First-Class Data A small, woman-owned firm is landing big survey contracts at a top ten US airport By Mary Jo Wagner
If the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) offered frequent contractor points, the professional land surveyors at CES Group Engi- neers would likely be triple platinum members. Since late 2015, the engineering and survey company’s crews have been at the facility nearly every day in support of CLT’s roughly $3.1 billion program to renovate its concourses and expand its roadways, curb front, airfield, and terminal. Being an integral part of such a high- profile project is testament to how far this company has grown from the modest, residential lot surveys it was providing after launching its surveying services eight years ago. “We’ve experienced tremendous growth in a notably short amount of time because we fulfill a significant need for professional land survey- ing services, an expertise that’s been in short supply in this region since the 2008 recession,” says Judy Heleine, owner of CES, based in Den- ver, N.C., about 25 miles northeast of Charlotte. “Our surveyors and engineers are out in the field nearly every day and they get noticed for the quality work they do. That experience, knowledge, responsiveness, and enabling technology allows us to deliver the required precision on one project and helps seal the deal on the next. It’s a winning formula that has earned us a place on some of the highest profile projects in the region.” Being early adopters of advanced survey and geomatics technologies has also enabled CES to expand its breadth of services and pursue sub- stantial contract opportunities with more confidence. “We invest heavily in varied technology that allows our licensed land surveyors and field crews to tackle any surveying job out there,” says Kent Hudson, PLS and CES’ geomatics division manager. “Each new piece of equipment builds our expertise, which helps us deliver speci- fied results on time and on budget, heightening our profile and enabling us to secure immense projects like CLT.” Indeed, equipped with a pool of modern survey instruments and newly acquired scanning technology, CES survey crews have been providing first class data to help engineers build CLT’s final destination. Destination CLT CLT is the 10th busiest passenger airport in the United States, ranking higher than some of the country’s biggest names: Orlando, Miami, and Houston. In one decade, it flew from the 18th busiest airport to the 11th in 2016, landing in the top ten last year by welcoming 46.4 million domestic travelers and 3.2 million international passengers through its 114 gates and five concourses. Such growth has been putting CLT on a collision course with overcapacity.
The city of Charlotte, North Carolina.
With all indicators showing increased passenger demands, airport ex- ecutives developed “Destination CLT,” a master blueprint that defines the construction and renovations it needs to ensure it has the capacity to handle future growth through 2035. Given CES’ proven performance on previous design and construction surveying projects at the airport, and its knowledge of the facility, multiple CLT prime consultants and contractors chose the company to serve as the primary survey provider for more than 24 individual projects. Since construction work began in 2015, CES survey crews have been on the ground floor of the majority of the anchor projects designated in Destination CLT, including the $200 million expansion of Concourse A, the first completed project in the initiative, which added nine gates, constructed a new ramp and taxi lanes for the new gates and modernized its amenities. Assisted by their Trimble S7 robotic total stations, Trimble DiNi Digi- tal Levels and TSC3 and TSC7 data collectors, CES field teams have been providing all aspects of construction staking. “For all of these projects, we’ve had to ensure that all of our horizontal and vertical points are accurate to within 0.01 feet,” says Hudson.
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