ARCHITECT: Williams Blackstock Architects
UTILITY INSPECTION: Video Industrial Services
Birmingham has experienced a wave of redevelopment in urban spaces. Sain Associates has been fortunate to team with developers who have been active in this space, including Capstone Real Estate Investments’ redevelopment of the former Greyhound Bus Station in downtown Birmingham.
The Greyhound Bus Station was a functional intercity bus terminal for 70 years, with operations ceasing in 2017. Although it underwent an expansion in the 1970s, the site consisted of common challenges found within urban redevelopments, including incomplete construction information, failing infrastructure, and undersized utilities compared to modern-day standards. Additionally, due to this site’s historic nature, the new design had to satisfy the National Park Service’s standards.
Sain first reviewed the available utility information and determined several gaps in information. We hired Video Industrial Services to visually inspect the onsite utilities to prepare an as-built record of the existing utilities. The investigation revealed an undersized and failing storm drainage system. Additionally, the 1970’s expansion was constructed directly on top of the onsite storm system. Sain also inventoried the existing site paving, which exhibited signs of failure and insufficient drainage.
We engineered the onsite storm system to provide adequate drainage to comply with the City of Birmingham Standards. We also recommended new pavement sections for the site and designed new traffic loading conditions and spot elevations to provide sufficient drainage. Sain coordinated our site design with the project architect, Williams Blackstock Architects. They coordinated historical design elements with the National Park Service to meet NPS requirements.
The civil engineer’s role in urban redevelopments does not end following the design phase. Sain routinely coordinated with the contractor, Stewart Perry, during construction as unknown underground structures were uncovered and field adjustments to the design were made.
Ultimately, when providing design services for urban redevelopment and construction, all project team members should expect the unexpected when excavation for new improvements commences.