The structural design philosophy at Ashraf Consulting Engineers focuses on public life safety and accurate quantitative predictions of the behavior of structural elements to optimize the design and thereby economizing the design. At Ashraf Consulting Engineers structural engineering is also considered as a social discipline rather than in strict sense a technological tool. Giving life to an architect’s creativity is our social goal. We ensure during our analysis and design process that a structure meets its specifications and other requirements prior to its actual construction. In our design methods, we do not restrict ourselves to code compliance and minimum engineering standards but we extend to psychology, finance and sociology to provide a comfortable feeling to the clients during the cumbersome construction process.
Design at Ashraf Consulting Engineers is organized under three tiers:
-Design as Planning
-Design as Epistemology
-Design as Activity
DESIGN AS PLANNING relates to systematic mental processes prior to actions and conceptualization. It is more affiliated with the management of a wide array of fields ranging from the scope of work and fee proposal to the primary steps in the planning phase. It includes:
-Establishing scope of work
-Fee proposal and negotiations
-Establishing terms and conditions of work
-Reviewing the project with Owner and Architect to establish the structural system and specifications
-Coordinating with other consultants like Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) Engineer, Civil Engineer, Landscape Architect etc.
-Building the strategy for the design and specifications
DESIGN AS EPISTEMOLOGY involves a union of rationalism and empiricism. While rationalism claims that knowledge can be obtained deductively by reasoning, empiricism says that knowledge can be attained inductively from sensory experience. However, at Ashraf Consulting Engineers the final test of the empirical knowledge is performed by using deductive reasoning and established principles and axioms.
A clear distinction between science and engineering is established. While the natural sciences concern with how things are, engineering is concerned with how things ought to be. In our engineering synthesis, we establish the complete structural design in our minds, then split the big problems into smaller ones, then solve the small problems and merge them back into the compound design. After the analysis and design process is completed, we provide a final check for the integrity and stability of the structure.
Our design epistemology leads the project from an “abstract” to a “concrete” aided by our analysis, synthesis and evaluation process. Though we firmly believe in the established engineering theories, axioms, hypothesis, design techniques, empirical formulae and the building codes, our design methodology is conjectural based upon our past experience and prior knowledge in the field. Like academic researches, we account for relevant prior experience and we also respect the history of failures in the building industry, learning the lessons from them.
While we acknowledge that the structural drawings, details and specifications are the general medium of instruction for construction, we also believe that written materials like structural calculations, design intent, design parameters and design methodology for each individual projects express our design philosophy explicitly for the reviewers and for the sake of the records for decades to follow after the construction. These records help the concerned parties in the future.
DESIGN AS ACTIVITY at Ashraf Consulting Engineers consists of form and function. The Owner’s dreams and the Architect’s creativity is provided a form which is completely functional for the occupants of the building.Efficiently using our planning and epistemology of design simplifies our design activity. Thorough application of the building codes, engineering principles, past experiences and conjectures helps in preparing a robust and economical design. Our design intent, design parameters and design methodologies are clearly stated for the Owner, Architect, Building Code Officials and Contractors. These records get preserved for several years down the road. Care is taken during the preparation of the drawings to reduce Requests for Information (RFI) and Change Orders. We make our drawings talk to their users and reviewers.