Specialty Services

Of course we work in the traditional realms of electrical and mechanical engineering. Our expertise, however, goes far beyond the traditional disciplines.

Below you can explore just some of the areas in which Gausman & Moore can help you. These specialty services and niche markets can be separate projects or part of the delivery of our normal projects.

LEED Certification: Gausman & Moore’s exceptional commitment to sustainable design is demonstrated by 15 of our staff being LEED Accredited Professionals (AP) and having completed more than 100 certified projects.

Our experience at this process helps less experienced architects be more successful working through their first certified buildings. It’s also appealing to young professionals eager to work for a company committed to designing buildings that are more sustainable and are helping to reduce global warming, climate change, and pollution.

There is another program, B3 SB2030, that parallels LEED and is exclusive to Minnesota. The program is for state buildings that are either built or significantly remodeled using state bonding money. The program is monitored by the University of Minnesota Center for Building and Sustainable Research. The B3 (Buildings, Benchmarks and Beyond) program sets benchmarks for building performance by building type that become increasingly lower as they approach the year 2030 at which time all buildings are expected to be net-zero energy.

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) are non-profits who manage the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. Design professionals can pass tests and become “accredited professionals.” Building projects are “certified” by GBCI at various levels based on their performance at certified through platinum levels. Whatever level of certification you’re aiming for, we can help.

Energy Modeling: As software and hardware has advanced to become faster and more sophisticated, Energy Modeling has become a far more usable design tool to meet project design timelines. Gausman & Moore’s engineers can now perform energy modeling services during a sustainable design charrette at the earliest point in the design process.

This is part of what is called an integrated design process. A basic building shell is inputted into a specialized program and then we can begin to ask “what if” questions:

  • What if we rotate the building on the site?

  • What if we add windows high or low on this side of the building?

  • What if we use this this much insulation in the roof?

  • What if we use this kind of an HVAC system?

The software calculates the changes in energy use based on a 30-year average weather pattern for that location. Because of the speed we can do multiple iterations to determine the most efficient systems to build. This information, along with life cycle cost analysis, gives a building owner the critical information they need to make their investment decisions. Energy modeling is also used to verify compliance with LEED Energy and Atmosphere credits and that benchmarks are met in the B3 SB2030 program. Gausman & Moore has some of the best young energy modelers in the business.

Commissioning: Our commissioning process helps to seamlessly bridge a gap in the design and construction process that was causing new buildings to not work correctly.

Without the commissioning process, engineers design HVAC systems and specify building automation controls with sequences of control to tell how the systems are supposed to work. Mechanical contractors then install the HVAC systems, at which point controls contractors install the building automation system. Once all this is ready, then the building is turned over to the owner.

This old process proved problematic. Training of building operating staff was minimal, and there was no independent verification that what the building automation system said was happening was really happening. Buildings could run improperly for years wasting energy and making people uncomfortable. The commissioning process has helped to correct this gap.

Independent Evaluations

LEED helped to define and require at least fundamental commissioning on all certified projects. Enhanced commissioning gains an additional point and needs to be done by an independent (not related to the design or construction team) contractor. Derick Podratz is a LEED AP and QCxP (Commissioning Authority). He uses testing equipment that is calibrated and documented on a regular schedule.

The commissioning authority works with the building owner and design team early in the project to determine the Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR) and the Basis of Design (BOD). Following these documents throughout the design, construction, functional testing, and close out process is how the owner knows they are receiving the value of what they have paid for in their building.

Gausman & Moore’s commitment to having an in-house commissioning authority is another example of our commitment to sustainability and quality engineering work.

Building Information Modeling (BIM): Gausman & Moore uses two software programs for our building information and modeling projects: Revit and Bentley BIM. Which one we use depends on the type of project.

Revit is the most commonly used BIM software, but Gausman & Moore uses Bentley for the US Army Corps of Engineers projects and Target Corporation. BIM starts with a three dimensional model that all design disciplines then work with. Some major advantages of BIM are the owner’s ability to visualize what the spaces will look like, and the ability to detect clashes (where two elements occupy the same space) during design rather than during construction. This saves time and money.

Productivity Advantages

Increasingly there are productivity advantages to using BIM. Gausman & Moore has developed a Mechanical Productivity Pack (MPP) that increases user speed by automatically completing some design tasks, and increases coordination by providing correct information in one location that populates in all other locations. Increasingly BIM models are used on the construction site to help understand and coordinate the work of multiple trades within an area. Soon BIM drawings for construction will be used by contractors to shop fabricate assemblies which will then be tagged and shipped to the site for assembly.

Forensic Studies: We generally assign senior staff to conduct forensic studies. Attorneys and insurance companies work with Gausman & Moore to determine what went wrong with building construction or a piece of equipment that initiated the insurance claim or lawsuit.

Gausman & Moore frequently works with many locals who contact us when they need a study or an expert witness in an area of our expertise. These studies also provide good learning opportunities for the younger staff members who assist.

Arc Flash Studies: When it is dark in a room and you flip the wall switch, you may see a small white flash from the switch. That is a tiny arc flash. Large arc flashes kill or maim people and destroy buildings on a regular basis.

That is why arc flash studies are required by Code and requested by building owners who are concerned about the safety of their staff and the contractors they hire to work on their building’s electrical system. The studies are only required if a maintenance person will be working on equipment when it is powered. Certain types of buildings are more likely to have to work when powered up such as hospitals and data centers.

Elements of Arc Flash Studies

The study includes a coordination study to determine that all circuits are protected at the lowest levels and to determine the risk level for working on panels and gear throughout the facility. This risk level is then posted on a sticker attached to panels and switchgear which tells the safe distance from the panel and what level of Personal Protective Equipment is needed when working on equipment at that level of risk. Gausman & Moore uses SKM software to produce these studies. We recently completed an arc flash study on the Hennepin County Government Service Center in Minneapolis, MN.

Mission Critical Power Systems: The three primary types of mission critical buildings are hospitals, data centers, and emergency management centers. Gausman & Moore’s Tom Crew is a specialist in mission critical systems.

A simple system is an emergency generator sized to power only the critical life safety loads having no redundant capacity. A hospital may choose to have all loads on the emergency generator and have a back-up generator. A data center needs to determine the level of redundancy that it requires based on the cost of an outage. If the cost of an outage is very high they may require complete redundancy of any equipment that could fail that would bring down the operation of the center.

EPAct Third Party Verification: Increased building efficiency is paramount to creating a healthy indoor environment. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) passed an act to encourage businesses to reduce pollution by increasing the efficiency of their building envelopes, HVAC equipment, and lighting.

The act provides a business tax incentive if an independent third party verifies that the facility meets the performance requirements. Gausman & Moore has provided those third party verification services to Target Corporation and others. The proof of compliance is verified by an energy model of the building demonstrating that the installed equipment exceeds ASHRAE Standard 90.1 2005 by at least 30 percent. The Target Corporation building, lighting, and HVAC systems has consistently met these requirements.

Assessment: Gausman & Moore has provided assessments for more than five million square feet of all types of buildings. These assessments determine upcoming facility budgeting needs to maintain the building functionality and safety. The studies report the remaining useful life of equipment, the cost to replace, any immediate safety concerns, and recommendations for improvements.

G&M Adds 3D Scanning Capability

G&M is already known for its cutting-edge Revit use with the in-house development of our Mechanical Productivity Pack. Recently we’ve also added 3D laser scanning expertise to our portfolio. 3D laser scans of existing buildings and equipment can be processed and seamlessly brought into Revit as a point cloud (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Duct and equipment accurately modeled to as-built conditions using a 3D point cloud in Revit.

Gausman & Moore recently scanned a section of an industrial client’s plant. We then processed the scans to bring into Revit. Once the point clouds are in Revit, as-built modeling/viewing can be performed. From there, new ducts, pipe and equipment can be accurately routed and located without interfering with existing equipment. Time and again with this client, collisions and interferences have been avoided on a computer long before they happen in the field, saving the client money and also valuable downtime.

An example of an interference caught long before construction is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Example of duct accurately modeled to match point cloud, and new duct interfering with roof truss. The new duct was moved in the model prior to construction, saving time and money in the field.

The major benefit to our clients from using this technology is the efficiency and accuracy that we can achieve in documenting existing building and equipment conditions. Further uses for 3D scanning include creating demolition or as-built drawings or documenting historic structures where no plans exist.

This method of “field measurement” is much more efficient and ultimately, cheaper than a tape measure, paper, and photos.

We look forward to using our new technical capabilities on industrial, historic restoration and adaptive reuse projects.

Exceptional client service, intelligent engineering.