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The Downside to Theory – A Structural Engineer’s Perspective

Theory has always been the basis behind all engineering design.  And it is no wonder… it is a necessity to lay the foundation – the building blocks which allow for unlimited creativity.  As engineers we use theory to help open our minds to creativity and innovation.

However, too much theory has a hidden downside.  By relying solely on theory, we can limit the very thing we as engineers strive to advance.  Such idea limits the possibility of innovation as we become bound by strict rules that do not allow for deviation.

In this view, we become limited by a completely theoretical world without compromise, which hinders new viewpoints and trains of thought.  This simplified approach requires conformity to the “norm” – to what is generally “understood” as correct, but discourages creativity.

Yes, many times these are actually the best solutions to many engineering problems. But by blindly “assuming” these are the “only” correct approaches is a disservice to the profession.  It is our duty as engineers to find the most creative and innovative solutions in all we create.  And by using theory only as a tool (and not the answer), we can continue to progress the profession in limitless ways.

ZLS Consulting, Inc. (c) 2017. All rights reserved.

Where did all the Engineers go?…


In the past, the general engineering profession has always been a popular choice among young professionals.  Today, certain engineering disciplines seem to be experiencing a major shortage, which the industry, in general, is having trouble to sustain.

As an employer in a niche industry, I’ve seen this first hand.  Competition among firms for already experienced and skilled professionals and technical personnel has increased significantly because of the lack of new graduates entering into the workforce. But the numbers of even these very personnel have been shrinking as this generation begins to leave the workforce. And with the lack of new graduates to eventually replace them, the issue becomes apparent on a company’s ability to maintain the same quality of personnel (and quality of work for their clients) for the years to come.

Over the years, the engineering profession has seen a major shift in the numbers of new engineering graduates entering into the profession. Why this is the case is uncertain, but through my own experience and seeing my own kids growing up, I can see a huge disconnect between what kids are being taught in school and the actual REAL world. Focus in our school system seems to have shifted from a more practical to a more technological approach to learning – in my opinion both a good thing and a bad thing. A common problem I see today is the lack of exposure and interaction (and connection) that children have to the REAL world. This type of interaction is important to helping the next generation to “find” their creative interests. The engineering and science professions RELY on this type of engagement for the future, as our children are the ones who will be driving us years down the road. Our children ARE the key to the future, and we need to help guide them so that they can clearly “see” what is in front of them.

We as parents need to help our children develop in a way that helps nurture and open their creativeness. We need to “force” them to put down the IPads and go outside to explore our world the same way our generation did, without the distractions that these “conveniences” bring. When we do, we help to open a world that we are forced to discover on our own… One in which we can experience first hand, interact with and LEARN from. This type of connection is the answer to opening up a “new” world and spark the imagination and creativity of our young, and to  help them to “find” their own path which they can be excited to explore…

ZLS Consulting Inc. (c) 2017

A quick road map to life’s little roadblocks… random thoughts to get you “moving” through the day…


The road of life is tough. There are too many obstacles around us every day trying to stop us in our tracks… But don’t be discouraged. This is a “normal” part of life…

Drive through these “road blocks”… Or take a detour… There is ALWAYS a way.

STOP driving blind or in the dark… open your eyes and turn on your headlights… YOU WILL find direction and the light…

ALWAYS know YOUR DIRECTION… Use a compass or map to guide you… Create YOUR own road map and FOLLOW it ALWAYS…

Always STAY on the road… Stay on YOUR path… and KEEP ON DRIVING…

And… DON’T run out of gas… Fill up your tank when it’s empty… and keep on going… and going…


ZLS Consulting Inc. (c) 2017



Bearing Wall Removal w/ New Header & End Column Design (Standard Foundation) – Description coming soon. Some exclusions apply.

Price: $500.00

Bearing Wall Removal w/ New Header & End Column Design (Raised Foundation / “Crawl” Space) – Description coming soon. Some exclusions apply.

Price: $600.00

New Single Family Residence, Single (1) Story, Up to 1000 sf Living Space w/ 2 Garage, 400 sf – Up to 3 Bedroom, 2 Bath. Various design configurations available. Structural engineering and design with Civil PE stamp. Includes applicable calculations. Full size 5 drawings.

Price: $3000.00

New Single Family Residence, Single (1) Story, Up to 2000 sf Living Space w/ 2 Car Garage, 400 sf – Up to 4 Bedroom, 3 Bath. Various design configurations available. Structural engineering and design with Civil PE stamp. Includes applicable calculations. Full size 5 drawings.

Price: $4000.00 (+ $1500.00 for 2 story)

New Single Family Residence, Single (1) Story, Up to 3000 sf Living Space w/ 3 Car, 600 sf Garage – Up to 6 Bedroom, 4 Bath. Various design configurations available. Structural engineering and design with Civil PE stamp. Includes applicable calculations. Full size 5 drawings.

Price: $5000.00 (+ $1500.00 for 2 story)

Please check back for updates. Thank you. – ZLS Consulting Team

ZLS Consulting Inc. (c) 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Real Estate Inspection Services by Trained Professionals…

Home buyers beware… When doing your due diligence in purchasing of a new (older) home, make sure to have the best home property inspector take a look at the property first. Trust me, you want to make sure that he/she is able to find the property’s “problem” areas or any issues regarding the property BEFORE you decide to go further. In doing so, you can eliminate any potential headaches AFTER moving in…

What’s equally as important is the potential “bargaining chip” that a complete and thorough home inspection can provide. Proper home inspections can offer either a means to “back out” of a deal or even to renegotiate for potential credits to the home buyer.

The sad truth about most real estate property inspectors is that they are usually not trained to properly address a property inspection. Many of these individuals often just use templates and follow a generic checklist to identify common “visible” issues. But this process may completely overlook the REAL problems that may ACTUALLY exist…

So next time you are on the house hunt, ALWAYS get a professional who can get the job done right…


Check our website : http://www.mystructuralengineer.com to get a FREE property home inspection checklist / template for all of you who would rather do it yourself..

ZLS Consulting offers the highest quality real estate / home buyer inspection services at the most affordable prices:

Southern California – General Residential Property Inspection (“Home Buyer” Inspection) 

Residential inspection performed by trained professionals to help prospective home buyers determine the general condition of a property before purchasing. Includes general property inspection and condition report. Currently offered only in Southern California area (with more areas to follow).

Price: $425.00 (+$0.50 per mile each way – call or email for more details)