Research & Development

Research and Development are rooted in our culture. For over 60 years, Forell | Elsesser has championed new structural engineering technologies. Innovation can take a variety of forms: it can be inventing something new, improving a process, or assisting in the creation of an amazing structure. Our project portfolio is full of “firsts” that use new technology to overcome engineering challenges:

  • The first seismic retrofit using base isolation;
  • The first buckling restrained braced frame building approved by the Oakland DSA office;
  • The first LEED “Innovation in Design” credit for an innovative seismic design;
  • The first-ever seismic upgrade of a stadium on a known earthquake fault.

Using our fundamental understanding of engineering, fabrication, and construction techniques along with our natural curiosity, we have gained a reputation as one of the most creative structural engineering firms around.

Through our in-house research and development group, employees can get together in an informal setting, bounce ideas off of each other, and discover which ideas could have a positive impact on our business and on helping our clients achieve their goals.

Forell | Elsesser frequently collaborates with academia on research projects, testing of new systems, and working with master’s students on thesis projects. Forell | Elsesser is currently collaborating with researchers at UC Davis to develop a better understanding of steel composite structures. The end goal is to reduce steel framing costs by getting more out of the material already in the building structure which will save our clients money.

An important part of our research and development is learning from past earthquakes. By visiting earthquake-stricken locations in China, Chile, Haiti, New Zealand, and Japan, we can incorporate lessons learned into all of our building designs. We frequently take slideshows on the road to help educate our clients and colleagues about potential seismic damage, extending the learning beyond our office walls.