The structural performance of building materials depends, to a large measure, on the quality of the materials delivered and their placement during construction. To assist the owner, developer, architect, engineers and building officials — Western Technologies performs independent special inspections, construction quality assurance or quality control services, pavement evaluations and engineering, and earthwork observation and testing.
Our resources are extensive and our personnel trained, certified and experienced to provide the right results when you need them.
IBC Special Inspections
Special Inspections, under Chapter 17 of the International Building Code (IBC), are required for commercial buildings and for multiple-family dwellings more than three stories high in many states and municipalities. Building officials may also require special inspections for individual houses and townhouses. Western Technologies works with you throughout the inspection process to make it a simple and straightforward process. If deficiencies are found, we work with all parties necessary to ensure a smooth transition to a completed project or project element.
Our staff of certified inspectors, technicians, quality control experts, and professional engineers provide a value-added service to your project through their experience and knowledge in the construction industry. Western Technologies is an approved agency in all jurisdictions within our service areas.
Reinforced concrete is the only building material manufactured on the job and, as in any manufacturing process, a high-degree of quality control at every stage of construction is vital. Only then will the end product incorporate the desired properties for durable and satisfactory service. Western Technologies' staff of experienced ICC certified special inspectors and ACI certified testing technicians provide high quality service and responsiveness.
- Reinforcing steel type, size and location.
- Welding of reinforcing steel.
- Anchor bolt placement.
- Concrete mix design verification.
- Concrete strength, slump, air content and temperature.
- Use of proper placement and curing methods.
- Concrete strength prior to removing shoring or forms.
- Erection of precast members.
Prestressed concrete is a method for overcoming concrete's natural weakness in tension. It can be used to produce beams and floors with longer spans than is practical with ordinary reinforced concrete. Prestressing tendons (generally of high tensile steel cable or rods) are used to produce a compressive stress that offsets the tensile stress that the concrete member would otherwise experience due to a bending load. Prestressing can be accomplished in three ways — pre-tensioned concrete, and bonded or unbonded post-tensioned concrete. Western Technologies provides services in the following areas:
- Reinforcing steel type, size and location.
- Concrete strength prior to stressing tendons in post-tensioned concrete.
- Prestressing tendons type, size, location and placement.
- Stressing and grouting of tendons.
Spray-Applied Fire Resistant Materials
In order to limit the hazardous spread and damaging effects of fire, spray-applied fire resistant materials (SFRMs) involve insulating structural steel elements from direct impingement of fire and thereby, enabling floor, wall and ceiling assemblies and beams and columns to obtain hourly fire endurance ratings. Designers must select and specialty contractors install SFRMs carefully and effectively to establish a protective system for a structure to comply with architectural, code and customer requirements. Western Technologies can help you with your unique needs.
- Substrate conditions prior to fireproofing.
- Test for thickness, density and bond strength.
Mastic & Intumescent Fire-Resistant Coatings
Intumescent mastic materials or coatings are relatively thin-film products that expand rapidly in a fire to insulate structural steel. Intumescents are usually spray-applied at thicknesses less than 50 or 100 mils and rarely more than 300 mils. Western Technologies assists with the following inspection elements:
- Substrate conditions prior to application.
- Thickness of application.
- Condition of finished application.
- Condition of patching work.
Structural Steel & Bolting
The various structural steel shapes and plates of which structures are composed are fastened together in the field or fabricated in the shop by welding and use of bolts. The inspection process typically begins in the fabrication shop before steel is shipped to the project site. Inspection in the shop allows the fabricator to make any necessary changes or repairs prior to shipping. While bolted connections are the most common type of connection in building structures and inspection is straightforward, they are critical to the effective performance of the structure. Western Technologies conducts the following services:
- Inspection of fabricators.
- Audit of fabrication shop QC records.
- Proper location of steel members.
- Proper application of joint details at connections.
- High-strength bolting materials and procedures.
- Seismic and wind resisting systems.
- Light gauge steel framing inspection.
Structural Steel Welding
Welding inspection requires a broad spectrum of knowledge on the part of the welding inspector — the understanding of welding drawings, welding symbols, weld joint design, welding procedures, code and standard requirements and inspection and testing techniques, to name a few. For this reason the AWS Structural Welding Code requires that the welding inspector be formally qualified and have the necessary knowledge and experience to conduct the inspection services. At Western Technologies our inspectors are certified by the ICC, AWS and ASNT and perform their duties responsively to the needs of the design team and the building official.
- Field Welds
- Ultrasonic Testing
- Magnetic Particle Testing
- Liquid Penetrant Testing
Earthwork / Soil Construction
Western Technologies provides earthwork construction observation and testing services performed by qualified personnel with accreditation from appropriate agencies as required. Earthwork observation is performed in accordance with IBC Chapter 17 (Special Inspection, Soils). The purpose of earthwork observation and testing is to verify that the work is done in compliance with the approved plans and specifications, and, in particular, the recommendations of the project soils report. During earthwork WT's scope of services may include:
- Classification of materials used and encountered during construction.
- Perform laboratory testing of materials, as needed.
- Perform field density tests.
- Provide results of field compaction and laboratory work indicating general compliance with or deviations from contract documents and soils report.
- Observe subgrade and excavation bases below footings and verify materials are adequate for design bearing capacity.
- Verify excavations for proper width, depth and bearing material.
- Document presence of groundwater within excavations.
- Observe subgrade prior to placement of controlled fill.
- Verify site has been properly prepared.
- Verify use of proper materials, densities, and lift thicknesses during placement and compaction of controlled fill.
- Provide reports of subgrade observations indicating general compliance with or deviations from contract documents and soils report.
- Verify cut and fill slopes as specified in the contract documents.
- Verify that footings comply with frost depth requirements.
Wood frame construction is the predominant method of building homes and apartments in the United States and is increasingly being utilized in commercial construction. As with any building material or product, sound construction, fabrication and installation practices must be followed to assure durability and trouble-free performance. Where a more rigorous design methodology is required by the code because the structure is exposed to moderate-to-high winds, seismic, or snow loads then quality special inspections become even more critical. Western Technologies performs the following services:
- Verify continuous load path from roof to foundation.
- Verify anchor bolts and hold-downs.
- Verify construction materials meet the requirements of the applicable ICC-ES reports and approved construction documents.
- Verify wood members for grade, size, species, placement and plumbness.
- Verify allowable hole and notch sizes in framing.
- Inspection of diaphragm including fasteners and fastener patterns.
- Inspection of shear walls including fasteners and fastener patterns.
Adhered Veneer Systems
Masonry veneer systems are attached to the building's structure, but are self-supporting, and typically place no additional load on the building's structural components. In an adhered system, the veneer is attached to the structure using a layer of mortar, without the need for ties. Many local building codes specify which system may be used, based on the building design and the risk of seismic loads, high winds, or other weather-related factors. Western Technologies performs the following inspection related services:
- Observe installation and placement.
- Sampling and testing of mortar when applicable.
Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS) is a lightweight synthetic wall cladding that includes foam plastic insulation and thin synthetic coatings. Some types of EIFS may also include plastic edge trim, water-resistive barriers, a drainage cavity, and other accessories. EIFS can be used on a wide range of buildings including homes, apartments, condominiums, high-rise buildings, offices, malls, shopping centers, hotels, motels, clinics and government buildings. Knowledge of proper system installation is crucial to understanding EIFS. Western Technologies inspectors are certified by the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry (AWCI).
- Verify substrate conditions.
- Inspect application and protection of components.
Pile & Pier Foundations
By their very nature, pile and pier foundations are critical elements of any structure. As pile and drilled pier design loads and sizes continue to increase, the inspection assumes more crucial significance. Western Technologies has the geotechnical experience and capable personnel to inspect pile and pier installation assuring compliance with the design professional's soil report criteria.
- Pile verification and inspection in accordance with the applicable IBC and approved soil report and design documents.
- Pier verification and inspection in accordance with the applicable IBC and approved soil report and design documents.
In-Situ Load Tests
When an in-situ load test is necessary to address any concerns regarding the structural stability or load-bearing capacity of a building, structure, or appurtenance thereof, Western Technologies engineers can work with the registered design professional in development of effective and expedient test procedures.
- Development of appropriate load test procedures.
- Perform load testing in accordance with IBC requirements.
Proprietary Materials or Systems
Evaluation reports from the ICC Evaluation Service™ are a preferred resource used by building officials to verify that building products comply with code requirements. The evaluation reports provide information about what code requirements or acceptance criteria were used to evaluate the product, how the product should be installed to meet the requirements, how to identify the product, and how to conduct special inspection of the installation. Western Technologies' services include:
- Inspection pursuant to ICC-ES report requirements.
- Post-installed adhesive anchor systems (Epoxy Bolts).
Construction Quality Assurance
Western Technologies' quality assurance programs, established for public agencies throughout the southwest, emphasize the most cost effective practices. Whether it is a major water or wastewater project, bridge or roadway construction, underground utility work, or an airport improvement project, Western Technologies possesses the requisite expertise and capabilities to effectively establish and maintain a quality assurance program that is in strict compliance with the project requirements as well as local, DOT and/or federal mandates.
Western Technologies provides these assurance services:
- Quality assurance plans.
- Specification development and review.
- Materials review and verification for acceptance.
- Testing and inspection schedules.
- Independent assurance testing.
- Source inspection.
- Acceptance laboratory testing and evaluation.
- Agency (federal, state, local) compliance.
- Final quality assurance report and project closeout.
Construction Quality Control
Construction quality control is an important part of every project. Quality control involves observing the construction progress and comparing what is being built to the project plans and specifications. Western Technologies personnel discuss any discrepancies identified during our observations with on-site personnel as well as the design team in order to determine the appropriate course of action. The experienced personnel at Western Technologies know how critical time is during this process and strive to do our part in keeping your project on schedule.
Western Technologies provides these quality control services:
- Quality Control Management
- Quality Control Plans
- Testing and Inspection Schedules
- Submittal Review
- Materials Testing and Inspection (source and on-site)
- Quality Control Reporting
- Quality Control Charts
- Test Evaluation
- Final Quality Control Report and Project Closeout
Western Technologies offers Pavement Management System (PMS) consulting and performs a variety of engineering support functions including pavement evaluation and design, geophysical surveys, nondestructive testing, and condition surveys. We have extensive experience in pavement analysis and design as well as materials testing and the selection of appropriate pavement types and treatments for different pavement structures under various conditions — from residential to arterial roadways, local streets to interstate highways, and general aviation airports to major hubs.
We provide an integrated team of consultants with special expertise in all aspects of pavement engineering. Western Technologies understands that owners desire to make the most sensible, cost-effective decisions regarding their pavement infrastructure, and we provide them with the essential information and advice to do so.
Western Technologies services include:
- Pavement Evaluation / Condition Reports
- Pavement Management System Implementation
- Pavement Materials Engineering
- Inspection and Testing Services
- Pavement Maintenance Plans
- Failure / Forensic Investigations
- Engineering Analysis and Design
- Life Cycle Cost Analysis of Design Alternatives
Western Technologies provides earthwork construction observation and testing services performed by qualified personnel with accreditation from appropriate agencies as required. Earthwork observation may be associated with IBC Chapter 17 (Special Inspection, Soils), special grading, excavation and filling, pile or pier installation. The purpose of earthwork observation and testing is to verify that the work is done in compliance with the approved plans and specifications, and, in particular, the recommendations of the project soils report. Western Technologies possesses the expertise and equipment to provide earthwork recommendation based on the plans, specification and soils reports. During the earthwork our scope of work may include:
- Review geotechnical / soils reports, project grading plans and specifications.
- Review of on-site and imported materials to determine their suitability as fill material.
- Inspection of the bottom of foundation excavations.
- Observation of drilled shaft, auger-cast or driven piles installation.
- Perform in-place density tests according to project or agencies requirements, i.e., DOT, ASTM D1556 (sand cone method), or ASTM D6938 (nuclear method).
- Provide fill placement observation and testing during construction, on an intermittent or continuous basis as required to establish proper execution and conformance with the specifications. This includes testing (e.g., field density tests) on-site soil for subgrades to receive fill, fill placement on building pads, backfill placement in trenches, roadways, parking areas, walkways and subgrade.
- Provide observation and testing of retaining wall backfill.
- Review and provide laboratory testing of soil, backfill materials, aggregate base, under slab granular cushion, sand bedding, etc. Develop compaction curves for materials encountered.
- Monitor excavation and stockpiling of suitable fill material from mass excavation, existing aggregate base and the crushing of existing concrete for use as aggregate base.
- Review subgrades for floor slabs or sidewalks.
- Provide observation, compaction testing for building pad preparation, construction and provide pad certification.
- Prepare final grading reports summarizing all observations and test results.