APT Engineering: Standardizing structural calculations using Tedds
APT Engineering LLC of Corvallis, Oregon, is a structural design company specializing in stone, aluminum and glass veneer curtain wall systems. Because of this very niche engineering market there are no automated calculation packages available to suit the requirements that APT has. Hand calculations are common but have slowly been replaced by spreadsheet systems such as Excel. These highly variable systems meant that standardization across the firm was becoming a difficult challenge. Individual engineers would develop their own calculations, which may or may not include all the required checks; spreadsheets were used for the most common calculations but these could be easily tweaked for special cases and over time calculations and spreadhseets were at risk of becoming corrupted.
APT had come to expect spending up to two days checking and assembling a submittal package from all of the different engineering documents that had been created for inclusion. This process was time consuming and inefficient.
Tedds enables powerful and custom calculations
APT chose Tekla’s Tedds, the structural calculation software, to create and distribute a library of bespoke calculations that could not be amended, ensuring each engineer was using the same tool for any given project and preventing errors from creeping in. This created consistency and confidence across the company.
Tedds comes complete with an extensive library of calculations that can be used by structural engineers but, due to the very niche market in which APT operates, only the basic load calculations were regularly used. Instead APT took advantage of Tedds’ powerful functionality for writing calculations and created its own custom calculations, suited to its particular requirements. Using Tedds’ interaction with Word, documents could be brought together to quickly produce a submittal package, saving considerable time and allowing APT to provide a swifter service to clients.
Tedds was programmed to produce part drawings for each anchor based on the calculation results and a design criteria page was implemented at the beginning of each project for defining all variables. This brought further standardization to any submittal.
The update service in Tedds allowed them to keep the calculations to automatically up to date and confidently implement any changes at the click of a button.
“It wasn’t the ability to do the math that was the problem for APT but the ability to standardize calculations and produce coherent reports co-ordinated with the calculation. Using Tedds saves time creating project documents and ensuring all projects are up to date,” says William J. Kirkham, Principal at APT.
Tedds has enabled APT to increase productivity, reducing the time taken to create submittal packages from a couple of days to a couple of hours. Initial implementation has been successful and APT has already upgraded having the intention to make Tedds accessible to all its engineers in the future.
Kirkham concludes: “No other product can standardize calculations through a customizable interface like Tedds and this has helped us improve our efficiency and provide the leverage for APT to compete much more aggressively.”