When should a wind engineer meet with the project team?

Early conversations with MEL Consultants at the conceptual stage of the design process can help to avoid wind-related problems for the completed project. Past experience with hundreds of wind-tunnel studies can flag considerations regarding building shape, orientation, entry location, balcony/terrace siting, likely dynamic response, and general massing; without recourse to the wind tunnel in the initial phases of the design. As the design evolves, and its various features become firmer, the MEL team can advise on what wind-tunnel investigations (if any) might benefit the end product. If the code approach to the structural and cladding design is a reasonable methodology (say, a rectilinear building with a standard structural system in well defined surroundings) we will advise how to most efficiently use the relevant wind load standard.

On some occasions it is only a portion of a project that needs specialist wind-engineering input. For example, a tall spire on the roof of a new building might be particularly dynamically active and so benefit from a change in geometry or a damper to control the motion. Knowledge of the general impact of the wind on your project, or specific attributes like a spire or other architectural feature, should be obtained as early as possible in the design process. Waiting too long may limit the options available to the architect to correct a problem. The wind engineer needs to be involved early in the process, not just after the DA phase.