SeaUA  Housing  Travis Price Architects24

Driving Structural Innovation

RUNCON

services

We provide design services for modular construction, cold formed steel construction, and structural consultation/design for architectural building cladding and store fronts.

 

SeaUA Housing, Washington, DC

SeaUA Housing, Washington, DC

Modular Construction:

We have worked with a number of clients in developing modular buildings and containers for living facilities and carrying equipment.  Our clients include 3Twenty Solutions in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (Canada) and PCX Corporation in Clayton, NC.  A major portion of our work is the design of transportable facilities to Northern Canada for use in the oil fields and mines.  Above is a project we prepared the structural design for near Catholic University in Washington, DC.  The Architect was Travis Price Architects

University Lofts, Binghamton, NY

University Lofts, Binghamton, NY

Cold Formed Steel/Architectural finishes:

Our company provides cold formed steel design and structural consultation for shop drawings for a number of clients.  In particular, we have provided extensive services to Seco Architectural products for projects such as the Consolidated Car Rental Facility at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, repairs to the Georgia Dome from tornado damage, the Georgia Tech Nano Technology Center, and various buildings for the Center for Disease Control. Above is the structure we designed for University Lofts in Binghamton, NY

Forensic Structural Engineering

We provide quick response to investigation structural failures and designing repairs. The photo above was a design we did to repair a building struck by a tornado.  Southeastern Automotive’s warehouse in Atlanta was hit by a tornado and the second story was lost.  We designed the replacement structure in less than a week, allowing the warehouse to get back into full operation quickly.

Warehouse Repair

Retaining Wall Design

Our company designs concrete retaining walls for commercial and residential applications.  We provide designs for poured concrete cantilever walls and segmented block walls.

shipping-container-engineering

We began this design service back in 2007.  We were approached by an individual about engineering a shipping container house in Atlanta for his personal residence.  Apparently no one else wanted to touch the job.  I had already worked with shipping containers in 2002/2003 in Uzbekistan when I was activated from the Air Force Reserve and was sent to Karshi-Khanabad Airbase supporting operations in Afghanistan.  There wasn’t much in the way of building materials there, but it was pretty easy to have shipping container buildings provided.  There were so many advantages.  Much of the buildings could be fabricated off site, so you didn’t have to worry about a large workforce coming into the installation and the risk that brought on for suicide bomber. Since you can build them in units, it was easy to work out designs of what you needed, and they were durable.

Based on my experience in Uzbekistan, we didn’t see a problem with providing the structural engineering.  We quit counting the number of buildings made from containers at 50..  There have been two duplexes, a single family residence, two multi family residences, an office building, military training facilities, and movable buildings for oil and mining camps in remote locations in Canada.  The end users have been the Indiana Army National Guard, the Department of State, the Canadian Air Force, various mining and oil companies, and a company in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Container Buildings Under Construction at 3Twenty Modular in Canada

Container Buildings Under Construction at 3Twenty Modular in Canada

They are great for as a building material for many uses, in particular buildings that need to be wind resistant, earthquake resistant, or blast resistant.  They are very useful in remote areas because they can be hauled fairly easily on a truck, and assembling on site is pretty simple.

"Hotel" Building, Muscatuck Urban Training Center, Indiana

“Hotel” Building, Muscatuck Urban Training Center, Indiana

One issue you have to consider is how specialized this work is – this type of work is not a commodity that can be designed by any architectural or engineering firm.  If you look in our office, there is a whole bookshelf of references on wood frame design.  We have 4 textbooks on wood design.  We have the National Design Standard for Timber Construction, the Wood Frame Construction Manual, both from the American Wood Council.  We have the International Residential Code, which has extensive prescriptive design information on wood.  There are also about 5 different government publications we’ve obtained.  It’s a pretty extensive library.

What do we have on shipping container building design? – the only book we could find, a small self-published book by Paul Sawyers.  We also have the various ISO Standards about containers, which covers their dimensions, ratings, and connections. If you go through the web, there is nothing definitive on shipping containers where engineering is concerned.  There are a lot of nice coffee table books with pictures, but that doesn’t help a whole lot for determining if a building can take the wind load from a Category 4 hurricane.  We get calls from people all the time who point out this website or that website, but again, no website includes information on how to structurally engineer these things.

The main problem is there is no standard design for the containers.  The ISO standard is a performance spec for the manufacturers.  It gives loads in Kilo Newtons that the container has to carry.  That works well if you are going to make a house from containers that you don’t modify.  What happens when you take off the skin to open the container up?  The lateral bracing disappears, as does a significant amount of it’s ability to carry a vertical load.  So, if you put a bunch of the containers together, how do you know they will carry the wind load, or the live and dead loads imposed?

One way is to figure on the containers having no real strength after they are cut open, and put in a lot of steel to make up for it.  That can be expensive.  You can figure on the corners maintaining the strength to carry the vertical loads (probably a good assumption), and the side rails having no strength (expensive again).  The way we’re trying to go about this is more definitive.

The second way, which we use,  is to determine the sectional properties of the different members that make up a shipping container (Moment of Inertia, Section Modulus) and analyze the structure according to the Codes based on these sections.  Because you are cutting out quite a bit of the corrugations in the steel, you lose a lot of strength, so it is necessary to go back and reinforce the various elements in most cases.  However, the cost is relatively low for the additional structural work.

We found the best way to do the analysis and design is to do rough calculations by hand, and then to build a model in 3d and analyze it by computer.  The work up by hand saves repeated iterations on the computer, and provides us with a check up on the results the computer provides.  The repeated iterations on the computer can be time consuming, a complex building can take two hours to run all the calculations, so we try to get the number of iterations down by doing proper initial work.

 

 

Graphic of Shipping Container Under Load

 

To the left is how a shipping container deflects (very exaggerated) under a wind and an interior live load.  This container is supported at the connection points.  Look at how the roof ends up in compression, as well as the bottom and sides.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a container under a 120 mph wind load.

This is the code check of the model under a 40lb/sf live load in the floor, and a 90 MPH wind load.  I figured that would work, the next step was to see how much wind load I could put on it before it fails.  I tried 24 lbs/sf of wind load on the side, and the container is still way below the allowable stress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

personal

 

George Runkle, P.E.

George Runkle

George Runkle

George Runkle has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Columbia University, New York.  He has held various positions in government and private industry as an engineer.  He also served 28 years in the US Army and the US Air Force both on active duty and in the National Guard/Reserves, 24 of those years were in the engineering field (the other time was 3 years Military Police and 1 year Infantry).  His awards from the US Military include the Meritorius Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.  He is a licensed professional engineer in numerous states, primarily the East Coast and Southeast.  In addition to his US registrations, he is a licensed Professional Engineer in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Joshua K. Wauters – Project Manager

Joshua Wauters

Joshua Wauters

Joshua Wauters has extensive experience in construction.  He has been a small contractor, and decided to go back to school and obtain an engineering degree.  He is a senior at Kennesaw State University and is expected to graduate in Spring 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering Technology.  He manages our projects for scheduling, coordinates with clients, performs structural condition assessments, and structural design.

Alfred J. (AJ) Blyden – Structural Engineer

AJ Blyden

AJ Blyden

AJ Blyden is a recent graduate of Savannah State University and joined the company in March, 2016.  He has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering Technology, and his primary function is structural engineering design.  He also performs structural condition assessments, and is our expert in REVIT for 3d Design and programing in MathCAD.

 

John P.(Jay) Runkle – CAD and IT

Jay Runkle

Jay Runkle

Jay Runkle is our CAD operator and IT guy.  He has recently completed the requirements for an AS in IT at Gwinnett Tech.  He is expecting to continue pursuing his Bachelors degree in starting in Fall 2018.  He does AutoCAD drafting and is in charge of our IT.  With his expertise we have custom built our computers to meet the precise needs of our firm.

 

View George Runkle's profile on LinkedIn

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News about Runkle Consulting, and our newsletter archive.

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contact

You can call us at 678-225-4900

 

E-mail us at info @runcon.biz

We’ll be happy to talk to you about your project.   Please call us or fill out the form below, or call us and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

PLEASE NOTE:  

We are not licensed in California and we do not provide design services at this time in California.  We do not know any engineers in California that can help you with Shipping Container Design.

We do not provide Shipping Container Design services to individual homeowners. If you are a home owner wanting to build a shipping container house, we strongly advise you to reconsider.  There are a lot of extreme claims being made on the Internet about the costs of the container houses (they ARE NOT CHEAPER than conventional construction), they are not suitable for DIY construction, and if you build one yourself with engineered plans it will be difficult if not impossible to permit.   Please read this post.  We only provide services to commercial concerns and professional builders for these structures.

Mailing Address

Runcon, Inc.
P.O. Box 702
Grayson, GA 30017

Physical Address

Runcon, Inc
512 Grayson Parkway, Suite 110
Grayson, GA 30017

Hours of Operation

Monday – Thursday 09:00 a.m. – 06:00 p.m.
Friday 09:00 a.m. – 12 noon

Often we are in during Saturday and Sunday
OR Fill Out The Form Below And We Will Contact You:
Please give us some information in the “Message” section – what do you hope to do? What information do you desire? Please ask specific questions, not general and vague questions like “how do you build with shipping containers?”.