Project Profile: Design-Build Project in Hot Springs Will Save Time and Money

On January 17, 2017, the City of Hot Springs approved a design-build contract with RJN Group, Inc. To learn more about this news, see the official press release here:

Press Release Announcing Hot Springs Design-Build Contract

As we have discussed in prior posts on this blog, design-build is an alternative project delivery method that often saves time and money by streamlining communication and expediting service delivery. After much success with this method on prior projects, including the award-winning West Park Wet-Weather Storage Facility project, RJN decided to offer this project delivery method to long-term partner the City of Hot Springs.

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Finding “The Perfect Pipe”

In early 2017, the Southwest Wet-Weather Control Facility project, completed with RJN Group, Inc. as the primary engineering consultant; the City of Elmhurst as the managing agency; and Boller Construction, Inc. and Archon Construction Company as the contractors, earned recognition as a Public Works Project of the Year in the Structural: $5 Million to < $25 Million Category of the Suburban Branch of the APWA Professional Awards.

The Southwest Wet-Weather Control Facility (SWWCF), serving the southwest area of the City of Elmhurst, is a sophisticated wet-weather flow control system centered around a dry- and wet-weather pumping station that directs flow based on measured flow levels to a dry-weather force main, a wet-weather force main, and a 2.2 million gallon (MG) storage tank located at the City’s Water Reclamation Facility (WRF). The primary purpose of the SWWCF is to provide protection to property owners through additional wet-weather capacity, mitigating recurring basement backup issues.

As part of this project, RJN engineers needed to design a wet-weather force main. After assessing the area where this force main would be built, RJN engineers concluded that the material chosen for the pipe needed to be as light as possible with a smaller profile that would result in less excess material being reamed.  After initially considering fusible PVC, RJN engineers determined that a restrained joint PVC pipe would be the perfect pipe for this installation.

Unfortunately, when this design was first developed, North American Pipe Corporation didn’t make the Certa-Lok PVC pressure pipe in an 18-inch size, which was required for this particular force main. RJN reached out to the manufacturer to request this size be made available, but the manufacturer said they had no plans to place an 18-inch Certa-Lok PVC pressure pipe into production.

In a timely change of events, North American Pipe Corporation announced shortly before the SWWCF project was bid that they would be manufacturing the 18-inch Certa-Lok restrained joint pipe, just in time for construction. This made the Southwest Wet-Weather Control Facility in Elmhurst the first project ever to receive the 18-inch Certa-Lok restrained joint pipe from the factory.

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Industry Trends: The Challenges of Working Around Buried Utilities

Designing large-diameter gravity sewer interceptors is challenging enough on its own, but there are often additional complications that can make completing these designs even more difficult: avoiding buried utilities. Try as we might, sometimes buried utilities can come as a surprise to the design engineer due to inaccurate, incomplete, or otherwise missing information concerning the location and depth of those facilities and more often than not, it is revenue-generating high-pressure gas lines and fiber optic cables. When this happens, the design engineer needs to be particularly resourceful in developing plans that mitigate, manage, and avoid these underground conflicts.

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Technology Spotlight: LiDAR Improves Efficiency and Accuracy

At RJN, we always stay abreast of the latest technologies in the industry. If there is a new technology available that can make our field investigation techniques more efficient, accurate, and cost-effective, then we will definitely pursue it by either acquiring it ourselves or collaborating with contractors who possess the new technology. In both cases, be it RJN or a contractor with whom RJN is working, the teams responsible for using the latest technology will be experts with it, able to maximize that technology’s capabilities.

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What Is an ESOP and How Does RJN Being an ESOP Company Benefit Our Clients?

This month (October) is Employee Ownership Month. As an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) company, RJN Group, Inc. has been celebrating this special month since we became an ESOP company in 1995. We are proud employee owners, and we know that our ESOP makes us a better company, well-suited to serve our clients’ best interests. Here’s why:2016-esop-month-poster

  • Employee-owned firms are more successful. Due to this, RJN engineers and technicians bring an enthusiasm and energy to client projects that enable better communication and an optimistic, determined outlook.
  • Employee-owned firms are more creative, motivated, and productive. As a result, our clients know we will meet deadlines, exceed expectations, and develop novel solutions that are both cost-effective and successful.
  • Employee-owned firms have lower turnover. This strengthens a client’s familiarity with the RJN team, which helps establish positive long-term partnerships. In getting involved with such partnerships, RJN and its clients are capable of great things together.
  • Our employee owners have a vested interest in the long-term success of our projects. As employee owners, RJN’s team is fully invested in the outcomes of all our clients’ projects—to us, a project’s success is as much a professional responsibility as it is a personal achievement.
  • Our employee owners share pride in ownership of the firm, the reputation of the firm, and its projects. This pride ensures accountability. It also helps us provide our clients with the highest quality of services possible because everything we do for you is a reflection of us. There is no disconnection between what the company wants and what the employee wants. This allows for a “One RJN” approach because all of our employee owners are better united in one goal: the success of our clients’ projects.

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What Is Design-Build and Why Is It a Good Idea for Your System?

As you may have heard from us and the press in recent months, RJN recently received national recognition for its design-build project, West Park Wet-Weather Storage Facility, completed for the Village of Wilmette with Boller Construction Company as Design-Build Partner. The APWA recognized this as a Project of the Year.  Learn more about this project on the RJN website, in our press release, and elsewhere on the RJN blog.

On September 26, 2016, RJN CEO/President Alan Hollenbeck, P.E., BCEE, will be presenting at WEFTEC 2016 about this award-winning project and how the design-build model allowed for it to be such a great success. For more details about this presentation, including time, location, title, and description, read our press release about WEFTEC 2016.

In anticipation for this presentation at WEFTEC 2016, we have decided to further elaborate on what “design-build” is and how it can be a very effective means to a successful final project. Continue reading

Industry Trends: The Importance of Multiple Rain Gauge Sites

Within a single study area, the rainfall levels can vary dramatically. For instance, one of RJN’s clients saw 1.56 inches of total rainfall in 50 minutes throughout the center of the study area, but during that very same 50 minutes, the eastern part of the study area had only .1 inches of total rainfall.  Had RJN not been measuring at multiple rain gauge sites, the overall analysis of the entire study area would be both incomplete and inaccurate.  Continue reading

RJN Client Offers “Best Tasting Drinking Water in North America”

AWWARecently, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) honored City Corporation, the water and wastewater utility serving the City of Russellville in Arkansas, as the People’s Choice for “Best Tasting Drinking Water in North America.” This City’s water competed against 22 other locations across the U.S. and Canada that also won local, state, and regional competitions. RJN would like to congratulate City Corporation and the City of Russellville for this distinguished honor.