Limbach Engineering & Design Services (LEDS) is presenting at this year’s Advancing Building Estimation (ABE) conference in Dallas,Texas. Their presentation, “How Mechanical Contractors Have Leveraged BIM to Improve the Speed & Accuracy of Cost Estimating,” addresses the lean advantages of BIM from engineering to construction via the utilization of the Limbach Modeling & Production System (LMPS). They will also cover lessons learned and the future of BIM in mechanical estimating and construction.
Now in its third year, the conference promises over 400 preconstruction and virtual design & construction (VDC) professionals an array of breakout tracks and seminars on construction estimating best practices. Many of these tracks and seminars have taken a different form from previous years, however. ABE recently announced the addition of “dedicated tracks for electrical and mechanical estimating and sessions to optimize the relationship between GCs and trades.” LEDS President, Timothy Ward, P.E. and BIM Estimating Manager Lumin Abraham step out this year as speakers, leading this new initiative for the mechanical estimating track in particular. They are scheduled to present on Tuesday, May 15 at 11:40 AM.
The conference agenda indicates more exciting content with discussions on the latest in 5D BIM with Robins & Morton, McCarthy and Clark Construction; Getting That Bid Done Quicker with The Austin Company; Adopting New Tech with Balfour Beatty; and Hearing from the Owners such as The Howard Hughes Corp and University of Utah.
Find more details about this year’s conference, HERE.
Our work at LEDS involves the simultaneous use of many programs and documents to achieve the tasks at hand. Examples of this in tandem usage can range from a simple design task such as markups shown via BlueBeam software incorporated into an AutoCAD or Revit model to design for estimate work where the design narrative, bid documents, design mark-ups, and governing codes often have to be examined simultaneously to evaluate the optimal compliant design path. Tasks that have many sources of input such as design for estimate require constant shuffling between spreadsheets, PDFs, browsers, and modeling software, and time is quickly lost doubling back to find the lines of pertinent information needed.
It is during these operations that a large format display has the greatest potential to increase and streamline work productivity. The Dell 43" 4K monitor is our first implementation of large format displays. This monitor allows the user to maximize screen real estate by offering the ability to split the display into multiple quadrants via Dell Display Manager software. The software also allows users to save a custom window arrangement for quick selection.
This custom split option grants LEDS employees the freedom to create a display arrangement that suits their personal workflow best. This benefit dramatically reduces the time shuffling between windows and improves the productivity of our employees. But beyond even the size and cell splitting capabilities, the Dell 43" monitor is also capable of simultaneously displaying up to 4 inputs. This ability facilitates collaboration between project team members, allowing them to share a monitor but still maintain a respectable amount of screen space to work in. It also allows team members to view meetings (such as Go-to-Meetings or BIM coordination meetings) and meeting-relevant information or models side-by-side.
As Limbach Engineering & Design Services (LEDS) uses this new monitor, we will note all of the new benefits and potential downsides of this product. LEDS is excited to see these new capabilities put to use as we continue to find and try new and innovative solutions for our employees and clients alike.
Figure 1: Dell Display Manager software comes with pre-set configurations to split the display.
Figure 2 & 3: Custom window layouts from two LEDS employees have helped them to optimize their workflow.
Limbach Mid-Atlantic branch along with Limbach Engineering and & Design Services (LEDS), Perkins and Will, and Turner Construction have teamed up as Design-Build partners to build a new library for the DC Public Library system. When completed, the new library will be 2 stories, approximately 20,000 square feet, and act as a local community hub. The Design-Build Team has been working with the Owner to secure the Department of Energy and Environment Grant for a Renewable Photovoltaic source to offset the building’s energy cost. LEDS engineers designed a solution and prepared a final proposal that they presented to the DOEE. The proposed on-site energy system would utilize 131 KW of rooftop hybrid ballasted photovoltaic panels with 2 string inverters to produce approximately 155,584 kWh per year. This wattage would offset the building’s estimated energy cost by 30%. The system is projected to save the District of Columbia Public Library system about $12,448 per year. This solution, once implemented, will exceed the LEED Credit EA5 requirements and allow for the maximum allotted points for the credit.
LEDS took into account several factors to propose the most effective system to the client. In-depth solar studies that analyzed the building’s relative location, including shading from its proposed roof design, shading from adjacent buildings, and other building constraints. Engineers at LEDS also modeled the entire photovoltaic (PV) system in both National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s PVWatts and Easy Powersoftware, which allowed them to project the PV system output, Arc Flash/Short Circuit contributions, voltage drop, and other safety factors. Such an emphasis on safety falls in line with Limbach’s Hearts and Minds Program. This program asks our people to take direct responsibility for eliminating and preventing all incidents and injuries at home and in the workplace.
With this focus on safety as well as the customer's overall cost & energy savings, the DC Public Library promises to be a project for the record books.
In 2016 Limbach Mid-Atlantic won a design build contract to repair aging air handlers at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland. The original award or CLIN (Contract Line Item Number) was to repair/replace (2) air handling units with an additional CLIN of (8) air handling units to follow. Because the facility being used primarily for animal research, it was essential that the design and sequencing of work minimized impacts and shutdowns. LEDS design drawings were sequenced to properly identify the scope of work at each phase of the project in an effort to support the construction team during the project. Furthermore, (4) temporary air handlers were designed and built to minimize impacts and maintain research spaces served by the air handler in construction.
The air handlers to be repaired were large, built-in-place air handlers. The first air handlers to be worked on were the largest at the facility and included AHU-1 (144,000 cfm) and AHU-2 (106,000 cfm). Repair/replacement of the air handlers consisted of replacing all internal components including fans, coils, humidifiers, air to air heat exchangers, filter banks, and dampers. Furthermore, a complete overhaul of the unit was accomplished through new access doors, internal and external casing repair and painting, and a unique redesign and installation of a dividing wall within the units. This redesign incorporating the center dividing wall helped facilitate construction and minimize downtime as well as ultimately provide the facility with (2) full stand alone air handlers in the existing single air handler footprint. The center wall design was further applied to other air handlers that provided the facility with (15) stand alone air handlers where originally there were (10).
Also, included in the design build contract was to redesign (5) failed steam generator installations. Previous incorrect installations had caused the equipment to fail prematurely, after roughly five years. LEDS identified the problem with the existing installation, protested the direction for a similar replacement, and took the necessary measures to redesign and correct the previous installation with a corrected new design and installation. This change required the addition of new equipment for which Limbach received an additional scope modification once the facility and US Army Corp of Engineers agreed to and confirmed the corrected design. The corrected design included new deaerator tanks, steam generators, and automatic condensate pump traps.
Further work was awarded to the design and construction team based on the success of these projects. A scope modification was added to the contract to replace (43) fans associated with the repaired/replaced air handling units and some animal laboratory spaces. The government and facility opted to award the scope modification to the existing contract and team rather than putting it out on the street for bid.
While the project is still ongoing, it has been quite successful to date. The first (2) air handlers and (1) steam generator system are complete and in operation. The second CLIN of air handler work is currently in construction and design has just kicked off for the second CLIN of fan replacement work.
The Limbach Engineering & Design Services (LEDS) office has undergone a recent expansion to its existing square footage. With more than a 50% increase, the space can now host new additions in both personnel and services.
Timothy Ward, President of LEDS, anticipates the exciting developments allowed by the space increase. “The expansion of the LEDS Orlando Design Center will support two growing needs for Limbach. LEDS continues to expand our services of estimating, planning and engineering, and we required additional space for more great people. This expansion also allowed us to incorporate a large room to be used as the Limbach Learning Center. The premier location in downtown Orlando will be an ideal location to host training sessions for all branches,” commented Ward.
Adjacent to this new learning center, a Prefunction area provides employees with state-of-the-art technology and enough room to engage with visiting branches and hold informal gatherings and meetings.
“Limbach’s vision is to become the first choice in integrated building systems: mechanical, electrical and plumbing,” explained LEDS President Tim Ward. “We want to be a full service provider in design-build, design-assist, and those processes are led by engineering. Without electrical engineering, you can’t lead.”
A strategic hire such as this one is crucial in the rapidly-shifting construction marketplace. Design-Build and Design-Assist delivery is more common than ever. The ability to offer each engineering discipline makes LEDS a one-stop-shop for Limbach customers, providing building owners with more cost certainty and a single-point of accountability for the engineering, construction and service of all building systems. Hiring Turner, an experienced and trusted engineer, to lead this new discipline within LEDS gives Limbach a leg-up on the competition. Turner will have the opportunity to build the entire electrical engineering division, serving as Engineer of Record on design-build projects while also working in collaboration with local partners on other projects. With Turner onboard, LEDS plans to expand the electrical division in short order.
“We needed an in-house electrical engineer, and Craig is the first guy,” said Ward. “He has real leadership skills; he understands the business, and he has plenty of hands on expertise. He can lead this department.”
Turner brings twelve years of industry experience with him to Limbach, including a significant portfolio of management and Electrical Design experience. His reputation in the Florida community is more than a decade in the making. Turner graduated from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He has spent his entire professional career in the Florida market, including a stint as the head of the Commercial Engineering Department at Matern Professional Engineering in Maitland, Florida. With a bevy of experience in all vertical markets, Turner has designed everything from simple lighting systems to expansive photovoltaic systems. His all-around expertise and desire to build an engineering division as he sees fit makes him the perfect fit for Limbach Engineering & Design Services.
“Getting to create a whole department, starting from the bottom, doing it the right way,” Turner explained. “I’m just really excited to get in there and start building it up.”
In response to current global environmental challenges, city governments worldwide have developed ambitious long term greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets. These city governments and their partners are increasingly focusing on the development of urban energy efficiency strategies for buildings to help meet reduction targets. Similarly, energy utilities and suppliers need to develop long term supply strategies that are cost efficient. To support these diverse needs, a new generation of urban building energy models are currently being developed for the estimation of citywide hourly energy demand loads down to the individual building level.
Limbach Engineering & Design Services now uses advanced 3D Whole Building Energy Modeling software to assist building owners, architects, engineers, regulatory and rating agencies. The software drives projects toward energy sustainability and efficiency. The ability to perform 3D modeling gives the project team the opportunity to analyze not just equipment efficiency but also to provide an in-depth analysis of building performance. Uncovering hidden cost, energy and carbon savings, LEDS technology and consulting services support smarter, energy-efficient choices across new and refurbished structures. Compatible with our BIM/Revit models, Whole Building Energy Modeling seamlessly provides a complete visualization of the impact derived from conceptual architectural designs.
Some key capabilities of Whole Building Modeling include:
Solar Insolation Studies. These studies provide the ability to model external obstructions plus self and adjacent building shading, assuring that the building utilizes key environmental surroundings. This data is invaluable for solar panel design, landscape modeling, glazing placement, even allowing for the integration of passive solar designs into a project.
Daylighting Analysis. This analysis helps both architects and engineers to better design the building as well as select equipment. Whole Building Modeling utilizes 3D models to help us understand detailed interior spatial lighting. In conjunction with our Solar Analysis data, it can calculate lighting levels, daylight factors and glare from artificial lighting by generating 3D-geometric models of the space.
Flow Visualization. This model allows LEDS to validate the effectiveness of a building system. One such advanced flow study is a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model. CFD is an excellent tool for ‘what-if’ analysis in regards to airflow and heat transfer within and around a building. Effects from climate, internal energy sources and HVAC systems can all be accounted for. Traditional, experimental flow studies have limitations, as measurement sensors placed within a space can affect results. A CFD model has no such limitations, allowing a variety of scenarios to be accurately tested.
Life Cycle Cost Analysis. This type of analysis looks at the environmental properties of materials for construction. Utilizing that data, a user can make material or construction decisions and tradeoffs from early conceptual design right through to detailed design stages.
Energy Modeling plays an important role in driving down costs and analyzing energy efficient options early in the design phase. In addition to the above capabilities, Whole Building Modeling also provides Natural Ventilation Analysis, Regulatory Compliance Analysis, and Net Zero Building Analysis, plus many more technical services. Whole Building Modeling is another indispensable tool in the LEDS toolbox.
COLUMBUS, OH, - Limbach Engineering & Design Services (LEDS) has begun expanding its Ohio Design Center. Ron Turner, P.E., an engineer who is well-respected in and around the Columbus area, has been hired to extend LEDS’ reach in the midwest market. Turner, who joined LEDS on June 26, 2017 as a Senior Mechanical Engineer, was hand-selected for the role because of the continuing shift toward Design-Build delivery on MEP projects.
“I’ve admired Ron for a long time,” said Limbach Senior Vice President Jay Sharp. “He’s trusted in the community; he’s a great communicator; he’s a true engineering expert, and he lives the Limbach core values. This hire is as much about who he is as it is about what he can do. Ron is consistent with who we are and will represent Limbach well.”
A strategic hire such as this one is crucial in the rapidly-shifting construction marketplace. Limbach, with the in-house services of LEDS, provides building owners with more cost certainty and a single-point of accountability for the engineering, construction and service of building systems. An experienced and trusted engineer to lead the Ohio Design Center of LEDS gives Limbach a leg-up on the competition. Turner will have the opportunity to serve as Engineer of Record on design-build projects while also working in collaboration with local partners on other projects.
“The growth of Limbach Engineering & Design Services is a reflection of Limbach’s commitment to our customers,” said Tim Ward, President of LEDS. “The addition of very talented and experienced engineers closer to our clients is necessary to maintain our progress towards design-related delivery of building systems.”
Turner brings 26 years of industry experience with him to Limbach, including a significant portfolio of Project Management and Mechanical Design experience. His reputation in the Columbus community is 30 years in the making. Turner graduated from Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio and has spent a considerable portion of his professional career in the market, including a stint as a Partner, Project Manager and Senior Mechanical Engineer at HAWA, Inc. With a bevy of experience in the healthcare, laboratory and higher education vertical markets, Turner is the perfect fit for Limbach in Ohio.
“I’m happy to be a part of something very exciting here,” said Turner. “In Columbus, Limbach is the leader of the market. I look forward to helping by leading the effort in the shift toward design-build, growing the business in the process.”
Limbach Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: LMB) is an industry-leading provider of integrated building systems – managing all components of mechanical, electrical, plumbing and control systems, from system design and construction through service and maintenance. Limbach Engineering & Design Services provides professional engineering services to support all aspects of our construction and service offerings.
With headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Limbach Holdings, Inc. operates 13 strategically located full-service branch operations in 24 major U.S. markets. Limbach’s geographic reach spans Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey , New England, Ohio, Michigan, Southern California, and Mid-Atlantic, while Harper Building Systems, a Limbach Holdings, Inc. company, services Florida. Limbach Engineering & Design Services is headquartered in Orlando, FL, and services all 13 Limbach branches. Limbach strives to be our customers’ 1st Choice in terms of the services we provide, markets we serve and regions where we operate. Limbach’s commitment to safety, advanced technology, human development and reliable execution enables us to attract and retain the industry’s top leadership talent, skilled craftspeople and professional management staff.