Hollingsworth Pack Designs for Structural Safety with Tekla Tedds and Tekla Structural Designer

August 23, 2018

Retired Air Force Col. J. Bryce Hollingsworth and Victoria Pack founded Hollingsworth Pack in 1995 with a vision to provide consistent, old-fashioned professional design and construction consulting to clients in Virginia. But there’s nothing old-fashioned about how the family-owned and operated construction management services firm operates today. In just over two decades, Hollingsworth Pack has grown into a multi-national company providing architectural design, structural engineering, civil engineering and construction management services to private and federal clients on six continents.

With a presence in 25 countries and through offices in Austin and San Antonio, Texas, Williamsburg, Virginia, and Copenhagen, Denmark, Hollingsworth Pack thinks locally while acting globally. The company’s success comes from the nimble approach it brings to each project and an ability to develop unique skills that bring value to clients while adapting to local building requirements and customs. They do this not as a traditional corporation, but as a modern organization enabling design and construction professionals to collaborate across borders using purpose-built software tools, including Trimble’s Tekla Tedds and Tekla Structural Designer.

Hollingsworth Pack adopted Tekla Tedds software in 2012 to automate repetitive structural calculations for federal government projects, which require the firm to provide designs calculations and produce bridging documents. At the time, Hollingsworth Pack was working on the structural design of several Haitian police stations and two prisons following the devastating 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

“Tedds is extremely helpful for organizing calculations for institutional buildings where we are required to turn in calculation packets to the federal government,” said Dave Dunkman, PE, structural engineer, Hollingsworth Pack. “However, we’ve found that using Tedds for project calculations is just as helpful for private projects without that requirement.”

Hollingsworth Pack uses standard Tedds calculations from the regularly updated calculation libraries for items such as beams and columns. For extraordinary structural concerns such as how lateral force would distribute among the variety of walls in buildings, especially when one side of the building has more walls than the other, Hollingsworth Pack creates custom calculations in Tedds.

“Tedds allows us to consider the torsional properties and inherent eccentricities of structures under extreme conditions, such as an earthquake or hurricane force winds, during the design process,” said Dunkman. “With Tedds we can create custom calculations, perform the calculation we need, document it and present it in a Microsoft Word (MS Word) document, which is easy for our clients to read.”

The ability to document and review Tedds calculations in MS Word is also useful among team members.

“When a manager needs to review a set of calculations, we simply pull up the MS Word file instead of tying up a Tedds license,” said Dunkman. “Not only does Tedds allow us to easily create professional documentation, we can also combine structural calculations with a 2D frame analysis. This is much easier than reviewing calculations in a spreadsheet, where they are hidden in formulas and rarely updated to match code changes, and it is fundamentally more accurate since Tedds is professionally maintained by Trimble.”

Hollingsworth Pack discovered additional benefit of Tedds during a multi-national project in Africa. Co-funded by the United States and the French governments, the 2017 Niamey Prison project in Niger required the firm satisfy both European Union and U.S. building codes.

“Tedds allowed us to design the prison in Eurocodes and easily switch to U.S. codes for internal quality control,” said Dunkman. “Ninety percent of the calculations package was prepared in Tedds for MS Word, combining Tedds calculations, hand sketches and written text.”

Tedds was particularly helpful for assembling standard calculation packets for the various reinforced concrete bearing wall structures. Hollingsworth Pack developed custom Tedds calculations to convert code wind requirements into the controlling wind load on concrete bearing walls, and used the standard Tedds calculations to document the design of reinforced concrete beams.

“Using Tedds calculations in the Niamey project helped us verify the results we were getting from the 3D modeling/design software,” said Dunkman. “It turned out the default assumptions made by the modeling software were judged to be non-conservative in terms of the amount of load carried by each beam. Tedds revealed this to us and we were able to choose a more conservative approach for beam loading.”

Tedds also allowed Hollingsworth Pack to easily make QA checks by comparing the beam reinforcing required by Eurocode vs. that which was required by ACI. And, given that design deliverables were required in French, translating from English was much easier in a MS Word document.

“Tedds confirmed the design we created with Eurocodes was up to U.S. building code standards,” said Dunkman. “It helped me feel much more confident that the structural design we provided was accurate and sufficient for a high-security prison.”

Based on their experience with Tedds, Hollingsworth Pack adopted Tekla Structural Designer to analyze the structure of existing multistory buildings in 3D. This application includes using the software to complete a seismic evaluation of a 57-year-old dormitory at Thule Air Force base in Greenland. While the primary purpose of the remodel was to update it for architectural functionality and aesthetics, it was also important to ensure compliance with current safety standards, given that the base is in an earthquake-prone region.

“Using Tekla Structural Designer, we were able to determine the structural retrofit would not need to be as extensive as the preliminary analysis completed by a different engineering firm indicated,” said Dunkman. “The Tekla 3D analysis revealed we would only need to improve the connections between 80 beams and columns on a single floor to bring it up to seismic safety standards, saving the client literally millions of dollars over what they anticipated. In fact, the renovation may never have been approved had we not used Tedds and discovered a way to bring the cost down.”

Tekla Tedds and Tekla Structural Designer are streamlining the way Hollingsworth Pack designs new structures and analyzes existing buildings for renovation, allowing them to produce sound and accurate structural designs able to withstand violent winds and seismic activity with efficiency and at the lowest cost possible.

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