Why are Steel Structures Used in Most Construction?

 

Steel Structure Buildings
Empire State Building
The Brooklyn Bridge
Burj Khalifa

 

Did you know that steel is a high-strength grade of construction material?

Steel, known for its reliability and cost efficiency, is considered the primary go-to material for construction purposes. How are steel structures cost-effective and at the same time the go-to material? Well, they require fewer raw materials, steel is lower-maintenance and inexpensive to manufacture, and steel structures are generally more durable than those constructed from other materials because the alloy can endure severe weather conditions. It also staves off rust and mold accumulation, giving the material a longer lifespan. For all these reasons, using steel is widely considered a great long-term investment.

Modern contractors and designers use the material for all scopes of structural engineering work. Steel can be shaped to accommodate each project’s unique specifications – some of the potential construction shapes it can made into include round tube (HSS), plate, an angle, and wide flange, among others. Its flexibility allows engineers and architects to bring their beautiful designs to life. So, if you’ve ever passed a modern bridge, building, or tower that caught your attention and wondered what it was made of, the answer is probably steel!

If you are curious about buildings and/or bridges built with steel structures, here are three famous examples:
1. The Empire State Building, located in New York City, was constructed in 1931. Prior to Burj Khalifa’s construction, the Empire State Building held the record for being the world’s tallest building. It was designed by William F. Lamb, who drew inspiration from art deco aesthetics. To learn more please visit the following link: https://www.history.com/news/10-surprising-facts-about-the-empire-state-building.

2. The Brooklyn Bridge, also located in New York City, was constructed in 1883. It is known for having been the first steel-wire suspension bridge in the world. The original designer was John Augustus Roebling, who sadly succumbed to injuries he obtained from an accident he had on the bridge. His son, Washington Roebling, continued his work, but also suffered an accident that led to him developing a sickness, and his wife Emily Warren Roebling subsequently stepped in to help him finish the bridge. To learn more please visit the following link: http://www.bridgesdb.com/bridge-list/brooklyn-bridge/.

3. Burj Khalifa, located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, was constructed in 2006. This building is currently the tallest in the world. It was designed by Adrian Smith, and according to the ruler of Dubai, the inspiration that led to its construction struck him during a previous visit to the Empire State Building. To learn more please visit the following link: https://thetowerinfo.com/buildings-list/burj-khalifa/.

Infrastructure Week, Day 5: Roads

In the U.S., roads are an unavoidable part of our everyday lives. We use roadways daily to travel to and from work, school, social engagements, and more. So how do we deal with the issue of America’s crumbling roadway infrastructure?

As the years go by, American metropolitan areas are stymied by traffic congestion.

The average American spends 97 hours a year stuck in traffic. That’s 12+ vacations days! Meanwhile, suburban and more rural areas are forced to contend with deteriorating road conditions, as well as outdated and dangerous traffic configurations.

At KC Engineering and Land Surveying, P.C. (KC), maintaining and upgrading our roads remains an important priority. Our civil engineers are skilled in parking lot and roadway design, and along with our traffic engineers they can effectively and efficiently plan, design, and oversee the construction of intersection improvements, parking facilities, maintenance and protection of traffic plans, highways, utility relocations, site lighting, driveways and other roadways, curbs, and sidewalks so that the outcomes not only provide for smooth transitions but also for economically functional results.

With projects like Cross Westchester Expressway (I-287) Exit 8E Reconstruction, 5th Avenue Reconstruction, DeLavergne Avenue Reconstruction, and Milling and Resurfacing of Federal Aid Roads, KC strives to maintain the safety and commutability of area roads, because at KC we recognize the vital importance of roadway infrastructure.

Infrastructure Week, Day 3: Transit

Public transit is a staple of our nation that continues to grow yearly, although remains neglected and radically underfunded.

American transit systems carry billions of people a year via trains, commuter buses, ridesharing services, and more. These systems mainly provide transportation in urban areas, but are vital in many rural areas across the county.

In the past few years, we’ve seen major train derailments, non-passengers killed in transit-related accidents, and damaged infrastructure as a result of natural disaster. The resilience of outdated, unreliable infrastructure is tested day by day.

For full functionality of national transit systems, we need not only transit vehicles, but sufficient infrastructure like traffic signals, train tracks, and roadways to successfully carry and guide these vehicles. However, with lack of funding, years of deferred maintenance, and aging infrastructure, our public transit systems continue to suffer.

At KC Engineering and Land Surveying, P.C. (KC), our civil engineering services include roadway and highway design, traffic engineering, lighting design, and other services to maintain and improve transit operations.

With projects like Gowanus Expressway Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) and Emergency Repairs, Greenkill Avenue Bridge Replacement, and Route 9D Pedestrian Improvements, KC has provided construction inspection for replacement of bridge and mounting tube railings, design assessment for rehabilitation of railroad bridges, and traffic calming and street lighting design.

What Goes Into a Land Surveyor’s Backpack?

Land surveying is one of the oldest professions in the world, dating back to ancient times. Surveying illuminates the features of a property, outlines property boundaries, locates underground utility lines, and so much more. So what type of equipment do surveyors usually take out into the field? We decided to ask our survey crew and here is what they had to say:

“We’ll start with our basic personal equipment. Unfortunately, as surveyors, we are constantly in the field so our survey attire isn’t always office-appropriate. Whether it’s a ragged shirt with torn jeans, or a t-shirt with holes, our field attire is not really ideal to wear in a professional office environment. The same could be said for wearing nice clothing while performing fieldwork. No one wants to survey in khakis and a button-down shirt. That’s why we always keep a spare change of work clothes, just in case we need to perform fieldwork in an emergency. This means we can dress respectably in the office and still have the option to change into field clothes.

As far as personal gear, safety is always a priority. We keep our orange vests in our packs as well as our hard hats and boots. Using proper footwear while surveying in the field is essential. There’s a lot of standing and walking, so a good pair of boots goes a long way. Additionally, we may have our own tool belts as well as safety glasses. Again, safety is always a top priority so you’ll always find these either in our backpacks or survey truck.

Shorts are not a recommended item of clothing because half the time we’re walking through tall brush and need to be cognizant of ticks. You’ll also find bug spray, sunblock, and sanitary hand wipes. Some other items you may find are a magnetic compass, a small mini-reflector prism, and a 25-foot steel tape.

As far as the typical surveying equipment, these are our surveying instruments:

  • The Nikon Nivo 2C; and
  • The Leica TCRA 1103 Plus robotic instrument.

These instruments are used by field crews on a daily basis for collecting data. However, the instruments are always brought inside at day’s end and are never left in the survey truck. Tripods, prism poles, and various other tools can be found in the bed of the survey truck."

All of these items are used in different ways but are essential to performing the duties of a land surveyor.

NYCEDC East Midtown Greenway Survey Project

The East Midtown Greenway (EMG) is the second phase of a three-phase development known as the East Midtown Waterfront Project (EMWP). The intent of the EMWP is to construct a continuous public waterfront esplanade over the East River in Manhattan. The EMG’s southern and northern termini are East 53rd Street and East 61st Street. The project also includes a new pedestrian bridge, which will provide access the esplanade at 54th Street and Sutton Place South.

KC performed the topographic survey, utility survey, and easement survey for the project. Work associated with the production of these deliverables included a comprehensive investigation of all available record utility and government agency maps. KC also researched available design drawings, as-built drawings, and aerial maps spanning approximately 80 years to understand site conditions, both above- and below-ground. KC's survey crew also coordinated with an arborist to accurately measure, classify, and record all trees within the project limits.

KC assisted in providing an existing conditions report. Provided narratives entailed a detailed description of the project land use, ownership, and zoning. This report also included a written description of onsite utilities and important features, including an existing 11-foot gravity retaining wall and a comprehensive engineering investigation of an existing bridge located adjacent to the project area.

In addition, KC, the Engineer of Record for the new 54th Street pedestrian bridge, is actively coordinating with the New York City Economic Development Corporation and a bridge architectural firm to provide a bridge design that will be visually appealing, will meet the high expectations of the community, and will adhere to the design standards set forth by both the New York City Department of Transportation and the New York City Department of Parks and Rrecreation.