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Glossary of All Services

Get detailed information on key services provided by GROUND Engineering

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Geotechnical Engineering Services

Drilling and Subsurface Exploration

Rely on GROUND’s depth of experience for shallow and deep subsurface exploration to obtain earth material samples for use in developing pavement designs, borrow investigations, foundation and floor design parameters, and potential on-site select material availability. Simply put, we obtain materials in the field, test and analyze these samples in our central laboratory, and provide design parameters and opinions. In addition to the full range of conventional drilling equipment, GROUND utilizes rigs that accommodate indoor drilling and project sites with limited accessibility.

Foundation and Floor Design Parameters

GROUND can provide a full range of foundation and floor design parameters in support of spread, continuous or pad footings, mat slabs, post-tensioned slabs, drilled caissons, helical piers, screw piles, compacted aggregate piers, micro pile, and driven pile foundation systems. You receive parameters for the type of foundation and floor systems deemed appropriate by us for the subsurface conditions present.

Pavement Design/Pavement Management

GROUND provides pavement design for arterials, collectors, local streets, parking areas, and runways – backed by 30+ years of experience working with AASHTO, FAA, CDOT, MGPEC, FHWA, and various municipality design procedures. After we conduct the subsurface exploration, laboratory testing and office analysis, you receive pavement subgrade information including stabilization parameters, if necessary, as well as applicable asphalt and concrete pavement sections. Laboratory mix designs can also be provided. In addition, we provide a full range of pavement management programs.

Resilient Modulus Testing

This testing is the most accurate way to determine soil support for development of pavement sections and may save money for our clients when it comes to their pavement thickness and subgrade preparation. In fact, GROUND is the only commercial laboratory in Colorado that provides resilient modulus testing. All pavement designs are based on subgrade support; while other companies rely on correlations, we have the equipment to actually perform the test.

Rock Slope Engineering

Do you need to secure a slope? Our engineers will analyze the slope’s jointing and fracturing and provide specific stabilization parameters or design. In fact, we can utilize bore-hole cameras and sonic testing for in-depth slope analysis. Rock slope analysis includes bedding and joint orientation, joint alternation and strength, rock types, RQD, and percent recovery data.

Settlement Analysis

GROUND’s engineering team provides settlement investigation and analysis regarding performance of heavily loaded foundation structures, deep fills associated with commercial developments, roadway embankments, and drainage structures. You get information for foundation improvements or settlement mitigation.

Retaining Wall Design

Soup to nuts, GROUND is your go-to resource for retaining wall design, construction oversight, and QA testing to ensure compliance. In fact, GROUND designs over 100,000 square feet of wall facing areas each year. Retaining wall designs include mechanically stabilized earth walls, soil nail walls, tieback anchor walls, sheet pile walls, caisson walls, wire basket walls, gravity rock walls, combination walls, and soldier pile walls with different wall facing materials.

Slope Stability Analysis

No matter your project, slope stability is critical. Call GROUND to analyze potential or existing unstable slopes – as well as existing landslide areas – using a detailed drilling program, laboratory testing program, stability analysis, and geotechnical analysis. Our engineers will analyze in-situ measurements of soil and rock behavior using pressure-meters, piezometers, inclinometers, transducers, resistivity meters, or deflection measuring devices. Next, we provide parameters for slope stabilization /slope construction.

Seismic Analysis

Municipal building codes dictate that Seismic Site Class must be estimated based on subsurface conditions at a project site or determined by performing actual measurement. GROUND offers a wide variety of seismic evaluation methods, using various methods to provide these parameters in accordance with all applicable building codes.

Failure Analysis

Call us when you need investigation and consultation services, including expertise in failure analysis and expert witness. Our inspectors and engineers analyze the situation and offer the expertise to recommend the best solution for your project. Specific examples include distress evaluation for buildings, foundations, floor slabs, retaining walls, and dams; pavement distress evaluation, with repair recommendations; shoring design, slope failure analysis, monitoring, and remediation; and rock fall analysis and mitigation.

Geotechnical Instrumentation

Look to GROUND for a wide range of geotechnical instrumentation services to support various geological and geotechnical risk assessment evaluations, during design or construction operations that require specialized instrumentation monitoring. Consult with our in-house instrumentation specialist regarding the various methods and equipment needed for your project including inclinometers, vibrating wire piezometers, vibrating settlement plates / cells, vibration monitoring systems, and other specialty systems.

Geophysical Exploration

GROUND can provide various geophysical exploration methods such as Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), Seismic Refraction / Reflection, Crosshole Sonic Logging (CSL), gravity / magnetic / resistivity surveys, Wenner 4-Pin Resistivity, and other modern techniques capable of assessing subsurface voids / anomalies, faults, bedrock and groundwater topography, mining, and unique construction-related evaluations.

Geothermal Consultation

Also in-house, our geothermal specialist will consult with you and your geothermal design team to formulate a custom scope required. GROUND’s subsurface exploration program provides Thermal Conductivity (TC) parameters for various geothermal systems including both vertical loop and horizontal designs. Plus, our in-house team has the proper equipment to complete Thermal Conductivity testing on the thermal grout used when installing the geothermal wells during your project’s construction phase.

Environmental Engineering Services

EPA All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI)

GROUND has a depth of experience with the federal regulation (40 CFR Part 312) useful for individuals and business enterprises seeking to qualify for CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act) liability protection.

Phase I Environmental Site Assessments

Phase I Site Assessments are typically performed in order for a user to obtain protection from potential liability under CERCLA as an innocent landowner, a contiguous property owner, or a bona fide prospective purchaser, utilizing ASTM Standard Practice E1527. This standard practice fulfills the statutory requirements of AAI. Phase I ESAs are most commonly performed during the due diligence period of a property/lending transaction.

Phase II/III Environmental Site Assessments

Phase II and Phase III Site Assessments are commonly performed as a result of recommendations provided in a previously conducted Phase I ESA. A Phase II assessment often involves sampling soil, groundwater, and/or building materials to analyze for various constituents regarding contamination. Phase III assessments aim to delineate the physical extents and limits of contamination based on recommendations made in Phase II assessments and often include remediation plans.

Soil and Groundwater Investigations

GROUND will perform soil and groundwater investigations for projects in order to further evaluate the presence of contamination or other analytes in soil and/or groundwater.

Construction Dewatering, Discharge Monitoring and Sampling

The certified field technicians and laboratory staff at GROUND conduct water sampling, analysis, and reporting sanctioned by the Clean Water Act and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program, which controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into US waters.

Soil Stockpile/Borrow Area Evaluations

This evaluation is required by the Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) Specification 106.02 (b) Contractor Source when desiring to utilize an “unapproved” material source for embankment and subgrades when importing fill materials of unknown origin to a construction site.

Radon Testing

Our field technicians perform short-term and long-term testing to evaluate the concentration of radon gas within a structure.

Construction Materials Testing & Special Inspections

Soils, Aggregates, Concrete, Asphalt

A popular service, our field technicians are cross-trained and certified for lab and field testing of these materials. Materials are tested in the field, in our in-house laboratory, or in our on-site laboratory as appropriate to monitor conformance to the project specifications and applicable codes. Our technicians carry a variety of certifications including ACI, CAPA LabCat, ICC, NICET, PTI, PCI, Troxler, and WAQTC as well as having passed multiple CDOT and OSHA training programs.

Reinforcing Steel Observation – ICC Special Inspection

A special inspection conducted by our certified and experienced inspectors, reinforcing steel observation entails looking at the placement of reinforcing steel to ensure this falls within specifications.

Drilled Piers/Driven Piles/Geopiers® – ICC Special Inspection

Regarding drilled piers, our in-house trained inspectors can provide observation during installation as well as cross-hole sonic logging (CSL) and sonic echo testing – specialized tests performed on the pier after it’s in place. Regarding driven piles, we observe during installation and provide pile-driving analysis (PDA) as well as observation of pile static load testing, again with GROUND’s in-house personnel and our own equipment, which is somewhat unusual in this industry.

Welded/Bolted Connections (Fabrication & Erection) – ICC Special Inspection

Clients rely on us for a broad range of structural steel testing, observation, and inspection. Non-destructive testing (NDT) can include visual testing (VT), ultrasonic testing (UT), dye penetrant testing (PT), and magnetic particle testing (MT). GROUND has an entire in-house department dedicated to welded/bolted testing and inspection. Our in-house structural steel department comprises two degreed welding engineers and many additional on-staff certified weld inspectors. The advantages for you? Lower project costs, a quicker response time, and faster turnaround. As a side note, many projects have requirements for stringent weld inspections; our clients call GROUND time and again, because they have great confidence in our staff’s extensive experience.

Anchors/Embeds – ICC Special Inspection

We inspect anchors and embeds during installation and offer a wealth of experience performing pull tests as well as load testing on various anchor and embed types.

Structural Masonry – ICC Special Inspection

We have certified ICC Structural Masonry Special Inspectors on staff. These GROUND team members hold advanced certifications and are qualified to perform on-site observation and laboratory testing of masonry prisms, grout, and mortar.

Post Tensioning – ICC Special Inspection

As you know, the placement of reinforcing post-tensioning tendons is critical, as is the tendon stressing. To meet building requirements, our qualified inspectors observe post-tensioned tendon installation prior to the placement of concrete, then observe and log the tendon length prior to and after tendon stressing. Many of our highly experienced inspectors have the added qualification of Level 1 and Level 2 Post-Tension Certification.

Fireproofing – ICC Special Inspection

Our inspectors perform fireproofing tests to verify the thickness and density of spray-on applied fireproofing, the substrate conditions, and proper preparation of steel prior to commencement of fireproofing. Inspectors also test for bond strength and to verify procedures for patching. Many of our inspectors are ICC certified.

Floor Flatness/Floor Levelness

GROUND provides floor flatness/floor levelness (Ff/Fl) testing services utilizing a Dipstick 2272 instrument to measure curvature values between reading points. True to form, these services are provided by trained and experienced in-house personnel using in-house equipment.

Moisture Vapor Emissions, Relative Humidity, and pH Testing

Also provided by GROUND’s in-house personnel and equipment, these tests are commonly performed prior to the installation of adhesive-applied, low-permeability floor coverings such as vinyl, linoleum, carpet, wood flooring, and terrazzo. The goal, of course, is to determine vapor emissions, relative humidity, and pH of the concrete prior to the flooring being placed to compare to the manufacturers’ recommended values.

Maturity Meter

How soon can you continue construction on that new concrete floor or drive on that concrete pavement? With maturity meter testing, GROUND’s technicians develop the compressive strength to maturity correlation, install the meters in newly poured concrete, and monitor and document the maturation process.

Paint Thickness Verification

Our Certified Building Inspectors use a digital Elcometer to determine paint thickness. Typically, this inspection occurs at various intervals during the construction process and may take place in the field or during fabrication.

Utility Installation Inspection

Many municipalities, including the City of Denver, require full-time inspection by a third-party engineering firm during storm and sanitary installation to monitor proper construction and connection. Our on-staff, qualified utility inspectors are familiar with these requirements.

NRMCA Batch Plant Inspections

GROUND has the experience and certified personnel to perform NRMCA batch plant and delivery fleet inspections for re-certification, as well as mobile batch plants on a project-specific basis, if required by project specifications, in the states of Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. Batch plant inspections for other states can be provided upon request and a minimum of 6 month’s lead time.

Locating Structure Reinforcement in Slabs and Walls

Our clients often call us for handheld ground penetrating radar (GPR) to locate reinforcement in a concrete slab or wall prior to drilling for electrical or mechanical installations. Other GPR uses in construction include locating underground storage tanks, sewers, and foundations; characterizing the internal structure of floors and walls; examining the internal steelwork in concrete; measuring bridge deck thickness; and locating rebar, tension cables, non-metallic and metallic conduits, fiber networks, in-floor heating elements, and plumbing.

Asphalt and Concrete Mixture Analysis

GROUND performs asphalt and concrete mixture development, analysis and testing for contractors, agencies and other stakeholders. Using the latest equipment in our nationally accredited laboratory, current design and evaluation methodologies for state agencies (CDOT), federal agencies (FHWA, FAA, COE) and local municipalities and districts can be performed for mix trials of concrete and asphalt as well as a wide variety of stabilized and unstabilized subgrade and base materials. Mixture component quality testing is also routinely performed. Our dedicated laboratory staff of certified technicians – using one of the largest laboratory facilities in Colorado – is the right team for your project.

Specialty Services

Construction Management

Whether your project is transportation, commercial, or government, you can rely on GROUND for skillful construction management. Our capabilities are broad and deep. Services include attending pre-construction meetings and reviewing plans, specs, and construction schedules; daily or weekly site visits; ongoing communication with the project team as well as government agencies; and coordinating RFIs, permits, inspections, and change orders. Our goal is the same as your goal: Complete the project according to plan – on budget and on time.

Certified Building Inspection

Is your construction project education, commercial, retail, or mixed-use? Did you know that many municipalities require the building owner to provide certain building inspections? We can offer this specialty service for you, thanks to our large staff of Certified Building Inspectors managed by our professional engineers. Plus, our inspectors are certified by Colorado’s Division of Fire & Safety, which requires certification and third-party building inspections for all K-12 and higher-education construction projects permitted through the State of Colorado.

Pavement Evaluation/Pavement Management

When it comes to pavement, how do you know where to put your dollars? Start with a pavement evaluation of your concrete or asphalt roadway, airport runway, or parking lot. In fact, you can hire GROUND for pavement management, which includes evaluation, recommendations (maintenance plans), and oversight of your implementation program. Many of our clients prefer non-destructive pavement evaluation; we use falling weight deflection and/or ground penetrating radar to perform a visual pavement distress survey of cracking, potholes, raveling, or rutting. With the destructive method, we drill test holes to determine the subsurface soil profile and pavement thickness while obtaining testing samples. Using our in-house laboratory, our technicians determine the characteristics of the site materials and provide a detailed report.

Crosshole Sonic Logging (CSL)

To conduct this specialized service, our in-house engineers use the latest instrumentation to evaluate the structural integrity of drilled piers during construction. In addition to pier integrity, Downhole/Crosshole (DS/CS) can be used for seismic applications to determine shear wave velocity and, subsequently, seismic site class.

Sonic Echo Testing

We perform sonic echo testing after pier construction is complete in order to determine caisson integrity and length. To conduct this specialized service, our in-house technicians use state-of-the-art equipment that emits sonic waves.

Pile Static Load Testing

Static load testing is used to provide assessment of deep foundations when subjected to a predetermined load, which is increased in stages. GROUND is experienced in the observation and documentation of various load testing methods.

Pile Driving Analysis (PDA)

The advantage of Pile Driving Analysis (PDA) when driving steel, concrete, or timber piles is the information you get: pile capacity, tensile stress, compressive stress, hammer energy, damage, and more. This information generally results in reduced pile lengths and minimizes the potential for pile damage. To conduct this specialized service, our in-house engineer performs high-strain dynamic testing of driven piles during pile installation.

Falling Weight Deflection (FWD)

“Non-destructive.” This benefit makes Falling Weight Deflection a popular method to evaluate pavement and sub-grade layers. Thanks to GROUND’s in-house engineering expertise and FWD equipment, we’ve performed deflection testing on thousands of miles of roadway, runways, and parking lots to evaluate pavement layers for private, municipal, state, and federal projects from coast to coast throughout the United States.

Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR)

Our in-house experts and GPR equipment may be the perfect solution for your roadway or runway construction project. Why? Because Ground Penetrating Radar can determine pavement thicknesses at highway speeds. This fast, efficient, non-destructive method to evaluate pavement layers means no traffic lane closures – and no traffic control costs. In addition to pavement evaluation, GPR can be used to locate underground storage tanks, sewers, and foundations; characterize the internal structure of floors and walls; examine the internal steelwork in concrete; locate rebar, tension cables, non-metallic and metallic conduits, in-floor heating elements, and plumbing; measure bridge deck thickness; and locate reinforcement in concrete slabs, walls, bridge deck, and pavement.

Property Condition Assessments

Are you planning to buy commercial property? If so, you need an in-depth inspection process. Our clients rely on our certified, qualified assessors for detailed Property Condition Reports, performed in accordance with ASTM standards. Your inspection and evaluation can include property site and grounds, pavement, structural systems and building envelope, interior building components, mechanical systems, safety and code compliance, and ADA compliance. Plus, included in your final report is our assessor’s estimate of costs for repair or mitigation.

Vibration Monitoring

With our on-staff instrumentation specialist and in-house equipment, GROUND can provide monitoring and reports on vibration-related requirements. Monitoring may include the use of inclinometers, vibrating wire piezometers, vibrating settlement plates / cells, vibration monitoring systems, and other specialty systems.

Holiday (Continuity) Testing

GROUND’s on-staff Certified Weld Inspectors hold advanced certifications – plus we have the in-house equipment – to perform holiday testing on protective coatings. Also known as continuity testing, this non-destructive test detects unacceptable discontinuities such as pinholes, voids, cracks, air bubbles, and thin spots on a wide variety of protective coatings.

Geotechnical Instrumentation

Look to GROUND for a wide range of geotechnical instrumentation services to support various geological and geotechnical risk assessment evaluations, during design or construction operations that require specialized instrumentation monitoring. Consult with our in-house instrumentation specialist regarding the various methods and equipment needed for your project including inclinometers, vibrating wire piezometers, vibrating settlement plates / cells, vibration monitoring systems, and other specialty systems.

Geothermal Consultation

GROUND consults with you and your geothermal design team to formulate a custom scope. GROUND’s subsurface exploration program provides Thermal Conductivity (TC) parameters for various proposed geothermal systems including both vertical and horizontal loop designs. Plus, our in-house team has the proper equipment to complete Thermal Conductivity testing on the thermal grout used when installing the geothermal wells during your project’s construction phase.

On-Site Mobile Laboratories

Our clients appreciate our 15+ state-of-the-art mobile laboratories for materials testing and analysis on the site of their large construction projects. These on-site mobile laboratories enable us to test, cure and store samples, and quickly generate reports. In short, our mobile on-site laboratories provide fast, cost-effective results. Every mobile laboratory is equipped with an array of testing equipment, which empowers our field technicians to conduct and process the majority of testing needs on the project site. Services include soil testing, asphalt testing, concrete cylinder curing, and compressive strength testing.

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