James A. Mahaney



James Mahaney has expertise in the investigation of existing structures and the design of new structures, having completed more than five hundred investigation, evaluation, and design projects since joining WJE in 1986. Mr. Mahaney has evaluated the structural performance of existing buildings, taking into account in-place conditions and materials. He has designed structural modifications with special regard to code conformance, structural performance, architectural form and function, and construction costs.

Mr. Mahaney’s experience also includes new building designs, seismic upgrades, failure investigations, fire-related damage investigations, and performance evaluations. He has written numerous technical papers and has received a California Preservation Foundation Design Award for the Alcatraz Cellhouse seismic retrofit. Prior to joining WJE, Mr. Mahaney served as a principal of an engineering-architectural firm, where he provided a variety of design services for property and business owners, developers, and governmental agencies.


Construction Documents and Specifications

  • Placer County Water Agency - Auburn, CA: Occupancy conversion of historic wood-framed building with stone foundation 
  • Recology Transfer Facility - Auburn, CA: Modifications to existing tilt-up-wall, steel-frame building to accommodate new transfer system
  • Ridgeview Office Complex - Auburn, CA: Design development for steel- and wood-framed buildings
  • Twenty-Story Tower - Sacramento, CA: Conceptual design of tower with underground parking for feasibility study


Earthquake Damage Assessment

  • Twelve-Story Concrete Shear-Wall Building - Burlingame, CA: Damage survey, analysis, and repairs
  • Twelve-Story Concrete Moment-Frame Building - Guam: Damage survey and analysis with concept repairs
  • 1930s Reinforced Concrete Buildings - Napa, CA: Condition assessment


Fire Damage Investigation

  • High-Rise, Steel-Frame Office Complex - Los Angeles, CA: Evaluation and repair recommendations
  • Coking Facility - Rodeo, CA: Concrete damage assessment, repair design, and construction observation
  • Motel - South Lake Tahoe, CA: Masonry wall and wood-frame damage assessment


Repair and Rehabilitation Design

  • California State University, Sacramento: Evaluation and strengthening of scaffold-type bleachers
  • Mertz Office Building - Auburn, CA: Seismic upgrade and supplemental roof for major facade remodel
  • 4417 Oakport Street - Oakland, CA: Modifications to existing steel and wood-truss buildings and design and construction of new office building


Seismic Repair and Retrofit Design

  • Alcatraz Island Cellhouse - San Francisco, CA: Seismic evaluation and upgrade
  • 155 Filbert Street - Oakland, CA: Evaluation and upgrade design for an unreinforced masonry building
  • Presidio Building 314 - San Francisco, CA: Upgrade of three-story reinforced-concrete building to “essential” facility seismic performance level


Structural Evaluation

  • Wood-Framed Structures - CA: Field testing, analysis, and repair recommendations
  • Balcony Investigation - Marysville, CA: Analysis and ACI load test of cantilevered concrete balcony
  • Modesto Irrigation District - CA: Structural analyses, material testing, and condition surveys


Wood Structures

  • Wind-Damaged Roof System - Yuba City, CA: Investigation, analysis, and repair design
  • CUREE Wood Frame Project - Richmond, CA: Testing of more than fifty shear walls with a variety of sill plate anchors
Professional Affiliations

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI)
Structural Engineers Association of Central California (SEAOCC)


Civil Engineer in CA and NV
Professional Engineer in MI
Structural Engineer in CA, NV, and WA


University of California, Berkeley
Bachelor of Science, Structural Engineering, 1975
Master of Science, Structural Engineering, 1976