Building & Earth Partners with UAB on Gardendale Medical Center Project

We are currently providing services for the new $33.9 million University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Gardendale medical center project, located in Gardendale, Alabama. Brasfield & Gorrie is the general contractor for the project, which broke ground in November.

Building & Earth completed a geotechnical investigation for the project in 2016 in support of the design phase and is providing a full range of materials testing and Special Inspections per IBC services during the construction phase of the project.

The 6.2-acre site will encompass a freestanding emergency department as well as a medical office building housing a broad range of primary and specialty care services.

The 26,700-square-foot emergency department will offer a heliport, advanced MRI/CT/X-ray imaging, 12 exam rooms, laboratory services, a bariatric lift and a pharmacy. The 24-hour staff at the department will have the capability to perform trauma care. In addition, the facility will also provide space for decontamination and isolation.

The 38,400-square-foot medical office building will provide primary care, obstetrics, gastrointestinal care, orthopedics, cardiology, neurology, neurosurgery, ophthalmology and specialty care programs.

In addition to Brasfield & Gorrie, other key players are Sims Architectural Studio, architect for the emergency department, and Gresham Smith & Partners, architect for the office building. The facility, which will be located at 960 Mount Olive Parkway, has an expected completion date of spring 2019.

For more information on the project, click here.

Taking to the Field for a Good Cause

For our team, dedication to both our work and the communities we live in are of the utmost importance. This year, we are proud to continue our support of Children’s Harbor and Magic Moments.

Children’s Harbor is a local organization that provides children with serious illnesses and their families with two locations in the Birmingham, Alabama, area where they can find strength, comfort and support during and after hospitalization.

Magic Moments is a wish-granting organization devoted to children in Alabama with chronic, life-threatening diseases. According to the organization’s website, since 1984, it has fulfilled over 4,500 moments for children.

The Children’s Harbor/Magic Moments 13th annual Sporting Clay Shoot, held at Selwood Farm in Sylacauga, Alabama, took place on September 29.

Teams of four spent a half day shooting on Selwood Farm’s multi-station course.

The main mission for both organizations is to provide support for families with chronically ill children. Each year, the proceeds from the sporting clay shoot are split equally between the two organizations.

Next year’s event will be held on September 28, 2018, at Selwood Farm in Sylacauga.

To make a donation or find out more about Children’s Harbor, click here. To make a donation or find more information about Magic Moments, click here.

Building & Earth Names Regional Vice President

We are pleased to announce Marco Vicente Silvestre, P.E., has been promoted to Regional Vice President.

Marco joined the team as branch manager for the Tulsa, Oklahoma, branch more than nine years ago. Over time, He has expanded his role and responsibilities as the Tulsa branch operations have expanded throughout Oklahoma. The branch now has satellite offices in Oklahoma City and Durant. Prior to his appointment as Regional Vice President, Marco served as Regional Manager for the Oklahoma and Arkansas branches. Marco holds a professional engineer (P.E.) license in both Oklahoma and Arkansas. Originally from The Netherlands, Marco attended the Delft University of Technology, majoring in engineering geology.

In his new role, Marco will oversee geotechnical, environmental and construction testing services for the Oklahoma and Arkansas branch offices. He will work with branch managers to develop and implement strategic plans that will guide the direction of each branch. His day-to-day responsibilities will involve leading and directing branch managers toward implementing corporate safety policies, providing professional engineering oversight, mentoring and developing leadership and implementing the company’s vision, mission and overall direction.

“Marco has proven himself to be an effective leader and strong planner,” said Mark Nolen, P.E., Building & Earth Senior Vice President, Branch Operations. “He sets clear, meaningful, challenging goals and expectations that are aligned with those of the overall organization. He also creates a positive work environment where branch personnel are motivated to do their best.”

Building & Earth Announces Arkansas Branch Promotions

Building & Earth is pleased to announce the promotions of Curtis Osier to Branch Manager in the company’s Little Rock, Arkansas, branch, and Michael Evans to CMT Department Manager in the company’s Springdale, Arkansas, branch.

Curtis has been a leading team member in the Little Rock branch for over 3 years. He earned his bachelor’s degree in agriculture, food and life sciences and a master’s degree in soil classification from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. He has over 20 years of industry experience. In his new role, Curtis will be responsible for leading a team of engineers, geologists and engineering technicians to provide reliable construction materials testing and special inspection, and innovative and practical geotechnical consultation services for our clients throughout central and south Arkansas.

“Curtis’s broad experience in the construction industry, strong communication skills and passion for the profession is instrumental in client and market sector diversification and the continued growth of the branch office,” said Regional Vice President Marco Silvestre, P.E.

Michael joined Building & Earth as an assistant project manager. He has over 20 years of combined experience in construction materials testing (CMT) and construction management. In his new role, Michael will be tasked with all scheduling for technicians and lab assignments. He will also have direct, regular communication with Building & Earth’s clients.

“We’re glad to have the benefit of Michael’s expertise and talent on our team,” said Springdale Branch Manager Kevin Hodges, P.E. “We look forward to seeing the progress we make in Arkansas with Michael in this role.”

Building & Earth Completes a Project Milestone with Kansas Wind Farm

Building & Earth recently completed work providing quality control materials testing and inspections on the Cimarron Bend wind farm project, located in Clark County, Kansas.

The project is Building & Earth’s nineteenth wind project overall and our largest project to date.

Project plans included the construction of about 200 wind turbines, associated access roads and underground collection lines, substations and a 13.5-mile-long overhead transmission line.

Electricity generated by Cimarron Bend will be sold to Google and the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities under two, 200MW bundled, long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs).

Learn more about the project by clicking on the links below.

Celebrating Women in Construction Week 2017

This week, March 5-11, is Women in Construction Week (sponsored by the National Association of Women in Construction), so it is appropriate that we take a minute to voice our appreciation to the women of Building & Earth. We are in business today because our founder and CEO, Deepa Bhate, had the will, courage and fortitude to start us down the path to success.

We have succeeded against all odds, and our diversity is certainly one of the building blocks that has made us stronger. Today, women are represented throughout our ranks. 

The construction industry can be difficult for anyone, but at Building & Earth, we appreciate the drive and determination it takes for our female employees to succeed. You go girls! 

Pictured below are just a few of the many women that make Building & Earth a great place to work: Jihane Rougui, staff engineer; Denise Roberts, corporate administrative assistant; Wilma Penick, corporate services manager; Deepa Bhate, CEO and founder; Teri Cochran, office manager;  Kaye Cummins, assistant office manager; Maggie Fehn, staff professional; Sol Ting, assistant project manager; Shannon Thompson, lab technician; Lelia Moore, office manager; Jeannette Patrick, engineering technician; Ginger Miller, office manager; Rachael Heath, project manager; Andi Johnston, office manager; Liz Kenner, engineering technician; and Emily Anderson, field lab technician.


Building & Earth Hires Myles Graham to Join Central Arkansas Location

Building & Earth Sciences Inc. has announced it has hired Myles Graham to take the position of CMT manager and project manager for the company’s Central Arkansas office.

Myles brings over 38 years of construction materials testing and construction observation experience. He served as laboratory manager and project manager with his previous employer for more than 20 years.

“Myles will direct our technicians and our in-house quality assurance and training programs to ensure responsiveness to our clients’ needs and the highest quality services available,” said Curtis Osier, Building & Earth assistant branch manager for the Little Rock, Arkansas, branch.

Although the majority of his experience comes from the local Arkansas area, Myles has worked on projects all over the United States, ranging from shopping malls to large industrial projects. Working in different areas has allowed Myles the unique opportunity to observe and learn techniques to address differing materials and weather conditions that can affect a project. His approach offers greater value to our clients, which, in turn, saves time and money.

Building & Earth Names Jeff Cowen President

Building & Earth is pleased to announce it has promoted Jeff Cowen, P.G., P.E., to president. Cowen, a founding partner of Building & Earth, has held a multitude of positions within the company throughout his tenure, including chief geotechnical engineer, Birmingham branch manager and executive vice president. Prior to his appointment as president, Cowen was chief operating officer.

Cowen will assume the position from Deepa Bhate, chairperson and chief executive officer of Building & Earth. He will be responsible for implementing the policies and procedures that align with the strategic vision, as well as provide oversight for corporate services, such as human resources and accounting.

“I have always been very impressed with the fact that Cowen has the innate ability to produce a high quality of work quickly under tremendous pressure,” Deepa said.

Cowen graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in geology in 1982. He started his career as a technician for a geotechnical firm. Over his first 4 years at the firm, he learned the business from the ground up. His duties expanded from general technician duties to working with the geotechnical drilling crews, carrying out deep foundation inspection and completing general site work troubleshooting.

Cowen earned his engineering degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in 1992, through a program that allowed him to work full time and attend classes at night. Cowen passed the professional engineer (P.E.) exam the same year.

After 15 years at a Birmingham-based firm, Cowen joined Deepa and Robert Adams as a founding partner of Building & Earth. The company saw unprecedented growth over the first 5 years, including the hiring of over 100 employees. As the business began to mature, Cowen was promoted to executive vice president in 2004. He was promoted to chief operating officer in 2007. Cowen has been heavily involved in the financial performance and initiatives to streamline cost throughout the history of the company.

“Early on, Cowen said that if we feel a task is very important to our success, we need to make one person fully responsible for it,” Deepa said. “Using this strategy has been greatly beneficial to the company’s growth and performance.”

Deepa has held the position of CEO and president since 2004. It is now in the company’s best interest to split these positions, so that more focus can be given to strategic development initiatives and to provide leadership and guidance to meet the changing business climate. Deepa will continue to provide oversight and guidance as the CEO to direct leadership and business development and ensure the company’s core principles and values are upheld.

“I have great confidence in Cowen’s ability to take big-picture ideas, break them down and bring them to fruition,” Deepa said. “He has the ability to take a vision and figure out how to accomplish it; and being president will give him more time and freedom to put strategic initiatives into play.”

Deepa said she hopes to move Building & Earth ahead by leaps and bounds with Cowen’s promotion.

“Deepa has had the vision to guide us through both good times and bad, and has taken our company to great heights. My hope is that, by providing leadership to our branches and corporate services, it will free Deepa from the daily operations to allow [greater] focus on the strategic initiatives that will lead us into the future,” Cowen said. “I appreciate the confidence placed in me, and as John Lennon once said, I sincerely hope to pass the audition.”

Taking Our Talents to the Air

Renewable energy, NASA and air traffic control towers – it’s all in a day’s work for Building & Earth.

The Raleigh, North Carolina, branch of Building & Earth is currently involved in a project at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Building & Earth team is working with Archer Western Contracting (AWC) to build an Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) and a Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) Building for the airport.

photo_1The Federal Aviation Administration project includes the construction of the 370-foot-tall ATCT, and the construction of the 40,000-square-foot TRACON facility. The ATCT structure is supported a deep foundation system consisting of 49 drilled shaft piers that are approximately 52.5 feet long. The shafts are reinforced with eight #14 bars with #5 hoops every 12 inches. The test shaft was load tested using an Osterburg Load Cell (O-Cell). The load test showed a capacity of 1,400 kips. The pile cap for the tower is an 80-foot, cast-in-place concrete mat. From the top of the mat foundation, a series of precast panels will be set into place for each level of the tower, which boasts 17 levels to achieve the overall height of 370 feet.

The TRACON building is also a precast concrete building, but is supported on shallow footings and a slab-on-grade floor system. The TRACON building is supported by nearly 20 feet of structural fill that was placed to grade to achieve the planned elevations. The TRACON building will be connected to the new tower by an enclosed, pre-cast concrete “link.”

photo_4“Our team worked very closely with the AWC estimating group to develop the quality control plan, which was one of the most heavily weighed factors in being awarded the contract,” said Kurt Miller, P.E., Building & Earth North Carolina branch manager. “Our scope of service for the project includes performing construction civil, structural and architectural submittal and shop drawing reviews, providing monthly, “over-the-shoulder” quality control peer review, and performing the materials testing and special inspections.”

According to Miller, during the installation of the drilled shaft, the Building & Earth team was performing monitoring of the drilled shaft construction. This included identifying the depth to rock and water, recording drill rates and times, and performing concrete testing as the shafts were placed. Once the shafts were complete, and prior to setting the reinforcing steel, gas and radon testing was performed for selected shafts. The gas testing was performed to determine if explosive gases were present in the shaft, and a 48-hour radon test was performed. The Building & Earth team was also prepared to perform digital videography of the shaft walls. However, due to the presence of shallow groundwater, and the fact that the shafts excavations were sleeved, the videography was not able to performed.

For more information on the project, click here.

Building & Earth Hires Mike Sebren as Project Engineer

img_0833Building & Earth recently announced it has hired Mike Sebren, P.E., to take the position of project engineer in the company’s Little Rock, Arkansas, branch.

Sebren holds a bachelor’s of science in civil engineering from Memphis State University, located in Memphis, Tennessee.

Prior to his position at Building & Earth, Sebren was a state construction engineer with the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department. He worked for the department for 37 years.

“We are excited to add Mike to our Central Arkansas office,” said Curtis Osier, Building & Earth project manager for the Little Rock branch. “His extensive experience with transportation projects, including state and federal highways and bridges, will supplement our engineering and business development capabilities in Central Arkansas and in our Springdale office as well.”