C+S Summer 2024 Vol. 10 Issue 2 (web)

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VOLUME 10 ISSUE 2 csengineermag.com

publisher Zweig Group media manager Chad Coldiron | 479.200.3538 | ccoldiron@zweiggroup.com Editor Luke Carothers | lcarothers@zweiggroup.com

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Civil + Structural Engineer (ISSN 23726717) is published monthly by Zweig Group, Fayetteville, AR. Telephone: 800.466.6275. Copyright© 2023, Zweig Group. Articles not be reproduced in whole or in part without the written permission of the publisher. Opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of Zweig Group. Unsolicited manuscripts will not be returned unless accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Subscriptions: Annual digital subscription is free. To subscribe or update your subscription information, please visit our website www.csengineermag.com/subscribe/ or call 800.466.6275.

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Summer 2024



THE COVER 10 An Iconic Shoreline: McLaren Wins 2024 EDVY 34 A Rising Stars Award From the Publisher THE ZG-SUITE 4 A Toast to the Stars Chad Clinehens LOOKING BACK, MOVING FORWARD 5 The Walker School Building Luke Carothers INDUSTRY INSIGHTS 6 The Start of Celebration: Zweig Group’s 2024 Class of AEC Highlights 9 Events Calendar 7 A Season of Celebration: Attend the 2024 ElevateAEC Conference & Awards Gala CHANNELS UNPILOTED SYSTEMS 14 How Unpiloted Systems Are Changing the Landscape for Civil and Structural Engineers 18 A Slippery Slope of Opportunity: Bulson Surveying Puts Remote Monitoring to the Test in Telluride 20 No One’s Left In the Dark ENVIRONMENTAL 24 Addressing the Microclimate INFRASTRUCTURE 26 Addressing Aging Utility Tunnels at Midwestern Universities 30 Preparing for Launch: Replacing a Key Piece of Space Infrastructure 32 The Key Drivers of Successful Infrastructure Projects STRUCTURES 62 Seattle Aquarium Brings New Ocean Pavilion to Life with Trimble Construction Technology 66 Building True Service Partnerships WATER 70 How Asset Management Can Support a Secure Water Future INNOVATION 74 How Yates Construction Connected Data for Efficient, Collaborative, and Profitable Project Management 76 Key Bridge Reconstruction: Engineers Look to AI, Machine Learning to Accelerate Rebuild Timeline Benchmarks 79 Zweig Research Participation 80 Reader Index Rising Stars Kyle Aherns




Summer 2024


A Toast to the Stars: EDVY & Rising Stars By Chad Clinehens, President & CEO, Zweig Group The ZG-Suite

For the first time in the history of Civil+Structural Engineer Magazine , winners from Zweig Group’s Rising Stars Awards and the Engineering Drone Video of the Year competition will share the same issue. Obvious connections between the sky, drones, etc. aside, I think there is a useful analogy that can be drawn between these two competitions that highlight different aspects of the AEC industry. Over the last decade, drones and UAVs have traced an ascending path in terms of use and influence on practice. The first drones deployed for AEC industry purposes allowed us to see new perspectives—giving us new ways to maintain, inspect, and market our projects. It’s amazing to see how drones and UAVs have changed the world of surveying and civil engineering. Once a small niche, these machines now give us much easier access to job sites, provide important data for downstream visualizations, and offer amazing perspectives on our projects. As a Civil Engineer who has spent time in marketing, I have a high appreciation for the profound impact this technology has had on the industry. Just over a decade ago, drones were an uncommon sight on engineering and construction projects. Now, they are integral in the way we do things—helping us survey job sites and offering benefits in safety, speed, and budget. The quality of the videos submitted in this year’s EDVY competition is a testament to the investment the AEC industry has made into drone and UAV technology, which has markedly increased the way we construct and maintain the built environment. Through this development, there is a thread that connects the EDVY competition with our 2024 Rising Stars in expanding our investment in the future. Like all aspects of a firms’ future, its young professionals represent a significant investment with the potential to positively change the way things are done in the future. One of my favorite parts of Rising Stars every year is that it illustrates how investing in young professionals extends far beyond conversations about financials. For me, a major component of investing in young professionals consists of acknowledging and celebrating their backgrounds and accomplishments. Rising Stars is a great opportunity to do just that. These young professionals are recognized because someone took the time and effort to identify, listen to, and act on their behalf. Whether it was a member of their firm’s marketing staff, a colleague, or a mentor, those who nominated this year’s Rising Stars have made a sound investment in their firm’s future. The other side of the coin in this discussion is being open to the change that comes as a result of these investments. The worst stance we can take as leaders in the AEC industry is relying on “the way things have always been done.” The evolution of drones in the AEC industry has been dramatic, but one could argue that adoption lagged behind advancement for many years. As an industry, we have a hesitancy in adopting new

technologies quickly, and, although not all firms are the same way, we often struggle with this adoption because it requires change. The same can be said for new ideas and ways of doing things that come from our young and emerging leaders. To reap the full benefits of investing in our young leaders, we must be open to the change that stems from their influence and involvement. That is not to say that every idea should be adopted without scrutiny, but, rather, that these young professionals should be given space and support to grow and thrive within your firm’s culture.



Summer 2024

looking back, moving forward

Standing in front of the Walker School Building in Walker, Missouri (now home to Northeast Vernon County High School or NEVC), the marks of time and use are clearly written on its face and the surrounding town. However, these marks of wear are pushed into the background by a constant flow of youthful energy–with sidewalks, floors, stairs, and walls covered in its colorful expression. This rural school building is old, at least by area standards, and is quickly approaching 100-years of service as a place of learning. Just through the building’s entryway– flanked by poster-board presentations about local crop rotation methods and colorful art projects–there is a bronze plaque, which bears the names of the people who helped bring this school building to life. Adjoining the names that include the local school board, architect, and builder is the year of its construction: 1929. The community the Walker School Building serves is, has been, and will likely always be very small in number. The community is located in the northeastern corner of Missouri’s Vernon County, which lines the state’s border with neighboring Kansas. Like many towns in the area, Walker was formed when the railroad was extended to that point, and a post office was established in the town in 1871. The railroad bolstered the town’s economy, and by the 1890s Walker boasted a population of nearly 600. A rising population meant the construction of public school buildings. Walker’s first high school building was built in the late 1880s. As the years progressed, many things changed in Walker; the town’s population declined around the turn of the century before becoming relatively stable up to the present day. However, for more than four decades, one thing didn’t change–their high school building. In the Spring of 1926 the original Walker high school building was entering its fourth decade of existence, and leaders in the community were starting to discuss the need for a new building to educate the town’s high school students. In April of that year, the first of what would become many bond votes took place. The result was a resounding “no” on a bond for $40,000 that would finance a new high school building. Over the course of the next two years, no less than five special elections were held to decide whether funds should be allocated for a new high school building, with each failing to muster a sufficient two-thirds of the vote. Frustrustrated with the continued loss of elections and deteriorating state of the high school building, school officials turned to an Architect and Builder from Springfield, Missouri named J.L. Heckenlively. Under the direction of the school district’s board of directors, Heckenlively conducted a review of the building and compiled a report. In this report, Heckenlively found the building to be in a “very dangerous condition” and even went so far as to call for the building to be condemned. Heckenlively’s report was summarized in the local newspaper, and published a few days later. Following the recommendations listed in the report, the school district closed the school in the first week of May 1928. The Walker School Building By Luke Carothers

In its many years of use, different rooms have been used for many different functions. This space above the auditorium is now in bloom as the school’s art room. Photo Credit: Melissa Payne

What would become the final special election was held in the final week of May 1928, and the funding for the new school building was secured. However, despite seemingly securing funding for the new school, the election was contested and the matter was drug out in court until the following Spring. During this whole year, the students of Walker were without a high school. Construction on Walker’s new high school building finally began in May of 1929, and crews were able to finish the new brick building in time for classes to start in the Fall. A town without a high school for more than a year, Walker now boasted one of the finest high schools in Vernon county, per local newspaper reports. Nearly a century later, the fruit of these labors is still in use, although the Walker School District itself has long since ceased to exist. The brick building looks a little out of place with its size relative to its neighbors, and it once represented the pride of a small rural community. In the decades that have passed, the building has come to serve several communities and expanded the scope of grades. As Northeast Vernon County High School, the building houses students from several surrounding communities. And, although the marks of age and use are not out of place on the building’s interior and exterior, they are pushed to the background by the decorations of student life-–art projects, club posters, school banners. While the people responsible for putting up those walls nearly a century ago were rightfully focused only on improving their community, their efforts have laid the foundation for generations of students to learn, create, and grow.

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 lcarothers@zweiggroup.com.


Summer 2024 csengineermag.com

Industry Insights

The announcement of Zweig Group’s 2024 class of Rising Stars marks the start of my favorite time of the year—award season. This is the time of the year where we begin our annual tradition of honoring and celebrating the amazing accomplishments of people and firms who are Elevating the AEC industry. For me, Rising Stars is the perfect way to start the awards season. By recognizing the young professionals already making a profound impact on the AEC industry, we are able to get a full view of its future. The 2024 Class of Rising Stars have already made their mark on the AEC industry through exceptional technical capability, leadership, effective teaching and research, and public service. Through this work, this year’s class of Rising Stars have directly benefited the design profession, their employers, project owners, and society. This impact also extends to work done in their communities as well as leadership and mentorship within their firms. The result is their influence over new ideas, practices, and impacts beyond technical capabilities. Each new class of Rising Stars represents a diverse set of young professionals from places across the United States holding positions throughout the organizational chart. This trend has only continued this year, only proving that Rising Stars can come from anywhere throughout our wide-ranging industry. As a part of this celebration, I would also like to acknowledge and thank all of the coworkers, colleagues, and teammates that nominated our 2024 Rising Stars winners as well as those who didn’t win this year. When it comes to advancing a young professional’s career, recognition of their accomplishments, skill, and leadership can go a long way. Knowing that there is someone out there who recognizes what they are doing and takes the time to nominate them for an award like this is very important, and I encourage everyone to try to think of the young professionals in your firms who deserve this type of recognition. Letting the next generation of leaders know that their work is getting noticed is not only good for their career but can be very helpful for the long term success of your firm. Zweig Group’s Awards are at the center of one of the five tenets of our vision, Elevate the Industry; that tenant is “Celebrate.” There is so much good that this industry brings to the built environment and to the lives of the people who work in it. We want to celebrate the firms, people, and accomplishments of the AEC Industry. These awards give the winning firms and people the recognition that they deserve in an industry that is often overlooked by society. The winners of our awards truly do help to elevate the industry as a whole. Celebrate your success, celebrate your accomplishments, celebrate your employees, and help Zweig Group Elevate the Industry. The Start of Celebration: Zweig Group’s 2024 Class of Rising Stars By Kyle Ahern, Employee Experience & Data Strategist, Zweig Group

Through our awards program, we also recognize revenue growth with our Hot Firm List. We recognize outstanding marketing through our Marketing Excellence Awards. We recognize those who are showing courageous leadership with our highest professional honor, The Jerry Allen Courage In Leadership Award. We honor those new firms who are already making an impact with our Top New Venture Award. And we honor those firms impacting their employee’s live by creating great workplaces with our Best Firms To Work For award. We will be announcing and celebrating these winners over the next few months culminating with our awards celebrations at the 2024 Elevate AEC Conference in Tampa Bay, Florida, September 18-19.



Summer 2024

Looking Ahead

by Luke Carothers The opening of the 2024 ElevateAEC Conference & Awards Gala is just over three months away, and we are excited to host you in sunny Tampa Bay, Florida, September 18-19. This year’s agenda is packed with events designed to help AEC professionals network, learn, and celebrate in a format bigger and better than ever. As the largest in-person gathering of industry leaders and award-winning firms, the ElevateAEC Conference & Awards Gala is Zweig Group’s flagship event—built around their vision to Elevate the Industry. There is no better place for AEC professionals to learn, connect, and celebrate together. If you haven’t already made plans to attend, here are just a few: Panel Discussions The ElevateAEC conference is the place to be for collaborative panel discussions where groups can share problems, solutions, and ideas. Topics covered in this year’s panel discussions include: culture, recruitment & retention, strategic planning, hybrid work models, and many others. Strategies & Tactics When it comes to implementing the strategies, tactics, and ideas that can have a positive impact on your organization, it helps to learn from the best. At ElevateAEC, you’ll get the chance to hear and learn from some of the AEC industry’s best and brightest about how to implement strategies and tactics for everything from new ways to drive performance and efficiency to recruitment & retention, remote work, and more. Celebration While a lot of time will be spent learning and networking, there is also plenty of time for celebration at Zweig Group’s annual Black Tie Awards Gala. During this time, Zweig will honor the 2024 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 Award. Want to get in on the celebration this year? Click here for more information about attending the 2024 ElevateAEC Conference & Awards Gala. For questions, contact events@zweiggroup.com. A Season of Celebration: Attend the 2024 ElevateAEC Conference & Awards Gala


Summer 2024 csengineermag.com



Summer 2024

Industry Events Calendar


SEPTEMBER M&A NEXT SYMPOSIUM Tampa, FL | September 17, 2024

EFCG TECHNOLOGY LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE Chicago, IL | June 10-12, 2024 https://www.efcg.com/technology-leadership DEI IS NOT WHAT YOU THINK IT IS Free Webinar | June 18, 2024 https://zweiggroup.com/products/debunking-the-top-5-myths-about- dei MINDS & MACHINES Kansas City, MO | June 25-26, 2024 https://zweiggroup.com/products/minds-machines-dominating-the- convergence-of-ai-intelligence-and-strategy-in-aec-in-kansas-city THE PRINCIPALS ACADEMY Kansas City, MO | June 27-28, 2024 https://zweiggroup.com/products/tpa-summer-2024 JULY AI-POWERED PROJECT MANAGEMENT FOR AEC Virtual | July 10, 2024 https://zweiggroup.com/pages/learning AIA FLORIDA ANNUAL CONVENTION & TRADE SHOW Palm Beach, FL | July 17-20, 2024 https://tpa.aiafla.org/TPA/Programs_AIA_Florida_Conference.cfm SMPS AMPLIFY Salt Lake City | July 24-26, 2024 https://www.amplifyaec.org/ MINDS & MACHINES Chicago, IL | July 30-31, 2024 https://zweiggroup.com/products/minds-machines-dominating-the- convergence-of-ai-intelligence-and-strategy-in-aec-2

https://zweiggroup.com/pages/m-a-symposium ELEVATEAEC CONFERENCE & AWARDS GALA Tampa, FL | September 18-19, 2024 https://zweiggroup.com/pages/annual-elevateaec-conference WOMEN IN ASHRAE 2024 LEADERSHIP SYMPOSIUM Chicago, IL | September 26-27, 2024 https://www.ashrae.org/conferences/topical-conferences/2024-wia- leadership-symposium OCTOBER ASCE 2024 CONVENTION Tampa, FL | October 6-9 https://convention.asce.org/ AIA WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP SUMMIT 2024 Chicago, IL | October 8-10 https://www.aia.org/womens-leadership-summit EFCG CEO CONFERENCE Colorado Springs, CO | October 9-11 https://www.efcg.com/ceo 49TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE ON DEEP FOUNDATIONS (DFI49) Aurora, Colorado | October 7-10 Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center. https://dfi-events.org/dfi49/index.html https://csengineermag.com/dfi-hosting-49th-annual-conference-on- deep-foundations-october-7-10-in-aurora-colorado/ ACEC FALL CONFERENCE

New Orleans, LA | October 20-23 https://conference.acec.org/


Raleigh, NC | August 7-9, 2024 https://www.nspecon.org/


Summer 2024 csengineermag.com

The cover

An Iconic Shoreline from Above

Click to Play Video

McLaren Engineering Group Wins the 2024 Engineering Drone Video of the Year Competition

By Luke Carothers



Summer 2024

The competition for the Engineering Drone Video of the Year (EDVY) competition was fierce this year with more than 3,000 votes being cast during two weeks of online voting. Over the first four days of the EDVY Competition, there was little to discern between the top five videos, with each receiving between 100 and 200 votes. As the first week closed on day seven, one video from a familiar name began to emerge as a leading contender to finish online voting in the top five. Submitted by last year’s EDVY winners Cody Rogness and Moore Holding Company/Moore Engineering, the video tiled “Cub Creek Development 2nd Addition” highlights a civil engineering project in Horace, North Dakota. Completed by Moore Engineering’s Land and Site Development Group, the project is a new residential development featuring 215 single-family residential lots, 2 multi- family lots, stormwater ponds, 2 park properties, and pedestrian paths. The video visualizes Moore Engineering’s civil, water resources, and environmental engineering services for the Cub Creek project. Using drone footage to provide a comprehensive view of the project, the video pairs visuals with information, tracing the progress of project features such as the collector roadway, which includes 2,100 lineal feet of new concrete roadway, shared-use paths, and sidewalks. This trend continues as various aspects of the project are paired with information about material, development, and community impact. As week two of online voting progressed, the jockeying for position in the top five intensified, and the final four changed no less than three times. As the second week continued, another video that emerged as exceedingly likely to finish in the top five was DRMP’s submission titled “Suncoast Parkway 2 State Road 589 Expansion Project.” The video features a critical project that provides region connectivity and was included in the 2022 Yearbook of Engineering Achievement from Civil+Structural Engineer Media. Using voice-narration paired with video footage, photos, and visualizations captured with drone- flight, DRMP’s submission tells the story of Florida’s infrastructure expansion over the course of the last 10+ years. The final three positions in the top five remained in hot contention as online voting drew to a close in the second week. During this time, several videos made quick jumps up the leaderboard with perhaps

Judging Panel Bree Sikes Marketing Coordinator, Zweig Group

none larger than McLaren Engineering Group’s “Promontory Point” submission. At the conclusion of online voting, four submissions were in direct competition for the final spot. Another submission that made a significant jump in the final days of online voting to secure a spot in the top five was “Lynnwood Link Extension (L300) Light Rail” from Skanska USA Civil. The video uses drone flight to trace an overview of rail project just north of Seattle. Flying overhead the project, the video gives viewers a unique perspective on the project’s 3.8 miles of aerial guideway, two elevated stations, and a five-story parking garage at the Lynnwood Transit Center. The final video to secure a spot in the top five at the conclusion of online voting was Thomas & Hutton’s “HMG Metaplant America EV Facility,” which is situated in Bryan County, just minutes away from Savannah, Georgia. Thomas & Hutton provided comprehensive services for the groundbreaking project, including site selection, general consulting, due diligence assistance, site master planning, project management, and the design and permitting of offsite and onsite infrastructure. The video gives an aerial view of Thomas & Alexander Lopukhov Co-Founder and Head of Business Development, TOPODRONE SA Will Anderson Mergers & Acquisitions Advisor, Zweig Group Matt Hassett Product Manager, AGTEK Development Co. Luke Carothers Editor-in-Chief, Civil+Structural Engineer Media


Summer 2024 csengineermag.com

Hutton’s work on the project’s roads, water supply, sewer systems, storm drainage infrastructure, and mass grading plans. After the end of the online voting period, our top five videos were compiled and passed along to our prestigious panel of judges to determine the 2024 EDVY Winner. Composed of AEC industry professionals, drone pilots, and experts, our judging panel worked together to determine which submission was worthy of the top spot. And, after adding up all the numbers, one video rose to the top: McLaren Engineering Group’s “Promontory Point”. McLaren Engineering Group’s video features Promontory Point, which is a landmark park in Chicago that features a notable limestone shoreline built in the 1920s for protection against Lake Michigan’s waves. This iconic shoreline faced a proposed demolition due to concerns over its condition, and McLaren’s submission uses textual overlays to outline their comprehensive inspections carried out by drones and divers. The video uses points created through drone imagery to outline various project features, and demonstrate the result of their determination that the park’s revetment could be preserved with proper rehabilitations. McLaren Engineering Group’s winning submission to the 2024 EDVY Competition opens with a sweeping shot of the Chicago shoreline, with the historic Promontory Point —an 18-acre public park and landmark

known for its expansive limestone revetment shoreline—surrounded on three sides by the waters of Lake Michigan. The video uses textual overlays to tell the history of the park, describing how the 3,150-ft shoreline was constructed to protect the park from the lake’s intense waves. Using labeled points, the video shows the different structures that make up the park’s iconic shoreline, including its limestone revetment and promenade, steel waler, and concrete coffins. The video continues the story by outlining proposed plans to demolish the iconic structure amid fears of collapse. However, thanks to the McLaren’s deployment of aerial drone surveying as well as topside visual- and underwater dive- inspections, the shoreline structure was determined to not be in danger of collapse. As a result of this assessment, McLaren proposed rehabilitations that would ensure the continued existence of the shoreline structure. McLaren’s winning submission to the 2024 EDVY competition in many ways represents the growth and further potential for development for drones within the AEC industry. Using video and imagery captured with drones, McLaren successfully crafted a narrative that outlined the importance of our work to a larger audience. Furthermore, in doing so, the winning video was able to capture the importance of drones both as a function of our job in managing the built environment and in communicating and growing our profession.

Click to Play Video

2024 EDVY Finalists Cub Creek Development - Moore Engineering Promontory Point - McLaren Engineering Group Suncoast Parkway 2 Expansion Project - DRMP HMG Metaplant America EV Facility - Thomas & Hutton Lynnwood Link Extension (L300) Light Rail - Skanska



Summer 2024


Summer 2024 csengineermag.com

Unpiloted Systems

How unpiloted systems are changing the landscape for civil and structural engineers

By Josh Rayburn

Autonomy adds another layer. Modern unpiloted systems include robotics with sensors that can be deployed on a schedule and a specific path. At a certain time of the day, the system will activate the sensors and travel that path. This eliminates the potential introduction of human error, ensuring that a task happens as expected. The sensor data will be transmitted to an office on the same property or a thousand miles away, allowing engineers to monitor the jobsite without being on-site. The real benefit of unpiloted systems is their unprecedented insight and real-time data. Civil and structural engineers rely on data when making critical decisions on the jobsite, and it’s challenging, if not impossible, to make informed choices quickly when it might take days for a crew to schedule a time to survey a location. Autonomous reality capture technology has grown in importance in construction and renovation. Now, engineers can pull out a tablet, operate an unpiloted system, and gain instantaneous feedback. The data and scans obtained through this technology are critical to understanding an area’s architecture and infrastructure and how it changes over time.

Unpiloted systems continue transforming civil and structural engineering by improving efficiency, accuracy, and safety while empowering civil and structural engineers to control costs. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, have captured much of the conversation. However, they are just one part of the equation. The construction industry is constantly looking for solutions to increase efficiency. As those conversations evolve, finding new ways to deploy unpiloted systems and autonomous reality capture, including the increased use of robotics, must be a part of that conversation. While professionals in any field often stick to the methods that have worked in the past, drones and unpiloted systems showed potential from their introduction, even if they were slow to catch on initially. Some users expressed concerns about the complexity of the solutions, the difficulty of learning to operate them, and the upfront cost of purchasing the technology. While relying on traditional approaches might sometimes be effective, civil and structural engineers can innovate and rethink their work. Drones have revolutionized the art of gathering jobsite data, especially as unpiloted systems have become more powerful, easier to use and more affordable, driving people to embrace technology. In the process, these new solutions are helping to create a safer job site for everyone.



Summer 2024

Modern jobs need a holistic view of the seen and unseen. No part of a jobsite exists in a silo. When considering infrastructure, the visible portion is just one part of the equation. Whether underground infrastructure, such as utilities, or hard-to-reach portions of a bridge, the inaccessible and out-of-sight portions are just as critical as those in view. Engineers can’t forgo an inspection of a location simply because it is hard to access. Unpiloted systems give teams an advantage, allowing them to navigate underground and otherwise inaccessible infrastructure. Unmanned systems can collect data in smaller spaces, more dangerous areas, or places humans don’t need to go to for safety reasons. Systems such as mobile scanning modules for robotics and other unpiloted systems give teams solutions to capture the data they need to make decisions based on accurate and precise data.

The revolution started with hobby drones. Drones are ubiquitous today; no one thinks twice about seeing them in action—from hobbyists in the local park to Hollywood productions to news articles discussing their potential use in delivering retailers’ packages. Interestingly, the deployment of drones on the construction site began, at least in part, with the proliferation of hobby drones. Many of the powerful unmanned systems, even the higher-end models, work similarly to hobby drones. The key difference is that the professional-grade systems have additional sensors and features that make them even more beneficial and practical for use on the modern jobsite. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, as of February 2024, 781,781 drones were registered in the country, including 375,226 commercial drones. However, the actual number in use is undoubtedly

Eliminate the need for specialized equipment. Consider a bridge inspection. Before unpiloted systems, crews might need specialized rigging and specialized equipment to collect details from multiple points of view, not to mention the potential lane closures and burden placed on the public. This process was complicated, time-consuming, and expensive; crews might have spent as much time setting up and taking down their equipment as inspecting the bridge. If the team missed a detail or needed to verify their data, they would need to return to the site and repeat the process, which would only add time and cost to the project, potentially impacting the bottom line. Using a drone eliminates the need for specialized rigging and specialized equipment. Now, if a crew misses a detail, the team can return and quickly capture new data, but considering the real-time window into captured data, the need to return is often minimal. Users know immediately whether they have captured every bit of information they need.

Over the last couple of years, teams have learned to fully integrate and unify the data from the various unmanned systems they have deployed and leverage this data across an entire project. The process works for indoor and outdoor projects. To give this holistic view of a project, teams could combine an unmanned system flying along the tower and the inner side of a bridge with an unmanned robotic system traversing the inside. Unpiloted systems often use a live camera view to navigate a structure and collect point cloud data.

higher, and it will only increase in the years ahead. The good news is that users are already familiar with drones, making it easier for firms to recruit drone operators. Many operators will say they are familiar with drones because they used a hobbyist version; maybe they used it during their kids’ soccer games or to take pictures for fun. Because they’re already comfortable with the idea of a drone and have played around with the technology, they can quickly understand its practical application on the jobsite for inspections. This also limits some of the time employees need to gain familiarity.


Summer 2024 csengineermag.com

Professionals still use hobbyist-style drones and unmanned systems on the jobsite. While they perform tasks admirably, they lack some features of professional-grade drones, such as advanced obstacle avoidance and the ability to scan a building or location autonomously. An autonomous flying laser sensor makes scanning and capturing a building from the air easier. It can reach hard-to-access areas like Potential users’ first thoughts when considering drones or other unpiloted systems often center on the price point. Even if they see the need for such a tool, they mistakenly see the expense as unnecessary. While professional-level drones are more expensive than hobby drones, the features and the upside far make up for the price difference. The same argument can be made for any tool on the jobsite. rooftops and façades with accuracy and speed. Understand the return on investment. Users should first consider the high-resolution photogrammetry and LiDAR capabilities. Then, they should consider the simplicity of their operation. Over the last eight-to-10 years, the industry has seen a shift in how many people have flocked toward reality capture and unmanned systems. As a result, it’s driven the price down as the tools have become easier to use.

Additionally, despite their advanced capabilities, they are often controlled by devices people carry daily, such as tablets and mobile phones, allowing users to leverage the technology and conclude they are comfortable using it within a few hours. As a result, most users will be up and running on the jobsite in a business day or less. Measuring the return on investment requires comparing what it formerly cost to gather data to what it takes now, with a particular focus on the level of detail modern solutions deliver. Additionally, when considering the difficulty many organizations have in recruiting and retaining talent, these solutions allow them to accomplish more with less, further cutting down their expenses. In an era of increased costs, the initial investment will pay dividends in the long run. Consider the team’s safety. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to overlook the human side of the industry. However, this is one area where everyone on the jobsite has a role and the power to make a difference. As Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows, the industry is dangerous enough.



Summer 2024

To succeed, civil and structural engineers must prioritize employee safety and well-being. Effective solutions save money and prioritize team well-being. The industry already has the technology to safeguard its most important asset: its workers. The good news is that this technology doesn’t necessitate settling; it provides more insight and captures more data while improving jobsite safety. Making sure that the team is working in the correct place and performing the right tasks is critical for reducing discrepancies and errors. These mistakes often lead to rework, resulting in financial losses for the company. Unnecessary rework can also increase the chances of mishaps, but technology can help improve safety and be a game-changer. What’s next for unpiloted systems? A solution is only viable if it helps an organization achieve its business objectives. While unpiloted systems have already proven themselves in construction, helping teams monitor progress more accurately and quickly, the potential applications are as exciting as today’s uses. Users have become comfortable with this technology, making it easier for companies to invest because they see the practical applications and understand the return on investment. This is especially true when considering the younger generation entering the industry. It’s rapidly becoming second nature for younger employees to pick up one of these solutions and start using it. As conversations on maximizing projects’ budgets and return on investment continue, unpiloted systems must be part of the conversation. In some ways, pondering what’s next for unpiloted systems is only limited by imagination. Drones will continue to go anywhere data is needed. A few likely applications to emerge in the coming years are increased deployment of drones in indoor settings and on watercraft and further integration of the many unpiloted systems on the job site. Additionally, reality capture can be used on almost any robotic system. APIs—or Application Programming Interfaces — enable two applications to communicate with one another, allowing these sensors to integrate into other software solutions and operations.

Consider a team making repairs to a building’s façade. The drone operator could scan the building and send the information to an on-site 3D printer, which immediately prints a replacement for a section of the façade. Unpiloted systems should provide peace of mind. Unpiloted systems enable teams to have multiple capabilities to better understand the project before them and eliminate the need to jump to conclusions because accurate data is too hard to gather. Knowing that a sensor is autonomously collecting data should give civil and structural engineers peace of mind; they know it’s gathering what they need and performing the task accurately. Whether standing 1,000 feet away, a mile away, or halfway around the world, this visual component allows a team to see what’s happening in that moment. Considering that this technology is still relatively new, having only emerged in the past 10 or 15 years, it’s remarkable how quickly the industry has progressed. The price point has lowered, these tools are easier to use than ever, and they are lighter and smaller, allowing them to access an increasing number of places. The best days of unpiloted systems are ahead, and the industry will continue to grow because of the ability to use these devices in and around infrastructure. Civil and structural engineers should not passively watch the industry evolve but actively shape the future. New approaches to long-standing challenges are nothing to fear, and the debate over technology should not paralyze companies. Sometimes, the solutions needed are right before us, and embracing technology may sound like a simple solution, but it can have a huge impact. Companies must adopt current technology, build a foundation for their industry’s future and help make job sites safer, more efficient and better for everyone. That’s a goal that everyone can stand behind.

JOSH RAYBURN is business manager, US & CAN, over reality capture for Leica Geosystems. For more information, please visit www.leica-geosystems.com .


Summer 2024 csengineermag.com

Unpiloted Systems

A Slippery Slope of Opportunity: Bulson Surveying Puts Remote Monitoring to the Test in Telluride

By Rowland Chen

The Telluride–Mountain Village Gondola is a free public, wind- powered transportation system that stretches between the mountain communities of Telluride and Mountain Village, Colorado. Managed by the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association (TMVOA), this impressive four-station transport system provides some thousands of visitors and residents access to mountain hiking and biking trails in the summer and ski slopes in the winter. Heavy 2023 spring rains caused a significant release of soils from the hillside around Gondola Station 4 in Village Center. An assessment by geotechnical engineers indicated the slope instability was due to subsurface soil movement atop bedrock, a consequence of warming temperatures, melting snow and rain. The area of concern is roughly 2,500 square feet with an average depth of 5 feet [Figure 1]. According to TMVOA, crews removed around 1,270 cubic yards of dirt from the hillside as a precautionary measure to prevent soil from sloughing off the bedrock layer underneath and potentially sliding into the gondola station or the path of the gondola operating line. Of note, the integrity of the gondola station and gondola towers were not threatened by the incident. However, at the recommendation of geotechnical experts, TMVOA contracted Telluride-based firm Bulson Surveying to set up a monitoring regime to scientifically track soil movements in the area over the course of six months. For Dave Bulson, owner of the survey firm, this project was a unique opportunity to demonstrate the power of today’s latest monitoring technology. Remote Reliance The goal of the monitoring campaign around Gondola Station 4 was to track ground movement across the entire area, with particular emphasis

Figure 1 | Soil movement following spring rains around Gondola Station 4

on the hillside retaining wall and around the gondola towers. Per the geotechnical consultant’s requirements, Bulson would need to track and check slope changes daily. “We already had the equipment to effectively monitor a site this size. Our second Trimble S7 total station along with prisms are purpose-built for this kind of activity. Further, I had seen the Trimble 4D Control software at Trimble Dimensions and thought it would be ideal for this monitoring effort.” He called his Trimble dealer, invested in Trimble 4D Control (T4D), and after some training from the Trimble team, was ready to set up the monitoring system at the gondola station. The Bulson team mounted the S7 total station on the gondola station’s steel platform about 10 feet off the ground. The total station was connected to a Settop M1 monitoring controller that relays measurement data to the office. Then, they set 23 prisms along the slope, the retaining wall and the gondola towers (Figure 2). The S7 was set to collect data in 10-minute intervals (6 minutes to scan the prisms, 4 minute rest), 24 hours a day.



Summer 2024

Bulson said, “Back in the office, I monitor the data collected from the S7 within T4D. Once set up, this system takes very little oversight. It collects, analyzes, develops reports and sends automatic alerts if movement exceeds a set threshold. Even the monthly report to TMVOA comes out of the web interface for T4D. Fortunately, we're showing no movement that exceeds our thresholds at this point.” Evaluating Anomalies For the analysis, the key challenge was to evaluate movement of each of the prisms and the total station with the least amount of impact from environmental factors. These included the heating of the steel frames from the sun and the flexing of the gondola structure during operation.

that triggers a release of soil—and then there’s the very slow creep of the hillside down the slope. Neither condition occurred during the monitoring time frame.” The monitoring project is anticipated to end early November as the ground begins to freeze. The First of Many When asked about lessons learned from this first time using the T4D, Bulson noted that he’s very satisfied. Bulson concluded, “There’s a learning curve to using an advanced solution such as T4D for remote monitoring. The Trimble support team helped considerably. Overall, it’s been a really positive experience. Considering the ongoing development in this area, the need for this type of monitoring will be essential going forward.”


Slope Monitoring Stations Monitoring prisms established June 2023

Monitoring Station Slope Monitoring Point Tower Monitoring Point Wall Monitoring Point

1) Slope Monitoring Points are 6' long 2"X2" steel posts set 2' into ground with survey prism bolted to top 2) Wall Monitoring Points are 4' long 4"X4" steel posts bolted to exposed concrete retaining wall with survey prism bolted to top 3) Tower Monitoring Points are survey prism bolted to top of northen haul line structure on gondola

Slope Movement Analysis Report

Page 1 of 23 Project Local Time 9/5/2023 08:03:05

Gondola Slope Monitoring (UTC -7)

Name: Analysis Type:

Date Range Mode: Date Range:

Single Prism (Target 10) Normal Chart

Rolling Window Last 7 Days

David Bulson Owner:


Figure 2 | Total station and prism arrangement

100 ft

Bulson confirmed, “I noticed in the first group of data from the total station, that the relative movement of the gondola towers was as much as an inch and a half a day, largely triggered by the loading of the gondola and the warming of the steel frame from the sun. The slope prism position variations were on the order of a quarter of an inch a day due to these environmental factors. These environmental factors made determining soil movement a bit more challenging. We had to make some decisions on how we compare one day to another. The optimal solution would be to compare a day-to-day measurement with as many environmental factors removed as possible.” For Bulson, that meant the optimum time to assess ground movement was when gondola operation was shut down overnight and the sun was no longer a factor. “Ultimately, we opted to compare day-to-day measurements on the prisms at 3 a.m. That summary comes to me as an email every day. And that has been really successful because those day-to-day measurements were very consistent, down to one-sixteenth of an inch. Then at the end of each month, I send our client a report with a summary of data, noting any anomalies.” Bulson and his team can also look at results over a month or a year and scroll through the 23 prisms to see if anything stands out. Bulson confirmed, “There are two kinds of movements the geotechnical engineers are concerned about—the fast movement from the rain event Figure 3 | Client report automatically generated from the T4D web interface, displaying the daily 3 a.m. measurements. The green band represents the acceptable movement tolerance initially set by the monitoring team.

Figure 4 | Chart of the raw measurements collected every 10 minutes on the same prism, which is also noted in Figure 3. Of significance are the cyclical variations caused by the environmental factors and the average change over the week that is represented by the pink trend line.

ROWLAND CHEN is a monitoring sales manager at Trimble. He has been at Trimble for more than six years, supporting and installing automated monitor- ing systems around the world. Rowland received a Bachelor of Science in Geophysics from the Colorado School of Mines and is based in Denver, Colorado.


Summer 2024 csengineermag.com

Unpiloted Systems

No one’s left in the dark

Automation and data synchronization light the way to tunnel success

After each blast, the scanner captures a 3D view of the tunnel face and excavated surface and Amberg Navigator immediately compares the point cloud measurements to the design on the tablet. Image credit: Maxime Bocrie, Eiffage.

By Mary Jo Wagner

As a tunnel surveyor with Eiffage , a French civil engineering construction company, Christophe Poloni knows a thing or two about uncertainty. “I’ve worked on many underground projects and the one thing they have all had in common is the uncertainty of not knowing what we would find,” says Poloni. “We plan and prepare as best we can but the unpredictable nature of geology can surprise us at any moment. So tunnel construction requires versatility, agility, efficiency and accuracy.” Since late 2022, Poloni has needed all four of those attributes to successfully navigate the dark, dirty and cramped quarters of the Bjønnås Tunnel (Bjønnås) in Eastern Norway. One of seven tunnels being built for the 17.5-km, E18 four-lane motorway that will connect the towns of Langangen and Rugtvedt, the Bjønnås is a 2.5-km twin- tube tunnel that will have 10, 15-m-long cross passages and three technical buildings, each of which is 16.8-m wide. Valued at EUR 516 million (NOK 5.2 billion), the E18 Langangen-Rugtvedt project is one of the largest ongoing infrastructure projects in the country. To meet tight tolerances, high expectations and an intense pace, Poloni and his survey colleagues sought out enabling technology that would provide field autonomy to production crews and real-time analytical and reporting tools to maximize efficiency both in the tunnel and in office. “In tunnel construction, ‘delay’ is a dirty word,” says Poloni. “No one wants to wait for surveyor support, but we can’t be everywhere at once. With the different sites and dynamic nature––literally––of the project, we wanted to adopt technology that would enhance tunneling efficiency and tracking, reduce downtime and streamline data flows.”

Armed with Amberg Technologies’ Tunnel Solution, a cloud-enabled software suite that automates and simplifies tunnel work, Poloni and his team have been able to steadily advance the Bjønnås excavation, minimizing downtime, reducing costs and optimizing collaboration. The right tech From the outset, the project’s customer, Nye Veier, a company owned by the Norwegian Ministry of Transport, made it clear that technology would play a significant role––the design would be 100 percent model-based, 3D scans and 2D profiles would be required after every tunneling step, a cloud-based common data environment and collaboration platform would be used to connect all stakeholders, and detailed digital reports would need to be produced daily. In Amberg Tunnel, teams can view and export data in whatever format they need. Here is a 2D color map of a tunnel section showing design deviations. They can export this as a PDF to share with teams or extract profiles from the scan and create profile reports for Nye Veier. Im-age credit: Amberg Technologies



Summer 2024

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