Lab Live: Wood – Applied Science in Action to Examine Structural Materials

Lab Live: Wood – Applied Science in Action to Examine Structural Materials

About the Lab Live Series: To understand material performance in the field or determine the causes of underlying building conditions, engineers and material scientists often look to applied science and research methods to improve design and construction processes and probe known issues or problems. By combining technical knowledge with expertise in testing and materials science, these teams can help solve their clients’ most challenging problems by understanding why they occurred in the first place. In Simpson Gumpertz & Heger’s (SGH) virtual “Lab Live” series, we will demonstrate these testing and discovery methods in real time in our Applied Science & Research Center to focus on common and challenging material problems. In these dynamic sessions, we hope to spark discussions that lead to creative ideas and improved collaboration.


In the next session of this series, our technical experts and laboratory specialists will focus on wood as a structural material, discuss wood’s performance in both ancient and innovative applications, and share testing demonstrations to show how SGH’s Applied Science & Research Center helps evaluate wood-related questions. Through a series of discussions, we will explore wood’s varied applications in the construction industry and demonstrate several testing approaches, including using microscopy to identify wood species and characteristics from field specimens and applying cyclic load testing methods to compare the strength and stiffness of various assemblies. We will also discuss several case examples highlighting recent innovative uses of wood as a structural material.


After attending this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Discuss how wood is generally used as a building material from historical and current perspectives.
  • Review various applications of wood microscopy to identify key characteristics of wood and observe potential causes of decay.
  • Understand cyclic load testing methods to review strength and stiffness requirements for wood assembles.
  • Recognize how new and innovative applications of wood as a structural material can be used in current construction practice.

Participants will earn 1.0 AIA CES Learning Unit (LU/HSW) for attending the live webinar. Registration is free. Please note that space is limited – email events@sgh.com to join our waitlist if the session is closed when you register. 

About the Speaker

Michael Richard
Michael Richard | Senior Consulting Engineer

Michael Richard specializes in new design, renovation, and structural investigation projects. He has worked on and managed projects ranging from the full repositioning of nineteenth-century brick masonry buildings and the retrofit of heavy timber structures to the structural design of private residences and art installations. With a background in non-conventional materials and structural testing, his interests include wood and masonry materials, wood science and microscopy, historic structural systems, and laboratory aided design. 

Jeffrey Langlois
Jeffrey Langlois | Senior Project Manager

Jeff Langlois is a structural engineer working in the design and repair of all types of buildings, with particular experience in light-frame wood and heavy timber construction. His expertise includes designing buildings employing engineered wood and mass timber components, evaluating existing timber structures, conducting in situ visual stress grading of historic timber elements, and investigating distressed architectural wood products. Whether for small adaptive reuse fit-outs or multi-story new construction, Jeff’s approach to consulting is client- and team-focused toward developing creative and efficient engineering solutions.

Paul Kassabian
Paul Kassabian | Principal
Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

Paul Kassabian specializes in structural design and investigation on a wide range of structural systems, from buildings for architects to projects on the cutting edge of both structural systems and materials. He develops innovative methods of design and construction using SGH’s in-house Applied Science & Research Center, computational design approaches, and digital fabrication techniques. He is the practice leader of the SGH Digital Lab.

Casey Sturrup
Casey Sturrup | Project Consultant ‒ Materials

Casey Sturrup specializes in designing non-standard testing procedures and conducting material testing analysis as part of SGH’s Applied Science & Research Center. He focuses on performing physical tests and data acquisition on various construction materials and building mockup models.

Norman Perkins
Norman Perkins | Director of Applied Science & Research

Norman Perkins provides strategic leadership and oversight for SGH’s Applied Science & Research Center and its physical testing, materials science, and research programs. Throughout his career, he has practiced engineering and conducted research on a wide variety of civil, mechanical, environmental, structural, and fire protection engineering efforts.