LERA is a full service structural engineering firm. We handle all project phases from conception to completion and offer our expertise as consultants covering a variety of services.
COMPUTATIONAL DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY CONSULTING
What sets LERA apart from other structural consultants is our design philosophy. Created with LERA’s detail oriented, hands on, and cost conscious work philosophy, our award-winning structural designs represent the full spectrum of building types. Our long tradition of innovative design and our advances in technology have brought us to the forefront of the engineering profession. With a reputation for design excellence, we work closely with all members of the owner, consultant, and construction teams to design projects of the highest quality. Our dynamic partnership and group of highly motivated individuals design economical, constructible, and cutting edge structures.
The high quality of our peer review and value engineering services, which could include non-linear and disproportionate collapse analysis, is as equally recognized as our design expertise.
LERA’s Approach to Peer Review
In a typical peer review by LERA, the goals are as follows:
1) Confirm structural systems and details are consistent with the design intent.
2) Uncover areas of under-design.
3) Identify areas of excess conservatism and areas where construction details and methods can be made more economical.
4) Provide increased confidence in the completeness, the constructability and the reliability of the structural design, drawings and other documents with consideration of the site constraints, Owner and architectural requirements.
In achieving these goals, we are committed to providing not only confirmation of an adequate level of structural safety, but also value engineering recommendations that foster minimal time and cost of construction. LERA’s value engineering focuses not just on quantities, but also on design details that impact constructability. Economies achieved in the design details can result in significant savings when multiplied by the number of details in a big building.
ADAPTIVE REUSE | RENOVATION
As a firm practicing structural engineering for over 90 years, LERA has developed the resources and expertise necessary to successfully complete the structural restoration and rehabilitation of any building type. Using LERA’s considerable experience in the design of renovations, adaptive reuse projects, and additions to existing buildings, we provide services ranging from planning, condition and feasibility studies (including code review), façade inspections to construction documents for rehabilitation, alterations or expansions of all sizes and typology. The breadth of our experience includes cultural centers, theaters, government facilities, monuments, office and residential buildings, hotels, libraries, schools, arenas and convention centers.
The key to LERA’s success is based upon the expertise of our well-trained staff to cultivate a thorough understanding of the existing materials, typology and conditions enabling the development of prescriptive rehabilitation decisions. Our design and technical strengths coupled with our creative nature and focus on constructible details consistently result in successful cost conscious projects.
With alterations and repairs of historical construction, knowledge of current and original conditions is key to minimizing unknowns that lead to cost and schedule risk in projects. The most likely problem to be encountered is inaccurate or lack of documentation about existing conditions. Damage and deterioration to older structures may be extensive. Archaic materials used in the construction of historic structures may also be vastly different from materials used today. Therefore, our work need involve the appropriate amount of survey and research investigation.
We develop and direct programs of on-site surveys, probing, and testing to determine the appropriate information for use in the design. We make every effort to assess the condition of elements in order to preserve as much of the original structure as practical.
A distinguishing feature of renovation design is the challenge to design the project within constraints imposed by the need to allow occupancy of and operations within the building while construction is accomplished. Equally challenging is the need to not disturb existing building systems while renovating. We coordinate our efforts with those of the client, the architect, and the building services engineer so as to provide structural designs that are responsive to both these needs.
LERA’s expertise extends to the evaluation and preservation of historically significant structures, facades, exterior ornamentation, and interiors. LERA’s core group of experts who focus on the preservation of historic structures are well-versed in all the structural materials encountered in historic buildings, including wood, masonry, concrete, and metal. Damage and deterioration to older structures may be extensive. Archaic materials used in the construction of historic structures may also be vastly different from materials used today. Therefore, our work need involve the appropriate amount of survey and research investigation.
Our team of preservation engineers focuses on the unique physical characteristics and requirements of historic buildings and monuments. A significant component of preservation engineering is to provide assessment programs intended to inform clients about the current conditions of their properties and the resulting impact on historical preservation implications. As with our adaptive reuse and renovation work, to supplement visual observations and research, we develop and direct programs to utilize invasive probing as appropriate and numerous non-destructive evaluation (NDE) technologies, cutting edge survey methodologies, and laboratory testing to develop a complete assessment of various conditions associated with historic materials ranging from stone and masonry to metals. LERA’s assessments and recommendations provide the basis for our high quality restoration and repair documentation that are used by preservation contractors.
LERA uses the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Historic Preservation as our in-house basis for all preservation projects. Our team of experts takes a comprehensive approach to the rehabilitation of existing buildings structured around a methodical series of tasks that minimizes unforeseen conditions. This methodology provides a well-informed basis for developing alternatives and selecting the most appropriate repair treatment for the structural aspects of the building, enabling each project to move forward, while limiting unforeseen conditions and cost over-runs. LERA is fully aware that many owners of historic properties often lack full funding to enact full holistic rehabilitation and preservation treatments. As such, we are receptive to client needs to help them to develop phased repairs, often starting with temporary protection.
FACADE INSPECTION SAFETY PROGRAM (FISP)
LERA provides New York City’s “Façade Inspection Safety Program services” (also known as as Local Law 11) for building owners to periodically inspect their exterior walls and appurtenances inaccordance with the requirements of the New York City Department of Buildings. We conduct critical façade examinations under the direction of one of our Qualified Exterior Wall Inspectors, who are New York State licensed Professional Engineers (PE). Each building’s five-year inspection period is determined by the last digit of its block number. We are currently working within the 8th FISP filing Cycle.
Certified as an MWBE in the State of New York, LERA is accredited as a Special Inspection Agency by the International Accreditation Agency and registered as a Special Inspection Agency with the New York City Department of Buildings. Our inspectors hold degrees in design as well as in inspection work. Their background and experience results in quality work.
EXPERT WITNESS & LITIGATION
EVALUATIONS & INVESTIGATIONS
Recognized as a leader in the field of structural engineering, LERA is called upon by attorneys, insurance companies, and their clients to investigate problems that arise on construction projects. Drawing upon our 90-year history of successful and innovative designs for a wide range of complex projects, we seek out the root causes of structural defects, performance issues, and collapses, and provide sound and reliable advice to our clients. Our services include investigations, litigation support services, expert testimony, risk assessments, design of remedial measures for damaged or poorly performing structures, and development of graphic tools that help legal teams explain things to triers-of-fact.
Benjamin M. Cornelius, Partner | P.E., C.E., S.E., M.L.S.E.
LERA has collaborated with some of the world's most renown arts and cultural instutions on sculptural installations and permanent exhibits. LERA has designed display and foundation systems that incorporate wind and seismic requirements for massive works of art throughout the world.
BIM | Building Information Modeling
LERA embraces new technology to enhance design solutions and create efficient innovations to structural systems. BIM enables LERA to investigate different design options and alternative materials, while identifying and addressing constructability issues. BIM also helps LERA to reduce the number of man hours required to coordinate and complete project documents. Our continued success with BIM can be attributed to the vision and collaborative efforts between our structural engineers and our BIM department. The staff of our BIM department have architectural and structural backgrounds and are proficient in Revit and BIM software. We use Rhino, Tekla and 3D AutoCad in collaboration with Revit.