SU 2016 Technical Workshop – Abstracts

GrowthPuzzleThe biannual Schnabel University Technical Workshop’s theme, GROWTH, celebrates the evolution and development of the industry, society, technologies, and most importantly, 60 years of Schnabel history and technical excellence. Abstracts for the 2016 Technical Workshop presentations are included below, organized by breakout session title.

Click here to read more about the presenters.


A Practical Example of Today’s Design Practices – Canton Lake Dam

Sixto Fernandez (NCO), Phil Shull (WC)

In today’s support of excavation (SOE) design, we generally consider 1) force/moment equilibrium of the system to select the size of structural elements 2) global stability to select the geometry of structural elements, and 3) performance of the system in terms of displacements. They are not independent subjects, but related to each other and should be considered simultaneously in the design. Most analysis tools focus on one subject with lesser consideration given to the others. Before Plaxis and other user-friendly finite element analytical tools, the industry standard was to perform SOE designs using analytical tools focusing independently on the force/moment equilibrium for determining the forces in the elements and limit equilibrium for global stability.  Deformations were routinely overestimated using empirical methods or by only considering the elastic deformation of the structural elements without the soil structure interaction component.

Canton Lake Auxiliary Spillway SOE is an example of how different analytical tools can be used simultaneously in a real world design. Multiple design methods across three offices were implemented to make the project a success, including hand calculations of apparent earth pressures, PY Wall, Slope/W models, 2D Plaxis analyses, and  one (1) three-dimensional Plaxis analysis. We will present an overview of the design approach, see results from the different analytical tools and how they were incorporated in the final design, and compare the results with manual and automated monitoring data.

Dismantling the Tallest Reinforced Fill in North America – the Observational Method Applied at Yeager Airport

Gary Brill (Knoxville), Allen Cadden (WC-Corporate)

To reduce the risk of fatalities and the severity of runway accidents, the Yeager Airport Authority in Charleston, West Virginia contracted for a runway extension safety zone (EMAS fill). Touted by the designers/builders as the tallest reinforced fill in North America, the safety zone was placed atop a 240 feet high reinforced fill and proved its value by stopping a US Airways jet in 2010.  However, in the spring of 2015 the reinforced fill failed catastrophically, taking out a church and 2 homes in its path and blocking a stream that flooded numerous other homes outside the failure zone.  Further, the failure left a 140 feet high vertical face of partially reinforced fill looming over a massive debris field with remaining residents and cleared creek below.  The Airport Authority enlisted Schnabel Engineering to guide them through the difficult dismantling process with an even more difficult time line.  While a significant amount of creative engineering went into designing a stable excavated slope configuration, the observational method was heavily in play when removing the tall vertical face.  The presentation will discuss the significant challenges faced by the Schnabel team and recent progress on this interesting project.

Field Testing During the De-Construction of the Tallest Reinforced Slope in North America

Brian Toombs (Albany)

In the aftermath of the catastrophic failure of the 240-ft tall emergency overrun structure at the south end of Yeager Airport’s Runway 5, a comprehensive field testing program was initiated to study the remaining in-place fill materials. Adding to the degree of difficulty, the sampling and testing program was to occur concurrently with the slope stabilization of the remaining head scarp, and included the exhumation and sampling of the remaining geogrid reinforcement.  Due to the broad particle-size distribution of the fill materials and the vast number of tests required, the testing program called for a variety of test types including nuclear density, sand cone, and water replacement methods. This presentation will highlight the challenges and innovations associated with expeditiously completing the field testing activities on this unique site, as well as providing a comparison of test results from the three in-situ methods of unit weight determination.

Beyond Data Collection: Integrating Geophysics into Providing Solutions

Joel Daniel (Greensboro), Mia Painter (WC)

Obtaining knowledge through technology is certainly nothing new, and our society often perceives technology as somewhat of a commodity. However, the real value is how the knowledge is used in developing solutions to problems and challenges.  Schnabel’s geophysicists surpass being just data gatherers by integrating with engineering and providing solutions.  Our engineers and geologists understand that incorporating geophysics into projects helps clients save money, reduce risk, and aid society in an increasingly urbanized environment.  We will review several cases where geophysics has been able to help address difficult challenges, that otherwise may not have been possible in past decades.


Grout Enriched RCC Research Collaboration

Jeremy Young (WC)

Early experience on roller compacted concrete (RCC) dam applications in the 1980s showed a tendency for seepage to develop along lift lines. Therefore, dam designers started including an upstream facing system as a watertight barrier.  One facing material that has been used extensively overseas is Grout Enriched RCC (GERCC); however, the use of this technology has been fairly limited in the United States, primarily due to concern over the material’s freeze thaw resistance.

As another example of our commitment to advancing the practice and developing emerging technologies, Schnabel is currently funding and collaborating on research with Villanova University to investigate GERCC and the incorporation of air entraining admixtures to improve freeze-thaw resistance. The research goal is to advance the use of GERCC and promote more cost effective and technically viable construction of dams, spillways and other hydraulic structures in climates subject to freeze-thaw cylces.  While prior attempts by researchers and contractors have been unsuccessful, preliminary results from Villanova’s laboratory and field trials have been very positive.

The Removal of Four Large Concrete Dams in the Western United States

Tom Hepler (Greensboro)

This 30-minute presentation covers the removal of Elwha and Glines Canyon Dams on the Elwha River in Washington (2011-2014), Condit Dam on the White Salmon River in Washington (2011-2012), and San Clemente Dam on the Carmel River in California (2013-2015). Each was a concrete dam over 100 feet high, with a significant impoundment of sediment, and blocked the passage of anadromous fish.  Three of the four dams produced electric power.  The sediment management plans were very different for each case, ranging from natural erosion of sediments at a controlled rate, to rapid drawdown and erosion, to mechanical excavation and stabilization in place.  Concrete demolition in all cases used both blasting and mechanical excavation, but the streamflow diversion requirements resulted in both wet and dry conditions for demolition, depending upon the site.  These are the four largest dams removed in U.S. history, all within the past five years.

State-of-the-Practice Review of Maintenance Closure Structures for Large Spillway Gates

Charles Johnson (Greensboro), Robert Indri (Greensboro)

Maintenance, remediation, and inspection of large spillway gates are usually best performed in the dry due to reduced overall cost, worker safety, and improved work quality. Improved work quality and quality verification when working in a dewatered environment can also accommodate less frequent maintenance and remediation.  Provision for gate dewatering has become a key design consideration for new spillways.  Unfortunately, many existing spillways were not originally constructed with gate dewatering capabilities.  Therefore, such work has often been scheduled during planned drawdowns or seasonally low reservoir levels.  However, for operators of hydroelectric, flood control, water supply, and multi-purpose dams, artificial drawdowns can significantly impact operations, flood protection, downstream habitat, and revenue generation.  Aging gates deteriorate and require significant maintenance, rehabilitation, and increased inspection.  Therefore, owners are increasingly seeking methods to dewater gate bays while maintaining operational pool levels using maintenance closure structures, such as bulkheads, stoplogs, cofferdams, and caissons.  Designing these structures is challenging, especially at dams without existing dewatering capabilities.

This presentation summarizes the findings from a worldwide review of the current state-of-the-practice for various types of maintenance closure structures in use for dewatering large spillway gates. This research was performed as part of a feasibility study Schnabel performed for Grand Coulee Dam, which would be one of the largest maintenance closure structures in the world.  For each maintenance closure type identified, key design considerations and examples are provided.  This information, along with current trends and areas for future research and development presented will provide an overview of current practice.  The presentation will include lessons learned from some of Schnabel’s projects and discuss potential for future work.

Schnabel Designs the First Piano Key Weir in the USA

Loring Crowley (Greensboro), Sam Kees (Greensboro), Brian Crookston (WC)

The West Fork of Eno River Reservoir Dam is located near the Town of Hillsborough NC, USA. The dam is a 64-foot high earthen embankment with an auxiliary concrete chute spillway located in the dam’s right abutment. The original dam construction was completed in 2000 and designed for an expansion of the reservoir for additional water supply for the town. Following a detailed alternatives study, a piano key weir (the first in the USA, to the authors’ knowledge) was selected by the owner as it meets all project requirements and was estimated to be the most cost-effective option for upgrading the spillway.

The piano key weir is a free-overfall structure of unique geometric shape. Similar to a labyrinth spillway, the crest length greatly exceeds the total spillway width by forming rectangular shaped cycles in plan view.  Additional differences from traditional labyrinth weirs include: sloping apexes that extend beyond the base of the structure in both upstream and downstream directions (overhangs); inlet keys or cycles that are wider than the outlet keys; and various optional features such as upstream apex noses, and a parapet.  Numerous hydraulic investigations have been performed in recent years, including multiple hydraulic design methods.

This presentation will cover:

  • Geotechnical, structural, and hydraulic aspects of this project and why a PK weir was selected
  • Details of the existing auxiliary chute spillway, the new piano key weir, and additional modifications to the auxiliary chute
  • A comparison of four piano key weir hydraulic design methods for sizing the spillway
  • Details and results of the CFD modeling effort
  • The piano key weir stability summary
  • Embankment modifications and seepage countermeasures
  • The client-benefiting relationships Schnabel has with international practitioners and world-class hydraulic researchers


Numerical Analysis – An Effective Tool in Risk Management

George Aristonrenas (NCO), Imsoo Lee (NCO)

Projects involving underground construction are often exposed to risks associated with uncertainty and variability of subsurface conditions, groundwater variations, presence of adjacent structures and utilities, instabilities, incompatible construction methodologies, and other factors. To both Owners and Contractors, these conditions are ultimately manifested as cost overruns in the form of construction claims, lawsuits, loss of project funds, and poor performance publicity that could affect future endeavors.

While risky events cannot be fully eliminated in underground construction projects, the more reasonable goal is to limit the effects of these events. To achieve this goal, these events should first be identified and their effects assessed preferably as early as the conceptual design phase, through detailed design, and prior to construction.

This presentation will show examples of how advanced numerical analyses using the finite element method can identify events that could present problems and risks, present quantifiable impacts of such events and therefore aid in managing risks. Analysis examples presented include ground movement of adjacent buildings, groundwater seepage and drawdown, construction effects on existing tunnels, time dependent properties, and slope stability.

Quantitative Schedule Analysis – The Expansion and Innovation of the Risk Management Program for the DC Clean Rivers Project

Norman Perez (Lachel-Fairfax), Matt Koziol (Lachel-Dallas)

This presentation describes the expansion and innovation of the Risk Management Plan for the DC Clean Rivers Project in Washington, DC to include quantitative schedule analyses. A quantitative schedule analysis is a technique for analyzing risk events that impact the project schedule. The effect of these risk events on specific schedule activity durations, and the range of duration variability of specific activities in general are incorporated into a numerical simulation that when performed identifies a range of possible outcomes for a range of confidence intervals. Clients/Owners are then able to take this information and make informed project decisions and develop mitigation plans.

An introduction to construction scheduling is included to “set the stage” and then an emphasis is placed on how these analyses are developed and refined throughout the construction phase, and the intricacies and challenges in performing an effective quantitative schedule analysis.

Risk Management: Control What You Can

Randy Reaves (Glen Allen-Corporate)

Engineers are generally familiar with the risks that technical issues can pose on a project. This talk will focus on non-technical issues that pose risks and that are crucial for a geotechnical engineer in particular to navigate for a successful completion of the project.  Clients with disappointed project outcomes or unrealized expectations may become adversaries, and may seek to hold the geotechnical engineer “liable” for actual or perceived shortcomings, as well as delays and cost overruns.  Among the issues discussed will be risk exposure, assignment selection, contract negotiations, scope of services, and project management.

Effective Risk Management of a Large Infrastructure Project – Voestalpine Steel Mill

Sixto Fernandez (NCO), Carlos Englert (NCO)

In large infrastructure projects, designers have to manage risks from the owner, general contractor, specialty contractors, subcontractors and subconsultants. All of these entities impose budget constraints, limitations in construction capabilities, coordination, tight schedules, which have to be managed effectively to reduce or limit risk. The Voestalpine Steel Mill project is a good example where different entities imposed significant restrictions to the design that could potentially increase the risk if left unmanaged. In addition, the site and proposed construction presented a myriad of geotechnical risks. This presentation will include the development of this project from a complex relatively short spanned deep foundation geotechnical and structural design, to a multiyear project including additional geotechnical exploration and testing, finite element analyses, ground treatment design, column-to-foundation design, gantry crane railing design, installation of geotechnical and structural instrumentation, and medium term instrumentation monitoring. These additional services were performed for the long-term benefit of the Project and Owner in response to risks identified by Schnabel during the project development.

The Voestalpine Steel Mill project is located in Corpus Christi, Texas, and consist of a new construction of a steel mill plant with a 480 feet tall tower, a ½ mile long iron oxide storage building and a port. The project geotechnical exploration, civil and structural design was coordinated by CH2MHill, including the foundation design for all the structures except for the foundation design of the iron oxide storage building, which was reportedly forgotten during the design phase.. Well into construction of the plant, the Owner realized that there was not a foundation design for the Iron Oxide Storage building. The Owner contacted Bauer Foundation Corp. (Bauer) who were installing augercast piles for other structures and requested them a design/built offer for the Iron Oxide building foundation and ancillary structures inside of the building, mainly two retaining walls containing the iron oxide stockpiles and a system of conveyors belts and a large gantry crane iron oxide reclaimer structure.

Bauer contacted Schnabel to design the ½ mile long iron oxide storage building’s foundation (design of deep foundation and pile caps size and reinforcement) for complex loading conditions with very high lateral loads from wind (hurricane prompt area). Bauer required a pre-bid design to be completed in roughly 3 days. Due to a very tight pre-bid design schedule, limited geotechnical information at the building location, limitations on contractor’s capabilities, and a very aggressive construction schedule, the pre-bid design considered 40′ long, 2 to 3 feet diameter Auger Cast In-Place piles and typical CRSI recommended amount of reinforcement for the pile caps.

The owner awarded the contract to Bauer, and additional information about the building and ancillary structures started to come in. During the review of the building drawings, it was noted that the approximately 50 ft high iron oxide stockpile, which unit weight is similar to concrete, to be retained by the walls was to be placed on top of the existing ground, which consist of thick deposits of fat clay, generally stiff and overconsolidated, without any foundation or ground treatment. Thus, lateral loads imposed by lateral squeezing and potential settlements of the soil deposits needed to be considered for final design if the ground was left untreated. This could significantly impact the final design, construction cost, and construction schedule.

At full design, finite element analyses were carried out with soil properties provided in the project geotechnical report by others. It was noted that the iron oxide stockpile would impose settlements in the order of 1 foot and lateral deformations in the order of 4 inches to the super structure. This concerns and early recommendations for ground improvement were communicated to our client (the contractor) and the owner with very little reaction. This triggered us to implement of a more aggressive risk management plan, which started by placing very clear notes in the drawings for the expected super structure deformations, increasing communication and well documented correspondence with our client and the owner, and became more elaborated as the Client and Owner were convinced of the associated risks. At the end, we convinced the Client and Owner to approve additional services, such as finite element models, supplementary subsurface exploration vertical and lateral pile load tests, the design and construction of ground treatment system underneath the proposed stockpile, and installation of automated instrumentation with medium term monitoring.


Evaluating a Bridge Substructure for Reuse

Michelle Bolding (Richmond)

A technical and engaging presentation on the evaluation of existing bridge piles for potential reuse with a new superstructure.

The Route 105 (Fort Eustis Boulevard) Bridge over the Newport News (Lee Hall) Reservoir was built in 1960, and widened in1985. The 16-span bridge is 658-ft long, 79-ft wide, and the west abutment is integrated in the dam of the Lee Hall reservoir.  The bridge abutments are support on timber piles and the piers are supported on square concrete piles in the Yorktown formation.

The end of the useful lifespan of the bridge is approaching; and the City’s Capital Improvement Plan has deemed replacement necessary due to the amount of deterioration and safety concerns. Construction for the bridge replacement is anticipated to start in the beginning of 2018.

We are evaluating the existing substructure and providing recommendations for repairing and/or replacing the bridge. Ideally, the City would like to replace the superstructure and repair the substructure.  We are evaluating the substructure for potential re-use.  This project includes geotechnical, geophysical, and dam studies, and is currently on-going.

This presentation will present the project challenges, regulatory requirements, our approach, our phase I evaluation, preliminary recommendations, and the challenges our recommendations present. A detailed looked at specific Geophysical methods used may also be included (if elected).  A separate presentation is also being proposed by the Geophysical folks that may discuss the methods used for this project.

Lessons Learned from a Bridge Abutment Failure

Ray DeStephen (Glen Allen-Corporate)

Thirty-five foot high approach embankments for a railroad and highway bridge overpass were constructed over 40 feet of soft organic clay, resulting in post-construction abutment settlements of 3 feet. These settlements resulted in compete tension failure of abutment piles and damage to the bridge structure, all of which could have been avoided. Eighty percent of primary consolidation was expected in only three months, yet the abutments are still experiencing settlement 22 years later.

Excellent field performance data was obtained during construction including excess pore water pressures, horizontal slope movements and vertical settlements. This data showed horizontal and vertical movements were continuing and pore pressures were well in excess of static levels one year after start of embankment construction. Remarkably, these results were ignored and the embankments were “released to the contractor” for bridge construction.

Remediation included partial reconstruction of the abutments using 16 inch diameter pipe piles driven through holes cut into the bridge deck. Future down drag was minimized by providing pile sleeves through the embankment soil and upper geologic strata, and a friction reducer (bituminous coating) was used to limit negative drag within the clay.


Client Habits and Problems: An Innovative Online Solution

Jay Halligan (WC)

“A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Steve Jobs

We all know the routine. A contract is signed.  Services are performed.  The results are put to paper, sent to the client and archived.  This is good and familiar, but with a growing number of large scale projects, data, and deliverables, a new routine has appeared that does not collect dust or get misplaced.

The internet is overwhelmingly the first place people go when they need something. ArcGIS Online can place everything contained in a report, field book, spreadsheet, or map in a digital package that is secure, customizable, and accessible via a plethora of devices that can connect to the internet.  It has been an evolutionary tool that helps communicate information between offices and clients.  Because of its utility and robustness, a wide variety of entities and organizations use ArcGIS Online and its close cousins to facilitate collaboration and effectively reach their objectives.  In fact, we at Schnabel commonly use such tools developed by others because it is efficient,is a source for viewing current information, and is a platform on which we can add more information in the future.

This presentation provides an overview of ArcGIS Online, clearly describing what this innovative solution is and what it can do for you and your clients. It will highlight the latest in viewer templates, analysis tools, and sharing capabilities.  This presentation also includes ‘things to look for’ in existing and potential clients so that you can feel confident showing them something they likely will want to have.

The second portion of the presentation will show how we are currently using these tools and technologies. There will be a live demonstration with the presentation concluding with the success story of ArcGIS Online, Schnabel, and the Delaware Department of Transportation.  It is anticipated that this presentation will be of interest to those who want to know how we can deliver products to clients in new interactive ways.

Case Studies in the Use of SharePoint and ArcGIS Online to Efficiently Communicate and Collaborate

Nate Dumas (Richmond)

SharePoint and ArcGIS Online are 21st century technologies that have revolutionized the way we can communicate and collaborate both internally and externally. Case studies will be presented to demonstrate the use of SharePoint and ArcGIS Online as follows:Yeager Airport (SharePoint) – Schnabel’s services on Yeager Airport required data to be shared quickly with a multitude of internal and external users ranging from contractors to lawyers. Using SharePoint and Schnabel’s ProjNet, a single site was created for both internal and external users to access only those documents to which they were granted permission. This greatly reduced the administrative effort of distributing content and communicating with a large number of users. In this case study, the basics of applied SharePoint usage will be explained through demonstrations of actual Schnabel ProjNet content. A brief discussion of lessons learned from the Yeager Airport project will also be included.   Richmond DPS Group Site (SharePoint) –The Richmond DPS Department group site will be used to demonstrate how SharePoint’s tools can be leveraged to aid in effective management of a group. The use of SharePoint lists to manage project schedules and department tasks will be highlighted.Route 29 Solutions (ArcGIS Online) – Schnabel was on two teams during the bid phase of this project and could not share proprietary information.  An ArcGIS Online site was created to host the existing subsurface exploration data provided in the RFP (non-propietary). Separate logins were created for each team so that they could separately view the existing data, populate the site with their team’s proprietary information (proposed construction) and design their own subsurface exploration program – all while using the same platform and without being able to see the other team’s data. This significantly reduced redundancy and Schnabel’s pursuit costs. The use of the ArcGIS Online site to design the subsurface exploration program also allowed us to hit the ground running once the project was awarded, which was critical for the schedule on this project.  Once drilling was in progress, up to three separate users entered information into the ArcGIS Online site in real-time from mobile devices so that a single project manager could effectively coordinate the overall subsurface exploration efforts.

Virginia Statewide PMP Study Results

John Harrison (WC), Paul Welle (WC)

In November 2015, the Commonwealth of VIrginia received the final report containing the results of the Statewide PMP Study. The study was performed by Applied Weather Associates of Monument, Colorado. I was a member of the review panel, involved in four briefing meetings over the course of 15 months to recieve updates on the study progress, and tasked with review of the final report. The new PMP values are generally lower in the western part of the state, but slightly higher along the coast. This presentation will summarize the results of the study, as well as the methods used by AWA to develop the PMP values.


Introduction to Envision™

Nancy Straub (NCO)

The Envision™ Sustainable Infrastructure Rating System is a tool for evaluating and rating the community, environmental, and economic benefits of all types and sizes of infrastructure projects. Envision™ evaluates, grades, and gives recognition to infrastructure projects that use transformational, collaborative approaches to project design that enhance project performance and resiliency over the course of the project’s life cycle. This presentation will provide an introduction to the Envision™ rating system, the Institute of Sustainable Infrastructure, and Envision SPs. It will also provide examples of how the rating system can be applied to a variety of different projects at different stages of design and development. At the end of the presentation, there will be a brief discussion about the development of the updated Envision™ design manual and Schnabel’s role in the Envision™ program.

Collapse Risk Management in an Arid Alluvial Environment

John Sturman (NCO)

A 16-acre urban site in arid western Asia is being redeveloped into an office complex. The site has slopes ranging from 6:1 to 1:1 and a varying alluvial subsurface profile. The mountains south of the site rise steeply and the surficial deposits represent sedimentary deposits of re-worked alluvial fans and mudflows. The site is in a high seismic zone and the city was heavily damaged in a 7.3 earthquake several decades ago.  A previous investigation of the site identified collapsible soils with wetting-induced collapse as high as 18%. The collapse potential was based on a test result from a test very similar to ASTM Method 5333. The shallow soils contained gravel and some cobbles and were difficult to sample. However, the previous mudflow and a solidified crust deposit from mudflows had been documented.  The challenges in collecting undisturbed samples and the results from our study made the collapse potential difficult to confirm or deny.  Our study considered the previous data, site surficial observations, soil boring and test pit observations, and lab testing to develop an approach to manage risks associated with potentially collapsible soils.

Alkali – Silica Reactivity at Roanoke Rapids Dam – Safely Managing Concrete Growth

John Cima (Richmond)

Roanoke Rapids Dam is a 72-foot high, 3050-foot long concrete gravity dam with four-26MW power generating units located on the Roanoke River in North Carolina and owned by Dominion Generation. The South Non-Overflow Section (SNOS) of the dam is approximately 581 feet long and was designed with an upstream curving south abutment.

Instrumentation history from the late 1990’s through 2005 indicated accelerated deformation, increased seepage, and increases in uplift pressure in the SNOS. An investigative program in 2006-2008 discovered significant cracking along several monoliths of the SNOS and concluded that the dam was experiencing concrete growth due to Alkali-Silica Reactivity (ASR). The ASR caused the dam to expand in the longitudinal direction resulting in a downstream force component that cracked and “rocked” the curved SNOS section downstream. Partial sections above the cracking were determined to be unstable during the spillway design flood (PMF).

In 2008-2009, detailed engineering for a crack grouting and anchoring system was performed. Downstream grout leakage during remedial construction led to the discovery that the cracking extended horizontally almost completely through the structure, then continued downward sub-parallel to the sloping downstream face. This led to immediate re-evaluation of dam stability and implementation of temporary measures to allow construction to proceed safely. Crack grouting and anchor installation were completed in May 2010.

Since completion, a state of the art finite element model (FEM) to predict future performance of the structure has been developed to help Dominion determine if and when additional remedial measures may be required. The FEM will continue to be used in conjunction with the existing instrumentation program to periodically re-evaluate and update performance predictions.

This presentation will provide an overview of the performance history of the dam, the investigations, remedial design and construction, and Dominion’s efforts to safely manage concrete growth through instrumentation monitoring and FEM model comparisons.

Energy Piles: Related Applications and Analysis

Allen Bowers (NCO)

Energy piles are an emerging technology which enables a traditional foundation to also be used to access shallow geothermal energy. By combining deep foundation structures such as micropiles or drilled shafts with geothermal circulation tubes, a dual purpose element is created that provides both foundation support and an economical way of harvesting geothermal energy. The geothermal energy can then be used to more sustainably heat or cool buildings, deice bridge decks, or even dry grain. However, the use of energy piles for geothermal energy induces additional thermal loads within the pile that should be accounted for during design. This presentation will give an overview of energy piles, their applications, and tools for analysis. Experimental results from thermal exchange operations utilizing energy piles will be presented. Furthermore, tools will be briefly introduced that can accurately predict the temperature changes in the ground resulting from these systems.

Impacting the Future

Design Build 101-Yes We Can!

George Wirth (Baltimore)

This 30 minute Session will introduce the BD staff, PMs and other interested professionals to Design Build (DB). What it is, how it’s used, the market and its advantages will be discussed. Several case studies will be presented that will highlight the: project details; DB approach, negotiations; cost at risk, up side and down side; lessons learned and final outcomes. With this introduction, individuals will be more comfortable discussing Schnabel’s DB experience with potential clients.

Business Strategies and Tactics for Transportation Projects

Chadd Yeatts (Blacksburg), Ed Drahos (Richmond), Brian Banks (NCO), Mary Anderson (NCO)

Large transportation projects are not only complicated from a technical perspective but are also complicated in the sales pipeline. The business development (BD), marketing, and sales aspects of transportation projects often involve different strategies and tactics when compared to other client and project pursuits.

Today’s presentation will cover each of these specific phases (BD, marketing, sales). We will cover the various procurement avenues – term contracts, design-bid-build (DBB), design-build (DB), and public-private-partnerships (P3) and how to best position Schnabel in these pursuit efforts.  We will discuss our standard strategy on teaming for DB projects with respect to gross construction value and other factors.  Lastly, we will discuss the Dulles Silver Line and how we implemented these strategies and tactics to win the project.

Forensic Engineering

Chuck Wilson (Alpharetta)

Forensic engineering comprises a portion of the work performed by the Alpharetta office. As defined by the American Heritage Dictionary, forensic is an adjective “pertaining to or employed in legal proceedings or argumentation.”  Thus forensic engineering involves the engineering effort associated with legal work and typically includes consultation with attorneys and providing expert witness testimony at trial.  The work consists of assessments/evaluations on why/how certain things occurred and who should be held accountable/responsible for such actions.  In Georgia, those assessments include answering questions on how this dam failed, who put the sediment in the lake and why did this area flood.  The presentation will provide a general overview on the various aspects of forensic engineering, as well as general guidance on being an effective expert witness.  Several case studies will be presented that illustrate the general nature of this type of business.

Communication Leads to Success on Hybrid Retaining Wall

Johanna Simon (WC), Allen Cadden (WC-Corporate)

Communication is a key component of mitigating risk and litigation on deep foundation and earth retention projects. Open lines of communication allow issues that may arise during the progression of the project to be addressed quickly and overcome without jeopardizing the project progress. Changes during construction can often lead to long delays while redesign and change orders are performed.

This presentation explores several instances which highlight the importance of communication throughout the design and construction process. A multi-tier hybrid soil nail and tieback permanent retaining wall was erected adjacent to new highway construction in Pinson, Alabama. The anticipated load transfer ratio of the soil nails and tiebacks along the grouted lengths of the elements was not achieved during verification testing. Therefore, the engineer and contractor worked together to determine the best installation method and an achievable load transfer ratio.

Additionally, layout and site grading issues resulted in conflicts between the design drawings and the field conditions. As the retaining wall was being constructed, movement and cracking of the wall occurred which alerted the project team to these discrepancies. Original design wall heights were found to be inaccurate and underestimated as the site grading caused surcharge and lateral earth pressures greater than those anticipated.  Additional analyses were performed to establish recommendations for mitigation of the cracking and movement. The engineer issued interim designs throughout the project for approval by the owner to allow the contractor to keep working. This avoided stoppage of work while a final design was completed.  Although the design engineer was not on site full time, the lines of communication were maintained and all parties worked together toward a successful project completion. This case history exhibits the need for continual interaction on complex projects to mitigate risks and avoid litigation.

Taking Your Career to the Next Level by Expanding Your Network

Sharon Krock (WC)

Look up your favorite society or organization and read the bios of their leaders. Do they have more technical knowledge than you do?  Not necessarily.  You are just as smart as they are, so how did they get there?  You can be in those leadership positions and making your own impact within our industry.

Discussion will include guidance on how to present yourself as a leader and how to get involved to build a stronger network, While building your network, you’ll be subsequently developing your personal brand and marketing the firm at the same time. Case studies of failures (better known as learning experiences) and successes will also be presented.