ClearCalcs Expert Hours with David Hourdequin (Pt. 2)


Wednesday, May 17, 2023
6:00 PM

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Structural Design Concepts: Heavy Timber Engineering Pt. 2 (Commercial Projects)

About this event

While wood has been used as construction material for centuries, the use of mass timber or heavy timber in structural design is only emerging in the last few decades, and not everyone has a clear understanding of what it means.

Additionally, as steel and concrete became the preferred alternative materials in construction, there’s a surprising amount of expertise that goes into designing with heavy timber that not many structural engineers are confident with it, even though they might have a natural interest in timber as building materials.

Join our Structural Design Lead, Laurent Gérin, and David Hourdequin, President and Owner of North Carolina-based structural engineering firm D. Rémy & Co., on Wednesday, 17 May 2023, from 2 pm to 3 pm Eastern Time to learn more about designing with heavy timber for commercial projects.

We will discuss some of the most interesting heavy timber engineering projects for that David has worked on in his career, such as the Universal Studios’ Harry Potter Barn and Whidden Wedding Pavilion in Florida.

This is your opportunity to learn from his insights regarding what worked and what didn’t, explore complex scenarios that demonstrate timber’s efficient working capabilities, and unpack structural design considerations when working with timber - all while having an opportunity to ask questions directly from our expert himself!

In this webinar, we will cover:

  • Introduction to David Hourdequin and his structural engineering career history
  • Overview of timber frame engineering & why it is unique in structural design, and what makes a timber frame engineer different from a structural engineer?
  • Projects details: -- The Harry Potter Barn, Universal Studios, Orlando, FL: An unusual theme park venue through which a rail car carrying participants travels in a sharp turn through a twelve-sided barn. The roof system consists of twelve radial trusses, two of which are cantilevered from a center, four-foot diameter staved timber king pin, and steel shear wall system resisting high wind loads. -- Whidden Wedding Pavilion, Lake Wales, FL: A large, heavy timber-framed wedding barn with a central aisle, shed roof wings, loft and common lumber framed shear walls.

Webinar Summary

The Clearcalcs expert hour webinar features David Hourdequin discussing his past projects and the cloud-based structural calculations software, Clearcalcs. Laurent introduces David and his new book, Consulting Engineering Success, before David talks about the wooden barn project in central Florida, which utilized metal plate connected joints and a k truss to resist wind shear.

Chris, the draftsman for the wooden barn project, joins the webinar and discusses the challenges of modifying the original design to create scissor trusses that were both aesthetically pleasing and structurally sound. He also mentions the owner's input and how David's meticulousness made the process easier.

David Hourdequin discusses the Harry Potter ride project at Universal Studios, which required a 70-foot-long truss and an erection platform due to a hole in the floor. The project also involved creating a kingpin that was 26 feet high and 3 feet in diameter, with diaphragm pieces made of double laminated advantech and g flex epoxy used for assembly. The sheer walls were made of wood frame and two by eight walls to withstand wind shear.

David Hourdequin discusses the inner shell of the 26-foot-high and 3-feet-in-diameter kingpin used in the Harry Potter ride project at Universal Studios, which was made of double laminated advantech and g flex epoxy. He also talks about the importance of diaphragm pieces in the assembly and the use of tension rods and plate washers in the cantilevered trusses. Ron asks a question about how the staves and the barn were connected to each other, and David explains that they were glued together using g flex epoxy under highly controlled conditions.

Dan Kaiser, who worked on the Harry Potter ride project at Universal Studios with Hourdequin and Ben Krompak, shares a video of the ride and discusses the challenges of building an authentic timber frame structure that is constantly wet and dry. They also discuss the maintenance required for the structure due to its exposure to the elements.

During the Clearcalcs expert hour webinar, David Hourdequin discusses the wooden barn project in central Florida and mentions that the heavy timber used in the project is the best material for fire resistance. He also addresses a question about whether the timbers were pressure treated and explains that they were not, but it would have been a good idea considering the humid climate in Florida.

David Hourdequin discusses several other timber frame projects, including a pavilion in Virginia, a residence in Maryland, and a modified double Pratt truss in Virginia. He also thanks Chris, Ben, and Dan for joining the discussion and adding another dimension to the conversation. David encourages attendees to read his book, Consulting Engineering Success, and announces that he will be recording the audiobook version soon.

Your speakers

David Hourdequin, President and Owner, D. Rémy & Co.

For more the six decades,David has served in nearly every capacity in construction and private practice.

Starting in high school, he worked his way up from washing windows to owning and managing his own construction company.

He earned a BCE from the University of Florida in 1964, followed by service as an officer in the U.S. Army. While working full time in construction management, he earned an MSEM in 1992 from the University of South Florida.

David spent 10 years doing structural engineering on a variety of steel and concrete projects. He has spent the past 25 years specializing in heavy timber engineering—his life-long passion and joy—and serving others in the timber frame community.

David enjoys a wide variety of hobbies—especially reading and writing—and spending time with his wife, Anne, and their four shared children and six grand children.

Laurent Gérin, P.Eng., North America Engineering Team Lead

Laurent is an experienced structural engineer passionate about all things structural engineering and applying theory, whether in groundbreaking new software or designing innovative new bridges out of aluminum.

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