Geotechnical and Geological Engineering Services

Geotechnical and Geological Engineering Services

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Buildings

A subsurface exploration and evaluation is essential in development and design approaches utilized in the pre-construction phase of your commercial or public building structure.

Major issues can arise from adverse geology, topography, groundwater or other site characteristics as well as unique structural requirements — it is critical to a successful project for geotechnical issues to be resolved with practical solutions.

Throughout its history since 1955, Western Technologies has accumulated project experience involving a wide-range of subsurface construction issues. From the simple to the complex, we have provided expert guidance and solutions to bring many building projects to successful completion. Western Technologies' staff will thoroughly evaluate, sample and test on-site soils, and multiple geological and geotechnical factors that are involved in your construction project.

High-rise
The complexity and economics of high-rise building foundation systems present unique challenges and uncertainties. Once construction of the foundations and structure are complete, time continues to influence performance. Consolidation settlement can cause excess movement of structures. Soil relaxation around piles and down-drag loads affect capacity and settlement of piles and pile groups.

Western Technologies has the considerable regional experience with complex foundation systems of high-rise buildings. Experience is crucial because foundation systems are dominant elements of the cost and schedule of high-rise construction projects.

Considerations in high-rise construction
Geotechnical considerations in high-rise construction involve a broad range of issues — effects of ground movement due to adjacent structure excavation; large diameter drilled shaft construction; soil-structure interaction of raft foundations; pile group effects and load reduction factors; and negative skin friction in piles, among others. Western Technologies often reduces uncertainties associated with deep foundations through load testing so considerable benefits can be obtained while minimizing additional risk.

Going up usually means going down too. Underground parking and facility services levels are a part of almost every new high-rise. Western Technologies' knowledge and history within our communities provides us with unique knowledge of excavation and groundwater conditions and potential impacts to and from adjacent properties.

Commercial
High profile commercial building projects require the expertise of a firm that that will work closely with the client to minimize foundation issues and meet budget expectations. Attention to details sets Western Technologies apart, such as factors affecting the performance of interior and exterior slabs and walkways, especially at high traffic areas and in areas of unique or critical floor coverings.

Western Technologies' engineers are well versed in evaluating commercial building site soils for suitability and in providing solutions and alternative measures when existing soils are found to be problematic. We have performed literally thousands of geotechnical investigations for commercial developments throughout the southwestern United States. Western Technologies' geotechnical engineers help design engineers and contractors construct buildings that will make a project successful.

Industrial
Western Technologies provides geotechnical and materials testing services for all types of industrial facilities and buildings. We have become experts at meeting the specific needs and requirements of industrial developments. Industrial buildings can be especially complex and require innovative designs to meet the needs of today's industries.

Before a building project ever breaks ground, a geotechnical engineer must evaluate site subsurface conditions and provide information for foundation design, slope or any other ground modifications that may be required. Western Technologies has a proven track record in quality subsurface evaluation services including analysis of slope stability, settlement and capacity of shallow and deep foundations.

Our qualified staff has become expert at meeting the specialized needs of the industrial community. Whether the project requires super-flat floors, or minimal differential settlement between connected structures, Western Technologies' combination of experience and technical expertise allows us to provide recommendations that can help make a project successful.

Residential
The value of a residence is dependent upon the foundation it is constructed. Since inception, Western Technologies has helped deliver value in residential construction — from master planned communities to subdivisions and custom homes.

Preventative services
Western Technologies provides residential geotechnical services to national and regional homebuilders seeking to save money by identifying and providing remedies to potentially damaging soil conditions — reducing the severity and frequency of problems. Whether the soils consist of hydro-collapsible or expansive conditions, our history in the southwest allows us to provide recommendations that limit risk and meet budget expectations.

Problem resolution
Western Technologies is recognized for extensive expertise in discovery of soil-related problems associated with residential structures — both during and after construction.

 

Transportation

Fast becoming the major development issue of our time is the construction and efficient use of transportations systems. Engineering expertise in design, evaluation, and management is essential.

Whether a road, freeway or airport, the need for the design community to respond promptly and cost-effectively is critical. With design build becoming the procurement method of choice for many agencies, these issues become magnified, and the need for even quicker response becomes imperative.
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Expertise
Our professional team at Western Technologies has decades of innovative, practical and cutting-edge experience providing the right approach and solutions associated with these project types. Geotechnical engineering services to resolve complex issues on transportation projects have been the driving force to our success in support of transportation systems for more than 60 years.

Airports
For decades, Western Technologies has performed services on continuous expansion and reconfiguration of runway systems at some of the busiest airports in the world. These services include airfield site characterization to define subsurface conditions both in active airfield areas and in potential airfield and concourse expansion areas. Also included is borrow area characterization to evaluate the volume and properties of the materials available at potential borrow sites.

Essential geotechnical data management to maintain, analyze and display geotechnical and pavement data is one of our company strengths. The format and presentation of test results and analysis in a Western Technologies' report provides for quick and efficient agency review and use by design engineers.

Roadways
Many federal, state and local roadways have been designed and built following Western Technologies professional design recommendations and utilizing our on-site quality control and laboratory testing capabilities. Our experience ranges from the most traveled highways, such as Interstates 10, 15, 17, 25 and 40, to the most remote roadways in the Navajo Nation.

For over 60 years, we have been involved in a wide range of roadway development and rehabilitation projects across the southwestern United States. Our support staff is continuously dedicated to remote projects throughout our region, and we have related expertise ranging from federal parks, national forests and monuments, interstate highways, county and city roads, to regional mall parking lots. Our diverse experience and knowledge of local conditions and agency requirements allows Western Technologies to provide pavement design and maintenance recommendations that will meet client and government agency needs.

Leader in asphalt rubber and "green" pavements
Western Technologies is recognized as a world leading firm in the use of asphalt rubber mixes. We also have state-of-the-art experience with porous pavements and use of recycled materials in asphalt and portland cement pavements. Our experience and understanding of the engineering properties of these materials gives Western Technologies the ability to provide recommendations for GREEN pavements for use by governments and private sector clients.

Evaluation, rehabilitation and preservation
Surface-life of roadway elements should be extended to the fullest. Evaluations of existing pavements to determine condition and remaining pavement life are performed continually by Western Technologies pavement engineers. Pavement Management Systems (PMS) are designed by our engineers for facilities ranging from airports to residential communities. We can assist in the design of short or long-term maintenance programs, the selection of approved materials, and even contractor selection.

Bridges
Foundations for bridge structures are usually subject to special loading conditions such as vehicle live loads, vehicle impact loads, earth and water pressure loading, and even high wind loads.

Knowledge of local conditions
Local geologic and environmental conditions will also influence the performance of bridge foundations and may require specialized techniques during subsurface exploration and pile installation. Over the last six decades, Western Technologies has accumulated an in-depth understanding of local soil conditions and geology, and the skill to get quality samples for laboratory testing and design analysis.

For bridge construction projects, we have wide-ranging experience providing reliable and economical recommendations throughout the southwestern United States.

Design Build
Design build systems are used to minimize project risk for the owner and reduce delivery time by overlapping the design and construction phases of a project. When led properly, design and construction professionals work collaboratively to complete their respective tasks on parallel schedules.

Major project experience and resources
Western Technologies has completed some of the biggest design build projects in the southwest. That experience has allowed us to allocate the appropriate number of local engineers and additional personnel needed to complete design and construction analysis within the expected schedule. Each of our main offices has a local accredited laboratory, capable of completing the testing needed for quick and accurate design decisions.

 

Utilities

Large-scale utility projects present a unique variety of geotechnical issues. Coal-fired power plants, high voltage transmission facilities, air cleaning scrubber towers and water infrastructure projects each have specific requirements from a loading, logistical and site characteristic standpoint.

Optimization
For major utility installations throughout its region, Western Technologies' experienced geotechnical engineers have helped to optimize site plans and foundation systems with thoughtful design recommendations. It is imperative to consider a wide range of approaches when evaluating and considering the "right" solution to any utility modification, expansion or new construction project.

Power Plants
Future power generating facilities in the southwestern United States will range from newer alternative energy projects to traditional fossil fuel plants.

Design challenges in power plant projects extend from unique wind loads to traditional heavy construction considerations. For example, large-scale traditional power plants will likely use combinations of drilled shafts and shallow mat foundations, requiring geotechnical engineering oversight to achieve the economies of mixing these systems.

Nuclear facilities
Western Technologies has provided continuous services at Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Facility for the past three decades. Services include recommendations for temporary storage of spent fuel rods, new pipelines and transmission lines, and even security upgrades.

Coal-fired facilities
Geotechnical expertise is extensive at Western Technologies in the construction of power generating facilities, including coal-fired power plants. This experience is important for placement of foundations in bearing materials which support very large static and vibrating loads.

Scrubber facilities
The air quality of emissions is one of the primary issues of existing power generating facilities. The addition of air cleaning scrubbers to generating facilities can pose several interesting geotechnical concerns. The addition of loads to existing stacks and construction of new stacks inside the plant create a range of geotechnical issues for new and existing improvements.

Western Technologies has successfully addressed these geotechnical issues for many of these facilities and plants. We assist our clients with the planning, design, examination and testing required, answering many of these questions that need resolution in scrubber projects.

Transmission Lines
Subsurface rock and soil characterization to define construction issues are essential components of planning a high-voltage, gas or water transmission line. A local understanding of geology and geotechnical engineering approaches relevant to the system are necessary to properly evaluate these subsurface conditions for constructing a system of towers or excavation condition for pipelines.

Western Technologies has provided geotechnical services for numerous transmission systems, substations, and pump stations. Our ability to perform in remote locations and unique situations has been one of our engineering strengths. In addition to subsurface investigations that lead to constructible foundation systems, we provide on-site laboratory services assisting in the economical construction of the systems.

Data management
Significant distances and numbers of sites can be involved in major transmission line projects. Western Technologies collects and presents data in formats that will aid the owner in long-term cost minimization.

Water Treatment / Reclamation
Water in the southwest is a valuable commodity to preserve and protect. Adverse soils and other below ground conditions can prolong project permitting and escalate construction costs in water infrastructure projects.

Western Technologies has provided geotechnical services for a variety of infrastructure projects including subdivision water mains, improvements to water treatment and distribution facilities, storm water facilities (detention ponds and sewers), and water treatment facilities.

Recently, we have assisted the design engineer by providing recommendations for new security upgrades to our water treatment and distribution facilities.

Western Technologies is experienced in providing quality soils and foundation analysis to provide the highest confidence that the water treatment facility will function as designed, thereby preserving this most precious resource.

 

Structures

With over 60 years in its service region, Western Technologies is uniquely qualified to assist with structures that place special demands on geotechnical conditions. These types of structures include dams, embankments, towers, flood control elements, landfills and retaining walls.

Use of natural geological materials for earth structures can involve greater uncertainties than use of fabricated materials and require more comprehensive knowledge of strength and stiffness of soil, load modeling and hydraulics of groundwater and surface water flow. Western Technologies has major project experience with earth structures and can provide detailed recommendations regarding use of geosynthetics, geotextiles and other stabilization methods.

Dams / Flood Control
Drought conditions and water shortages in the western United States make it essential to protect and even enhance water storage capabilities — the lifeblood of growth and development.

The team of engineers and geologists at Western Technologies has successfully completed geotechnical evaluations for both new dams and the upgrading of older existing dams. Our experienced and qualified engineers have helped to stabilize mine tailing pile slopes as well as assisting in management enhancement of fly ash and bottom ash lagoon dam stability at power plants.

Western Technologies is experienced in both static and pseudo-static stability analysis, along with the capability to perform finite element seepage analysis.

With the rapid population growth in the southwest, flood protection has become a critical component of any building construction project. Damage from flooding due to faulty foundation design systems have cost lives, property and money.

Since 1955, Western Technologies has provided geotechnical expertise for construction of flood control structure design including drainage infrastructure such as levees, dams, retention basins, channels, spillways, and outlet structures. Our highly experienced staff provides the needed quality assurance to insure that flood control structures meet all regulatory requirements and design expectations of our clients.

Towers
Communication tower sites are located in all the major cities and on remote mountaintops throughout the southwestern United States. The ability to perform the necessary geotechnical services under these unique conditions is a primary project objective.

Western Technologies has provided services where field engineers were ferried by helicopter to and from remote tower sites — providing geotechnical services for communication towers for many leading cellular telephone companies as well as other communication companies across the southwest.

Data management
Western Technologies strives to produce a geotechnical report that is easy to read and conforms to our standard format.

Walls
A wide range of wall designs and applications exist in an ever-changing construction industry. Some alternatives are viable while others can become a significant safety hazard.

Economic alternatives
Western Technologies has extensive experience evaluating retaining wall types and their applications. We can help identify and compare a variety of functional and economic solutions for your project.

Our engineers take the time to understand your construction objectives. Then, we incorporate detailed site constraints and geotechnical evaluations to find a wall system that satisfactorily meets your objectives.

Soil-Nail walls
Western Technologies has successfully completed preliminary and final design for temporary and permanent soil-nail wall systems for commercial, private, and public transportation projects in our service areas.

Our engineers and technical staff use state-of-the-art computer-aided analysis along with our vast local experience to successfully design temporary excavation support along with permanent underpinning and support systems.

 

Forensic Engineering

Failure investigations are becoming more commonplace than is desirable for a variety of projects and structures.

Whether due to natural causes, poor construction methods, or improper use, placement, or selection of materials, failures can cause significant consequential damages to the user in a variety of ways.

Western Technologies has a very strong reputation in the evaluation of possible failure scenarios, determination of root causes of failure and design of successful remedial approaches to these unique situations.

Importantly, not all forensic work deals with failure, and can involve change in site conditions and interpretation of regulatory guidelines. Our principal engineers and scientists have experience in helping resolve complex issues and serving as expert witness.

Slope Failure Analysis
Western Technologies operates and provides technical services within some of the most rugged mountain regions found within the continental United States. We are frequently asked to perform stability analysis on failed slopes.

Performing stability analysis on slopes after they have failed may seem like closing the barn door a little too late. However, accurate and comprehensive analysis, including collection and testing of samples, understanding the groundwater conditions at time of failure, and use of the correct modeling technique all help to determine the cause of failure. Once the cause is accurately determined, repairs can be efficiently designed, and subrogation of responsibility can proceed.

Related experience
Typical project types include roadway cuts, buildings sited on steep hillsides, mine cut / fill slopes and landslide mitigation — just a few project types requiring innovative solutions provided by Western Technologies engineers. Limit equilibrium, finite element and probabilistic methods are all used to model the complex conditions often found in mountain areas.

Pavement Rehabilitation
It is essential that surface-life of custom designed pavement elements perform to expectation. Evaluation of existing pavements to determine their condition, remaining pavement life and appropriate rehabilitation measures will help preserve your investment.

From pavement section to asphalt concrete mixture design, Western Technologies has expert capability to evaluate existing pavements and make recommendations pertaining to repair or reconstruction alternatives. A thorough understanding of pavement products and performance in our regional climates — on parking lot, roadway, highway and airport applications — allows us to deliver exceptional value and credibility.

Investigation and repair
Through a coordinated effort of our engineers and field and laboratory technicians, Western Technologies is able to provide complete laboratory testing services during investigative stages and follow-up inspections of the repair process. Our pavement engineers have extensive experience in assisting clients in the budgeting, bidding and implementation of repairs.

Remediation
Remediation for structural settlement is often too conservative and over-engineered. Western Technologies can formulate and evaluate remediation alternatives and perform construction monitoring services to help deliver a cost-effective solution for your project.

Compaction grouting
Compaction grouting is often used for settlement control and structural re-leveling whereby a low mobility grout is pumped into the ground to displace and densify surrounding soils. This technique is utilized for a range of applications including collapsible soils, poorly placed fill and liquefiable soils.

Western Technologies has many years of experience in compaction grouting and has successfully provided application of this engineering technology on numerous projects that have experienced significant foundation movement — allowing structures to both remain in operation and be permanently stabilized.

Expert Witness
Western Technologies has served as Expert Witness on a variety of legal cases. With engineers in local offices and with local experience, we can provide credible opinions on the standards of local practices over the last 60 years.

Western Technologies has served as Expert Witness on some of the largest multi-plaintiff and class action suits in the states of Arizona and Nevada. Working for both plaintiffs and defendants, we have unique experience and abilities to provide expert services throughout our range of expertise.

 

Specialty Services

Our specialty services represent a wide spectrum of non-routine geotechnical design activities. Included in this category are vibration monitoring and seismic analysis, excavation design and slope analysis, and hazard assessment.

Six decades
The benefit of more than six decades in the southwest has afforded many opportunities for Western Technologies to address unique site and application challenges with creative solutions. Our very experienced group of engineers from multiple offices converge on the more challenging problems to provide cost-effective solutions and exceptional client satisfaction.

Vibration Monitoring
Western Technologies has provided vibration monitoring services for evaluation or background data for various clients in the States of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico.

Western Technologies has also provided these services to high-tech industries — such as the semi-conductor industry — that require precise control conditions in their manufacturing environments.

Excavation Design / Slope Analysis
Excavation design can be as simple as providing geotechnical recommendations that fit the conditions of the site — to technical design for deep excavation stability.

Western Technologies has outstanding experience providing recommendations that are practical solutions. Our engineering team considers solutions that include new technologies and construction methods, and then we provide the solution which best fits the site conditions and other project requirements. We emphasize constructability. The best recommendations in the world would not get the project done if they are not buildable.

Seismic Analysis
Western Technologies pioneered incorporating seismic testing into geotechnical evaluations utilizing state-of-the-art technology to provide our clients the opportunity to maximize their construction dollar. Determining the site shear wave velocity profile using ReMi is one method to establish the sites classification based on the latest IBC. The IBC site classification profile can have a significant impact on the project's construction costs.

Western Technologies utilizes seismic refraction technologies to determine the hardness of subsurface rock. This allows contractors or developers to know what difficulties will be encountered prior to site excavation.

Hazard Assessment
Western Technologies has worked on numerous hazard assessments including subsidence fissures, soil liquefaction, dislodged boulder rolling, and landslides.

The stability and analysis of suspect soil and/or earthen environments is crucial as a preventative measure against property loss and/or damage. Our aptly experienced geologists and geotechnical engineers are ready to respond to perform site study hazard assessments.

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