Ed Center to offer structural design and design process course

A new course for building contractors, construction personnel and any interested individuals will be offered at the Education Center beginning Jan. 14 and meeting once a week for 10 weeks.

The intent of this course is to familiarize non-structural engineers with the fundamentals of structural design and the design process from the viewpoint of a structural engineer.

The course will include discussions on basic project organization and the design process, building codes, determining design loads, basic material properties, and the design of beams, columns, roofs, floors and walls using timber, steel, concrete, and masonry. Also, foundation design and retaining wall design will be included, and if time permits, discussions on wind and seismic design will be included. The last session will discuss some major structural failures and be open to discussion of questions and problems from participants.

It is to be emphasized that the course is just a basic overview of structural design and is not intended to turn participants into full-fledged structural engineers. A basic understanding of high school algebra, geometry, and trigonometry will be helpful but not a requirement for taking the course. If you have ever wondered why steel beams are shaped the way they are or what the real purpose of steel reinforcement (rebar) in concrete is, this is the course for you. Because each session is basically a continuation of the previous session, it is highly recommended that the participant commit to attending all the sessions.

The course will be taught by James R. Van Liere, a registered professional in the state of Colorado since 1967. Van Liere is also a certified consulting engineer and an engineering expert witness through the American Council of Consulting Engineers. His last three projects prior to retirement consisted of reviewing and approving the structural design for Invesco Field (the new Bronco’s stadium), the Wellington Webb Office Building, and the addition to the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver. Among his 2000 projects over the last 50 years are Christo’s Running Fence in California and research projects for John Denver’s former Windstar Research Center. He also spent many years as a forensic engineer investigating the structural distress and failure of various structures resulting from bad design, bad construction, fires, explosions, and miscellaneous accidents.

The course will be offered at the Archuleta County Education Center, Wednesdays, Jan. 14 – March 18 from 7– 9 p.m. The course will be limited to 20 people, with a minimum of five required. The cost for the course is $120.

If you are interested in registering for this course or would like more information, contact the Education Center at 264-2835.