Company • Credentials

Val A. Rabichev, PE is the Principal. He received civil/structural engineering degree at St. Petersburg Institute of Construction Engineering and advanced engineering credentials at UC Berkeley. He is licensed as a Civil Engineer in the State of California. His background includes work with such reputable engineering firm as Rutherford & Chekene, field work as a construction manager, environmental engineering, as well as hundreds of projects at Optimal.

Michael A. Rabichev, AIA, PE is an Associate. He received his engineering degree at Saint Petersburg Institute of Construction Engineering. In addition, he holds a degree of Master of Architecture from Southern California Institute of Architecture (SciArc). He is licensed in the State of California as a Civil Engineer and a Registered Architect. He has also produced a portfolio of oil paintings exhibited in various galleries. In addition to involvement with Optimal he maintains his own Art & Architecture Studio, Michael's designs are now largely 3-D, web-based projects.

Optimal Design Group was founded in 1987 with the concept of integrating Architecture, Structural Engineering and construction management. Within a couple of years, Optimal grew to employ ten full-time architects, engineers and administrative staff and handled numerous design, construction and development projects. Subsequently, Optimal streamlined, principals are now directly involved in every project. Our niche is twofold:

  • integrated design and engineering geared to optimizing project goals
  • structural engineering emphasizing analysis of options towards achieving efficiency
  • assistance with permitting & construction expediting including project phasing

Selected clients' recommendations:

"I have worked with Optimal Design for over twenty years. I trust that Val and his team will do best to find the most cost-effective solution and that he will respond right away when help is needed at any point during design or construction." John Nunnelee, Modern Classics Construction, Designer-Builder-Developer

"I have worked with Val on a number of projects over the years ranging from new construction to major renovations. He is sensitive to design, fast in responding to design and construction developments, and has a knack for realizing cost-effective solutions." Craig Steely, Architect,

"Having worked with Optimal Design Group for years on a wide variety of projects, I can attest to Val's common-sense practical engineering as well as his responsiveness." Michael Klestoff, Broker, West & Praszker Realtors,

"I worked Optimal Design since late 1980s on a dozen or more projects. Their combination of expertise in Building Design and Structural Engineering was an asset to all projects. Val is a good engineer-designer." Michael Plotitsa Structura General Contractors, Builders & Developers.

"I have used Val's creative engineering from challenging new structures perching on East Bay Hills to simpler additions and remodels. I'd say he is one of the best for engineering of sturdy strong structures at the least cost and producing construction documents that are simple to build by." Mark Stumpf, Builder-Developer, Big Dog Construction, Oakland CA

"I have worked with Val for years, mostly on projects entailing civil engineering retrofits, new foundations & retaining walls construction. Val's drawings are clear and easy to follow. More important is his flexibility in finding engineering design for the most constructable solutions, as well as his personal integrity." Chris Baumsteiger, C.R. Baumsteiger Construction, Inc., Foundation Contractor

"I've used Val's firm on all of my projects since early nineties. Most projects were new upscale houses, some with challenging conditions like steep driveways, tall retaining walls, pyramid roofs and other demanding situations. I believe Val is one of the best engineers there is in the niche of creative engineering for wood structures." John Ducharme, Designer-Builder-Developer, Ducharme Construction

"Val Rabichev assisted me with engineering of two projects. He re-designed my foundation replacement project and brought estimated cost down to 25k from 130k by re-thinking structural necessities." David Denebeim, CPA, Homeowner

"Val has been my Designer and Engineer for nearly twenty years on projects ranging from house additions to fire re-building to inspections & reports. He is accessible, responsive and sensitive to construction cost issues." Peter Wall, Spectrum Development, Builder-Developer.

"I have worked with Optimal on projects ranging from commercial design to residential additions and alterations. Some projects had complications like neighbors� problems and planning variances but were accomplished successfully. Val's practical design & engineering sense is of help." Maureen B. Kenney, Realtor-Developer,

"I have worked with Optimal on projects varying from upscale new construction to creative additions in Sausalito to extensive renovations in Southern California. He consistently finds budget-oriented yet elegant engineering solutions for our artistic designs." Scott Couture, AIA,

"We have worked with Optimal Design Group since 1999 on architectural design and structural engineering for a number of projects. Val's design is creative, engineering practical and he is fast and keenly budget conscious." Gary Belk, Winans Construction.

"We worked with Optimal Design Group on our own development projects and on several contract jobs. Val holds the line between sound Code-complying structural design and finding economical engineering solutions." Bruce Helmberger, Metro Builders, Builders-Developers

"We worked with Optimal on a variety of construction projects for clients as well as a complete six-unit renovation for our own development in Noe Valley. Val produces cost-effective engineering with a creative twist." Landon Gates, Builder-Developer, Gates Renovation.

"Val is a good engineer and he is flexible and fast. He has been on our Architect-Builder-Engineer team for a few years and a few good projects." Mike Larkin, Architect

"We got to know Val and we trusted him. All the stuff he laid out for us was fantastic ... We felt we were getting a structural engineer plus. He did a fabulous job." Rick Jetter, Homeowner

"Optimal Design Group provided design and engineering for a complete renovation of my North Beach six-unit building, adding a garage dug in twenty feet under the building. We went through tough neighborhood association scrutiny and numerous construction-phase adjustments and completed the project successfully. Val's design & structural engineering expertise and responsiveness were an asset." Brian Birney, Owner & Contractor

"We like working with Optimal Design Group. Val finds engineering solutions simplifying design and construction. He is fast and reliable, it makes a valuable contribution to teamwork." Bruce Tomb, Designer-Artist-Educator,

"Val Rabichev of Optimal Design Group has worked with us on several residential projects in San Francisco and the Bay Area. We've had positive experiences: efficient engineering responsive to our design goals, good value for our clients, and a pleasurable working relationship." David Gast, AIA, LEED AP; Principal, Gast Architects,

"Val Rabichev provided structural engineering for several for our firm's residential alterations projects, including one all-concrete garage addition under existing Victorian building. His services were efficient and timely, and his fees were competitive." Jace Levinson, Architect,

"I appreciate Val's cost-sensitive engineering in this age of restrictive building codes and inspectors. I used Val on projects for clients, on my own house, and will recommend him for any project." Mark Van Dessel, Designer-Builder

"My architect (Curt Holzinger of Graff Architects) and I have worked with Val on different projects in San Francisco. We like working with Optimal Design, and have found Val�s engineering to be straight-forward, and his proposals fair and competitive. He responds to field changes fast and finds cost-effective solutions." Dennis Richards, Property Owner