Structurally Sound

A laser scanner records 50,000 independent measurements per second, making it a more accurate means of capturing the structure's physical components, including the various structural steel shapes, sizes, and lengths.

A laser scanner records 50,000 independent measurements per second, making it a more accurate means of capturing the structure’s physical components, including the various structural steel shapes, sizes, and lengths.

file known as a “point cloud” that was analyzed and imported into CAD software to create 3-D models. The point cloud was reduced into a wireframe (centerline) structural model representing the actual building in true three dimensions. The wireframe model was then imported into structural-engineering software for analysis.

In the analysis performed, the loads represented the peak gust winds experienced from the hurricane, and the earthquake analysis represented the estimated peak seismic magnitude experienced by the building.

Because the building’s original design criteria were based on aesthetics that dictated the nominal structural sizes, the building was known to have a reserve structural capacity. The original structural computer model used to check for building-code compliance was not considered to be highly accurate because some modifications during fabrication and on-site construction altered various structural members’ locations and lengths.

The results indicated that structural members of the building were well within acceptable and safe limits as prescribed by the applicable building code resulting from loads imposed by both natural events. The estimated wind gusts at the park were estimated to be 65 mph, while the earthquake simulated an event that was relatively minor in magnitude by the time the effects of the earthquake reached New Jersey from its epicenter in Virginia.

Additional Applications

The use of this technology has vast applications for the analysis of numerous structural-types systems, including buildings, bridges, towers, etc. However, the technology does have limited applications when working with hidden structural members, as it does not capture information that is not visible to the eye. Therefore, this building proved to be the perfect subject for demonstration using this technology. The economic advantage of using laser scanning is also applicable for numerous other real-world applications requiring accurate 3-D representations, such as highly detailed graphic renderings used for demonstration and presentation purposes in court cases involving forensic-engineering testimony in litigation for failed or collapsed buildings. Its accuracy, combined with savings in manpower, is making this tool a valued option while becoming more and more accepted by today’s professionals.

On opening day, approximately 325 children and parents visited the spray park. Throughout the warm summer months, residents continued to frequent it, including visitors from local city clubs, summer camps, and other community groups that can rest assured the park is safe for use.

Kevin Hanna, P.L.S., Laser Scanning/Surveying; Robert DiBartolo, P.E., P.P., CPM, Structural Engineering/Forensic Engineering; and Gus De Blasio, C.P.S.I, CTE, ISA, CIC, LEED AP, Landscape Architectural/Park Designer contributed to this article.

Maraliese Beveridge is the marketing writer for Maser Consulting P.A., a multi-disciplined engineering firm with a unique balance of public and private sector experience. For additional information, call (877) 627-3772 or visit www.maserconsulting.com.

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