Kopczynski receives top engineering award

Cary Kopczynski, of Bellevue, received one of 25 Top Newsmakers Awards from Engineering News-Record (ENR) – McGraw-Hill Construction’s news magazine at an awards dinner April 3 in New York City. The event was attended by more than 1,400 construction industry leaders.

Bellevue’s Cary Kopczynski (center)

Cary Kopczynski, of Bellevue, received one of 25 Top Newsmakers Awards from Engineering News-Record (ENR) – McGraw-Hill Construction’s news magazine at an awards dinner April 3 in New York City. The event was attended by more than 1,400 construction industry leaders.

Kopczynski, president of Cary Kopczynski & Company, was recognized for pioneering the use of high-strength rebar to reduce congestion and maintain seismic confinement. Reinforcing-steel congestion has long been the bane of builders of tall, high-strength reinforced-concrete buildings in seismic zones.

For Escala, a 31-story residential building in Seattle, Kopczynski decided to specify 100-ksi rebar instead of 60-ksi rebar for use as seismic confinement in columns that use 14,000-psi concrete. The high-strength rebar reduces the amount of rebar and the congestion. That makes the beam-column connection faster to construct.

The decision was bold. Currently, 100-ksi rebar is not in building codes for use as seismic confinement. But Kopczynski, as a member of the American Concrete Institute’s building code committee, knew that was likely to change. A proposal was in the works that would add 100-ksi rebar to the code.

Armed with the research that formed the basis for the code change, he took his idea to the city of Seattle, and finally gained approval. Kopczynski is the first structural engineer in North America, and likely the world, to use 100-ksi rebar for column confinement.

Escala is currently under construction and is scheduled to open in June 2009.

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