Framing that delivered an all-round vision within tight timeframes. When this distinctive circular designed school required completion for the start of the academic year, light gauge steel framing made from TRUECORE® steel delivered. Prefabricated and then assembled on site, impressively large roof truss and frame modules were craned to height, then safely and eciently installed into their elevated positions. The end result is a state-of-the-art learning space designed in the round and produced on time.
To learn more visit: truecore.com.au/smallsroad
TRUECORE®, BlueScope and the BlueScope brand mark are registered trade marks of BlueScope Steel Limited. © BlueScope Steel Limited 2021 ABN 16 000 011 058. All rights reserved. Image courtesy of School Infrastructure NSW and Austruss.
THE COVER Precision and Storytelling: Reid Hu’s After the Mudslide Wins 2021 Engineering Drone Video of the Year – story on page 10 CHANNELS ENVIRONMENTAL + SUSTAINABILTY 12 Planning for Climate Change– Getting Ahead of Coming Infrastructure Growth STRUCTURES + BUILDINGS 14 The Importance of Due Diligence in Adaptive Reuse Projects 16 Army Corps Improves Historic Cemetery for the Living 18 Belgard® Diamond Pro Segmental Wall Systems Address Geological, Aesthetic Concerns in Creating Nearly 100 Buildable Acres for Prime Housing in California 20 Restoring a Monument and Sparking Conversation TRANSPORTATION + INFRASTRUCTURE 22 The State of Intelligent Transportation in 2021 22 Long-Delayed Transit Relief Coming to London WATER + STORMWATER 25 Simplifying Stormwater Compliance BUSINESS NEWS 28 Identifying and Implementing Project Controls in Design- Build Project Environments SOFTWARE + TECHNOLOGY 31 Digital Twins for Project Planning and Management: Key Considerations 33 Coming Soon: Practical BIM Implementation for Facility Management SURVEYING 34 The Real Value of Point Clouds from Images UNMANNED SYSTEMS 36 Whitaker Construction Maps, Measures, and Models with Drone-Enabled Ease 37 New Ways Contractors are Leveraging Drone Data for Jobsite Management 40 Mobile Mapping Underground: They Said it Couldn’t be Done departments 8 Events 43 Benchmarks: How have Principals been Managing their Time Differently since the Pandemic? 44 Reader Index Columns 5 Engineering Front Line: Technology as an investment, not a cost Chad Clinehens 6 Looking Back, Moving Forward: Boots on the Ground, Wings in the Sky Luke Carothers
VOLUME 7 ISSUE 7 csengineermag.com
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Chad Clinehens Technology as an investment, not a cost
It’s amazing how the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone, has changed the world of surveying and civil engineering. These machines now give us much easier access to job sites and offer amazing perspectives on our projects. As a civil engineer who also spent time in marketing, I appreciate drones even more. The high-quality video drones can get today equates to what would have cost tens of thousands of dollars in video equipment and set up costs to get similar footage 20 years ago. Beyond amazing video footage, drones can aid in surveying job sites, offering benefits in safety, speed, and budget. We’ve seen the rapidly expanding power of drones in our Engineering Drone Video of the Year (EDVY) contest. Launched in 2018, this contest has significantly grown in popularity. This year, the number of videos entered was up 209 percent over 2020. More impressively, the number of votes in the contest was up 80 percent over last year with over 14,300 votes from 71 countries. The finalists included the "Bois d'Arc" Lake Project" by Freese and Nichols; "Interstate 74 Bridge Corridor" by IMEG Corp; and the winner "After the Mudslide" by Reid Hu. The evolution of drones in the AEC industry has been dramatic. However, some may argue the adoption lags the advancements. This industry does tend to be slow to adopt new technology. Not everyone is like this, but many firms struggle with this because it requires change. Technol - ogy is one of those areas of running a business that’s certain— it’s constantly changing. Some firm leaders see technology as a necessary evil, something that they begrudgingly must embrace even if they don’t fully understand what it is or how it works. Other firm leaders are techno - philes who must have all the up-to-the minute gadgets and gizmos whether they help them do their jobs or not. Regardless of where you fall on the technology “love-hate” spectrum, technology is undoubtedly something you use and deal with every single day. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you consider investing in any kind of new technology: A monetary ROI doesn’t always have to be clear at the onset. Don’t let anyone tell you that every technology expenditure must be proven to have a favorable ROI before you try it. You will never know with most of these things how they can affect every single aspect of your business. Some— like drones— could conceivably be the one thing that sets your firm apart or gives you a competitive edge. Others, like software and security investments, may be what saves you from a malware attack that could shut your production down for days or even weeks. Many firms underinvest in technology, but there are some that overinvest compared to their peers. Those firms are the ones that had the easiest and most efficient transition when COVID hit last year. I’d like to meet anyone who considered a pandemic in their ROI calculations on IT investments prior to 2020. Technology investments help with recruiting and retention; not a common association, but technology can drive significant benefits for people. It can help you attract and keep the best people by giving them the tools that they want and expect. Everyone wants to learn— especially younger people. They don’t want to become obsolete. This means you need to give them the tools to do the best they can do as efficiently as possible. And some people want to push the limits. They want to try things that haven’t been done before. These are some of your smartest people. Keep them around by having an IT budget that provides them with these tools. Efficiency is complex. Relating to the first point, ROI is not always crystal clear when it comes to technological investments, especially when trying to measure efficiency over the long run. Having robust servers, enough bandwidth, well-designed intranets, cloud document storage, real-time access to internal data, and the people and training to make all of this work properly is essential to efficiency. When considering the significant investment in expanding your surveying business with drone technology, you’ve got to think about all the efficiencies such an invest - ment can possibly empower, beyond just labor savings. Many years of Zweig Group research has shown that technological investments, or investments in IT, are one of the top three drivers of growth for AEC firms. Many leaders find that surprising because they view IT as overhead. That immediately causes IT to be viewed as a cost instead of an investment. Drone technology is just one of those investments that has allowed some firms to transcend into a realm where competitors are scarce. It is that realm where they realize that the ROI on the investment goes beyond the obvious dollar savings. It is a technology that they can use to visualize projects and the future in a new way. View technology as an investment instead of a cost, and your perspective can change significantly, empowering extraordinary business growth.
CHAD CLINEHENS, P.E., is Zweig Group’s president and CEO. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the United States. Although landfall in Florida caused damage, the bulk of the $125 billion in damages were suffered by the City of New Orleans, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and the surrounding areas. The flooding was intense, and, with much of the region under water for weeks after the storm moved on, transportation and communication infrastructure was rendered unusable. This was one of several reasons for the delay in rescue efforts after the storm; there was simply no safe way to get rescue workers to certain locations so that effective aid could be provided in critical areas. One particular case where responders were facing these circumstances was Pearlington, Mississippi. Located at the mouth of the Pearl River, which straddles the border between Louisana and Mississippi, Pearlington felt the full force of Hurricane Katrina and the 30-foot wall of water that accompanied it. Due to its small size and isolated location, Pear - lington was one of the hardest places for volunteers to reach in the days after the storm. The flooding destroyed nearly all of the houses in the community with only two spared out of nearly 1,700. Many of Pearlington’s homes were simply wiped off their foundations, and the ones that held in place were still severely damaged and covered in debris. Several of these homes provided a daunting challenge for rescue volunteers. They had been swept from their founda- tions and deposited side-by-side, blocking the only paved access to the small town. To add to this, additional areas of the roads were covered in downed trees and debris while nearly every powerline was pulled down. With no means of egress nor communication, rescuers were unable to to determine the extent of the damage and whether or not there were more survivors trapped in the town. Rescuers turned to an unfamiliar solution in the realm of search and rescue at the time: UAVs. Nearly all uses of UAVs and drones at that point in time were to be found in military applications. However, developments in the base technology for UAVs meant that, for the first time, they could be operated by teams as small as 3 people. Additionally, advancements in flight and rotor technology meant that drones could fly for longer durations and could carry more sophisticated cameras. To achieve this mission, rescuers turned to scientists at the University of South Florida and the Center for Robot-As - sisted Search and Rescue (CRASAR) who decided to use two drones: one fixed-wing and one quad-rotor craft. Taking off from a small clearing in the road before obstruction, the team and their two vehicles completed their mission in less than two hours. Not only did the team determine that there were no survivors trapped in the town but also that the nearby cresting Pearl River posed no immediate danger to the town. This was the first time that a federal government used UAVs as a critical part of disaster relief efforts, particularly search and rescue, but it certainly would not be the last. Armed with a new tool to fight back against Katrina’s im - mense destructive power, rescuers were determined to use drones to their fullest extent. Just a few days after the two vehicles were deployed in Pearlington, another group set about using the same technique to collect data on the US-90 bridge in Bay St. Louis which had been severely damaged in the storm. This mission to survey the damaged Bay St. Louis bridge and the other missions undertaken during the Hurricane Ka - trina recovery efforts represent a transformational shift in the relationship between drones and users. With better flight technology, better cameras, and more connectivity, rescuers and researchers were not only able to collect vast amounts of data, but they were also able to share that data with the people who needed it most. In fact, this influx of relevant data spurred recovery efforts and allowed the bridge to be reopened just 21 months after the storm. Following the success of UAVs and drones in the recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina, these vehicles have played an important role in almost every major disaster recovery effort over the last two decades. In addition, UAVs are also used to preemptively plan for coming natural disasters. With Hurricane Florence approaching in 2018, teams at the North Carolina Department of Transportation flew more than 200 drone missions and collected 8,000 videos and images. These images and videos were then compiled and used to create a plan of action, diverting people away from dangerous areas. As UAVs and drones become more and more commonplace, their uses in the realm of disaster recovery seem to grow exponentially. From creating 3D building maps after earthquakes, through spotting wildfires, to navigating molten lava fields, drone technology has been adapted to confront some of our most inhospitable disasters and help during some of our darkest hours. As the threat of climate change becomes more real and larger, more intense weather events are on the horizon, drones and UAVs will be pivotal in how we overcome these new challenges.
Boots on the Ground, Wings in the Sky Luke Carothers
LUKE CAROTHERS is the Editor for Civil + Structural Engineer Media. If you want us to cover your project or want to feature your own article, he can be reached at email@example.com.
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events + virtual Events
Intelligent Data Summit july 22 – virtual
Intelligent Data Summit - is a multi-vendor virtual summit where experts will share how to design and deliver a modern digital enterprise powered by analytics, data & AI/ML. Topics include proven strategies, tools and platforms for all environments. https://www.idevnews.com/registration/?event_id=518&code=23053 august 2021 The recommended prerequisite for this course is Zweig Group’s Project Management for AEC Professionals as this advanced-level content builds on and hones the skills developed in this course. This course is ideal for people that have existing experience leading projects and teams. A new advanced skills training course for project managers led by a panel of three experts backed by a ton of research on how to best train project managers to be more effective and efficient. Advanced Project Management for AEC Professionals august 10 – virtual https://shop.zweiggroup.com/collections/webinars/products/advanced- project-management-for-aec-professionals-virtual-seminar-starting- february-3-2021?variant=39017772679319 Powered by the global reach of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), XPONENTIAL is the only gathering for leaders and end users in every industry to share use cases, experience new technology, strike up new partnerships, and solve real problems. It’s a global platform optimized to help big ideas take flight. From hands-on demos on the XPO floor to a video call with someone on the other side of the globe, personal relationships are at the heart of the experience– because a single conversation could spark your next ‘aha’ moment. https://www.xponential.org/xponential2021/public/Enter.aspx Join CHANCE® for a two-part webinar to learn how extreme events such as earthquakes, tsunamis, storm surges, hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters often cause substantial damage to the foundation of existing structures that requires rapid response for repair. In some areas, recurring events produce repeating damage to traditional foundations of lightly loaded residential and commercial structures. Learn why helical piles are an attractive engineered solution that can be used to provide rapid high capacity load bearing characteristics in most geologic settings for both new foundations and remedial repair. https://csengineermag.com/foundations-for-extremes/ september 2021 AUVSI XPONENTIAL august 16-19 – atlanta, ga Foundations for Extremes webinar august 19 & 26 – virtual Commercial UAV Expo Americas september 7-9 – las vegas, nv Commercial UAV Expo Americas 2021 is where the commercial drone
International Conference on Civil Engineering and Architectural Design july 1-3 – munich, germany
CEAD Germany 2021 will make an ideal stage for worldwide, as it unites famous speakers, specialists, business people over the globe, with a generally energizing and important logical occasion loaded up with a lot of edifying intuitive sessions, world-class display, Oral and publication introductions. Civil engineering conference 2021 show’s a goal to furnish the development, business with a profoundly engaged entryway to learn, arrange, and exploit the significant developments and Learning. https://ic2020cead.org/ Each team member brings their own unique experiences and skillset to project teams. Effectively leveraging the talents of your team can optimize team effectiveness. Project Management for AEC Professionals provides people-focused, science-driven practical skills to help project leaders harness the power of their team. By addressing the most important aspects of any project – the people – this course will provide practical techniques that can be immediately implemented for a positive impact on any AEC team or business. Project Management for AEC Professionals july 6 – virtual https://shop.zweiggroup.com/collections/webinars/products/project- management-for-aec-professionals-virtual-seminar-starting-april-7- 2021?variant=39017656877207 AUVSI’s Automated Freight Summit (AFS) will take place July 7-8, 2021 as a virtual event, diving into all things automated freight – safety, insurance, workforce, policy, and more. Join a diverse set of summit attendees as we tackle key questions related to accelerating the safe deployment of automated freight across the United States already underway. https://www.auvsi.org/events/automated-freight- summit?source=search-events Elevating Doer-Sellers: Business Development for AEC Professionals july 7 – virtual Elevating Doer-Sellers: Business Development for AEC Professionals is specifically developed to help design and technical professionals in architecture, engineering, planning, and environmental firms become more comfortable managing clients and promoting the firm and its services. Led by two retired and current CEOs with extensive experience from the design desk to the board room, this one-of-a-kind seminar presents business development techniques proven to drive real growth and value in your AEC firm. AUTOMATED FREIGHT SUMMIT july 7-8 – virtual https://shop.zweiggroup.com/collections/webinars/products/elevating- doer-sellers-business-development-for-aec-professionals-virtual- seminar-starting-april-4-2021?variant=38779972518039
community gathers to learn, connect, and drive the industry forward. In addition to content about new opportunities and challenges the industry is facing due to COVID-19, industries covered include Construction; Drone Delivery; Energy & Utilities; Forestry & Agriculture; Infrastructure & Transportation; Mining & Aggregates; Public Safety & Emergency Services; Security; and Surveying & Mapping. It is presented by Commercial UAV News and organized by Diversified Communications. https://www.expouav.com/ ENGINEER is the newest trade exhibition presented by C.I.S jointly organised with Malaysia’s official professional organisation for the engineering fraternity – The Institution of Engineers (IEM). This industry trade event is aimed towards providing engineering professionals in Malaysia and the region with an exciting and unique platform to gain an insight into cutting-edge solutions and advanced engineering technologies by international leading manufacturers. ENGINEER offers invaluable opportunities to network, collaborate and exchange ideas over the four-day event. https://engineermalaysia.com.my/ ENGINEER 2021 september 8-11 – malaysia 2021 Virtual Elevate AEC Conference & ElevateHER Symposium september 13 - October 7 The ElevateAEC Conference & ElevateHer Symposium is a FREE four-week virtual experience with over 40 speakers and 30 credit hours of networking, learning, and celebrating – all in an unlimited virtual environment. With over 1900 registrants at the 2020 virtual conference, this event will once again connect and support a wide audience in the AEC industry, from emerging professionals to project managers to C-Suites, from all around the nation. https://virtual-elevate-aec-conference.heysummit.com/ The International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE) is a scientific/technical Association comprising members in 100 countries and counting 56 National Groups. The aim of the Association is to exchange knowledge and to advance the practice of structural engineering worldwide in the service of the profession and society. Founded in 1929, IABSE hosted a series of Congresses every four years from 1932 to 2016 and every year from 2019. https://iabse.org/ghent2021 november 2021 IABSE Congress Ghent 2021 september 22-24 – ghent, belgium
conference in Denver, November 3-5. This includes bringing back the iconic black-tie awards gala celebrating the 2021 winners of the Hot Firm list, Best Firms To Work For, Marketing Excellence, Rising Stars, Top New Ventures and the Jerry Allen Courage In Leadership Awards. In accordance with CDC, state, and venue requirements, masks will not be required for vaccinated individuals. https://www.zweiggroup.com/2021-inperson-elevate-aec-conf-gala/ december 2021 ArchConf 2021 is a one of a kind education event for software architects and technical leads/developers. Presented to you by the No Fluff Just Stuff Software Symposium Series. Topics Include: Software Architecture, Domain Driven Design, Kubernetes, Containers, Microservices, Cloud Native Architecture, AWS, Machine Learning, Big Data, Enterprise Security, Soft Skills, Measuring and Profiling, and Distributed Teams. https://archconf.com/app/ticket/event/515 on demand ARCHCONF 2021 - Software Architecture Conference december 13-15 – clearwater, fl Join Newforma, Autodesk, and Schmidt Architects to learn how the construction technology space is progressing towards more unity and the benefits of working in a connected environment. Discover how Newforma’s integration with Autodesk BIM 360 further streamlines collaboration to provide increased flexibility to view, search, and manage project files to improve project delivery. https://csengineermag.com/newforma-autodesk-bim360/ Newforma & Autodesk BIM 360 – Working Together 1 pdh Composite steel construction has been recognized for a number of years as one of the most economical systems for constructing building floors. This webinar will focus on information contained within SJI’s “2nd Edition CJ-Series Composite Joists,” which includes the standard specifications, weight tables, bridging tables and code of standard practice; share how one can utilize SJI’s Floor Bay Tool for estimating the cost of CJ-Series joists; and describe recent projects where CJ-Series composite joists have been utilized. https://csengineermag.com/economic-floor-systems-with-composite- steel-joists/ Economic Floor Systems with Composite Steel Joists 1 pdh
ElevateAEC Conference & Awards Gala november 3-5 –denver, co
Zweig Group is thrilled to announce that the annual in-person ElevateAEC Awards Gala will return in 2021. Due to recent guidance from the CDC as well as loosening guidelines from the State of Colorado, the 2021 ElevateAEC Conference and Awards Gala is opening up registrations and restoring the full agenda for the annual in-person
The 2021 Engineering Drone Video of the Year Contest (EDVY) reached new heights this year with 68 videos entered from across the globe. With more than 14,300 votes cast during the initial voting round, the competi- tion was stiffer than ever. Three finalists emerged from this intense vot - ing period: “Bois d’Arc Lake Project” by Freese and Nichols, “Interstate 74 Bridge Corridor” by IMEG Corp, and “After the Mudslide” by Reid Hu. In addition, this year featured an inaugural partnership with SPH Engineering who offered several impressive prize packages to the top three finishers that included their flagship software. The final round consisted of a review from our prestigious panel of judges. After much deliberation and intense discussion, the panel came to the conclusion that Reid Hu’s “After the Mudslide” is the unanimous winner of the 2021 Engineering Drone Video of the Year Contest. Hu, a student from the Pacific Northwest in the United States, was drawn to shoot his project through family ties. His uncle worked as a structural engineer on the project, and he approached Reid about flying his drone through the building. Reid jumped at the chance, and, ever Precision and Storytelling: Reid Hu’s "After the Mudslide" Wins 2021 Engineering Drone Video of the Year By Luke Carothers
mindful of the power of storytelling, seized the opportunity to incorpo- rate cinematic elements to contextualize the project. Located in the Pacific Northwest, the subject of the video is a resi - dential construction project. The house that previously stood on the site was washed away in a landslide two years prior. The impetus for rebuilding this particular house is seamlessly blended in the video as the camera navigates the steel beams sunk deep in the ground to prevent the house from washing away in the next landslide. The video begins low, rising through a truck before skimming over some timber and rising behind the retaining wall above the house. This opening shot sets the stage for the building narrative tension as the point of view is rapidly pulled back through the building being constructed. The viewer is given a wide view of the project includ- ing the completed house to the left, the project being worked on, and the wreckage of the previous house strewn in the water. The point of view then shifts again, bringing the viewer back through the construc- tion and turning to pan over the watery horizon. This demonstrates an ability to give the viewer "different information than what is usually available," something that judge Alexey Dobrovolsky, CTO of SPH Engineering, commented on during the judging process. The video also stood out from the competition in terms of both its use of narration and natural noise. By employing construction noises such as a truck backing up, a generator running, and a hammer pounding, the video is given its first layer of context. Simultaneously, Reid’s voice narrates the project, telling the story behind the site and its im- portance in being rebuilt. This aspect in particular stood out to judge Margot Moulton, who said these elements made the video feel, “very human and personal.” According to the panel of judges, “After the Mudslide” was the most technically advanced entry of the finalists. Panelist Jean-Louis Weemaes noted the blending of technical skill and storytelling to create
cording to Reid, was the backwards flight through the building. To accomplish this shot, Reid and his father had to work together, first planning the correct site lines, then giving audible feedback as the shot progressed. It was this creativity in blending short technical maneuvers with long creative shots that impressed judge Vincent Haldy during the judging process. Judge Will Anderson also took note of this ability, calling it, “seamless.” In addition to demonstrating breathtaking skill and control in shooting the video, Hu’s entry demonstrated the power of drones to highlight the humanity and necessity of engineering projects. Panelist Caitlin Burke noted Hu’s storytelling ability, saying that the video has the ability to “inspire young people, and women, to enter the industry or become drone pilots.” “After the Mudslide” certainly stands as a testament to the multiplicity of uses for drones within the AEC industry. While drones and other UAVs are capable of performing complex and intense tasks that are vital to sectors such as infrastructure and agriculture, they are, at the same time, capable of revealing a very human element that is often lacking in discussions of projects within the AEC industry. Reid Hu’s video and capacity for storytelling offer a glimpse of the power for drones to open a new pathway into the industry. Watch the winning video and visit Reid's website if you are interested in working with him to create a video of your own project.
a powerful final video. This technical skill is evident in numerous places throughout the video, but perhaps nowhere better than when the drone is flown backwards through the beams of the house. Reid credits his use of FPV drones for this ability to navigate tight spaces and create stunning shots. FPV in this instance means First Person View, meaning Reid’s drone has a small camera mounted on the front. This small camera transmits real time images to the drone operator, giving them direct control of the flight. This also means that FPV drones, according to regulations, cannot be operated without hav- ing another pair of eyes on the drone. For this video, Reid employed his father as the visual observer. Their work on this project consisted of first planning the video. This ensures not only clean, effective shots, but also the safety and security of everyone working on the project. According to Reid, after the planning was done, he “went for it.” Although several shots took multiple attempts, the most difficult, ac -
LUKE CAROTHERS is the Editor for Civil + Structural Engineer Media. If you want us to cover your project or want to feature your own article, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Planning for Climate Change–
As the AEC industry plans for the future, there is a question that still needs to be answered: how can we plan our infrastructure growth to protect our natural resources from climate change? One sector work- ing on this issue is environmental regulation. However, as experts work to solve climate change-related issues, environmental regulation and the larger industry have been slow to adapt new technologies that would aid them in the process. In addition to issues adapting technologies, government environmental regulations in the United States have changed in recent years to favor quicker, cheaper projects rather than taking significant environmental concerns into account. According to Jeremy Schewe and Lee Lance of Ecobot, there is a need for better technology that gives more access to information, allow- ing professionals in the industry to make better decisions in regards to mitigating climate change. Jeremy Schewe, PWS, is the Chief Scientific Officer of Ecobot and Lee Lance is Ecobot’s CEO. The two believe that the environmental regulatory industry is largely stuck in the same methods it used in the 1970s. These methods, such as taking paper notes in the field and transcribing them later in the office, need to be replaced by more digitized solutions. To compound this issue, the firms who are using digitized software are using a “mish-mash of technology solutions.” These technology solutions are not necessarily compatible with one another, leading to inefficiencies and errors that should not be present in the digital age. Both Schewe and Lance agree that their company can be at the fore- front of this movement. Ecobot is a Wetland Delineation App. Ac- cording to their website, they are the only natural resources consulting platform or software to bring true efficiency and accuracy to wetland scientists at AEC firms and a number of other agencies. Ecobot is also an Esri Startup Partner. “Both Esri and Ecobot technologies are allowing the AEC industry to plan more effectively in respect to known natural resources and fea- tures, as well as the human-shaped landscape. Esri’s tools allow for a broad sweep of smart resilience planning with geospatial awareness,” said Jeremy Schewe, PWS, Chief Scientific Officer of Ecobot, “and Ecobot turns boots on the ground into normalized, quality-assured digital information that massively speeds the regulatory process.” Getting Ahead of Coming Infrastructure Growth By Luke Carothers
“Not only do we need to accurately and swiftly gather regulatory- driven natural resources data, but this data gathered for regulatory purposes is vital to the work that planners and civil engineers do as part of this infrastructure boom,” said Lee Lance, CEO of Ecobot. “Ecobot digitizes field information and makes it more readily available to the rest of the construction workflow.” As the conversation around climate change continues to move towards the center of conversation within the AEC industry, the need for further digitalization and technological enhancement is a necessity. Working with georeferenced tools, such as Ecobot, will allow firms to refine their understanding of what exists in the natural environment to responsibly mitigate and plan for the environmental impact of the coming surge in infrastructure development.
LUKE CAROTHERS is the Editor for Civil + Structural Engineer Media. If you want us to cover your project or want to feature your own article, he can be reached at email@example.com.
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The Importance of Due Diligence in Adaptive Reuse Projects By Les Jeter
Embarking on an adaptive reuse development is no small task. It takes a dynamic team that has the vision and fortitude to overcome chal- lenges. Adaptive reuse projects also represent a significant investment in a community and a belief in the long-term growth of an area. These projects have become increasingly popular in recent years as demand for infill development rises and access to raw, developable land be - comes scarcer. The adage that big rewards require big risks certainly applies to adap- tive reuse projects. There is significant inherent risk on multiple levels, including working with an older property (which may or may not be dilapidated) and trying to transform a structure from its original use to something else entirely. This risk profile gives even seasoned developers pause and should encourage any team considering an adaptive reuse project to ensure they undertake a proper due diligence review before closing a deal. Understanding the existing conditions of sites and buildings under consideration for adaptive reuse is crucial to develop a full risk man- agement picture and making an informed decision. What is Due Diligence? At its foundational level, due diligence is a review of an existing build- ing or site to identify significant conditions that will affect the feasibil - ity and cost of redeveloping that building or site. Another perspective is that professional due diligence provides insights before a deal closes. The findings can add confidence to move forward or at least identify areas of concern and prevent headaches later by avoiding a site if it doesn’t meet the financial criteria for the project. Due diligence investigations typically include a “walk-through” and “walk-around” survey of the structure by experienced profes- sionals who can identify existing problems as well as emerging or potential concerns by visual observation. This process is best captured in three phases: • Phase One: Conduct a preliminary site assessment that includes historical research and collecting any existing information about a building or site. Resources include historical records, insurance docu - mentation and maps, and photos of the building and surrounding area. • Phase Two: An on-site walk-through survey to document existing conditions through images and field notes. That documentation typi - cally focuses on physical condition of a structure and those conditions visible to get a better understanding of potential problems. • Phase Three: Prepare a detailed report that outlines what information
has been gathered about a building or site and identifies potential items of concern as well as provides general guidance on what actions will be required for the project to move forward as planned. This due diligence report will provide a clearer picture of known or potential challenges present in an existing structure. For example, is the roof salvageable? Is the building structurally sound? Is evidence of water damage acute or could there be significant issues lurking behind walls and under floors? These are the types of questions a due diligence report will address to provide the development team with initial context on a structure. Those details are crucial components in crafting a project’s risk profile and determining whether the investment will work. Why It Matters The condition of a structure under consideration for redevelopment can be the ultimate dealmaker or dealbreaker. Most sites are adaptive reuse candidates because they’ve become neglected, or their original design no longer fits the highest and best use for that site. Before committing to a deal, the development team should ensure that the due diligence in these six key areas have been conducted: • Building Envelope: Assess the condition of the roof, walls, win- dows, doors, and other key components.
East End Theater before
East End Theater after
• Environmental Hazards: Research potential hazards on site, such as lead paint, asbestos, mold, or other contaminants. • Structural Condition: Evaluate the building settlement, deteriora- tion, and local failures or damage to existing elements. • Site Conditions: Examine drainage, the condition of existing pave- ments, and other site features, such as parking. • MEP Systems: Inspect visible mechanical, electrical, and plumb- ing system elements for deterioration and wear or potential areas for new systems. • Building Access: Assess the means of ingress and egress for the struc- ture, including overall accessibility. An important note: Building officials prioritize code compliance before any other project consideration. These six areas are crucial items in any property condition assessment. Every due diligence report should include a review of these compo- nents because these six basic factors will aid in determining the vi- ability of a project, including the extent of repairs needed and costs associated with making the site viable. Developers would be wise to use a professional with significant due diligence and engineering expertise. Having an experienced eye con - ducting the due diligence will reveal potential problems and opportuni- ties that won’t be recognizable to individuals not experienced in deal- ing with these types of issues. For example, a leak in the roof is easy to address while a busted sewer line in the basement is exponentially more difficult. A recent adaptive reuse project in Richmond, VA highlights how these components collectively, or even individually, can make or break the feasibility of a redevelopment. The city’s historic East End theater had fallen into disrepair after decades of neglect. Located in a quickly redeveloping neighborhood, a development team saw the potential to repurpose the theater as a mixed-use project. Although overtaken by vegetation and missing its roof, a due diligence investigation found that the primary structural systems were actually in good shape. Fur - thermore, a scan of the building’s envelope revealed that although the roof was gone, the roof framing could still be used and the existing envelope was large enough to accommodate the proposed new space, saving the developer approximately $100,000 in new roof framing. This cost saving was instrumental in making the renovation more fi - nancially feasible.
Be Ready for a Surprise No matter the adaptive reuse project or type of structure, there will always be a surprise. You won’t be dismayed if you’re expecting at least one unusual finding, although there could be more than one. The surprise shouldn’t be a concern; it’s the extent or degree of the surprise that can make a development team reconsider a project. Common surprises are often related to hazards on site, such as no elec - tricity, asbestos, mold, or even substantial amounts of bird droppings resulting in health hazards. Other common issues include structural damage due to localized failures, fire, water, or termites. Some findings can be so substantial that they prevent a project from moving forward. For example, if the existing structure cannot be repaired economically or is not constructed in a manner that allows for it to be adapted for the proposed new use, developers will give it a definitive “no go.” Another common scenario includes hidden limitations, such as restricted site access or drainage issues with large culverts or piping running under the building or site, that result in a project not being developed as planned or the site not being a viable candidate for redevelopment. A key consideration, and sometimes a surprise for development teams, is making sure you have access to the structure. Can you see above the ceiling and are stairs passable? If not, make sure you have a ladder on site or access to drones when conducting due diligence. One such example comes from a 1910 power plant that was redevel - oped into a stunning and popular waterfront restaurant. The structure had stood vacant for decades and when the development team and due diligence professionals first arrived on site, the building was so full of debris and junk that they couldn’t open the front door. It was literally impossible to enter. The debris had to be removed to simply allow due diligence to occur. Ultimately, the goal of a due diligence process is to ensure that the de- velopment team is fully informed and best positioned to make the right decision. A due diligence report will clearly document existing condi- tions and outline needed repairs. The report won’t include designs for those repairs or give extensive cost estimates. It’s still too early in the process for that level of detail. Thus, it’s important to recognize that
results from a due diligence investigation shouldn’t be the deciding factor in greenlighting a project. Rather, those findings should be part of a developer or investor’s decision calculus. A crucial early step in any adaptive reuse development, investing in professional due diligence upfront is the best way to make an informed go-no-go decision about a project.
LESLIE S. JETER, PE is a Manager in the Structural Engineering Division at Draper Aden Associates, a Mid-Atlantic engineering, survey, and environmental services firm. Based in the firm’s Richmond, VA office, he has over three decades of experience working with development teams on adaptive reuse projects and has conducted numerous due diligence investigations. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
Army Corps improves historic cemetery for the living By JoAnne Castagna, Ed.D.
West Point Cemetery, located on the grounds of the United States Mili - tary Academy at West Point, New York is America’s oldest military post cemetery and a national historic landmark. “Historic, park-like, cemeteries like this, were never intended just to be resting places for the dead,” said Ulysses Grant Dietz, Historian. “They were always envisioned as places of interaction and memory for the living.” Dietz is the great great grandson of Army General Ulysses S. Grant who was the America’s 18th president and commander in chief and the great-grandson of Major General, Frederick Dent Grant, who has a grave in the West Point Cemetery. To ensure this cemetery continues to serve this purpose, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District its expanding and improving the serene grounds for the thousands of visitors who come to the cem- etery each year. Raymond Pifer, project manager, New York District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said, “This project supports the Army’s commitment to provide in-ground burial to authorized service members and their families who have dedicated their lives in the service of this nation.” West Point’s 200-year old academy is located 50 miles north of New York City on the Hudson River and its cemetery sits in the northeast corner of the campus, overlooking the water. The cemetery’s sprawling 11-acre grounds is home to 9,000 graves and several monuments, including the distinguished Old Cadet Chapel that greets visitors at the entrance.
The cemetery was created in 1817, but before this the grounds were used by residents for burials, including the graves of soldiers from as far back as the Revolutionary War. The cemetery holds some of America’s most storied military leaders and historic figures that includes distinguished soldiers, Medal of Honor Recipients, astronauts, athletes, and family members. These include individuals like GEN Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr., com - mander of coalition forces in the Gulf War; LTC Edward White II, the first American to walk in space; and Major GEN Frederick Dent Grant, son of President Ulysses S. Grant, who was a soldier and U.S. Minister to Austria-Hungary. Dietz, who is on the board of the Ulysses S. Grant Association and speaks annually at “Grant’s Tomb” in New York City said, “Each gravesite associated with President Grant or with his wife Julia is im - portant to the Association. General Grant was the first of three career generals named Grant to be launched by the Academy; the fact that his eldest son Fred lies here with his wife, Ida, makes it an especially important historical spot for the Association.” West Point Cemetery, located on the grounds of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York is America’s oldest military post cemetery and a national historic landmark. Photo: JoAnne Castagna
The Army Corps has constructed many structures on the campus over the decades and now it is expanding and enhancing its cemetery. The work is being accomplished by Army Corps contractor Inter - continental Construction Contracting Inc. of Passaic, New Jersey. The grounds will be expanded to make space for an additional 3,492 graves that will include in-ground burial sites and internments for cremated remains. To make room for the new grave sites, an old PX gas station site was de- molished and contaminated soil on the site was excavated and removed. After this, retaining walls were constructed along the sloped area along the river, to provide land stability. To add additional stability, special foundations will be placed through- out the grounds to address the varying soil conditions on the site. When space is made, grave sites will be installed. This will include 836, 3x8 crypts; 32, 4x8 crypts; 2,156, 3x4 internments for cremated remains; and 468 internments for cremated remains that will be placed in a niche wall or columbarium, this is like a mausoleum that is de- signed for the interment of cremated remains. To ensure the cemetery can run efficiently, additional structures will be constructed including waterlines, sanitary sewer, storm drainage, telecommunications, electrical power distribution, security systems, and heated and air-conditioned storage and maintenance facilities for cemetery staff. Visitors to the cemetery will not only have more spacious grounds to walk, but also new entrance gates, vehicle and pedestrian access roads and walks, exterior lighting, curbs and gutters, access for individu- als with disabilities, perimeter fencing, restrooms, and signage to help them find loved ones. Even though construction is in the works, visitors are still coming to the cemetery. John Butler, project engineer, New York District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said, “As I watch people walk through the cemetery, I realize that they are likely not visiting family, but rather individuals that made an impact on the many generations that have followed them. It is a gentle reminder that this cemetery contains not only individuals that are mourned by their family but individuals that we are indebted to for their past actions regardless of whether their names are known today or a simply a part of history.” This is not the only thing Butler realized. He said, “Originally when I found out that I would be working on a cemetery I cannot deny that there was a bit of apprehension, as I like most individuals, do not tend to venture into a cemetery to either dig or be there after dark. After getting past this initial reaction, I find myself truly honored and privileged to be working on a project that will provide the final resting
place for many of the leaders that this academy has and continues to create during the 20th and 21st centuries. It will allow them to take their place in history alongside those that have chosen the academy as their final resting place.” The work on the West Point Cemetery is expected to be completed in the spring of 2022. Dietz’s, whose famous ancestors touch every aspect of the campus including Grant Barrack’s, the General Ulysses S. Grant Monument, and the cemetery said, “ The West Point Cemetery is a remarkable historic graveyard, which makes it both a historic green space and a touchstone to a great deal of American history. As such, it deserves the same sort of care and attention that a historic building would get. I’m really delighted that the Army Corps has turned its attention to it.” Butler added, “It’s an honor to be able to work on a project that is creat- ing a tranquil place for families to grieve, remember, and reminisce about their loved ones and to provide a final resting place for so many leaders that have served our great nation through some of its best and some of its worst times.” The picture shows part of the new drainage system that will convey all the runoff from the parking area and areas south/southwest of the site through the site, down the slope and out to the Hudson River. Photo : USACE, Public Affairs
DR. JOANNE CASTAGNA is a Public Affairs Specialist and Writer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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