Blog

Category: Issues

October 25, 2018

East Court Avenue Streetscape Project

Davis & Floyd has enjoyed working with the City of Greenwood on several South Carolina Department of Commerce Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funded streetscape projects, including Riley, Magnolia, West Court, Oak, and Maxwell Avenues and Main Street. These projects have increased pedestrian traffic and created an aesthetically unified Uptown Greenwood through consistent use of materials in sidewalks, crosswalks, decorative light poles, and urban tolerant landscaping. These improvements have had a very positive impact on stimulating economic development throughout the Uptown.

For East Court Avenue, the latest streetscape project, we have completed the design and permitting phase and started construction. This streetscape also focuses on making the pedestrian experience safer and more enjoyable. East Court Avenue will have new paver accented sidewalks and handicap ramps, which will allow easier access and mobility. Along the south side of the avenue, landscape “bumpout” planters will be added to create a physical buffer between automobile and pedestrian traffic. These planters also will provide additional shade and visual appeal. We selected plant material that matches the surrounding areas of Uptown Greenwood. Additional lighting and a security camera will promote safety for nighttime activities.

These streetscape projects have faced a unique set of challenges due to the use of US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding. The funds were acquired through the South Carolina Department of Commerce’s CDBG program. According to the South Carolina Department of Commerce’s website, “The program addresses a variety of community and economic development needs in areas of the state that do not receive CDBG funds directly from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).”

Our Davis & Floyd team has been involved in all stages of the grant process for these streetscapes, starting with the original application process, which involves producing a conceptual design and construction budget that serves as the basis for the grant amount. Once awarded, our design team develops construction documents including drawings, details, and specifications. During the development, items in the design need to be identified and quantified as either eligible or ineligible for the grant. The CDBG has strict regulations that govern what these funds can pay for within a project. These same items also need to be tracked during the construction phase and separated out from matching funds to make sure all payments and materials are accounted for and used within the requirements of the CDBG.

These projects and grants have been vital to the development of Uptown Greenwood. Our Davis & Floyd team, while working with the City of Greenwood, has developed a successful strategy for procuring and implementing these grants and projects.

East Court Avenue Streetscape Project

East Court Avenue Streetscape Project

October 3, 2018

Evolution of Environmental Issues

Tommy Jordan, PE, Vice President, Environmental Market Sector LeaderBy Tommy Jordan, PE, Vice President, Environmental Market Sector Leader

Following WWII, my father, Major H. Jordan, went to work as an ironworker and later as a pipefitter/boilermaker for Greenville, SC, based Daniel Construction Company. By the mid-1960s, Daniel had built more than 250 manufacturing facilities in South Carolina alone for such firms as Celanese, DuPont, Milliken, Monsanto, JP Stevens, and Textron. During those days, industrial developers had a relatively short list of requirements for selecting a plant site including being near water and electrical power, buildable property on high ground, and a community of people looking for good paying jobs. Davis & Floyd, Inc. did the engineering for some of the projects. The environmental challenges that industrial developers are faced with today have drastically changed since the team led by Charlie Daniel, our co-founder Emmett Davis, Jr., and Bailey Phelps, president of Fiber Industries, encountered during the design and construction of the Fiber Industries plants across the Carolinas.

The process has been ever changing since the EPA was founded in 1970 when regulations like the Clean Air and Clean Water Act became legislation. Each decade since, more and more rules have been added to the equation. Permitting costs became part of the budget and unpredictable time frames to get permits were plugged into the schedule.

During the previous administration alone, from 2009 through mid-2016, the EPA published over 3,900 rules, averaging almost 500 annually, and amounting to over 33,000 new pages in the Federal Register. Mountains of regulations created growing concerns from states and affected entities about the exponential complexity, costs, and legality of EPA rules.

Today, to assist in the selection process, Davis & Floyd helps economic developers advance their sites by doing various forms of due diligence to scrutinize the site before marketing it. Those assignments range from limited desktop studies to a comprehensive list of SC Department of Commerce’s site certification requirements that in some cases carry a price tag exceeding six figures. The catalog of deliverables includes a property survey, wetlands delineation and plat, a Phase 1 ESA, threatened and endangered species as well as cultural resource studies with specific agency concurrence, a geotechnical study, zoning, floodplains, general transportation and utility assessments, and a proposed site development plan with an engineer’s estimate. This wealth of information is used by industries to implement their search for the best site location to meet their needs.

Once selected, we lead the permitting and planning effort to address environmental issues like air, wastewater, stormwater land disturbance NPDES, hazardous wastes, and solid waste. Today’s development may include addressing zoning issues, conducting public hearings, designing stormwater retention/detention, providing wetland mitigation, banking, buffering, and making sure that facilities are designed with future compliance in mind.

Davis & Floyd has and will always focus on the economic growth of South Carolina within each of the market sectors we serve, adding value to our clients so they can be successful, while leaving our beautiful State a great place with a clean environment to live in the future.

January 30, 2018

Michael Horton to Participate in Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce Ask the Expert Event

Michael V. Horton, Chief Engineering Officer

Michael Horton, Chief Engineering Officer

Davis & Floyd Chief Engineering Officer Michael Horton, PE, CFM will participate in an “Ask the Expert” event hosted by the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce. He will join Laura Cabiness, PE, director of public service for the City of Charleston, to discuss the Master Drainage Plan and future drainage plans for the Charleston area.

The event will be held Feb. 21, 2018, 11:30 a.m., at the Charleston Maritime Center.

For more information or tickets to the event, visit https://www.charlestonchamber.org/events/atecentral/

October 24, 2017

Engineer vs. Professional Engineer

You might be surprised to learn that not all engineers are licensed professionals. While many people graduate with engineering degrees, they cannot claim the title of “Professional Engineer” (PE) unless they have completed the multiple necessary steps to earn this designation as competent and well-trained engineers.

Engineers were not required to become licensed until the early 1900s. The Wyoming Legislature passed the first-ever law mandating that professional engineers become licensed. While the bill was met with opposition, it ultimately was passed and signed into law in 1907 with other states soon following suit.

According to the National Society of Professional Engineers, PE licensure is the engineering profession’s highest standard of competence, a symbol of achievement and assurance of quality. In South Carolina, PEs are licensed through the State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors, which is under the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

Why does it matter if engineers are licensed? Engineers are responsible for most everything around us. There are not many people who would knowingly drive over a bridge, enter a commercial or public building, or drink from a public water supply designed by an unlicensed professional. These projects require the highest level of quality and competency in the practice of the profession as lives depend on it. Likewise, people would not want to purchase, sell, or dedicate rights to real property without the work having been performed by a licensed surveyor. In South Carolina, the statute states, “In order to safeguard life, health and property and to promote the public welfare, the practice of the profession of engineering and surveying in this state is subject to regulation.”

Once the certification is earned, it also must be maintained through continuous professional development throughout the PE’s career. It is certainly beneficial to the engineer to do so. Many private companies and federal, state, and municipal agencies require that higher-level engineering management positions be filled only by licensed PEs and, while regulations vary from states to state, many also require individuals be licensed in order to teach higher education affiliated with a particular practice.

When working with engineers, take the time to confirm they are licensed professionals. It could save your project time, money, and potentially lives.

June 29, 2017

Evolution of Industrial Sites

Industrial sites and parks, which are large areas of land developed for industrial purposes, have had a major impact on South Carolina’s economy for years. After World War II, there was a concerted effort to attract more diverse industries to the state to provide jobs for returning veterans. Some may remember the State Development Board – the predecessor to what we currently know as the Department of Commerce. Part of their long-term mission was and is to assist communities prepare for industrial investment and the resulting job creation. Historically, as a state, we have been identifying and developing industry-ready properties for many decades, but the process has evolved.

In the early days, this type of development moved much slower than it does today. There was ample time to identify a suitable piece of land for an industrial site, survey the land, and if utilities weren’t there, providers and developers had plenty of time to get them there. Sadly, that’s not the case today. We move fast and so do our projects. In today’s world, manufacturing companies have to avoid risks associated with moving or opening an entirely new facility. Risks are usually in the categories of time and budget.

It’s easy to assume that a large area of land would make a great industrial site, but that’s not always the case. There are many factors that must be weighed, but two to consider when identifying an industrial site include:

1. Identify an existing site where operations have closed and repurpose the land. One benefit is that the required utilities typically are already in place. A challenge generally lies in existing environmental issues from previous operations that need to be mitigated.

2. Identify property that has been undeveloped that would be suitable for industrial development. For undeveloped property, there are many important factors to consider, including if utilities exist on the site or if they need to be brought in. If it’s the latter, that adds risk in both time and money. Not only is there a large cost involved in bringing in water, power, etc. to a site, but it takes more time due to coordination with various utility providers.

While there are many more details that go into developing an industrial site, these keys items are crucial in the beginning of the process and so is having the right team in place from the beginning to help evaluate the viability of a site. It’s important to work with a consulting engineer that understands not only land development, but also utilities, regulatory agencies, transportation, environmental issues, etc. At Davis & Floyd, our experienced industrial team has assisted in the development of sites and parks throughout the state and stands ready to help in the development process from start to finish.

Upstate South Carolina Industrial Site - April 2017

Upstate South Carolina industrial site – April 2017

Upstate South Carolina Industrial Site - June 2017

Upstate South Carolina industrial site – June 2017