Services & Specialties

Structural Engineering


    Ruckman Engineering furnishes their clients with a wide range of structural engineering services.  These services include new design of structural steel, wood/timberreinforced concrete and masonry on various commercial, residential, and industrial projects. Services also include expert witness testimony, construction cost estimates for budget planning, plan and specifications preparation, inspections, and structural evaluations of existing buildings.


    To facilitate the design effort, we utilize a three dimensional space frame analysis program. This computer program has the capability to analyze many complex structural trusses and space frames using finite-element methods. The program allows the user to graphically display deflected frame and truss geometries after completing a structural analysis. Our staff of professional engineers and designers uses AutoCAD and WinStrud1 software to produce highly detailed, quality design drawings.


    All frames and trusses are analyzed based on the laws of statistics, the geometry of the structure, and the elastic properties of the structural components. The specifications outlined in the Manual of Steel Construction govern all structural steel design. Structural steel design includes the following areas of expertise: design of columns, beams, girders bolted connections (both bearing and friction type,) welded connections, material specifications, and overall structural stability.


    The American Concrete Institute’s “Building Code Requirements for Reinforced Concrete” is used for all concrete design work. Utilizing this code, we design retaining walls, columns, beams, footings and foundations, slabs, walls, and structural frames.


    All structural timber design is based upon the requirements set forth by the American Institute of Timber Construction.  Utilizing these requirements, we can design glue-laminated lumber, solid and boxed columns, trusses, special connections, timber foundations, plywood diaphragm decks, shear walls, nailed and bolted connections and material specifications.


    Masonry structures are designed to the “National Concrete Masonry Association” specifications.  Masonry design includes solid masonry, grouted masonry, reinforced masonry, earth-retaining structures, shear walls, masonry veneers, pilasters, bond beams, and columns.


    In addition to the above engineering services, Ruckman Engineering also provides on-site consulting services which include the design of structural modifications to existing structures and resolution of on-site construction problems.


    A summary of our structural engineering services is as follows:


 Evaluation and Design

·       Structural Steel Buildings

·       Timber/Wood Frames

·       Light Gauge Steel Framing

·       Masonry Structures

·       Floor Slabs

·       Shallow and Deep Foundations

·       Reinforced Concrete

·       Bridge Crane, Jib Crane, and Monorails

·       Retaining Walls


Consultation, Investigations, and Inspections

·       Structural Condition Assessments

·       Floor Slabs, Foundations and Retaining Walls

·       NRMCA Concrete Batch Plant Inspections

·       Rock Removal/Blasting Damage Evaluations

·       Insurance Claim Investigations

·       Expert Witness Testimony

Geotechnical Engineering


    Ruckman Engineering has recently expanded to provide a full range of geotechnical engineering services.  Our licensed engineering personnel have over 20 years of a wide range of geotechnical engineering experience on various projects such as residential, commercial, industrial, government facilities, and other types of development throughout the Shenandoah Valley and quad-state region.  We have vast geologic knowledge in dealing with soil problems in the Valley and Ridge (karst terrain area) Province, the Blue Ridge Province, the Piedmont Province, the Coastal Plain Province, coal undermined areas, and many other unique geologic conditions throughout the region.


    During the design phase of a new project, our personnel have planned and supervised a variety of both straight-forward and complex subsurface investigations depending on the type of project and site specific conditions.  We have setup test pit investigations as well as drilling investigations that include soil borings and/or air-track probes.  In conjunction with our standard investigations, we have also incorporated various types of geophysical surveys for certain specific karst sites that may warrant such additional investigative measures.  The geophysical studies can help better define overall client qualitative risks for site development, refine foundation recommendations, and potentially reveal adverse site conditions that can be planned and budgeted for remediation efforts prior to actual construction.  After completion of the field exploration work, our engineering personnel develop and implement the laboratory testing program, analyze the site conditions for the new development, and develop the necessary recommendations to provide the geotechnical criteria for design and construction of the project.  The results of the field exploration and laboratory testing, and the geotechnical recommendations are then presented to the client in a formal geotechnical report.


    In the Shenandoah Valley, there are many different types of limestone and dolomite (carbonate rock) formations with each one having a variety of chemical and physical properties.  Thus, the carbonate rock formations can vary significantly in the degree of bedrock solutioning and subsequent development of sinkholes and cavernous conditions.  Our extensive knowledge and experience in the region with these various geologic formations helps us to properly tailor an investigation to a specific project for a particular site.  We pride ourselves in providing economical solutions to meet the client’s needs.  We have seen on too many occasions where improper investigations and reports have lead to unnecessary over-designs and significant extra construction costs to build projects.


    As part of our geotechnical engineering department, we are also specialized in dam engineering services.  We have performed dam inspections, engineering analyses, and a multitude of studies on dams of various heights and sizes.  For over 20 years, we have provided consultation and engineering services for dam owners as part of newly regulated dams, continual re-certification of regulated dams, remedial repair and regular maintenance issues, design modifications and upgrades to dams, downstream inundation mapping and Emergency Action Plan preparation and assistance.  We are sensitive to the engineering and construction costs associated with operation and maintenance of a dam and we strive to develop sound and cost effective engineering solutions throughout the various regulatory processes that are required as part of being a dam owner.


    A summary of our geotechnical engineering services is as follows:


Geotechnical Investigations and Analyses

·       Preliminary Site Feasibility Studies

·       Detailed Boring, Test Pits, Air-track Probe Studies

·       Karst Studies and Risk Assessment

·       Slope Stability Evaluations

·       Settlement Evaluations

·       Shallow and Deep Foundations Recommendations

·       Retaining Wall Lateral Earth Pressures

·       Floor Slab and Pavement Subgrades

·       Pavement Evaluation and Design

·       Mine Subsidence Review and Risk Assessment


 Dam Engineering

·       Evaluation of Newly Regulated Dams

·       Regulatory Review, Compliance, and State Form Submittals

·       Non-regulated Small Pond and Dam Evaluations

·       Dam Analysis, Design and Modifications

·       Hydrology Studies and Hydraulic Analyses

·       Plan and Specification Preparation

·       Downstream Inundation Studies and Mapping

·       Emergency Action Plan Development

·       Operation and Maintenance Plan Development

·       Dam Inspections


Consultation and Inspections

·       Forensic Studies

·       Geotechnical Consultation for Project Bidding

·       Plan and Specification Geotechnical Review for Owners and Architects

·       Subgrades of Floor Slabs, Foundations, Pavements and Retaining Walls

·       Earthwork Consultation for Construction Site Problems

·       Sinkhole Remediation

·       Pre- and Post Blast Surveys

·       Liner and Landfill Construction

·       Insurance Claim Investigations

·       Expert Witness Testimony


Laboratory Testing


    As part of our geotechnical engineering as well as select design and construction services, we perform a variety of soil laboratory tests to support our geotechnical engineering department.  All testing is performed in accordance with recognized testing standards including ASTM, AASHTO and/or the Army Corps of Engineers.  All testing is performed under the direction of a licensed professional engineer.  Our more routine soil testing is as follows:

Geotechnical Investigations

·       Natural Moisture Content

·       Atterberg Limits (Plastic and Liquid)

·       Shrinkage Limit

·       Swell Index

·       Specific Gravity

·       Wash No. 200

·       Complete Particle Size Analysis with Hydrometer



 Design and Construction Services

·       Standard Proctor

·       Modified Proctor

·       California Bearing Ratio

·       Natural Density and Moisture


    The inspectors at Ruckman Engineering are responsible for inspections of all structural design projects as well as being an active “third party” inspector for construction projects in Frederick, Clarke, Loudoun, Shenandoah, and Warren Counties in Virginia and Hampshire County, West Virginia.  Our inspectors are qualified to inspect new construction from start to finish.  Using AIA or other standard forms, we will inspect concrete placement and slabs for quality control and code compliance.  Our structural engineers provide assistance in solving problems caused by improper fill or “hot” mixes.  We also review and inspect structural steel for welds, bolt connections, shear, and bearing conditions.  Structural components, foundations, and other features can also be inspected for compliance with contract documents.


    Each of the inspectors has been certified by the National Certification Program for Construction Code Inspectors (NCPCCI).  The inspections are supervised by a licensed professional engineer.  A summary of our inspection services is as follows:


·       Footing Inspection and Subgrade Bearing Capacity Evaluation

·       Floor Slabs and Retaining Walls

·       Field Concrete Testing and Sampling including Coring, Windsor Probe, and Rebound Hammer Testing

·       Structural Steel Inspection Including Bolt Torque

·       Visual Weld Inspection and Dye Penetrant Testing

·       Roof Framing Installation

·       Steel Beam and Column sizes

·       Plumbness

·       Moment Connections

·       HUD Foundations Compliance


 Code Compliance Inspections

·       Foundations – subgrade, dimensions, reinforcement steel

·       Floor Slabs – subgrade and base, reinforcement steel

·       Structural – bolt torque and visual weld

·       Retaining Walls – subgrade, dimensions, reinforcement steel,

                                          and backfill drainage system