, meaning even more to backup.  I have seen many different systems being used at different size companies.  Recently I saw how an Architect was using Dropbox and really liked the simplicity of how he set Dropbox up.  I knew the Synology NAS we are using would have some interesting feature to make this even more seamless.  And wow, Synology did a good job on their 5.0 Beta of their DSM, or Diskstation Manager.

We started off with a simple Buffalo NAS and quickly outgrew that.  Not only did this NAS seem unreliable, but the speeds were poor and the interface was truly terrible.  It got the job done and had the main feature, RAID 1, or mirrored drives.

Onto the upgrade to a Synology NAS, the Synology DiskStation NAS DS212j. From reviews this looked like the workhorse we needed.  The NAS is very easy to use and setup.  The transfer speeds are fast.  The unit is reliable and hasn’t crashed or deleted data after having the power go out.  We used WD Red 2 TB NAS Hard Drives to make sure we have storage space for the future.  This may or may not be overkill as the Synology can do so much more, but I have been very happy with the product except one thing.  The dreaded Cloud Station software.

The Cloud Station software is supposed to make the Synology NAS act as cloud storage.  Really simply you put your files on the NAS, add and configure the app, and install the software on your computer.  The idea is that whenever you make edits on the computer, the NAS will be updated.  This never worked quite right.  I would have a partial backup on my laptop and a partial backup on my PC.  Wilson’s PC and laptop would have partial backups.  And most of the time the software just broke and stopped working.  After trying to figure this out for months with the forums, tech support and reading online I gave up.  So I would copy the changes directly to my PC as a full backup.  This is not a very good use of my time and energy.

I am so glad I went to an Architect’s office when I did.  I saw he was using Dropbox and would just work from his PC and the dropbox software automatically synced in the cloud.  So I started thinking does Synology have a Dropbox option?  How sweet would that be?  After I talked with Wilson about this he suggested Google Drive.  Funny I have the excel spreadsheets I have made on Google Drive but never thought lets backup using that.  The timing couldn’t have been better.  It turns out that Synology released a Beta update to the NAS a couple of weeks ago that added the option to backup a specified folder to Dropbox or Google Drive.  This new option is called Cloud Sync.  Now we are in backup business.  To top this off did I just read that Google charges just $0.25 per GB over the first 15GB per year?  That is impressively cheap for piece of mind.

Onto converting over to this backup method.  I updated the Synology DSM a couple of times to get to the Beta.  I learned from past experience don’t just automatically update this device when an update comes out because sometimes there are nasty bugs.  You need to be on the most current DSM to get the Beta though.  That went smoothly.  Next was how do we best use Google Drive on a clean account?  Google makes this really easy with us making a completely new account.  Then install Google Drive on the PC and setup a directory to use.  Last but not least we setup Cloud Sync to Google Drive and we are off.  This part takes a while as everything is uploaded into the Cloud and depends on your internet connection speed.  As I test this out by working from my main PC the Synology NAS is updating the files within 30 seconds of changes.  Now that’s fast.

The only cons about Cloud Sync so far is that you can only select a main folder and sync that folder.  You cannot select and deselect within the folder.  So some cleaning had to be done to remove things we don’t want in the cloud.  In the end we now have a very good backup system on a mirrored NAS and cloud.  And every once in a while for good measure I can turn a laptop on and that will be updated.  Very cheap piece of mind and works so seamlessly.  I can’t wait to see what options Synology adds once the DSM gets out of Beta.

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