Diversifying with GIS & CE&I

In last week’s blog, we highlighted the history of civil and traffic engineering at Sain Associates, and on Tuesday, Joe Meads shared the history behind our surveying team. Today, we’ll explore the story behind geographic information systems (GIS) and construction engineering and inspection (CE&I) services.

As we celebrated our firm’s 40th anniversary in 2012, we also celebrated another company milestone by adding GIS to our list of services. GIS involves computer software that maps and analyzes geographical data. There were several benefits of offering GIS services because GIS supported existing traffic, site, and survey projects, but it also served as a standalone service.

GIS allows you to visualize, question, analyze, interpret, and understand data to reveal relationships, patterns, and trends. We use GIS to support the following engineering activities: converting GIS data to and from CAD, generating aerial clips and 3D contours for CAD projects, creating GIS-based analysis and report maps for planning projects, and developing conceptual drawings for proposed transportation and site projects. Another aspect of our services is offering direct GIS support to a number of cities, counties, and utility organizations. Those services range from general GIS data development and maintenance to GIS software upgrades to other GIS technical support assistance.

Sain recently expanded its GIS services into offering broadband planning consulting, which helps government agencies address gaps in their internet connectivity. In rural areas of Alabama, broadband internet availability is limited or not available. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Elmore County took a proactive approach to address their broadband gaps by partnering with Sain to perform a feasibility study. The study helped identify stationary public education internet hotspots for students participating in distance learning and who had no access to broadband service.

Soon after the addition of GIS, we added CE&I to our list of services. Seeing a need to provide CE&I services for municipalities, we grew our CE&I team in 2014.

Sain provides any type of CE&I for roadway projects, including resurfacing, widening, bridges, signals, drainage, and sidewalks. Over the past several years, Sain has provided CE&I to a number of municipalities and ALDOT for capacity improvements, new location roadways (including utilities), subdivisions, bridge installations/replacements, and paving projects.

Our CE&I team is comprised of a project manager, professional civil engineer, and field inspectors that represent the owner of the project during construction. The project manager serves as the liaison between the owner, contractor, and any involved agencies or parties. The professional civil engineer provides decisions and alternate design(s) if deviations from the original plans are required during construction.

The inspectors are on-site daily to monitor and document the contractor’s construction operations. This includes testing, inspecting, and completing documents to ensure the quality of the workmanship and materials. Quantities are measured and documented for monthly pay applications. The quantity over-runs/under-runs and the number of working days are also tracked on a monthly basis. For projects with federal money, our CE&I team prepares any additional documents that are required.

By offering GIS and CE&I, we have diversified our business which allows us to make a bigger impact in the engineering industry. We are proud to have been able to support communities and help clients for over the last 50 years.