Wind engineering is a valuable design tool that:
+ promotes good design
+ smoothes passage through the planning process
+ reduces risks
+ avoids costly delays
+ reduces construction costs
+ brings peace of mind

To ensure that a building is structurally safe and will perform efficiently once it is built, designers need to understand the nature and impact of the local wind environment. Wind engineering is the science that addresses this issue - it enables experts to model local wind behaviour and then assess its effect on local terrain and buildings.

A wind engineering study is usually instigated when:
+ a building falls outside the wind loading Codes
+ more wind loading data is required
+ planners require a pedestrian wind study as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment.

The earlier that wind-related issues are considered, the greater the opportunity to optimise design and to make savings. In many instances wind engineering will simply involve undertaking a desk study, but in complex cases it may require additional assessments: design reviews, wind tunnel testing and CFD modelling.

Desk studies
Here, the wind consultant studies existing information and, in the light of their knowledge and experience, advises the client whether it is necessary to undertake a more detailed assessment.

Wind tunnel testing is the established and reliable method of assessing situations that require deeper investigation than a desk study. It allows designers to assess a number of key issues and optimise design before construction commences. This minimises the risk of having to carry out costly and disruptive remedial work further down the line.

Tests are used to:
+ determine structural loads, cladding loads and dynamic response
+ predict whether the pedestrian environment will be comfortable and safe
+ provide design data that can be used to optimise the size and location of inlets and exhausts for natural ventilation systems
+ assess the performance of natural smoke ventilation or mechanical ventilation systems
+ identify dispersion patterns of pollutants expelled from buildings
+ test new and innovative systems

Computational fluid dynamics is becoming increasingly popular as a tool for predicting air flows and is particularly effective for assessing internal conditions such as ventilation air flow. However, it is not yet suitable for all investigations, particularly those involving the external wind environment where gusting occurs. In some instances, the best results are achieved by using CFD alongside wind tunnel testing.