Merry Christmas from KAEG

Christmas is a time for giving and here at KA Engineering Group, we cherish the opportunity to give back to our community. Our two chosen charities this year were ‘TAMHI’ (Tackling Awareness of Mental Health Issues) based in Belfast and ‘Catching lives’ based in Canterbury.

With our focus on staff mental health and wellbeing this year, it seemed only appropriate that we select a mental health charity. ‘TAMHI’ raises awareness of mental health and resilience through sport. They work with sports clubs, schools, and youth groups to teach children about mental health in a fun and engaging way. Kingsley was lucky enough to meet with their director Joe Donnelly on Wednesday and find out about the fantastic work they have been doing.

Catching lives is an invaluable charity based in Canterbury which is aimed at supporting the rough sleepers, homeless and vulnerably housed in Canterbury and East Kent. Each year they provide a winter shelter, to offer emergency accommodation to rough sleepers, during the winter months. It has been a very trying year with last minute changes to the support they have been allowed to give due to the changing coronavirus situation. Ayo and Jess met with the winter shelter manager Paul, who was very grateful for the donation of essential items and treats, alongside a monetary donation.

It has been a tough year for most of us but hopefully by being kind to ourselves and kind to each other, we can work towards a happier year next year.

If you wish to make a donation to either TAMHI or Catching lives, you can do so via the links below:

Donate – Donation amount – JustGiving

Donate – Catching Lives

Evaluating Performance

At KA Engineering group, we are dedicated to the continual development growth of both the company and our staff. One of the most useful tools for ensuring this happens is the use of performance appraisals. However, effectiveness is directly linked to the way in which they are approached by both line management and employees. Here are some of our top tips for successful use:

To gain the most from appraisals, management must be well versed in how to approach them. Firstly, they must take a consistent approach toward all employees. Failure to do so will result in feelings of bias and create friction between staff. The goals and objectives set should be easy to understand, with a clear roadmap of how they can be achieved. Finally, whilst productivity metrics may be seen of greatest importance, these should not be the only things discussed. Success is a result of a combination of a range of different activities within a business, and these should all make up part of the discussion.

For employees to get the most from their appraisals, they must learn the skill of self-evaluation. Being able to critically evaluate performance metrics will give a greater insight into the progression made. Do not only identify strengths but look at how these can be exploited to their full potential. There must be an honest consideration of weaknesses and barriers to progression. This will allow for mitigations to be identified and implemented.

Appraisals can be a timely and costly process, which makes their use subject to criticism. What is clear is that when not used effectively, they can be a source of dread and frustration, creating conflict within the work environment. On the flip side, when utilised to their full potential, their value is immeasurable and an invaluable tool which benefits both parties.

Sketching – Another way for Engineers to Communicate Technical Information

An engineering drawing is a detailed description of an engineering structure. Although a structural engineer may be comfortable with using and understanding these drawings, we often need to communicate our ideas to important people outside of our discipline. This is where sketching shines! A sketch is a quick drawing made in an informal way, aiming to communicate design ideas to others in the simplest form possible.

For instance, we sometimes propose strengthening solutions when a tower fails. It becomes a challenge especially when we try to explain rather complex engineering ideas in words. Even if a good solution is designed, but can’t communicate it in a comprehensible manner, it may result in misunderstanding and not be implemented correctly, leading to potential quality issues.

However, a simple sketch in the report can express more than words and give a greater understanding of an idea and remove any ambiguity. It can also save clients’ time on coming back for clarifications. At KAEG, we aim to provide our clients with not only economical and fast turnaround design solutions but in a clear, legible, and easy-to-understand way.

KAEG are always passionate in pursuing engineering excellence, best design practice and new technology to provide our customers with cost-effective, reliable, and fast turnaround design solutions. Contact our expert team at: info@ka-engroup.com to learn more and discuss how we can best serve your needs.

Ps: We have explored several sketching packages and are currently loving the Microsoft paint 3D. It was used to generate the sketches in the blog image!

Workplace Stress

This month, our team will receive training on how to better manage their mental health and wellbeing. Stress, whilst not a mental health problem itself, can have a major impact on our mental wellbeing. When we experience periods of poor mental health, it has a knock-on effect on our productivity and our ability to fully engage with our work community. For this reason, it is important that we are able to identify and manage stress effectively.

We have put together a list of our top tips for dealing with workplace stress.

  • Identify your triggers. They might be one-off events or issues that come up regularly. Whilst you may be unable to avoid these situations, being prepared for them will help. Brainstorm ideas for ways in which you can minimise the stress they place on you.
  • Organise your time. Manage your workload based on your energy levels. Tasks which are mentally strenuous should be done when you are likely to be at your most energised. Ensure to schedule in rest breaks and try not to do too much at once. By setting yourself small, manageable goals, you will be able to see your achievements.
  • Tell people how you feel. This may take a bit of practice but learn to say no when you feel people are making unreasonable demands of you. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but you may find that someone is unaware of the pressure that they are placing on you.
  • Look after your physical health. We are able to better manage stress if we are physically healthy. You should try and get enough sleep each night and eat small regular meals to keep your energy levels up. Exercise has been shown to have many benefits such as reducing fatigue, improving concentration, and enhancing overall cognitive function.
  • Build your support network. Having a strong support network will ensure that you have people who can provide advice and guidance which may help you to find better ways to cope with difficult situations. It will also prevent feelings of isolation and loneliness which have been associated with a number of different health issues.

Spot the Difference

KAEG recently completed a project which neatly underlines the importance of being able to look behind the workings of black-box finite element analysis (FEA) software. Perhaps, even more important is the ability to probe and understand the output once you get behind the black-box.  See if you can spot the simplest strengthening scheme that we applied for this failing structure by comparing the left and right image!

We received the telecommunications headframe (left image) and it had been marked as failed. It had been run through some FEA software which showed that structural utilisation was over 100%. We took the results apart, probed every member for loading in 6 degrees of freedom. We were able to pin the issue down to one member which was over-utilised in one direction causing loads to be improperly distributed.

The fix: add a simple bracing strut in the left hand corner of the middle triangle to bring the utilisation down to 80% (right image).

KAEG are at the forefront of providing cost-effective design solutions to over-stressed telecommunication structures to ensure continuous safe operations. Contact our expert team at: info@ka-engroup.com to learn more and discuss how we can best serve your needs.

Fasteners in Telecoms

The element enabling the connection of the two dissimilar materials (steel and concrete/masonry) are fasteners, which resist the tension component of the applied force. The fasteners transfer the applied tension and shear loads to the base material (concrete/masonry) through various mechanisms shown in the attached image. For an efficient and reliable design, we must understand the behaviour of each element forming a post-installed connection.

Mechanical fasteners work via interlock (keying) and friction while chemical fasteners work via adhesive bonding between the fastener and base material. We will discuss more on working principles of post-installed fastening and their failure modes in subsequent blogs.

At KA Engineering Group, we leverage on our extensive experience to design and recommend most efficient fastening solutions for new as well as existing systems in telecom construction.

Contact our expert team at info@ka-engroup.com to learn more and discuss how we can best serve your needs.

Internal Database Makes KAEG Faster, Smarter

KA Engineering Group has just celebrated our 3-year anniversary. Since the business established in 2018, we have treated data as a valuable asset and started to build an internal specialised database including wind speed dataset, ancillary parameters, tower manufacture details, client design specifications and design guidelines for different structures, etc.

Each passing day means that not only do our design capabilities and project experience improve but our internal database becomes bigger, better and smarter. Our in-house database allows our engineering work to be streamlined and standardised so that we can provide our clients with economical and fast turnaround design solutions.

With the help of our database, it is possible that performing a full tower climbdown survey can be eliminated, saving time and cost for clients. If climbdown survey is required, we can also offer guidance and provide KA survey template that lists all design data required for structural analysis to avoid the lack of key information and a costly site revisit. We also have the ability to support the entire construction/modification process of telecom towers and rooftop structures, from survey through to structural design and completion.

KAEG are always passionate in pursuing engineering excellence, best design practice and new technology to provide our customers with cost-effective, reliable and fast turnaround design solutions. Contact our expert team at: info@ka-engroup.com to learn more and discuss how we can best serve your needs.

Why social distancing doesn’t have to mean ‘socially distant’

Last Friday, we celebrated 3 years in business. Building a strong relationship with our team has been vital to our success. The very phrase ‘social distancing’ is a fallacy. We are not being socially distant; we are being physically distant. Now more than ever, people need to come together and working from home does not have to hinder that.

We have put together a shortlist of some useful things we have learnt during this period:

  • Utilise one of the many video-calling services currently available. These services do not purely have to be used for meetings and conferences but can help to create a ‘virtual’ office environment. There are meeting rooms which allow private discussions and meetings to be held, with a main room where staff can socialise and seek the help they need whilst they work. Most importantly, it provides an opportunity for our staff to interact on a daily basis.
  • In the current climate, keep staff mental health and wellbeing at the forefront of what you do. There are many little ways in which you can show that you care. Sending out E-cards is one environmentally friendly way to show staff that you are thinking of them during important celebrations and occasions. Some staff have needed to drop or alter hours, due to extra obligations during the pandemic. By being approachable and understanding, you relieve some of the added stress they may be experiencing. As a result, you will have a happier and more productive workforce.
  • Finally, bring the social aspect of the workplace to the home. During our monthly meeting, we encourage our staff to order in lunch on us. This way we can bring the joy of having lunch together, to the home. We also use this time to do online trivia, quizzes, and games (the favourite so far being online connect four!). There is a plethora of games that can be played online, and it is worth giving them a try. There are even teambuilding activities which have now been brought to the virtual world, such as escape rooms, murder mystery evenings and even remote dinner parties helping colleagues feel connected and part of a team.

KA Engineering Group continues to provide uninterrupted structural engineering consultancy for our clients during these disrupted times. Contact our expert team at: info@ka-engroup.com to learn more and discuss how we can best serve your needs.

KAEG Publications

Title: Fitness-for-purpose assessment of cracked offshore wind turbine monopile

Journal:  Marine Structures

Date: January 2021

Author: Ayodele Fajuyigbe*, F. Brennan

Link: Read here


Title: Detailed Approach for the Assessment of Accumulated Wellhead Fatigue

Conference: Offshore Europe

Date: September 2015

Author: Kingsley Sunday*, P. Ward, C.Griffin

Link: Read here


Title: A review of offshore wind monopiles structural design achievements and challenges

Journal: Ocean Engineering

Date: September 2021

Author: Kingsley Sunday*, F.Brennan

Link: Read here


Title: A simplified formula for calculating the limit load of cracked offshore wind turbine monopile under bending

Journal: Marine Structures

Date: May 2022

Author: Ayodele Fajuyigbe*, F. Brennan

Link: Read here


Title: Influence of soil–structure modelling techniques on offshore wind turbine monopile structural response

Journal: Wiley Online Library

Date: May 2022

Author: Kingsley Sunday*, F.Brennan

Link: Read here


Note

KAEG personnel are the lead authors for the publications listed on this page. * identifies the KAEG personnel

 

Merry Christmas from KAEG

We at KAEG believe that you should share what you have even when little and watch it multiply.  So even though it has been a tough year for all, as is customary for us at this time of the year, we tried to spread a little cheer. KAEG visited South Belfast Foodbank and Faversham Foodbank to support families and individuals that have been hard hit by the Year 2020.

As a result of the Pandemic, the Trussell Trust report a soaring 81% increase for emergency food parcels from Foodbanks, including a 122% rise in parcels given to children. The travel through 2020 has been a particularly unchartered journey for many if not all, leaving families with irreparable losses. We hope and pray that the Year 2021 will usher in healing and restoration from the impact of Year 2020.

We wish a Merry Christmas 2020 and a Happy New Year 2021 to our brilliant workforce, wonderful clients, families, friends, and our struggling neighbours who at this time find themselves dependent on the network of 428 Foodbanks and other forms of support to survive.