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Degenkolb takes home the prize: SEAONC awards the Engineering Excellence in Structural Engineering

On May 2, Degenkolb Engineers brought home an Engineering Excellence in Structural Engineering honor for the 2017 SEAONC awards. Recognized in the Study/Research category, the team evaluated a high-rise, steel moment frame San Francisco hotel built in the 1980’s and identified several seismic deficiencies common to steel buildings of this era. Due to a planned major renovation during a three month shut down, this 4-star hotel had a very aggressive construction schedule which necessitated prohibited major architectural impacts due to the seismic retrofit, like temporarily removing the existing façade. The team devised a less intrusive repair method to coincide with interior design modernizations and not disturb the architectural intent of the building.

The most significant deficiency was the partial penetration column splices, which were standard practice in 1980s steel construction. The unwelded portion of the column flange creates an initial “flaw” that coupled with older, less tough weld metal creates the potential for splice fracture during earthquakes. Recognizing that current engineering standards do not properly account for this phenomena, Degenkolb engaged several outside experts to augment its internal capabilities to develop a procedure that moves the state of the practice forward. Degenkolb’s updated procedure refined the number of splices requiring retrofit, reducing the scope from 200 locations to 72.

All the splices were located along the perimeter and the requirement that cladding not be disrupted led to some very unique details. Recognizing the challenge in the existing details, Takenaka Corporation (Building owner/GC) directed and organized the need for a mock up study. Degenkolb coordinated the details and worked with the steel contractor and Takenaka to devise and execute four mock-up splice assemblies, constructed using the same materials from the original construction. That collaboration led to the steel subcontractor completing their work five weeks ahead of schedule. Keeping all work performed from the interior and only on the perimeter of the structure freed interior space for the concurrent interior refurbishments and minimized architectural cost associated with the retrofit.

For further information on applying the procedure to reveal the general susceptibility in similar building construction types, contact Principal Bob Pekelnicky at or 415-354-6404.

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Posted by marikadocous on June 13, 2017 1:09 PM
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