S&ME Wins SC ACEC Awards for Two Projects

Raleigh, NC, February 19, 2013. The American Council of Engineering Companies of South Carolina awarded two ACEC Finalist – Engineering Excellence Awards to S&ME at their annual gala at the Columbia Museum of Art. The awards recognize engineering achievements, which demonstrate the highest degree of merit and ingenuity. S&ME’s Myrtle Beach and Florence offices were honored to accept the following awards.

 Category: Industrial & Manufacturing Processes and Facilities over $10 Million

Florence Battery Recycling Center

Florence Battery Recycling Center

Florence Battery Recycling Center – Solving Foundation Challenges
S&ME provided geotechnical engineering and construction materials testing for a new 500,000 sq. ft. automotive battery recycling facility on a 685-acre site in Florence, SC.  Owned by Johnson Controls, Inc., the $150 million plant is the first of its kind licensed for operation in U.S. in the last two decades. Major challenges of the project included minimizing settlement for buildings with varying load requirements on a site with less than ideal conditions and providing the most sustainable design possible.

S&ME used a variety of exploratory techniques to gather site information and develop the optimal foundation design. Addressing the project’s sustainability goals, S&ME opted to minimize disturbance at the site by developing on-site borrow fill soils. The team employed an innovative soil surcharging program, where large mounds of soil are heaped up on top of the building site, which causes the soils to settle. After the settlement has occurred, the soil mounds are removed and the building is constructed.  Using this technique allowed the use of economical shallow foundations to support most of the building and equipment. Our advanced exploration methods also provided the project’s environmental consultant with the data necessary to optimize the design for the bio-retention basins.

As a result of S&ME’s services, the project was delivered ahead of schedule and the progressive approach eliminated much of the need for more traditional and expensive deep foundations. The owner anticipates the plant will employ 250 staff and help create another 1,000 indirect jobs providing a much-needed economic boost to the area. S&ME’s ability to solve complex problems helped make this project successful for Johnson Controls, the citizens of Florence and the environment.

 Category: Structural Systems, $ 2 Million to $10 Million


Horry County Museum - Burroughs School

Horry County Museum – Burroughs School

Horry County Museum – A Geotechnical Solution to Preserve Historic Structures
S&ME’s challenge was to determine a practical and economical foundation system for the support of the additional structural loads associated with upfitting the former Burroughs School and McCown Auditorium into the new Horry County Museum. The owner’s structural engineer determined the existing unreinforced brick foundations and brick walls could not handle the additional loading or the potential increase in settlement associated with soft, compressible clays without extensive permanent bracing and additional support. This would significantly increase the project costs and possibly prevent the project from moving forward. S&ME was approached by the owner to conduct a geotechnical exploration at the site and provide the structural engineer with recommendations regarding the foundations.

A wide variety of technologies, including standard penetration test borings, cone penetration test soundings, Marchetti dilatometer testing, and hand auger borings were used. S&ME performed settlement analysis and recommended the use of a helical pier foundation system. The helical pier system allowed the new structural loads to be transferred to a deep bearing layer, thus reducing the effect of the loading on the existing foundations and building.

S&ME demonstrated that the use of a non-invasive deep foundation system consisting of helical piers was appropriate for the job. Foundation installation activities were monitored so that adjustments could be made if needed. Employing helical piers mitigated major cost and schedule issues and resulted in maintaining the integrity and appearance of the historic building. The new Horry County Museum will provide the public a new perspective of the rich tradition of the community while keeping a piece of the region’s history intact.