PLM TRAINS NEXT GENERATION OF STRUCTURAL ENGINEERS

May 17, 2021
PLM TRAINS NEXT GENERATION OF STRUCTURAL ENGINEERS

Last week, Daniel was invited to speak to a Structural Design class at SFSU for the second time. He shared his expertise and many of his projects to inspire the students to “do more”. Daniel’s work on that Hamad International Airport, a floating fire station in San Francisco, and a rollercoaster motivated the students to learn more, work harder, and set goals for their future careers. The students were inspired and took advantage of the opportunity to ask Daniel to share deeper knowledge and insight about his work experiences. The presentation resonated with them, and Daniel was asked to be the SFSU School of Engineering Spring Graduation guest speaker.

Daniel Silva, one of our Senior Structural Engineers, lives by a motto that drives his ambition and accomplishments: "DO MORE". Daniel received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a post bachelor’s degree in urban planning in Peru, before moving to the United States. After moving, he learned English and completed a masters degree in structural engineering and an MBA from SFSU. His mindset of "do more" has helped him to overcome challenges and seek out amazing opportunities, despite being an immigrant and the initial language barrier.

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SCVMC COVID LAB

April 20, 2021
SCVMC COVID LAB

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Santa Clara Valley Hospital has been a safe haven for those affected by the virus to heal and keep their loved ones safe. PLM has had the opportunity and pleasure, as a company, to contribute to the COVID-19 relief effort through their work CUSCHIERI HORTON ARCHITECTS at the Hospital.

PLM has completed many projects at the Hospital over the years, with several more projects still on-going. Recently, they worked on the COVID-19 testing laboratory within the hospital. The Office of Statewide Health and Planning (OSHPD) requires all hospital equipment to be anchored in case of a seismic event to ensure the equipment is stable and functional. While the machinery was not designed to be fastened down, PLM created attachment methods for each type of equipment. This was particularly challenging for low-profile equipment, but PLM was able to make the attachments, regardless of the small space. Their unique solution uses special rails to hold the equipment legs to prevent movement. These rails are also quickly and easily detached for maintenance and cleaning.

On the surface, this project might not seem to be of much importance in the fight against COVID-19, but PLM has the unique position of making a difference in standard business practice. The OSHPD requirements are in place to create a safe environment. PLM was able to complete these specifications in a short period of time, just a manner of weeks, which allowed the laboratory workers to continue to perform their coronavirus testing. Having a safe and secure laboratory is essential for effective work. PLM is grateful for this opportunity and proud of their contribution!

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MACHU PICCHU

February 26, 2021
MACHU PICCHU

Here at PLM, we are fortunate to have many team members that bring diversity and global expertise to our office. Througout this year, we will highlight famous structures around the world, starting w ith monuments from a few team members' native countries.

Daniel Silva, one of our Senior Structural Engineers, is from Peru, home of the Incan citadel, Machu Picchu. Daniel has visited the site twice, once in high school and again on his honeymoon, both times renewing his connection to his native culture.

Machu Picchu is made up of roughly 200 buildings. Each structure is made of granite stone. You might be picturing regular, rectangular stone blocks, but the amazing and beautiful part of Incan architecture is their use of polygonal stones. Stonemasons hammered rocks against the granite to flatten the sides and create smooth edges that fit perfectly with the adjacent stone. No cement was used to hold them together - they fit like puzzles pieces, shaped to perfection in order to stand together.

The engineering of Machu Picchu was carefully and brilliantly planned. Another example of their ingenuity is in the "Stairway of Fountains" that supplied fresh, clean water to the city inhabitants. Using a canal system, the water flows from a pair of springs about 2500 feet away to 16 fountains in the city. The first fountain was next to the emperor's residence, giving him first access to the water. This water system is still in place and functioning today, centuries after its construction.

Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the New 7 Wonders of the world.

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SEASON'S GREETINGS

December 10, 2019

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AIRPORT DESIGN AND THE TRAVELER EXPERIENCE

November 5, 2019
AIRPORT DESIGN AND THE TRAVELER EXPERIENCE

Top: San Francisco International Airport Terminal 3E. Bottom left: San Francisco International Airport Boarding Area E, Right: rendering of new Doha, Qatar International Airport.

When designing an airport, it is key to create a positive, state of the art, progressive first impression that reflects favorably on both, the city and country in which it is located.

Although airports are designed with the purpose of efficiently moving people from one place to another, designers are redefining the traveler experience in exciting, striking ways. "Generally speaking, any airport has the same functions and needs," explains Hardip Pannu, Principal. "The structure is designed to accommodate and move large numbers of visitors. Check in, security, baggage handling, jet bridges, baggage claim in a most pleasant and exciting manner. All of these factors need to be accommodated."

This means the structural design must accommodate heavier than usual floor loads to accommodate more column-free space and floor-to-floor height. The Terminals and boarding areas at the San Francisco International Airport features natural light and visibility. "Clear lines of sight inside the building created design challenges PLM loves to tackle," says Hardip. "We applied creative technical and cost-effective solutions to design and construction challenges that will serve to shape the passenger journey."

PLM stays involved from design through the end of construction completion. We believe a positive and responsive team who is sensitive to budget, schedules and quality of design and documentation differentiates the firm from our competitors.

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SUCCESFUL RESIDENTIAL PROJECTS: LAYOUT, VALUE, AND QUALITY

August 23, 2019
SUCCESFUL RESIDENTIAL PROJECTS: LAYOUT, VALUE, AND QUALITY

At PLM, there are three critical considerations when designing residential projects:

  • Understanding that the structural design must enhance the architectural vision and provide a flexible floor plan that can meet changing needs and patterns.
  • Successfully minimizing the material cost of structures. "While designing the structural systems for the Landmaker high-rise residential buildings in San Jose," Principal Hardip Pannu describes, "we collaborated with Swenson Builders to design an optimal floor plan layout that was not only unique but ultimately yielded savings in construction costs. Barry Swenson's team and I were awarded a patent for this design."
  • Creating a high-quality and flexible design. From a structural standpoint, this means the occupant never gives the design a second thought.

Pannu emphasizes, "You want to allow maximum flexibility not only for the designers but also for those who will be living in the spaces. The building is designed to remain in use longer and remain relevant to changing needs and patterns." We consider each structure we design to be unique. While basic design requirements remain the same, each building has its own story and design process.

Whether it’s exploring alternative structural layout options, applying creative solutions, or generating accurate construction documents, PLM always delivers value in their residential work.

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SAN JOSE'S AMERICA CENTER

July 2, 2019
AMERICA CENTER: AN EXAMPLE TO FOLLOW IN GREEN BUILDING

The multi-phase America Center is made up of Class A office buildings and a parking structure built on a closed landfill next to the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Overcoming Cross Contamination and Settlement
While the prospect of large tracts of developable land in urban areas is incredibly compelling, building on a landfill presents several engineering challenges including foundation design to avoid cross contamination during piling and settlement issues. “Designing structures to be built on top of 65 feet of trash that sits above mud required a creative approach,” explains Daniel Silva, PLM Project Engineer. "We designed with settlement in mind, using cantilever supports where concrete reinforced pilings are drilled down to avoid excessive settlement."

Adaptive to Changing Code
Each phase consists of two, six-story office buildings. To ensure the buildings can adapt to new code, PLM engineers designed a special lateral system. "While the buildings are structurally identical, we incorporated both moment frame and eccentric brace frame design into the building’s lateral resisting system to give us greater flexibility to adapt to code updates."

Connecting the Buildings
When an Amenity building was added to the scope of work, and PLM engineers were tasked with connecting its lateral system to that of the garage – taking into account the floor elevations were not matching at all levels. The innovative design solution connected the two buildings at the matching elevations to transfer forces to the garage’s lateral system.

Award-Winning Green Design
Phase I of America Center was completed in 2009 and was pre-certified LEED Gold. In 2008 it was named the "Green Project of the Year" for the private sector by the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Phase II that is just completed includes a second set of 215,000 square foot buildings, a four-story parking structure and 22,000 square foot amenity building. The project achieved LEED Gold Certification by the US Green Building Council and is one of the largest LEED Gold projects in the Bay Area.

PLM has shown that it can meet the challenge of engineering issues associated with reclaimed landfills to create highly valuable and environmentally-friendly buildings.

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FIRST FLOATING FIRE STATION IN U.S.

May 17, 2019
FIREBOAT STATION 35: FIRST FLOATING FIRE STATION IN THE U.S.
Renderings courtesy of Shah Kawasaki Architects
"This is not your typical building project. In addition to floating on water, this fire station has architectural elements that required creative structural engineering, such as its cantilevered roof. Because of Daniel's in-depth knowledge of structural engineering, he was able to accomplish the design intent for the roof, while also minimizing the amount of heavy steel used. His technical knowledge and responsiveness has proved quite valuable to us on this project."
- - Chenglong Tsai, Architect, LEED AP, Shah Kawasaki Architects

San Francisco Fire Department's Fireboat Station 35, located at Pier 2212 on The Embarcadero, is a precedent-setting project. The 16,000 sf, two-story station will be located behind the existing historic landmark Fire Station 35 and will sit atop a steel float structure. The float will be anchored on all four corners by guide piles that will allow for up to six feet of rise and fall. Pedestrian and vehicular ramps will connect the structure with The Embarcadero.

When Shah Kawasaki Architects, specialists in public safety architecture, were commissioned to design the station, they turned to PLM to resolve the challenges inherent in the structural engineering. "As this is the first project of its kind in the U.S., its unique conditions have generated many opportunities for structural innovation," states Daniel Silva, PLM's Project Engineer.

The project team has held long study sessions to determine the most efficient and accurate ways to meet all the different standards required by the marine and construction codes. PLM created a structural model of the facility, identifying and analyzing loads based on multiple criteria: 100-year storms, daily waves, temperature, and fatigue. A quick turn-around is another constraint, with structural design completion required by the end of design development.

"Having the chance to design a floating building is unparalleled," exclaims Daniel, "providing a design that will be used for the benefit of our community is a big incentive for our work."

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MEET DANIEL SILVA

April 18, 2019
EDUCATION, LEADERSHIP, PASSION
"The beauty of working with Daniel and PLM Structural Engineers is they first try to understand the architects intent. Rather than trying to dictate how the structure must work, Daniel has always been very collaborative and attempts to make our projects better through structural design."
- Fred Metzger, Director, Design, KTGY Architecture + Planning

As a young boy in Lima, Peru, Daniel Silva had his first experience with building when his father acted as general contractor on the construction of their new home. The experience had a profound effect on him, awakening a passion that continues to this day.

Daniel earned both his bachelor's and post baccalaureate degrees in civil engineering at the National Engineering University in Peru in the early 2000s, a Master of Structural and Earthquake Engineering from SFSU in 2014 and an MBA in 2017.

Daniel firmly believes in sharing his knowledge with others. Teaching his fellow employees has helped him improve his existing knowledge and better explain concepts as both a mentor and an engineer. Your spreadsheets and drawings are a mirror of your own knowledge, he explains. When calculations are easily interpretable by others, it shows that the concepts are clear in your own mind.

Daniel takes pride in creating full responsibility for every project he handles. Every time I walk past a project I've worked on, I know a little bit of me is in there.

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MAIN + MARSHALL: WHEN COLLABORATION EQUALS SAVINGS

March 19, 2019
MAIN + MARSHALL: WHEN COLLABORATION EQUALS SAVINGS
"The level of detail PLM provided in the structural plans to construct the concrete super structure to was unsurpassed. PLM provided a well-coordinated and complete set of detailed plans. At times of need when issues arose, PLM always made themselves available in support of the project, a true trade partner, and team player. I really enjoyed working with them on this project."
- Mark Baker, Lead Superintendent, ZCON Builders

Main + Marshall is a leading example of a building that fits the needs of urban residents, while complementing Redwood City's vision for the downtown area in both design and scale.

Long before the building's completion in 2016, the PLM team recognized the challenge of engineering this high-density residential building comprising 196 apartments and an attractive list of luxuries. The 370,000 SF building maintains a three-story height limit along Main Street, with eight stories behind and two levels of subterranean parking.

Structural components, including a solid mat foundation, street and underground cast-in-place concrete floors, and post-tensioned floor slabs above, were another challenge. The floor plate steps back as it goes up, a pleasing architectural element.

"With the grid-to-grid dimension change from the parking to residential levels, the use of sloping columns, and the need to maximize space within a downtown location, we had to be on our toes as the lead structural engineers," said Daniel Silva, Associate and PLM's Project Manager.

PLM worked closely with Christiani Johnson Architects early on to select the optimized column grid minimizing the floor slab thickness, properly locate shear walls that will alleviate major torsion irregularities. The collaboration benefited the building immensely by reducing the overall building weight and reducing the seismic forces. "Our previous experience is our best contribution to the project," said Daniel, "Our knowledge of various systems helped us find a more efficient and cost-effective solution."

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OFFICE BUILDINGS

February 21, 2019
EASY TO BUILD, COST-EFFECTIVE OFFICE STRUCTURES

Clockwise from top left: CalSTRS Headquarters in Sacramento, America Center in San Jose, 535 Mission in San Francisco, Juniper Networks in Sunnyvale, Brocade (@First Campus) in San Jose.

For nearly 40 years, our Principals have been at the top of their game in office building structures. We've completed dozens of seismically sound projects in the Bay Area and throughout Northern California that demonstrate our commitment to strength, precision, and efficiency. From the Juniper Networks in Sunnyvale and America Center in San Jose to CalSTRS in Sacramento, we are more than capable of working on any office structure.

Whether retooling and retrofitting an older building for a tech company or completing the structural design for a high-rise that will take in the stunning San Francisco skyline, PLM engineers are thorough, adaptable, and collaborative.

We go above and beyond. We work closely with the architect early on, listening intently to their design needs and the overall vision for the project. We offer creative and efficient design solutions that optimize the structural layout and save the owner money on their project.

We're a true team player in every sense. Structurally challenging designs or a fast-paced construction schedule are opportunities for us to dig deep and find creative solutions.

From building and seismic codes to construction materials to structural analysis, PLM engineers provide the experience and expertise necessary for easy to build, cost-effective office structures.

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MEET DANIL BOTOSHANSKY

January 22, 2019
EXPERIENCED, VERSATILE, EFFICIENT

Have you ever visited the W Hotel in San Francisco?
If you've been to this 33-story luxury hotel in the heart of downtown, you've experienced Danil Botoshansky's work. And multi-story hospitality projects are just one of his many structural engineering feats.

Following in his Uncle's Footsteps
While still in middle school, Danil's uncle, a structural engineer, introduced him to the drafting board and taught him to draw and read drawings. Danil knew then that he wanted to follow in his uncle's footsteps. In 1972, he received the equivalent of a master's degree in Civil and Structural Engineering from Kishinev Polytechnic Institute in Moldavia, the former USSR.

Creating Long-term Relationships
After 16 years of working in Europe, Danil moved to the Bay Area, where he has been providing clients with solid structural solutions ever since. He prides himself on creating long-term relationships - both with clients and with team members. He enjoys mentoring junior engineers in the office and he leads by example in ensuring excellent communication on his projects.

A Diverse Project Portfolio
Danil has worked on many different project types. His portfolio includes multiple SFO Airport projects, the State Office Complex in Sacramento; 100 Grand residential tower and parking in Oakland; Highland Alameda County Hospital in Oakland; the Parkland Mystic Timbers rollercoaster at Kings Island Amusement Park in Mason, Ohio; and many other coasters all over the world.

Staircases on Pinterest and Other Interests
Danil can't help but incorporate structural design into his hobbies - he has collected over 800 staircases on Pinterest so that he can study them and understand how they work structurally. He also enjoys reading books, traveling, and spending time with his four grandchildren.

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SEASON'S GREETINGS

December 11, 2018

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KEEP YOUR HAND AND FEET INSIDE

November 27, 2018
EVERY STRUCTURE IS A CHALLENGE

Top left: Harley Quinn Crazy Coaster at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Bottom left : Superman Ultimate Flight at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Top and bottom right : Troy at Toverland, the Netherlands.

You step into the seat of your favorite roller coaster, pull down your lap bar and the ride assistant comes by to make sure it is securely fastened. The coaster slowly clicks its way up the track to its highest point and suddenly lurches forward, hanging momentarily in midair, then begins its descent. Your stomach drops. As the ride reaches top speed of 150 mph, your entire body presses back against the seat, your hair is flying, and your adrenaline is pumping as you join in the ear-piercing screams of all the thrill seekers around you.

Chances are at this moment you aren't thinking about the structural engineering that ensures the ride is capable of taking the loads of the cars and its passengers - time and time again - bringing them safely and securely back to the starting point.

You might not have thought about it, but the engineers at PLM have. Roller coaster and thrill ride engineering is a specialty. Understanding how all the pieces fit together, calculating the loads, and applying inertia forces takes experience. PLM has that experience.

Harley Quinn Crazy Coaster and Superman Ultimate Flight at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom? The PLM team engineered those. Troy at Toverland in the Netherlands? Yep. In fact, the PLM team is responsible for nearly fifty coasters and rides throughout the United States and Europe.

Behind the firm's thrill rides are a team of professionals who have built a reputation for being innovative, effective and precise.

"It's an exciting project type," says Senior Associate Danil Botoshansky. "Over time, we created specialized software to help us design. It took a long time to develop these special tools, but we did it so we can design the next one quickly and effectively."

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MEET HARDIP PANNU

October 18, 2018
OVER FOUR DECADES OF SOLID STRUCTURES

An Early Start
Hardip Pannu knew at an early age he was bound for a career in engineering. His course was guided by an amalgamation of interests: a love of math, an understanding of all things technical, and an architect uncle. He completed his Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering as the top Engineering student in the state of Punjab, India. He applied and was accepted to the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he earned his Master's degree in Civil Engineering.

The Phoenix Years
Hardip's award-winning structural design career began in Phoenix, where he spent ten exciting years and received a technical excellence design award for One Columbus Plaza. Greater Phoenix is dotted with structures that he designed, including Sky Harbor Airport's Terminal 4.

On to San Francisco
When he joined Martin, Middlebrook & Associates in San Francisco, in 1989, Ron Middlebrook would introduce him as the firm's trouble-shooter; he created proprietary computer-based analysis methods that became standard practice. When the firm changed ownership and became Middlebrook + Louie (M+L), he was made a Principal. In 2010 the company dissolved, and he formed PLM with two of his M+L partners.

Solid Structures
Hardip has led the structural design of many major projects, such as the International Boarding Area "G" at SFO, the W Hotel in San Francisco, Highland Alameda County Hospital's Koret Emergency Outpatient Center in Oakland, and the CalSTRS Headquarters in West Sacramento. Hardip's thorough understanding of engineering and intuitive thinking allows him to create simple and easy to build yet innovative solutions to complex structural problems.

Just for Fun
Outside the office, Hardip has a pilot's license and enjoys assembling electronic circuits, model airplanes, model helicopters and drones.

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DO YOU KNOW PLM?

September 25, 2018
BIG PASSION | BIG PROJECTS

With more than 43 years of experience in structural engineering, we're certain you're familiar with some of the office, mixed-use, recreation, and hospitality projects that have remained our specialty from day one. From San Francisco's Moscone Convention Center and W Hotel to the seismic rehabilitation of Stanford's Old Student Union to Sacramento's U.S. Courthouse and Federal Building, we've had a hand in crafting and re-crafting some iconic structures.

It all started back in 2010 when three Principals from the dissolved Middlebrook + Louie joined together to form PLM. These Principals - Hardip Pannu, Jeppe Larsen, and Bob McCartney - were the structural engineers of choice for many of northern California's top architects, developers, and design/build contractors.

Eight years later, PLM remains a structural engineering firm that maintains a reputation for skill and precision on projects both large and small. We deliver personalized service on every undertaking, from concept through completion. Our dedicated and experienced staff is committed to using creative approaches to arrive at intelligent, innovative and cost-effective solutions.

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WAVE MACHINE

PLM provided the Structural Design of the Track Supports, Foundation and support structures for this amazing Wave Machine in Lemoore, California. In addition to the Structural Design of all types of buildings, the design of entertainment rides is another area of our structural design expertise.

August 27, 2018

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SKY WARP

In addition to the Structural Design of all types of buildings, the design of structural components of the entertainment rides is another area of our structural design expertise.
Ride Creators: Skyline Attractions

July 25, 2018

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