View All Customer Stories

Life Science manufacturing development saves $853k from mechanical loading study by H+O

This image may not display the actual project to keep the development anonymous.


Initial Budget


Total Saved


Total Cost Reduction


Life Science



Don't wait for the next project. Build your competitive edge today.

Structure costs are not something structural engineers measure, making it impossible for them to understand the cost implications of the design decisions they make day in and day out. The reality is small, seemingly insignificant design decisions greatly impact the bottom line. With the H+O Cost Index, you no longer need to accept this blind risk. We leverage technology and cost data to inform structural design so you don’t overspend.

Some things you simply take for granted. The 5-day, 40-hour work week. Typical details in design and construction. The list goes on, but have you taken a second look?

In structural engineering, mechanical design loads for spec-built, life science developments fall into this category. Without specified equipment, floors systems in mechanical rooms are commonly engineered to support 150 psf. This blanket design load is often applied to prospective roof top dunnage frames too. It’s an appropriate assumption in many cases, but excessive in others.

H+O Structural Engineering partnered with a confidential developer to create a 300k GSF life science manufacturing campus.

The objective?

Create a flexible base building design to support the future mechanical equipment demands of preeminent life science organizations and avoid excessive sunken costs which diminish returns without adding value to prospective tenants. The mechanical equipment to support future tenants is undefined, but sure to be expansive considering future operational demands.

If we’re too conservative, the developer will have excessive sunken costs in the base building.

If we’re too complacent, the developer and tenant will waste time and capital upgrading a brand-new building.

Instead of taking the 150psf design load standard for granted, H+O dug in. Our design assumptions significantly impact foundations, columns, metal roof deck and lateral system elements. We took a pragmatic approach to the global structural design, while considering upper-bound column loading conditions to achieve the objective.

The result?

  • +/- $6,000 savings per column
  • +/- $576k total savings
  • No unnecessary sunken costs.

Additional cost savings not calculated amount from avoiding thicker metal roof deck, increased fastening patterns, and increased lateral frame members.

Wait, there’s more.
We also identified a conservative superimposed dead load applied to the roof for future tenant ceilings and MEP support. With the columns prepped for future tenant dunnage frames, we were able to comfortably reduce this design load by 10 psf.

The result?

  • Reduce steel roof joist weight by 0.5 psf
  • +/- $277,000 additional savings

The cost study by H+O resulted in +/-$853,000 total savings.

If you too want to avoid sunken costs, make informed decisions on your next development with H+O.

See what customers are saying...

We’re proud to support nationally recognized developers and architects.

“I have been fortunate to work with H+O on several wood-framed projects. I have found them to have a good understanding of how to effectively utilize offsite components in a way that brings great value to their clients. They do a great job designing cost-effective projects that are easily constructed. I would give them a high recommendation.”

Tom Dixon

“I can confidently say they’ve been an invaluable partner. They aren’t afraid to think outside the box, which has helped us optimize our structural designs and achieve greater efficiency on each project. I highly recommend H+O to anyone looking for a reliable, innovative and collaborative partner.”

Rob Simmons

“Really efficient, great communication and follow-up. They explain the options and impacts in a way that is easy for everyone to understand their value and make decisions.”

Robert Harbeson
Market Square Architects

“I can say with confidence H+O executes at a high level, regardless of the project type or location, and consistently does so in a timely manner.”

Ryan Noone

“I believe that most, if not all, of their structural engineers are trained to deliver a similar result that looks and feels the same. They have their systems down.”

Parker Snyder
ARCO National Construction

“They work with us, not against us. They don’t complain, bring a negative attitude, or “this is how I do it” ego. They are fresh thinking, can-do collaborators, in which we enjoy their presence as ‘designers’ on the team.”

Mike DelleFave
RODE Architects

Do you know how much you could be saving on your building structure costs?

We help developers save an average of $800,000 in structure costs per project.

How is that possible? Structure costs are not something structural engineers typically measure, making it impossible for them – and you – to understand the cost implications of each design decision.

Seemingly insignificant design decisions greatly impact the bottom line.

Want to learn how we help our customers save hundreds of thousands?

Enter your email to get started.