To Our Clients And Colleagues Regarding COVID-19

To our clients and colleagues:

The team at BSK Associates continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing changes that it is bringing. The recently issued shelter-in-place orders define most of our services as essential services, therefore we remain available to support our clients during this challenging time.

We are focused on maintaining communication with our clients and supporting their projects while observing the directions of the shelter-in-place orders. We will continue to place the highest value on the safety of our team and our responsibility to do our part in reducing the spread of COVID-19 throughout our communities. In recognizing the need to minimize potential exposures, we have asked employees who can effectively work from home to do so while ensuring our availability and responsiveness to client requests.

Please reach out to any one of the talented and knowledgeable professionals at BSK should you have any questions or if any assistance is needed.

Stay safe and join us in supporting the interests and future of our communities! BSK Associates

Soil Compaction Testing

Soil Compaction Testing

nuclear density gauge test

Soil Compaction Testing is a crucial step in the construction process. Ground that has not been properly compacted can be detrimental to the structural integrity of buildings, retaining structures, roads and pavements, just to name a few. Essentially, proper soil integrity could make or break your structure. Since soils are so critical to a structures reliability you will find that soil compaction testing is required most cases. For instance, most regulatory agencies such as, the Department of Transportation and American Society for Testing and Materials all require laboratory testing. Additionally, you will find that the California and Uniform Building Codes, the geotechnical engineer, and structural engineers will also require soil compaction testing.

Why Compaction Testing is Important

There is a very good reason for all the necessity. Basically, if soil tests are not conducted you risk shifting, cracking, and even the collapse of your building. Roadways could also result in disaster by cracking, sagging, potholes, or even sinkholes. In the end, it’s vital for the success of your structure to ensure you have reliable soil compaction testing. Moreover, having a company that has a seasoned and knowledgeable staff, as well as testing facility, is critical. Not only will a more experienced staff save you time, it will also save you money.

How soil Compaction Testing Works

A soil compaction test begins with samples. After excavation a field technician will collect soil samples. An experienced field technician will gather samples from several locations to attain representative samples of various soil types that may be on site. Each soil type, or mixture thereof, has different properties and can act in different ways.  A skilled lab technician will be able to recognize the potential properties of each, and be able to determine best spots for soil extraction. It can also be valuable to take a sample from the stockpile. This is usually done if the technician notices that the stockpile soil has different properties than the other site soil, or because several soil types are being blended together.

Once at the laboratory the process of determining the optimum moisture content and maximum dry density will occur. A lab technician will start by sifting and moisture conditioning of the soil. Once the soil is prepped the soil will go into a cylindrical mold to be compacted at various moisture contents and weighted.

The test is to see how much of the material can be compacted into the same volume at the various amounts of moisture. When a material is too dry it can not compress very tightly. As more water is added, it is able to compact in better and better, so it’s dry density (unit weight calculated removing the water weight) is increased. Once it hits the limit that the material will allow, the water starts displacing the material and the dry density will start dropping, creating a “curve”. The peak of this “curve” is considered the maximum dry density and the optimum moisture for that specific material. Again, it is of vital importance to have an experienced lab for this process.

Nuclear Gauge Testing

The last key step in soil compaction testing involves the use of a soils nuclear gauge. Back at the job site, a field technician uses a nuclear gauge that has two radioactive isotopes (roughly the same mass as the head of a pin), and emits extremely small amounts of radiation into the soil. Inside of the machine there are sensors that detect how much of the radiation makes it back to the machine. One of the sources is for detecting the hydrogen content, which is a direct correlation with the moisture content. The other source is for detecting the wet density.

Using both of these readings, the nuclear gauge calculates the in-place dry density. This number is compared to the maximum dry density that was determined by the lab testing and is expressed in the form of a percentage. Typical requirements are between 90% and 95% of the maximum dry density. If the material changes even slightly, it could drastically affect the results indicating failure. An experienced field technician will notice the change and pull another sample for a curve rather than have the contractor keep trying to work the material wasting time and money.

To find out more about soil compaction requirements in California click here.

Why BSK Associates

Soil Compaction Testing

As mentioned previously, having seasoned field and laboratory technician is key in this process. BSK Associates has been in the industry for over 53 years. Our history in the industry  ensures that our clients receives accurate results in a timely manner. We are a dedicated team focused on developing practical, cost-effective solutions for our clients, and working toward constant improvement within our profession.

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BSK strongly believes in giving back to the communities in which we work. We make sure our community involvement goals have a positive impact on the communities which we serve; because, in the end it’s all about community.

Want to be in the “know” on upcoming BSK events, community service, and projects?
Like us on Facebook.
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Have a question about the services we offer? Check out our webpage @bskassociates.com.
Looking for a Great Places to Work? You’ve found it! We are proud to be Great Place to Work certified. Check out our job opportunities page for more details.

BSK: Gem Lake Dam Project

BSK: Gem Lake Dam Project.

BSK photo from helicopter.

BSK: Gem Lake Dam Project.

We are excited to announce that BSK conducted a Geotechnical Engineering Investigation for Gem Lake Dam!

Gem Lake is located on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range near June Lakes. This rural area is a hiker’s paradise with beautiful trees and lush vegetation.

Gem Lake Dam was originally built in the 1920’s and is a key element of the Rush Creek Hydroelectric System. In fact, Hydroelectric Dam Systems produce 8-12% of the nations power, making these dam systems all the more important. Additionally, this particular hydroelectric system is considered an eligible renewable energy resource! Hence, all the more reason that BSK is so proud to be a part of this project.

Part of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requirements is to have the ability to control water levels of these lakes. Thus, ensuring that in the case of a natural disaster, the public will be safe. Southern California Edison (SCE), who own the 3 dams that make up the Rush Creek hydroelectric system, is in the process of retrofitting these dams to guarantee the safety of the residents who live downstream of the dam.

How Are We Helping.

Gem Lake Dam is a reinforced concrete Arch Dam which consists of several arches. BSK’s responsibilities included the Geotechnical engineering investigation for the proposed valve replacement for Arch 8. This consists of; field exploration, laboratory testing, and engineering analysis. Basically, BSK will be assessing the condition of the soil below the new valve. Additionally, we will provide recommendations to the project designers for moving forward. Field exploration on this project began October of 2019. Site reconnaissance included geological survey, rock sampling, and ground resistivity testing. In addition, we conducted laboratory testing on the samples. These tests included; unconfined compression testing of rock; basically measuring how much force is needed to crush the rocks.

 

Gem Lake History and Findings.

BSK: Gem Lake Dam Project.

This will not be the first time the dam has seen work over its almost 100 years of existence. In fact, shortly after its conception, the dam began to show signs of deterioration. Upon investigation it was found that a high water/cement ratio was used, causing the efflorescence and deterioration. This finding, along with other concrete studies, is why the American Concrete Institute now recommends a water/cement ratio of no more than 0.45 for poured concrete. In turn, these types of regulations and findings led to the conception of what we do at BSK.

Why We Love It.

Earthquakes, floods, fires, and other natural disasters have taught us what needs to be done to keep the public safe. We have learned what our soil, buildings, water,  and roads need to withstand natural disasters. Due to this, we have enacted rules and regulations. BSK has Engineers and Geologists that are trained and educated to know how buildings need to be erected; what soil/foundation standards need to be in place. We have inspectors that are licensed to know if a buildings weld joints will react accordingly in an earthquake.  We have laboratories that can test if the water system has been exposed to an outside contaminant. In essence, our work at BSK deals with keeping the public safe. Above all, we take pride in knowing that what we do on a daily basis at BSK makes our communities safer and stronger!

BSK has Engineers and Geologists that are trained and educated to know how buildings need to be erected.

BSK: Gem Lake Dam Project.

Lastly, don’t forget to take a look at the view of Gem Lake Dam from a helicopter here.

Follow Us and Like Us: 

BSK strongly believes in giving back to the communities in which we work. We make sure our community involvement goals have a positive impact on the communities which we serve; because, in the end, it’s all about community.

Want to be in the “know” on upcoming BSK events, community service, and projects?

Have a question about the services we offer? Check out our webpage @bskassociates.com.

Looking for a Great Places to Work? You’ve found it! We are proud to be Great Place to Work certified. Check out our job opportunities page for more details.

 

 

BSK: National Safety Preparedness

BSK: National Safety Preparedness Month

September is National Safety Preparedness Month and at BSK Associates we take safety and preparedness very seriously.

Developing a Plan.

There are several ways we can prepare for emergencies and natural disasters. However, planning is the best way to start. Department of Homeland Security advises that you begin by finding out the types of disasters  that could occur in your area. Next they recommend that you discuss your plan with your family and friends. Decide how you will stay up to date on emergency alerts and warnings. Choose a shelter plan. Figure out which route you will take to evacuate, and how you will stay in contact with your loved ones.

The next step recommended, when forming a clear and concise emergency plan, is to figure out your specific needs as a family.  Additionally, you need to have a plan in mind so that you will be able to meet those needs. Do you or a family member require certain medication? Does anyone have a disability? Do you have pets or children in school? If you do have children, it is recommended that you download the Emergency Plan for Parents guide. This is a free guide provided by FEMA. Additionally on this website you will find several other free downloadable guides that will help to aid in your emergency plan.

Lastly, you should always practice your plan as often as possible. This is especially important if you have children. Being prepared and practicing for a disaster helps children feel safer if there truly ever is a disaster.

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Safety Preparedness Month.

BSK is about community.

BSK strongly believes in giving back to the communities in which we work. We believe the well-being of our communities has a direct bearing on the success of BSK, and our employees. We make sure our community involvement goals have a positive impact on the communities which we serve; because, in the end it’s all about community.

Want to be in the “know” on upcoming BSK Associates events, community service outreach, and projects?

 

Have a question about the services we offer? Check out our webpage @bskassociates.com.

Looking for a Great Places to Work? You’ve found it! We are proud to be Great Place to Work certified. Check out our job opportunities page for more details.

 

BSK Pays it Forward

BSK pays it forward at the Central California Food Bank

BSK Associates Fresno staff volunteered at the Central California Food Bank Saturday, September 14th, 2019. Our volunteers assisted by preparing for local distribution for our communities; such as building school bags, packing meal boxes, and sorting food donations for 5 local counties.

“Once you start getting into giving back, it’s addictive.” Said Carmen Chacon, Office Administrator at BSK.

Central California Food Bank serves Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Kern, and Madera counties. The work they have done in their fight against hunger is impressive. The program feeds approximately 280,000 people each month. Moreover, the Central California Food Bank has several programs set up to help reach everyone in the community. Some programs include the Mobile Pantry Program, set up to distribute food in rural communities in the area. The Neighborhood Market Program, which sets up a free farmers market type event in disadvantaged areas of the community. Or, the BackPack Program, which supplies local children with a backpack full of food that will last through the weekend.

BSK Pays it Forward

BSK Pays it Forward

Their fight against hunger is a cause BSK Associates wants to help fight! Not only did BSK employees show up to the event but they brought their children and family too.

“I found more joy in seeing all the children working so hard and having fun”. Chacon said.

BSK strongly believes in giving back to the communities. We believe the well-being of our communities has a direct bearing on the success of BSK and our employees. Our community involvement goals are to have the most positive impact on the communities which we serve and, have our employees continue to make a difference in their communities through personal, office and firm sponsored activities.

 

 

BSK rides Olli to Work

BSK rides Olli to Work: first ever co-created, 3D printed, self-driving shuttle.

Featuring Morgan Antaramian, Geologist at BSK Sacramento office.

BSK rides to work in Olli, first ever co-created, 3D printed, self-driving shuttle. Olli was developed by Local Motors and launched for the first time in National Harbor, Maryland in June of 2016. This August, Olli made his introduction at the White Rock Corporate Campus business park, in the City of Rancho Cordova, home to BSK’s Sacramento office.

Olli takes innovation to the next level! This environmentally friendly, self-driving shuttle also acts as a personal assistant during your journey. For instance, curious about the weather forecast, ask Ollie. Want some advice on local restaurants, Ollie can assist. Olli comes equipped with IBM Watson LoT technology to help answer any questions you may have during the duration of your ride, and Olli can be customized for the riders and cities in which he is located.

Featuring Kevin Grove, BSK’s Environmental Group Manager of the Sacramento office.

This 8-passenger shuttle can see 360 degrees and its riders are always being monitored by a human. Thus, making Olli a relatively safe way to get around. The Rancho Cordova Olli has an attendant on board with an emergency brake for added safety.

“Riding Olli is an excellent solution for the first/last mile dilemma that has plagued public transit. I can not wait to see this at airports, sporting events, and downtown!” Kevin Grove, Environmental Group Manager of the Sacramento office, said.

Rancho Cordova has the privilege of being the first city to test Olli’s capabilities in a business park setting. Will it cut down on traffic? Will it be easier to get to work or go on a lunch break? Well, we don’t have the answers to that question yet, but we sure do know it’s fun to ride!

 

Follow Us and Like Us: 

BSK strongly believes in giving back to the communities in which we work. We believe the well-being of our communities has a direct bearing on the success of BSK, and our employees. We strive to make sure our community involvement goals have a positive impact on the communities which we serve because in the end it’s all about community.

Want to be in the “know” on upcoming BSK Associates events, community service outreach, and projects?

Looking for a Great Places to Work? You’ve found it! We are proud to be Great Place to Work certified. Check out our job opportunities page for more details.

Marsh Creek Road Bridge

Marsh Creek Road Bridge BSK’s Northern Regional Manager and Project Manager Tim Rodriguez

The Marsh Creek Road Bridge has made national news! 

The American Public Works Association (APWA) designated the Marsh Creek Road Bridge Replacement Project as the National APWA Public Works Project of the Year for 2019 in the category of Transportation for less than $5 million. This comes after the original APWA selection for being Project of the Year in Northern California in the same category.
The project replaced an existing 29.5 ft. wide by 44.5 ft. long steel girder bridge that was considered “Geometrically Intolerable” with a 91 ft. long California Bulb-Tee Girder featuring two 12 ft. lanes and two 8 ft. shoulders.

BSK’s contributions to the project included support source inspection of six 88’3” long girders, in addition to quality assurance materials testing services for earthwork, concrete, and hot-mix asphalt construction elements, including offsite plant sampling and testing. All work provided by BSK was as a subconsultant to Substrate, Inc., and under Hill International’s direction.
According to, BSK’s Northern Regional Manager and Project Manager for the project, Tim Rodriguez, “BSK is so proud to be a part of this national win. The team we were part of was a pleasure to work with and coordinated the quality assurance services we provided in a thorough and proactive manner. Many thanks to all of the BSK staff that provided support to the project and contributed to its successful completion.”

Support services from BSK were completed by their Livermore Branch and all work was performed in accordance with the Contra Costa County Quality Assurance Program and Caltrans Standard Specifications.

The $4.9 million Marsh Creek Road Bridge Replacement project, located in an unincorporated area east of Contra Costa County, was completed in less than a year; adhering to a strict environmental permit deadline during the process. All the while maintaining a flawless safety record of zero accidents or incidents. BSK looks forward to being part of the Contra Costa County project delivery team in the future!

We want to connect with you!

Want to hear about other projects we have in the works? Check out the latest news on our webpage.

Looking for a Great Place to Work? Well, look no further, BSK is certified as a Great Place to Work! We are always looking for diverse talent to join our team. Look at the jobs we have available at BSK today.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

 

GREAT PLACE TO WORK

BSK is certified as a Great Place to Work!

Happy employees make happy clients, and we couldn’t be prouder to be certified as a Great Place to Work 2019!

How did we earn this?

Our employees shared in our engagement survey and 81% of them said we were a GREAT place to work. Not a good place. Not a nice place. But a GREAT place! We also completed an intense culture brief where we shared our activities as a values-driven company to ensure we provide quality professional services to you.

More than 90% of BSK employees shared that…

  • People are treated fairly regardless of age, race, sex, and sexual orientation.
  • We trust our people.
  •  We are flexible, safe, and welcoming.

Do you or someone you know want to be a part of our team?

BSK Associates is always seeking diverse talent to join our team. We strive to recruit professional employees committed to success and growth of our company and themselves.
Want a career path with progressive steps and a company willing to train you? Upload your resume here if you want to grow with us. You’re not going to be doing “just a job” at BSK. And when you’re happy with us you can bring your friends through our robust employee referral program.

Remember to Like/Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

Happy Retirement, Terri Graham!

It is with mixed feelings that we announce the retirement of our beloved and much appreciated employee, Terri Graham. Although she will be deeply missed, we can only feel happy for her as she enters this new chapter in life.  It would be impossible to sum up her achievements over nearly 20 years of dedicated service, but she will always be remembered as the hard working, committed, and friendly project coordinator in our Sacramento Analytical Laboratory, and a true example to follow. Staff in our Sacramento office gathered to celebrate Terri’s farewell.

Congratulations Terrie!!

Say hello to the Dirtbags from our Livermore office.

No really, that’s their name. Catch them every Friday night as they end their work-week with the Livermore Area Recreation and Parks District (LARPD) Softball League.