Civil + Structural Engineering News

Enterprise Risk Management in Infrastructure – Part 1

Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) is an established, though rapidly expanding discipline, in the private sector. Part 1 of this article is an introduction to ERM in infrastructure, and outlines how Risk Assessment Matrices are being applied to public infrastructure networks to capture Avoidable Costs, while preserving level of service and value for money.

The Ritz-Carlton Residences Waikiki Beach, Phase 1

Waikiki. The Ritz-Carlton. The former is one of the world’s premier vacation destinations and the latter is synonymous with luxury development. The union of these two is The Ritz-Carlton Residences Waikiki Beach. Constructed in two phases, this project is the largest new resort development in recent times and includes approximately 900,000 total square feet in […]

Good Intentions Gone Awry

According to research from a University of Illinois expert who studies identity and meaning in occupations and organizations, a purposeful increase of female representation in the managerial ranks of the male-dominated profession of engineering may foster some unintended consequences, and may even add another layer of sex segregation on top of the one it’s meant […]

Portable Technology for Infrastructure

Technology is catching up to the large-scale needs of engineers. Drones and other portable technology such as robots can now aid engineers in addressing an infrastructure’s risk and making necessary repairs. Used for a broad series of applications, drones, robotics, and the Internet of Things promise to change the way civil and structural engineers work […]

Improved Simulations

CH2M launched its Flood Cloud service in June, allowing users of Flood Modeller and integrated software, TUFLOW, to seamlessly undertake flood risk modeling in the cloud for the first time. CH2M’s Flood Cloud is powered by Parallel Works and runs on Amazon Web Services to provide the on-demand computational resource required to deliver quicker results […]

Structural Analysis and Design

SCIA released SCIA Engineer 17, specifically designed to help structural engineers boost productivity by enabling them to work faster, with more precision and transparency in their day-to-day work, the company said. The new version of the structural analysis and design software combines the latest technologies to power the software with a large number of functionalities […]

Sliplining your way to more flow

Some believe that relining a pipe with a smaller one will decrease its capacity. However, this is not always the case, and often flow capacity can be increased by slipline rehabilitation. More often than not, the minimal diameter decrease is offset by the gains made in flow coefficients. Municipalities striving to repair their aging infrastructure […]

Improving Infrastructure Resilience

Cities will need to overhaul their approach to risk management if they are to make their infrastructure more resilient to catastrophic events, according to a report published by Lloyd’s, the specialist insurance and reinsurance market, and global engineering consulting firm, Arup. The report, Future Cities: Building Infrastructure Resilience, finds that while risk management remains a […]

Sustainable Vegetated Channels

Rip rap is a common channel protection method because of its resistance to most flows with appropriate rock size; however, it does have significant drawbacks. Material can be expensive, not locally available, and placement requires heavy equipment. Rip rap channels are prone to high maintenance, collection of debris and garbage, erosion at boundaries, undermining, and […]

Awards, Promotions, and New Hires

Finley Engineering Group hired Sara C. Diaz, P.E., as bridge designer II. She has five years of experience in design and construction of complex structural systems and will be the project engineer for the new Pensacola Bay Bridge. Joseph Viciere, P.E., BCEE, joined McKim & Creed, Inc.’s Tampa, Fla., office as the Southeast regional technical […]

Texas-sized interceptor

The Trinity River Authority of Texas’ (TRA) Central Regional Wastewater System began operations in December 1959 as the first regional facility of its kind, serving Irving, Grand Prairie, and Farmers Branch, plus a portion of western Dallas. The system has since expanded to serve all or part of 21 contracting parties and approximately 1.2 million […]

Structural Steel Plate Buried Bridges

The state of U.S. infrastructure and need for funding to improve it has been highlighted through efforts of national engineering organizations such as the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Infrastructure Report Card and the American Council of Engineering Companies’ advocacy for robust infrastructure investment. These organizations and others have identified work on bridges as a […]

Seeing the Forest Through the Trees

Shortly after lasers were first developed in the 1960s, LiDAR capitalized on the newly unique precision they offered for measuring both time and distance. LiDAR quickly became the standard method for 3D land surveys and is now used in many other sensing applications, such as self-driving cars. As laser and electronic technology evolved, LiDAR’s abilities […]

Verified Sustainable Design

Much like other sustainability systems for buildings and infrastructure, Envision — developed and implemented by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI; — has a rating component. Projects are evaluated against a set of criteria and score points based on levels of achievement attained. High scores are recognized by four possible award levels — Bronze, […]

MOBILE DATA collection

The Trimble Catalyst software-defined Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver for Android devices is now available through Trimble’s global distribution network. Customers can now access Positioning-as-a-Service to collect geo-location data with Trimble or third-party apps on smartphones, tablets, and mobile handhelds. When combined with a small, lightweight, plug-and-play digital antenna and subscription to the Catalyst […]

Not All Cool Pavements are Created Equal

Cool pavements can help keep cities cool, but according to research from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), many reflective pavements have some unexpected drawbacks relative to conventional pavements when considering the entire life cycle of the materials. Scientists in Berkeley Lab’s Heat Island Group, in collaboration with the University of […]

Insights from Principals, Partners, and Owners

Zweig Group released the 2017 Principals, Partners and Owners of Architectural, Engineering, Planning and Environmental Consulting Firms Survey. During the last 30 years, this publication has picked the brains of some of the industry’s top talent and gleaned interesting insights from how they run their businesses to how they view the industry today. As always, […]

Roadway Reality

Transport Scotland is upgrading 177 kilometers of the A9 from single to dual carriageway by 2025. As part of this GBP 3 billion project, the CH2M Fairhurst Joint Venture (CFJV) is designing and supervising construction of the 43 kilometer section between Glengarry and Dalraddy. The upgrade will facilitate safe travel, enhance the road’s performance, and […]

Project Awards and Wins

Highlighting their significant design and project management capabilities, civil and structural engineering firms recently announced the following recognition awards received for projects completed or under construction and contract wins for projects in design or preliminary design stages. Project awards The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recognized two HDR projects with biennial Environmental Excellence Awards. Each award […]

Know your assets: Resisting ‘run-to-fail’

Picture the scene: You put on a virtual reality (VR) headset to find a bird’s eye view of your institution. All of your assets are here. It’s a perfect simulation — a perfect 3D model of your buildings, structures, underground infrastructure, and landscape. An exact model you can virtually wander through, swooping around the intricate […]

Working in 3D

Carlson Software released the 2017 version of its free Precision 3D Land XML viewer, which has the ability to add textures to any LandXML file and upgrade it to a LandXML-2.0 version file. Advancements also include 3D image thumbnails that generate automatically in Windows File Explorer, allowing users to preview files before opening.  P3D LandXML […]

Structural steel ideas

Thirteen structural steel building projects earned national recognition in the 2017 Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel (IDEAS2) awards program. Conducted annually by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), the IDEAS2 awards recognize excellence and innovation in the use of structural steel on building projects across the country. In existence for […]

Project Profitability: Managing the design process

By Howard Birnberg   Case study: Selecting the right team “Architecture would be a wonderful profession if only we didn’t have to deal with clients.” This is nearly a verbatim quote from one of America’s leading design architects who was also a professor at a major architecture school. I heard this individual publicly make this […]

Diversions: CA phase

On Sept. 14, 1996, I was successful in landing the biggest “client” of my life. My best friend, my partner, my wife — Bonnie. On that day in 1996 we entered into a contract (a life contract, if you will) and immediately scheduled the kick-off meeting.

Designing roads to match tomorrow’s weather

By David Hosansky When engineers design roads, bridges, and other types of transportation infrastructure, they need to account for local weather patterns. Extreme heat or freeze-thaw cycles can lead to ruts and cracks in roads, and heavy rains can overwhelm inadequate drainage systems, washing out bridges and flooding key transportation corridors. But how should engineers […]

Excellence in post-tensioning applications

In May, the Post-Tensioning Institute (PTI) announced its 2017 Project Awards during the 2017 PTI Convention Awards Dinner in Atlanta. PTI’s Project Awards are presented every two years and recognize excellence in post-tensioning applications. Structures utilizing post-tensioning as a structural component and that were completed or rehabilitated in the last seven years were eligible. Entries […]

Pay Attention!

Short attention spans — some say the result of web and app developers competing for our attention or the result of the culture we live in — could pose a real problem for the engineering profession. And short attention spans are rampant today in the people we work with, employ, and unfortunately, ourselves. Here’s some […]

Start Saving Now

Whether you work for a private or a public entity, this advice holds true: Use your early working years to save as much as you can in order to give you greater power and freedom in your financial future. For those who work in privately held engineering firms that tend to transfer ownership internally, you […]

Survey of Concrete Condition

Geophysical Survey Systems, Inc. (GSSI) announced an updated version of its BridgeScan, a ground penetrating radar (GPR) system for assessing concrete condition on bridge decks, parking structures, and balconies. Accurately determining concrete condition improves repair cost estimation, saving time and money. BridgeScan can identify rebar location and depth for bridge deck condition assessments, determining concrete […]

Drones Are Redefining Infrastructure Design

By Hugh McFall It’s increasingly common to hear the steady hum of a drone flying on a construction site. They’re being used to share progress updates from the sky, manage earthworks, perform cut-and-fills, and much more. But, there’s also an emerging use case for drones within the civil engineering space: As designers move from 2D […]

Inspiring urban housing

This summer, the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) Centre de Design will host a special exhibition examining architect Moshe Safdie’s pioneering urban housing complex Habitat 67, its manifestation over the course of Safdie’s global career, and its lasting influence on the architectural field at large. A Canadian National Heritage Site and living landmark, Habitat […]

Brownfield barriers

By John Irwin Unused brownfield sites are often a blight on the landscape and contaminated plots may pose a threat to human health and safety, as well as the environment more generally. There are many economic, social, and ecological benefits to remediating brownfield sites. Once a site has been safely treated, there is no real […]

The case for metal buildings: An environmental perspective

By Dan Walker, P.E. Metal buildings comprise about 50 percent of the new, low-rise non-residential construction market in the U.S. today. They are constructed for a wide variety of uses, such as school and athletic buildings, vehicle dealerships, retail stores and centers, manufacturing facilities, agricultural buildings, warehouses, and more. These buildings are popular for a […]

project awards and wins

Highlighting their significant design and project management capabilities, civil and structural engineering firms recently announced the following recognition awards received for projects completed or under construction and contract wins for projects in design or preliminary design stages. Project awards At a gala in Washington, D.C., on April 25, the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) […]

Complex canal crossing

The Lower Neches Valley Authority (LNVA) is one of the 23 River Authorities created by the State of Texas to develop and manage the state’s waters. The LNVA is responsible for fresh water management in far southeastern Texas in all of Jefferson, Hardin, and Tyler Counties and portions of Liberty and Chambers Counties. The watersheds […]

Efficient classroom construction

The Department of Enterprise Services is overseeing a Washington State pilot project to build 20 kindergarten through third-grade classrooms using cross-laminated timber (CLT) in five school district sites in Washington. The state’s 2016 supplemental capital budget included $5.5 million in the state building construction account for the pilot project, which, in addition to constructing the […]

“Super-Girders” To The Rescue

As part of the Lincoln County Bridge Replacement Program, Oldcastle Precast of Spokane, Wash., fabricated 136.8-foot-long prestressed concrete “super-girders” for the new Miles Creston Bridge in Lincoln County, Wash. The efficient shape of this new bridge girder family uses high-strength concrete and 0.6-inch-diameter prestress strand to maximize span length and minimize the number of girders. […]

Geocellular Solutions

Geocells are a proven solution for soil stability problems in a variety of site construction applications. The more challenging the problem, the more likely geocells will be applied to keep soil confined and stable. Presto Geosystems invented geocells nearly 35 years ago in a collaborative effort with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and has […]

Drone Waivers

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) released a report that finds 52 percent of the waivers granted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) under Part 107 went to businesses using drones for construction or infrastructure operations. According to the report, the majority of all granted waivers allow businesses to operate unmanned aircraft systems […]

Not Listening Can Be Dangerous

We recently lost a big project because we did not listen to the client carefully. It was an expensive lesson, so I thought I would share it with all of you. The client is an overseas investor who owns a large portfolio of buildings on the U.S. West Coast. Our mandate was to better protect […]

The Omen of Oroville

By Richard Massey While the final forensic report commissioned by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has yet to be issued, the causes of the catastrophic spillway failure at the Oroville Dam in northern California are essentially known — corrosion, erosion, poor drainage, and faulty slabs. The preliminary list of “candidate physical factors” tallied […]

the geotech evolution

When Bob Thompson, P.E., founded his Denver-based geotechnical engineering firm in 1971, his wife typed up client reports on onionskin with carbon paper using a manual typewriter. Reporting techniques are not the only thing that has changed in the last four and a half decades, and Thompson has been at the forefront of the evolution. […]

3D models support the construction process

Swanton Consulting has transformed the design of temporary works such as façade and basement retention using a software program that creates instant 3D models from laser scanner data. Processing of point clouds used to take Swanton as long as two weeks. However, since introducing Pointfuse V2 point cloud processing software, Swanton can now produce highly […]

From design to detailing

Autodesk said the release of Autodesk Revit 2018 software is the latest step in the continual evolution and development of its software for multidiscipline-connected BIM. Revit 2018 features extend design toward detailing for MEP and multi-material structural models. “Revit 2018 is optimized to be part of a foundational BIM portfolio that serves the major design […]

Validating and sharing BIM

Invicara, released BIM Assure 1.2 with new features focused on making BIM data validation and reporting easier and faster. The latest tools help users edit data quickly and share information with people who don’t have access to BIM. BIM Assure is a collaborative, cloud solution that unlocks BIM data and helps entire project teams collaborate […]

Courses From The Developer of The #1 Engineering Books

PPI’s Civil PE Breadth + Depth Prep Courses provide the quality curriculum, specialized instruction, and #1 selling review materials you need to pass the NCEES Civil PE exam. The courses (Breadth + Construction, Breadth + Geotechnical, Breadth + Structural, Breadth + Transportation and Breadth + Water Resources & Environmental) offer complete coverage of both the […]

Rail restoration following disaster

Freight railroads have played a crucial role in America’s development, particularly in the state of New Jersey. Its proximity to major ports in Philadelphia and New York, and abundant natural resources, have historically made the state an ideal location for railroad development. The industrial town of Paulsboro, situated along the banks of the Delaware River, […]

Project Ebbs and Flows

Ebb and flow — words usually used to describe water movement — serve a dual purpose in describing the actions of the construction team for the Confluence Park Soil and Water Remediation project. Facing unforeseen site conditions and weather fluctuations, the team was forced to ebb and flow its resources and processes to bring the […]

Awards, Promotions, and New Hires

AECOM appointed Daven Oswalt as the regional business leader for the company’s water practice in the Washington metropolitan area, including Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Reporting to Oswalt, Paul Delphos will serve as the firm’s Tidewater, Va., region water practice leader. John Jessen, AIA, was named regional managing principal for the Washington metro area and […]

Operating Expenses

Zweig Group’s 2017 Operating Expenses Survey of A/E/P & Environmental Consulting Firms provides a comprehensive view of the largest line items that impact a firm’s overhead. All the labor and costs associated with human resources, marketing, and IT can add up fast. Throw in insurance for the firm and its employees, bonus plans, and other […]


New products that civil and structural engineers can specify or incorporate into projects.

Posted in Uncategorized

Marketing and business development

Donald Trump has singlehandedly breathed life back into the “other social media app” — Twitter. The platform had gone stale. It loses money every year and had a declining user base. Cue the late-night tweets about Hillary Clinton, illegal wiretapping, and voter fraud, and voila, Twitter is again alive and kicking. The tweet storms turned […]

Disappearing beaches

Using a newly developed computer model called CoSMoS-COAST (Coastal Storm Modeling System – Coastal One-line Assimilated Simulation Tool), scientists predict that with limited human intervention, 31 percent to 67 percent of Southern California beaches may become completely eroded (up to existing coastal infrastructure or sea-cliffs) by the year 2100 under scenarios of sea level rise […]


01. Heavy-weight segmental retaining wall system VERSA-LOK Retaining Wall Systems’ Bronco II segmental retaining wall units display 6 square feet of face area with a 3.2-degree batter and weigh from 1,220 to 3,215 pounds (or 1,450 to 3,820 pounds with cores filled). Alignment knobs molded into the top of Bronco II units and channels molded […]

Posted in Uncategorized

U.S. wind energy development continues

Two announcements in March highlighted the continuing investment in wind energy resources in the United States. Xcel Energy announced plans to make the largest multi-state investment in wind capacity in the country, proposing 11 new wind farms in seven states. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced that Avangrid Renewables, LLC was the provisional […]

Keeping Pace with Development

Washington (D.C.) Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) Development Services Group reviews hydraulic plans for approximately 160 proposed development plans per year. This includes water and sewer system extensions as well as approximately 172 small-site utility plans (commercial private systems) that connect to the existing water and sewer network in two large Maryland counties. Each system extension […]

Inspiring the next generation

Roberto Ballarini, Ph.D., believes it’s critical to pique students’ interest in an engineering career. Ballarini, who is chairman of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Houston, often visits K-12 schools to talk to students about engineering, but he also turns down several speaking requests because the travel demands are too […]

Going it alone

Managing risk is more than just part of being a civil or structural engineer — it’s the cornerstone of your profession. You take a design for a building, bridge, or tunnel and make it functional, load bearing, and safe. But while you have a keen eye for spotting dangers in your work, risk can be […]

Survey Documents Sustainability of Asphalt Pavements

The latest survey of asphalt pavement mix producers documents the industry’s continued success in improving the sustainability of America’s roads through incorporation of recycled materials and the use of energy-saving warm-mix asphalt technologies. According to the latest survey of asphalt mix producers conducted by the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) in partnership with the Federal […]

Treading Lightly

The complexities of the built environment are many and ever changing, continually challenging the limits of civil engineering and construction. For even the most experienced professionals involved in designing, building, and maintaining roads, bridges, and highways there is always something new on the horizon. For Betty Purdie, P.E., of Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction, the combination […]

Liquefaction mitigation

Any engineer familiar with how foundations act in earthquake-prone areas can tell you one thing: Liquefaction — when seismic activity causes soils to act more as a liquid than a solid — can cause serious damage to otherwise safe and sturdy structures. Structural damage to a building is an obvious (and disastrous) result of severe […]

New wastewater treatment approaches

The entire wastewater treatment industry has evolved dramatically during the last 15 to 20 years. The need for new approaches because of the cost of available land, the high cost of sewering, reduced funding, a crumbling infrastructure, and increasing environmental concerns has catalyzed the acceptance of decentralized wastewater treatment strategies and applications as a viable […]

PlanIT Impact Unveils Cloud-Based Building Sustainability Scoring Tool

PlanIT Impact announced a building sustainability scoring system that is purpose-built for the design phase. According to the company, PlanIT Impact’s 3D planning tool and the PlanIT Impact Score make it easy for architects and builders to collaborate with multiple teams and constituencies, gather data inputs in real time, and more accurately model material costs […]

Civil + Structural Design Tools

Topcon introduces two magnet software solutions With MAGNET Explorer, infrastructure, buildings, utilities, and structural models can be combined together and analyzed in a single project model. Topcon Positioning Group announced two software platforms designed to provide multidisciplinary model management and increased collaboration and integration — MAGNET Explorer and MAGNET Modeler. MAGNET Explorer offers model management, simulation, […]