ABT works on both small and large infrastructural sites. We do this for contractors in design & construct contracts, and also for local and national government. The world around us is changing constantly. Whether it involves technology, contracts or economics, it all has an influence on our projects. The shift from traditional contracts to D&C solutions and similar seems to be a continuing trend. The largest shift that goes together with this is certainly the increase in (the changing) risks for contracting parties. Over the past 15 years infrastructural structures have been added. Apart from design knowledge, the design of structures, linked activities such as Systems Engineering, Risk Management, RAMS and Life Cycle approaches have also been added to this.

Optimisation by thinking differently
Optimising structures can be approached from different angles of attack. The angles of attack that we at ABT look at are regulations, smart use of materials, advanced calculation and the integration of design disciplines.

Standards and regulations
ABT staff are involved on various fronts in the development and drafting of standards and guidelines. We are able to deploy this knowledge in the projects we work on. By analysing requirements, standards and regulations properly, we strive for a design that is as economically as advantageous as possible. We do this by looking for the space available in the contracts and regulations, instead of the restrictions they impose on us. Along with the contractor's construction team, in combination with our design knowledge and a little creativity we arrive at an optimal design. Deploying this knowledge during the tendering stage creates the winning design. After all, the most important choices for a project are made here and perhaps circa 90% of the costs determined.

Use of materials
Smart use of materials is often directly related to the quantities of material, and this is an angle of approach. In addition, we at ABT carry out research into the use of new materials and special techniques in existing materials. As an example, the use of composite in structures as replacement for more traditional materials. Or the use of steel fibre reinforced concrete in our designs and calculations. Over recent years, ABT has carried out a great deal of research into this, both in constructing concrete structures with steel fibre concrete and in drawing up appropriate calculation rules for using this material.

Advanced calculation techniques
There are also great gains to be achieved in saving material and risk limitation by calculating in a more advanced way. On the basis of non-linear finite element calculations it is possible to map the effect of forces in the structure much better and to approach the risks more precisely than with a standard unity check.

Design disciplines
In conclusion, ABT stands out through the integration of the design disciplines geotechnics and structures. Delinking these disciplines results as a rule in two designs that are neither optimised nor harmonised. At ABT these services are interwoven with each other, with the result that the geotechnical specialist takes responsibility along with the builder to ensure that an intelligent sub structure can contribute to an optimal superstructure, and vice versa.

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