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Structural Engineering

Stearns Engineering provides a full range of consulting structural engineering services to architects, owners, builders, and sub-contractors for residential and commercial projects. The services we provide include structural design, investigations, and specialty engineering.

Structural Design

Analysis, design, and detailing of conventional and tension structures
Preparation of structural Construction Documents including plans, sections, details, and specifications
Evaluation of geotechnical data and selection of foundation and structural systems
Contract administration and structural inspection during the construction phase
Structural analysis and design for new construction and renovations for


  • Office Buildings
  • Retail
  • Banks
  • Restaurants

Industrial and Institutional

  • Hospitals
  • Houses of Worship
  • Warehouses
  • Post Offices
  • Marine Structures


  • Hotels
  • Condominiums
  • Dormitories
  • Custom Homes


Comprehensive on-site surveys and documentation of structures
Evaluation and analysis of existing conditions
Preparation of reports describing observations, findings, and conclusions
Repair and rehabilitation design and preparation of contract documents
Common problems investigated include:

  • Deterioration from weather, age, or corrosion
  • Damage from wind, snow, fire, and overloading
  • Cracking in concrete, masonry, and stucco
  • Leakage in parking garages and buildings
  • Foundation settlement

Specialty Engineering

Preparation of calculations
Construction monitoring
Foundations inspections
Shoring and bracing design
Preparation of erection drawings, piece drawings, and material lists for:

  • Stone Curtainwall Systems
  • Cold Formed Steel (lightgage metal)
  • Concrete Slab and Excavation Shoring
  • Structural Steel


Office Buildings

Exchange Office Building
Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland

Exchange Office Building

This seven-story steel-framed building includes about 80,000 square feet of framed area. The floor system is a 2-1/2" concrete slab on metal deck supported by open-web steel joists. An extremely light steel framing weight of 6.5 pounds per square foot was achieved, in part, by increasing the traditional two feet on center spacing of the steel joists and by optimizing the bay sizes. The exterior skin of the building is made up of sloped EIFS panels and sloped windows which required exceptional plumbness tolerances for the exterior columns.

HOC Deerpark Office/Warehouse
Gaithersburg, Maryland
Project Cost: $1.7 Million

HOC Deerpark Office/Warehouse

This project involved the structural design of a two-story office building. The structure consists of steel frame and steel joist construction with light gage metal roof trusses. The rear portion of the structure is a pre-engineered metal building for which we provided a performance specification, steel framed mezzanine design, and foundation design.

The National Conservation Center
Gaithersburg, Maryland
Project Cost: $2.5 Million

The National Conservation Center

The National Conservation Center

The project was the design of a three-level 34,000 square foot office building for the Izaac Walton League of America. The structure consists of a steel frame and steel floor joists with wood roof trusses to provide support for the predominantly glass facade. Provisions were made for supporting a large stone fountain on the second floor using steel beams. A similar fountain on the exterior of the building is supported by concrete grade beams.

Woodmont & Elm Office Building
Bethesda, Maryland
Project Cost: $1.6 Million

Woodmont & Elm Office Building

The project involved the structural design of a four-story 11,218 square foot office building. The structure consisted of a steel frame and precast concrete planks. Extensive underpinning was required for the adjacent building

Commercial Buildings - Retail

Germantown Post Office
Germantown, Maryland
Project Cost: $4 Million

Germantown Post Office

The project included the structural design and preparation of drawings and specifications for a 34,000 square foot post office building consisting of steel framing, bar joists, and masonry construction.

Goshen Branch Post Office
Gaithersburg, Maryland
Project Cost: $2.5 million

Goshen Branch Post Office

We provided the structural design of a 20,000 square foot post office building consisting of steel framing, bar joists, and masonry construction.

Houses of Worship

Neelsville Presbyterian Church
Germantown, Maryland

Neelsville Presbyterian Church

This project involved performing a structural investigation of an approximately 200 year old historic church. The church is a timber framed building supported by a brick foundation to which structural steel and masonry block were added to reinforce the structure. These steel and brick retrofits were not professionally designed repairs. We performed a comprehensive survey of the existing structural components and subsequently evaluated and analyzed these components.

The report submitted to the client contained our structural assessment of the property. Remedial repair details for distressed areas of timber framing and structurally inadequate portions of the steel and masonry block retrofit were included. Our field observations were documented with detailed sketches and photographs showing the as-built framing conditions and indicating areas of distress and/or deterioration. Photographs of selected areas were also included in this report.


Residence Inns and Fairfield Inns
15 Different States
Project Cost: $50 Million

Residence Inns and Fairfield Inns

This project involved the structural design of 65 hotel buildings of two- and three-stories for the Marriott Corporation. The construction consists of wood framing with reinforced concrete foundations. We prepared structural contract documents and performed construction monitoring inspections over approximately three years. The project locations included the states of Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

Riverstone Condominiums
Germantown, Maryland
Project Cost: $7.5 Million

Riverstone Condominiums

We provided the structural design of three- and four-level condominium buildings using wood framing with reinforced masonry and concrete foundations. We prepared contract documents and provided monitoring inspections throughout the construction of the twelve condominium buildings.


Colorado Building
Washington DC
Project Cost: $20 Million

Colorado Building

The project consisted of the horizontal expansion in plan and the vertical addition of two stories to an existing nine-story, historic (1903) commercial office building in downtown Washington DC. The existing structure consisted of brick bearing walls, cast iron columns, steel beams, and an arched clay tile floor system. No structural drawings were available for the existing structure, although preliminary basement and first floor plans were found.

The design process consisted of investigating, surveying, and measuring the existing building and its structural components to determine the existing conditions. Practical problems encountered were that the building remained occupied during much of the investigation and survey phase and that the primary first floor tenant, a restaurant, remained open for business throughout the construction period. The structural framing layout for the new addition closely followed the framing of the existing building in order to minimize differential settlement between adjacent column footings. Steel framing was selected for the project because the dead loads of this system imposed less of an increase in load on the existing structural and foundation systems.

St. Joseph's Provincial House
Emmitsburg, Maryland
Project Cost: $9 Million

St. Joseph's Provincial House

This project involved renovations and additions to the existing c. 1960 provincial house, owned and operated by the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph's. The additions to the structure included a 7,000 square foot single level pavilion, two four-level elevator and stair towers, and an extension of the existing chapel. The pavilion consists of steel framing with open web roof joists and includes a complex skylight area in the center of the structure. Other additions involve steel framing with either brick veneer or curtain wall facades. One tower required the steel framing be designed to support a four-story curved curtain wall which cantilevers over the new pavilion structure.

Marine Structures

Brighton Dam Intake Tower
Montgomery County, Maryland
Project Cost: $350,000

Brighton Dam Intake Tower

Our firm was engaged by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission as the prime consultant to prepare contract drawings and specifications for repairs to the Brighton Dam intake tower, located in Montgomery County, Maryland.

The project involved the removal and replacement of severely corroded steel trash racks on the face of the tower; modifications to the existing racks; removal and replacement of sluice gate operators, stems, and stem guides; installing new aluminum ladders and platform; dredging around the base of the tower; and miscellaneous concrete repairs. Most of the tower is below the water line. We engaged a corrosion engineering consultant to assist in determining the most suitable methods of corrosion protection for submerged and partially submerged components. Our commercial diving operations gathered data on existing underwater conditions during the design phase, and prepared video tape of underwater conditions for WSSC.