Continued Learning: Our Client Presentation Roadshow

Coughlin Porter Lundeen makes it a point to offer education, resources, and support to our clients and partners. The latest iteration: our client presentation roadshow.

As we decipher code updates and explore the latest trends in structural and civil engineering, we are pleased to share our insights with clients and partners. Our client presentation roadshows allow us to present topics our team is exploring as a collective and field questions in real-time. The current presentation list includes The Latest in Concrete Code, Rethinking Healthcare Renovations, Shared Coordinates, and Moving Forward with Mass Timber.

Determined to offer education, resources, and support to our partners and clients, we truly appreciate the opportunity to visit your offices and collaborate in-person. We see these presentations as an extension of our design team collaboration, sharing intel and insights so that together, we can create incredible projects in our Pacific Northwest home.

Our hope is that by sharing the synopses of our current roadshow list, you’ll find a presentation that’s a fit for your office or team.

Exploring and Explaining Concrete Code Updates in IBC 2021

We’re committed to not only keeping our finger on the pulse of changing code, but communicating those changes, and their consequences, to our clients and partners. We know it’s important to understand how code changes affect projects and know it’s incredibly valuable to have these updates presented in a clear, concise way. Our roadshow presentation aims to do just that: summarize what’s happening and what it means for upcoming projects!

The most significant changes to the (ACI) concrete code in this cycle include revised concrete shear strength equations, access to stronger rebar options, and most drastically, changes to concrete shear walls. The major updates to concrete shear walls include requirements and changes originating from performance-based high-rise building design.

Impacts depend on each unique project, but the code updates translate to an increase of approximately 40 to 100 percent from what was required five years ago. While changes due to code updates are expected, and the industry expects effects to compound, this is an unprecedented jump, with buildings in the mid-rise zone seeing the biggest impact.

Code update summary:

  1. Concrete shear strength equations are revised – this means that large footings and multi-story basement walls are affected. Our team presents our approaches for incorporating these changes while minimizing the cost, carbon, and architectural impacts.
  2. Higher strength rebar (Grade 80) is now available and codified for use in many applications. Use of this new rebar can reduce cost and carbon, so we encourage its use where appropriate. Our team has already used this material on many jobs by applying for code exceptions, but now that this material is codified it will become even more mainstream.
  3. Concrete shear walls are subject to major changes in this code cycle. As high-rise design is being applied to all building types, these new requirements can have a large impact on wall thicknesses. Because implications for these changes vary based on building height, the roadshow presentation includes four case studies: peer review high-rise (>240 ft), non-peer review high-rise (~200 ft), mid-rise (~100 ft), and podium projects. The mid-rise category requires the most collaboration going forward. If a design approach remains unchanged, shear wall cost/Global Warming Potential (GWP) can increase by ~75%. Our team presents several options to counter these changes. From utilizing code exemptions to looking at newer lateral systems and smart shear wall layouts, our team is ready to face these changes head on.

Team Experts:
Carson Baker, P.E., Structural Project Engineer,
Matt Snook, P.E., S.E., Structural Associate Principal,
Zach Whitman, P.E., S.E., Structural Project Engineer,

Smart Healthcare Renovations Make the Most of What Exists

Healthcare “glow-ups” are not without their growing pains, but by making the most of what exists already, teams can create wonderful healthcare facilities. From rural clinics to Level 1 trauma hospitals and cutting-edge research facilities, the Coughlin Porter Lundeen portfolio includes 80 projects representing more than $3.5 billion in the healthcare space.

While each program is undoubtedly unique, the projects in this market share an elevated commitment to serving and supporting those who use the final facility. There is true heart in these buildings. We understand the importance of creating a facility that houses discovery and research, supports front line workers and medical teams, and functions as an important step in so many patient journeys.

The commitment to care and learning isn’t all these projects share. The current healthcare market in the Northwest is faced with two primary challenges:

  1. Reinventing an existing building or campus.
    How do we effectively revitalize and repurpose what already exists?
  2. Accommodating code and necessary upgrades.
    How do we navigate the many new code requirements?

Instead of opting for new construction, many institutions choose to revitalize and repurpose what already exists. This can be a challenge, but we believe in this approach! It allows the hospital or facility to improve healthcare outcomes, increase accessibility, improve resiliency, and achieve potentially significant savings compared to new construction.

Implementing these updates triggers code requirements, particularly around structural and seismic upgrades. These triggers are dependent on many factors. In addition to the facility’s location and type, the level of alterations, specs of an addition, and changes to the occupancy classification can determine which code requirements are activated.

The roadshow presentation walks teams through these activations. It also takes a deeper dive into what changes look like in different scenarios including a large update of a critical care facility, MOB adaptive reuse, and fit-outs and TIs.

Team Experts:
Bryan Zagers, P.E., S.E., Principal,
Matt Snook, P.E., S.E., Structural Associate Principal,
Rebecca Hix Collins, P.E., S.E., LEED AP®, Senior Structural Project Manager,

A Modern Take on Earthwork And Digital Sharing

Shared Coordinates is a BIM modeling technology used to organize site and building models in the same digital space. It’s a time, money and headache saver, and a game-changer when it comes to getting the team on the same page during the design process, getting the details precise and correct, and avoiding surprises and errors during construction.

Recently implemented on one of the region’s most expansive corporate campuses, the Shared Coordinates system linked 586 models and connected more than 1,900 project collaborators. A testament to its effectiveness, every one of the models landed onsite exactly as it should. This system is powerful!

Using geolocation, a detailed coordinate system is established from which a full project team bases its design models. Models are populated within the system where they’re contextualized with precise coordinates that factor in local topographies, survey files and property line geometries. Neighboring projects, models, and associated infrastructure can also be linked. The shared coordinates “map” becomes more and more sophisticated as contributors add data.

Our civil team initiates a BIM Execution Plan for each project pursuit and champions early involvement during the schematic design phase. We use Shared Coordinates on all project types, big and small, simple or complex. It’s become standard operating procedure at the firm, a system on which we rely.

Advantages of Shared Coordinates:

  • One-time setup at project start. No guessing at location/orientation and no special CAD export required.
  • Collaboration! Generates a single federated model for the team, as well as end-users.
  • Streamlines the clash detection process. Teams can better detect and resolve utility conflicts, establish footings and zones of influence, and design around shoring and tiebacks.
  • Provides Revit-friendly components for realistic visual presentation. There’s no guessing at locations and/or orientations, and no special CAD export is required.
  • Increases ease of earthwork and excavation coordination. Civil teams have greater access to understand how foundation excavations will interact with the building and surrounding site. It gives us a picture of required slope cuts and how they interact with the building.

Team Experts:
Keith Kruger, P.E., LEED AP®, Assoc. DBIA, Civil Associate Principal,
Jackie Sempel, P.E., Civil Associate Principal,
Colin Cox, BIM Manager,
Joel Hills, Technology Specialist,

A Material That Continues to Wow and Rise

At Coughlin Porter Lundeen, the Mass Timber Task Group is thriving, determined to keep the firm at the forefront of the mass timber wave. We’ve invested more than two decades into understanding and implementing this amazing suite of products, and today we collaborate with creative partners to design exceptional mass timber projects like The Gardens District, 35 Stone, Hilltop Heritage Elementary School, Avalon Bothell Commons, 5501 Lakeview, and WWU’s Kaiser Borsari Hall.

The mass timber roadshow presentation refreshes some of the basics (the key mass timber products available in the Northwest, supply chain, framing systems, how mass timber is used in various market types), but focuses primarily on the latest and greatest developments in mass timber, our team’s lessons learned, and the mass timber items we’re most excited to be exploring and implementing.

Of peak interest lately:

  • Construction types and fire ratings.
    Exciting updates to Type IV-B regarding the amount of exposed timber are slated for adoption into the 2024 IBC. Locally, there are opportunities to pre-adopt these provisions for current design projects, solving a lot of design and constructability issues encountered in the current code.
  • Key lessons learned from past mass timber projects.
    Whether big picture concepts and strategies, or the more tactical items (like precision connections, grid efficiency, moisture mitigation, tolerances, vertical penetrations and horizontal routing), we leverage our experience to understand the many factors that contribute to the success of a mass timber project.
  • Takeaways and trends from mass timber conferences.
    We regularly attend mass timber conferences and events, both locally and nationally. Point supported post and platform framing systems were a hot topic and continue to be of interest for certain project types.
  • Research and learnings.
    We’re dedicated to continuous learning on the mass timber front. This means research, understanding of the greater market, and most recently, a trip to the TallWood site to observe ongoing tests and check in on our design contribution to the project.

Why mass timber? Here’s our shortlist:

  • Allows engineers to design material with excellent structural properties: strength and stiffness.
  • Can be a cost-saving alternative to steel and concrete.
  • Provides unique opportunities in otherwise unconventional situations.
  • Supports architectural visions. It’s so aesthetically pleasing!
  • Is fire resistant – timber can be exposed and achieve fire ratings where required.
  • Contains lower embodied carbon compared to steel and concrete.
  • Bolsters biophilic experiences with healthy interior spaces and potentially higher lease rates.
  • Creates jobs and local economic growth.
  • Contributes to construction schedule savings potential as a benefit of prefabrication.
  • Uses simple equipment for installation, requiring less onsite labor and creating quieter jobsites.

Team Experts:
Jason Whitney, P.E., S.E., Structural Associate,
Marie Ternes, P.E., S.E., Structural Associate,

Schedule a presentation with us to learn more.

Images: UW Life Sciences Building © KEVIN SCOTT – All Rights Reserved / 5501 Lakeview © Benjamin Benschneider – All Rights Reserved