Construction has evolved to become an extremely competitive industry. Owners, Architects, Structural Engineers and Builders compete every day in a rough and tumble industry where small decisions can have big financial implications.
As they say, the devil is in the details and sometimes a minor change in an approach to building can yield big improvements in cost, efficiency and timeline.
Embedded Plates in Concrete - a Seemingly Small Item with a Big Potential Impact!
Embedded plates in concrete are one design element that most Owners wouldn’t think twice about. Most Structural Engineers wouldn’t be bothered to change how they approach embedded plates and it wouldn’t be top-of-mind for most Builders or CMs to suggest a new way of looking at steel to concrete connections.
In a recent article by McKinsey Consulting, they noted that “globally, construction sector labor-productivity growth averaged 1 percent a year over the past two decades, compared with 2.8 percent for the total world economy and 3.6 percent for manufacturing”.
Manufacturers have been ahead of the game in embracing concepts like ‘lean’, which are now finding their way into construction practices like ‘lean construction’. Another trend that we’ve seen in manufacturing that’s improved productivity is ‘design for manufacturing’. In design for manufacturing, engineering designers and manufacturing process experts work together on the original designs in order to improve the manufacturability of the final product.
The concept for EM-BOLT boltable embed plates and our related solutions was borne of being structural engineers who work closely with builders on-site and have decades of applied structural engineering and construction experience. As we observed what aspects of foundation and structural steel projects drove cost and delays, it often came down to how key skills are managed onsite and how well construction sites were able to adapt to uncontrollable factors such as weather.
We began to wonder how ‘design for construction’ might force the evolution of key building structural components in order to ‘design out’ cost and delays.
This Change in Thinking Led to the Development of our First Product, the EM-BOLT Boltable Embedded Plates in Concrete.
The original driving force for our new embedded plates in concrete was relatively simple. We saw that in most structural steel construction projects there was a key step in the build, which was making the steel to concrete joint. In nearly all projects that we worked on, this joint was welded. Welding is a key construction skill and welding resources can be stretched thin on some projects already. Most steel to concrete joints are at the top of the foundation where the first floor beams span the basement. This creates a situation where a key skill, in this case welding, is typically on a ladder, exposed to the elements, making critical structural welds. As we noted above, we’ve observed that construction costs and delays can be driven by how key skills are managed onsite and how well construction sites were able to adapt to uncontrollable factors such as weather. We saw an opportunity.
We began to wonder what the impact would be if we could create a product that would make this critical structural connection bolted instead of welded. Initial back-of-the-envelope calculations told us that the cost savings of this approach could be substantial and the timeline risk of projects could be reduced.
It took quite a lot of thought and discussion to craft the patented EM-BOLT boltable embedded plate in concrete. Since then, the concept of designing out construction delays for embedded plates in concrete has proven to be valuable, with significant cost savings available for our customers.
The design for the EM-BOLT boltable embedded plates in concrete was executed keeping in mind that we don’t want to necessarily change existing design and construction processes. The engineering design is done with the same tools you’d use today for your embedded plate design, such as Simpson Strong-Tie Anchor Designer™ and HILTI Profis™ software. Testing of this new concrete embedded plate solution was essential to prove that the product would meet and exceed the expectations for existing types of embedded plates in concrete.
The onsite construction process is the same as well, with the exception that there can be considerable inspection cost and rework cost savings.
The patented EM-BOLT concrete embedded plate has been followed by the launch of new concrete to structural steel joining innovations such as the incorporation of thermal breaks in areas where thermal breaks were difficult if not impossible to design for.
Interested in learning more about how EM-BOLT boltable embed plates save construction costs and time? Take advantage of the Guide below!
Would you like help with your concrete embedded plate engineering calculations? Reach out to us below.
Embedded plate Revit drawings of our standard series of products are also available, for Revit drawings go here.
To learn more about the advantages of EM-BOLT Boltable Embedded Plates, go here.