November 6 2020
Autonomy and Agility: Why Responsive Design Works So Well
Variety is the spice of Special Projects at Entuitive
Our Calgary-based Special Projects Team boasts some of the most interesting projects from across the firm. Unlike traditional long lead structural projects, they work on a mixed bag of everything from installing public art to reconfiguring a hospital wing, to supporting signage for a mall storefront, or reinforcing trusses for a new arena scoreboard.
The team collaborates with architects, developers, contractors, and building operators to deliver on projects with critical timelines under unique constraints. Some more unexpected than others.
Not Your Average Engineer’s Role
With this variety comes the need for a team who thrives in an environment where change is the norm. Responsive organizations like ours are designed to learn and respond rapidly to changing and challenging markets and circumstances.
The team is empowered to make decisions and act in the best interest of their clients in each moment, making it easy to prioritize their needs and solve problems. Given the extensive variety of the project requests, it enables true agility and speed to solution.
Below, team members share a few of their stories:
“We received a call from a client early one morning. One of their buildings had experienced a fire the night before and they needed us to review the structure. When we arrived on site shortly after, the fire department was still there completing their assessment and monitoring for hot spots. We observed extensive damage in one area of the building, making it unsafe to enter. In order to enable the fire department to complete their investigation, we developed a shoring system to provide safe access while disturbing as little of the scene as possible. All of this had to be done quickly as snow was forecasted later that day, which would add even more load onto an already compromised structure. Working in a quick and decisive manner to help solve challenges is what we do every day.”
“When I was walking home a few years ago, I noticed a few fire trucks parked below a +15 in Calgary. A vehicle had struck one of the parkade drive-in doors , and now a precast panel was precariously hanging off the building. The firefighters were trying to figure out how to stabilize the loose element. I identified that this building belonged to one of our main clients, so decided to introduce myself as the building’s engineer. Our client had an engineer on site before they even realized there was a problem. That’s responsive!”
“The following is a card I received from an 8-year-old and his sister, thanking the Special Projects Group for coming to review and design repairs for an existing residential sunroom addition that was having some issues.
‘Thank you for Engineering the recovery of the sunroom. It is almost finished, and I cannot wait. It will be so nice to have a warm sunroom. It will also be nice to not have a slipping sunroom. From Jasper and Victoria.’
Photograph 1: Dad’s picture to explain the drawing
Photograph 2: Jasper’s drawing of the construction as he saw it. (His dad noted that Jasper used a ruler for accuracy.)
Special projects may not always be glamorous, but they are always rewarding.”
“A building needs to be maintained in a good state of repair throughout its life. This requires an ongoing and up-close assessment. Without this, deteriorated elements of a building may go unnoticed, potentially falling off the building and creating a serious safety hazard to the public. The ability to have assessed many buildings from an arm’s reach, whether from swing stage, crane basket, or rope access, has provided me the opportunity to identify and even remove many potentially life-threatening chunks of concrete, which could have otherwise fallen to the ground. While it is a good feeling knowing you are restoring existing buildings, it is a better feeling knowing you are helping to keep the public safe.”
Thanks to our One Company culture and organization design, our teams are available to all our markets no matter which office they sit in. This combination of sharing work and having boots on the ground allows us to deliver the best solutions for our clients every time. Each special project has the knowledge and experience of our entire firm behind it, from start to finish. It’s how we ensure uncompromising performance, whether that means achieving a unique artistic vision, assisting first responders in an emergency, or providing a safe play space for two children.
To learn more, contact Randy Thesen.