Posted: October 2016

October 28, 2016

(Re)Building for Hurricanes and Other Natural Disasters: Part 2

Market Street drainage

Market Street drainage

Last week, we wrote about how proper preparation and rehabilitation of structures go a long way to preventing loss of life and property in a natural disaster. In our half-century of work, we’ve engineered safe solutions for historic structures, large industrial-purpose buildings, towns and neighborhoods, and transportation needs. Yet each of these projects comes with different requirements and sets of best practices.

In particular, transportation planning and project execution are highly affected by weather events.

For example, when we work on bridges, we design for resiliency, accounting for the extreme conditions that are brought about by natural disasters such as flooding, impacts from debris, high winds, and earthquakes.

Transportation infrastructure and its ability to perform at its best is as much a need before and after as during natural disasters. As we saw during Hurricane Matthew’s evacuation of the South Carolina coast, the sudden increase in travel needs and potential for dangerous weather can be an instant game-changer after the call is made by the governor.

On our construction projects, we are in close contact with local and SCDOT representatives and in the event of incoming bad weather, all barrels, cones, and temporary signs that can be removed from the project are removed to avoid the risk of becoming projectiles in high winds. For projects on evacuation routes, we always are prepared to meet protocols, which include stabilizing sites and staging the project to allow for no lane reductions as well as seeing that all possible lanes of traffic are opened.

We also maintain 24-hour monitoring of all projects for the duration of the storm. After the storm, we assess the damage and make any emergency repairs that are needed to keep the roadway open. Once the evacuation is complete, permanent repairs are undertaken to the roadway.

In Charleston, low-lying areas frequently are prone to flooding, but our work on the city’s drainage system improved much of the recovery. The City Market area notoriously has been waterlogged in previous storms, but thanks to our work in progress, installation of drop shafts and a new tunnel 120 feet underground, many businesses avoided incoming water and were able to open the day after Hurricane Matthew passed – an improvement over years past. The next phase of the project being designed includes completing the drainage project and improvements to the streetscape.

Steve Kirk, the city’s senior engineering project manager, said the pump station ran for hours and pumped over 50 million gallons of stormwater in total. The project is still yet to be completed, but we’re so pleased at the early successes of the project and grateful that the City of Charleston had a quick and safe recovery.

October 21, 2016

(Re)Building for Hurricanes and Other Natural Disasters: Part 1

Photo of micropiles at Rivers Education Center

627 micropiles (over 10 miles in total length) were installed to strengthen Rivers Education Center’s existing building foundation.

As our state continues work to clean up and rebuild after Hurricane Matthew, we’ve breathed a collective sigh of relief that the damage wasn’t worse. Much of the forecasting focused on high winds paired with the Lowcountry’s notorious flooding.

What Davis & Floyd has found in over a half-century of working across South Carolina is that proper preparation and rehabilitation of structures go a long way to preventing loss of life and property in a natural disaster. Two projects that illustrate this are our work on the Rivers Education Center and barracks at The Citadel.

We’ve written before about the Rivers Education Center’s stability for earthquakes. Those same precautions and more protect the building and our students from hurricane-related dangers.

The original 2-story unreinforced brick masonry school building was built in 1938 and considered unsafe for continued use in 2009. Davis & Floyd designed the restoration to meet all current codes for hurricane and seismic resistance as a school facility, meaning that the wood roof structure was strengthened and properly attached with over 3,000 hurricane/seismic ties and anchors. Floors were braced into the supporting walls and walls were reinforced with shotcrete on the interior faces. Stairwells also were reinforced. The whole building foundation was supported with micropiles for added stability. The building’s restored windows are energy-efficient and hurricane impact resistant. The school is now being utilized by two groups – the Charter School for Math and Science and the Lowcountry Tech Academy.

Across town, we also worked on replacement dormitories for The Citadel campus over a period of several years. The unique shape and style of the barracks buildings with central open quadrangles and covered walkways made the hurricane and seismic/earthquake designs more challenging. Davis & Floyd performed a detailed initial architectural and engineering study of the existing 4-story unreinforced masonry buildings to determine the renovations required to bring them up to code. The study revealed that it was more economical and safer to replace the four barracks with new structures, designed for full code compliance.

The new buildings are constructed entirely of concrete, making them some of the strongest structures in the Lowcountry in the face of hurricane or seismic threats. The new windows are impact resistant, while maintaining the original unique appearance.

With improvements like these and foresight on new projects, proper engineering can help South Carolina citizens stay safe in the face of a storm. We’re glad to be a part of the solution.

Part 2 will deal with best practices and more on flooding and drainage systems.

October 5, 2016

Mr. Davis Joins the Class of 2017

Image of Emmett I. Davis Jr., Chairman of Davis & Floyd

Once again, we’re so proud to share good news out of Davis & Floyd. Our founder, Greenwood native Emmett I. Davis, Jr., will be inducted into the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017. He joins a legion of business and government legends of South Carolina, including Charleston’s former mayor Joseph Riley, Self Regional Healthcare founder James C. Self, and George W. Park, who started the Park Seed Company.

The award nomination comes from Junior Achievement of Greater South Carolina, the organization that runs the business hall of fame. Mr. Davis is the first person from Greenwood to be inducted since 1995.

In his 60-year engineering career, Mr. Davis has made an impact beyond Greenwood – opening engineering offices in 5 cities across South Carolina and undertaking groundbreaking work, innovative techniques, and community-enhancing projects statewide.

“I’ve always liked to build things, do things and see things happen from a child, so I guess it’s in my system,” said Mr. Davis, to Index-Journal writer Adam Benson. “If you don’t enjoy a challenge and seeing things happen, you ought to stay out of this business.”

Mr. Davis graduated from Greenwood High School, received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from The Citadel in 1950, was inducted into the Greenwood County Hall of Fame in 1994, and was presented with an honorary doctor of engineering degree from The Citadel in 2007.

Congratulations to Mr. Davis for this wonderful honor that reflects on a lifelong history of hard work and passion. Much of our company’s success is due to your dedication and much of our state’s evolution is due to your perseverance.

Read more about the history of Davis & Floyd here.

October 3, 2016

BullStreet Hits it out of the Park

Spirit Communications Park

Since 2011, we’ve long been working on downtown Columbia’s estimated $1 billion BullStreet project, which redevelops the old state hospital campus into a mixed-use community of retail, restaurant, office, hospitality, residential, and public space. The development also serves as home to the Columbia Fireflies’ minor league baseball stadium, Spirit Communications Park, which was named Minor League Baseball Stadium of the Year by Ballpark Digest.

“Spirit Communications Park is not only our Ballpark of the Year, it’s also one of the best ballparks opened in the last decade,” said Ballpark Digest Publisher Kevin Reichard. “The ballpark is the centerpiece of serious economic development in Columbia, and an already-great fan experience should only improve once BullStreet development advances.”

The honor comes with compliments on design, fan experience, and the economic impact in the community. Davis & Floyd is proud to have been integral in the stadium’s development as the lead Civil Engineer for Hughes Development Corporation, Master Developer of the whole BullStreet Project, providing surveying, infrastructure planning, and design including streets, sidewalks, water, sewer, storm drainage, communications, underground power, and natural gas along with permitting responsibilities through local, state, and federal agencies.

Our Columbia office had an outing at Spirit Communications Park to watch the Fireflies play the Augusta GreenJackets. Check out our Facebook page for photos of our team supporting a fellow stellar South Carolina team. (And give us a “like” if you haven’t already!)