HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Reliable information is always better than unreliable assumptions. Using this time-tested maxim, Earthwork Solutions, LLC (ESOL), a Houston-based engineering firm, has solved the persistent problem of crumbling infrastructure by addressing its root cause – soil stability. By removing unknowns and replacing them with site-specific information, ESOL’s proprietary technology provides the breakthrough sought for decades by the civil engineering and construction industry. ESOL’s solution eliminates the primary source of ground movement problems that damage infrastructure, and the excessive maintenance and repair costs plaguing such investments.
ESOL gives owners, designers and builders the controls they need for soil foundations by removing historical assumptions from the design and construction process. These antiquated assumptions may have been fair 80 years ago when first used, but today they undermine design and construction. ESOL removes these misleading assumptions from all industry process methods, without changing the methods or standard engineering practice. ESOL also provides engineers and contractors the site-specific ground strength properties they need, but have not previously had. All services are project-specific and verified in real-time with routine monitoring practices. ESOL’s advance has been verified on many projects, and sanctioned for use on public projects by various agencies including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Texas Department of Transportation.
“This is a major advance” states Dr. C. “Vipu” Vipulanandan, P.E., Director and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Houston. “Engineers can now design soil construction like we do concrete - and contractors have full control in construction.”
The problem is not the infrastructure itself. Rather, it’s the insufficient soil construction below the infrastructure and consequent ground movement over time. “The industry builds concrete and steel structures well, yet we build that on soil foundations not constructed well” said Phil Tritico, P.E., founding president of ESOL. The soil construction below foundations and pavements is the only element of infrastructure built with assumptions, trial and error exercises, and unknown strength and stability. All other elements of infrastructure are built to engineering requirements with direct verification during construction.
The problem is big, and getting bigger. In the US alone, property damage due to ground movement is estimated at $19 billion annually and growing at a rate of about $0.35 billion/year. Read about the ground movement problem and common misconceptions in a nutshell.
The industry knows well how to determine the strength requirements of soil construction (called “fills”) below foundations and pavements. However, unlike all other areas in practice, the industry historically has not known how to design and build those requirements. Instead, the industry ultimately assumes sufficient strength and stability of fills. “Foundation fills are largely taken for granted,” Mr. Tritico cautions. The ultimate standard of practice in civil design is to ensure that engineering design requirements are achieved in construction with direct verification during construction. Processing assumptions makes this an elusive goal for foundation fills.
Fill construction is done by compacting soils with heavy equipment called compactors. The industry operates with compaction standards for fill construction. These industry standards are sound engineering controls for the most part. The problem in construction is these compaction control standards are typically not achieved, and the compacted strength properties are unknown and often deficient. This occurs because construction processing methods involve assumptions that cause trial and error exercises, inadvertent compromise, adverse compaction, construction delays and unknown results. “These traditional assumptions make it impossible to achieve our compaction standards in construction” says Mr. Tritico. “This deficiency is demonstrated by routine test data collected on all projects.”
ESOL’s signature advance is called SSCE® or Site-Specific Compaction Energy®. It is a true breakthrough that unites standard engineering science and practice. SSCE® provides the compaction performance of any compactor and soil combination. ESOL’s solution simply removes the errant assumptions used in conventional processing methods. This provides engineers and contractors the controls they need - before construction – without changing the process methods they use. This solution ensures compaction standards are achieved in construction, with real-time control and direct verification - just like everything else in construction.
ESOL’s controls enable owners, engineers and builders to irrefutably demonstrate achievement of industry compaction standards, engineering design requirements, and best possible construction performance – all based on standard engineering and direct data proof. “ESOL’s services give all project parties all of the business controls they need,” Mr. Tritico explains. ESOL can also accredit and license qualified engineering service firms – including government agencies - to provide these services with web-based access to engineering control tools.