Innovative Designs, Constructible Solutions

For close to two decades, the engineers at Huseman & Associates have left their unique mark on some of the area’s most important construction projects
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Already an industry veteran by the time he opened Huseman & Associates – a Metairie-based MEP engineering firm – in 2005, namesake founder Jeffrey Huseman had a clear vision of what he wanted this new enterprise to be and not to be.

“I had this idea that we wanted to be a firm that was completely client-focused and bring in new technology and innovative design to fulfill their wants and needs,” Huseman said. “At the same time, the construction industry was changing. So we wanted to make sure we produced constructible documents – which is a fairly important part of our field that often gets overlooked.”

Finding efficient, practical, and functional engineering solutions has been a foundational pillar at Huseman & Associates since day one – a hallmark that remains just as true today as it did back then, even as company founder Huseman has recessed into more of a consultant role with the firm, while trusted longtime employees Jamey Logrande and Jason Chauvin now handle day-to-day leadership responsibilities.

Specializing in sustainable project designs, Huseman & Associates is a full-service MEP engineering firm known for creating mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, special systems and lighting blueprints for contractors in the greater New Orleans area. In recent years, Huseman & Associates have designed various aspects on local construction efforts at places such as the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office and Correctional Facility, dormitories at Tulane University, Church of the King’s West Esplanade campus, and the lighting on the 3,500-foot Moonwalk along the Mississippi River, to name a few.

No matter the ask, no matter the design, no matter the construction circumstances, Huseman & Associates manages to present innovative, cutting-edge plans that can actually be implemented by the contractor, instead of out-of-the-box designs that look great on paper but aren’t practical, which causes the contractor to audible from the original concept and adjust to make their own designs.

“And let me say this: I think contractors prefer getting design documents they can trust, so that they can build with confidence knowing the document is a true roadmap for them, and it’s going to work,” Huseman said. “There are firms out that don’t put in the necessary care to make sure their documents are constructible.

Look, every job will have its own set of issues, so if we can eliminate one of those by giving documents that are well done and constructible, then that’s a real benefit.”

Along those same lines, Chauvin, the director of Huseman & Associates’ Electrical group, added:

“I was taught to ask yourself or your team the question, ‘Do you know if this fits? Have you proven the equipment specified can get the job done? Are you reinventing something that the contractor has never done before?’ So you need to know the answers to all of those before you send something off. And if we don’t know the answer, especially to the last question, we go ask the contractor before we design something they’ve never done, at least in part.

“And then when the job is done, especially the difficult projects or renovations, we go back to the contractor for feedback, How could we have done this different? What would have made your life easier? What did you see or encounter in the field that we didn’t anticipate on paper?’”

 

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Going that extra mile when it comes to research or anticipating future issues that might arise also aids Huseman’s leaders when answering questions or easing concerns from clients, too. That includes Huseman & Associates showing clients 3D renderings of the proposed construction project using state-of-the-art Rivet software.

“I think one of the biggest shifts we’ve seen since the firm opened – and a shift that we’ve adapted to quite well – is the increased hands-on interaction we have with clients,” Chauvin said. “The trade has changed and the systems we design have become more complicated, not as cookie-cutter as they used to be. And that’s all stuff clients want to learn about and be involved in.”

Innovative designs don’t necessarily equate to inefficient use of a tight budget, as Huseman & Associates have proven more than once over the years. It is quite possible to be cutting-edge and cost-effective at the same time. For instance, when Huseman & Associates was tasked with designing the air conditioning system at Tulane University’s newest dorm, Greenbaum House, they insisted on using a Variable Air Volume System over a traditional coil AC system because the former required little maintenance (thus reducing future upkeep/repair costs) and was more energy-efficient (thus reducing current electricity costs).

“We are very much a proactive firm,” said Logrande, the Director of Huseman & Associates’ Mechanical group. “We believe in finding and fully understanding what the problems are, the challenges are from day one and addressing them. Could be a mechanical or electrical item. Whether it’s a whole building problem, or an energy issue. Finding the best solutions from the get-go has always been our motto from the start. And for as much has changed in this industry, our solution-oriented approach won’t ever change.”