While it started as a structural engineering firm, Miller Engineering has expanded its capabilities and now consists of three departments that can work separately or in tandem to address a multitude of engineering problems for both commercial and residential projects.
• Structural engineering – Providing structural design for new buildings or for renovations of existing buildings.
• Forensic engineering – Problem-solving for buildings and identifying the cause of performance failures.
• Building envelope consulting – Providing whole building enclosure design for new and existing structures to increase durability, energy efficiency, and occupant comfort.
Most people have heard of structural engineering but what about those other departments?
“The analogy that I use to convey these different fields to people is to think of a building as being like a human,” says Travis Miller, President. “A human has a skeleton. The structural engineer designs the skeleton of the building. The forensic engineer is basically a doctor for the building. If a building has a problem of some sort, a forensic engineer is hired to come in and figure out what the problem is and what to do about it.
Building envelope consulting is all about the skin of the building, the roof, the walls, and the slab. All these pieces come together to make a tight, sound envelope to protect the inside of the building. Just like with a human, if you have a hole in your skin, that’s a problem.”
Changing Materials Leads to Expanded Services
Just a few decades ago the choice of materials that could be used on the outside of a building was quite limited. “Now there are nearly twenty thousand options,” says Miller. “Building envelope design is how we tie all those pieces together to make a fully functioning enclosure.”
It has to do with the materials on the outside of the walls but it’s also about the assembly of the wall itself. “Many people don’t realize that you can accidentally bring the dew point from outside your building to the inner wall cavity of your building by not having the correct insulation or the correct air, water and vapor barriers,” says Miller. “That’s a fancy way of saying you’re going to get condensation inside the wall cavity that will eventually turn into mold. We solve those problems.”
Unique tools of the trade
“We have very sophisticated software that allows us to model a wall assembly and run it through years and years of seasons in any climate and we can find out if the dew point ever dips into the wall,” says Miller.
Their engineers also use infrared cameras to find if unseen moisture is collecting where it shouldn’t. “Our forensic and building envelope engineers use thermography a lot,” says Miller.
Miller Engineering will make a structural change of its own when the office is moved into a new building in the first quarter of 2019. Miller Engineering is licensed in 15 states.
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