Design & Documentation
A key part of the Argall brand and service is our involvement during the fluid design phase. That is why we provide a hands on and active approach during the early conceptual phase of a project where we work closely with our principle design consultant in partnership to optimise their initial aesthetic and functional response.
We add structural intelligence to initial concepts by exploring new forms, maximising structural efficiency across the available geometry to reduce costs, identifying and attempting to combat site-driven restrictions affecting potential structural materiality and construction methodologies and exploring potential ESD initiatives.
We thoroughly enjoy being proactive and assertive during this phase, because this is where we know that our boutique service can contribute the best value to any project. This is a step that is largely missed in traditional linear design consultancy engagement, where often the potential value and contribution by the structural engineer is lost.
Across our broad range of experience, we have been fortunate to work on a number of projects involving additions and alterations to state-listed heritage structures. These structures have included, but are not limited to train goods sheds, gothic schoolhouses, grandstands, theatres and zoo exhibits.
This has garnered us a detailed understanding of the Heritage Victoria process, where potential exemptions can be achieved and where we have to be conscious of structural design items when setting out to remediate or develop any additions or alterations to the existing structure.
This experience has also given us expertise in anticipating and mitigating potential latent conditions during the construction phase minimising the impact that these would otherwise have on cost and program. Moreover, we have also learnt how best to manage any construction design changes during construction.
We enjoy working on landmark projects of this nature that contribute to the wider community and are excited to continue working in this sector.
A key collective passion of the Argall team is environmentally sustainable design.
During the fluid design phase of a project, we enjoy exploring and educating the design team on opportunities to incorporate environmentally sustainable design practices into our structural and civil design response.
We have an extensive understanding of structural materials that can be adopted to reduce the carbon footprint of a building, as well as water sensitive urban design practices that can be incorporated into our civil design, that enhance the ESD practices of a project or meet any ESD mandatory deliverables (including Green Star and MUSIC modelling).
We have a detailed understanding of local government ESD matrices, as well as Green Star design requirements and have a delivered a number of projects meeting both sets of requirements. We enjoy being actively involved with ESD consultants and the design teams to explore and provide advice on the feasibility of score structural and civil Green Star points.
Our knowledge and understanding of this sector also extends to the practical applications of these design elements and materials. We have established relationships with local suppliers of structural materials and civil products as well as a detailed library of testing data and information to assist with resolving any building compliance issues that may arise from the relevant building surveyor associated with the incorporation of these items.
In addition to our commitment to a quality design service, we are incredibly passionate about the refinement and execution of our design deliverables.
We document all our projects in 3D and have established workflows to transfer BIM models to our clients who work across Revit, ArchiCAD and Vector Works platforms.
Working within our own established set of documentation standards, we tailor our documentation sets for each project to enable the best and most free flowing design coordination and comprehension by the end user of our structural and civil information.
Our documentation standards are not inhibited by outdated structural drawing standards adhered to by other engineering practices. We prioritise clarity of structural information, ease of comprehension and the speed of digesting the structural and civil information.
We always work towards utilising our 3D modelling to its fullest advantage by using colour and 3D outputs from our detailed models to enable the best possible architectural coordination and comprehension of structural information, ultimately leading to less interruptions and requests for information from site.
As part of our experience across an expansive number of project disciplines, there have been some sectors where we have had to provide a first principles approach to our engineering solutions. This is where there is no blueprint or engineering standards to follow and we have had to actively work with user groups to firstly define the loading criteria, then develop the performance criteria that needs to be met (in addition to what can be achieved) before executing a first principles assessment to determine the optimal structural response.
This sort of work has enabled us to design animal enclosures across the three zoos in Victoria and for Taronga Western Plains Zoo in NSW for varying species of animals of different size, strength and land speed. In a similar vein this has also seen us involved in the design of structural reinforcement to safari bus vehicles susceptible to impact from animals.
We are proud of our involvement in such projects as they enable us to draw on our engineering prowess, while also at times challenging us to further expand our scientific understanding of engineering principles.
Structural material availability and cost escalation of structural materials is a real issue and needs to be combatted as early as possible during the design phase.
As structural engineers, our role is to provide leadership: firstly to seek out and understand the most structurally appropriate solution to meet the currently supply availability and demands; and then secondly, to advise the design team on what additional provisions are required to be made to the design to enable dynamic structural flexibility as the design develops and is ultimately completed.
The COVID era has instigated and mandated a multi-versed and dynamic approach to structural engineering for larger projects across a long design program. At Argall, we are implementing processes, as part of our consultancy service, to explore and educate design teams on the structural flexibility required to be built into the initial concept design to ensure the uninhibited delivery of projects, despite the unpredictable and sharp turns of events.