Tectonic Engineering & Surveying Consultants P.C.
- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: Sean O'Reilly
- Estimated reading time: 6 mins
Founded in 1986, Tectonic Engineering & Surveying Consultants P.C. is a multifaceted engineering firm, employing a staff of more than 500 professionals, including civil, structural and geotechnical engineers; geologists; environmental, homeland security and site acquisition specialists; as well as surveyors, planners, construction managers and inspectors. Tectonic’s diverse team and vast array of in-house services makes the firm one of New York City’s leading consulting engineering companies, tackling some of the city’s most massive projects.
With nearly 30 years in the field, Tectonic has developed the management, administration and best practices proven to deliver high quality, timely and cost-conscious projects. Widely acclaimed for successful project delivery, Tectonic has earned ranking in the ENR Top 500 Engineering Design Firms consecutively since 2001, including number 158 for 2014.
Mid-Atlantic and East Coast markets
Based in Mountainville, New York, Tectonic was established in 1986 by Don Benvie and Rich Kummerle. Over the years, the company has landed numerous landmark projects throughout the New York City metropolitan area, but Tectonic’s reach extends well beyond New York. The firm has a dozen U.S. offices, primarily along the East Coast in New York, New Jersey, Virginia and Florida; the company also has four offices in the Southwest and California.
With six locations in New York, Tectonic focuses on construction engineering services for the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions, as well as architecture and engineering design for infrastructure, land development and wireless telecommunications projects in both the downstate and upstate New York markets. Tectonic’s scope of service is diverse, covering the areas of transportation, infrastructure, wireless telecommunications, energy, water resources, education and health care. But the company excels in construction engineering services for the transportation and infrastructure markets and architecture and engineering design for wireless telecommunication companies such as Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint.
“We do a good amount of our work in the transportation and wireless telecommunications markets,” says Don Benvie, president of Tectonic. “It’s where we concentrate a lot of our energy.”
Merging infrastructure and environmental services
An environmental component often goes hand in hand with these projects and Tectonic is well equipped to handle the full spectrum of environmental services. These services encompass three main areas – environmental remediation, cultural resources management and environmental compliance, including ecological services.
“We perform the pre-design, investigation and permitting for projects, as well as monitoring during construction, both for cleanup sites and for infrastructure projects,” adds Pete Sutherland, vice president of Tectonic and director of environmental services.
In this specialty, the firm frequently works with entities such as the New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) and the New York Department of Environmental Protection (NYDEP) in construction management with a focus on environment-related services.
“For transportation infrastructure projects, we’re involved with rail and mass transit in New York City and highway/bridge projects upstate,” says Benvie. “There’s usually an environmental component for monitoring the handling and disposal of excavated materials, as well as monitoring of air quality, noise and groundwater.”
This includes monitoring contaminant plumes and the quality of water resulting from dewatering activities involved in a project. Since 2008, Tectonic has delivered infrastructure and environmental engineering on one of the largest commuter rail extension projects New York and the rest of the United States has ever seen – the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) East Side Access (ESA) project. “This is a multibillion dollar job,” details Benvie. “It’s part of the extension to bring the Long Island Railroad to Grand Central Station.”
While the completion date is years out – estimates say 2022 – Tectonic has been on the job since 2008. “It’s beginning to hit the peak of the construction schedule with ongoing activities including the completion of most tunneling and mining work,” says Benvie. “The current scope includes concrete, and shotcrete for lining the tunnels, building track work and traction power facilities and construction of a commercial retail mezzanine level to service commuters. Tectonic has been involved with other mass rail projects in New York City including the Second Ave. Subway and soon to be completed No. 7 Line. “We’re doing most of the special inspections and third party materials testing and documentation on ESA,” he adds. “Tectonic is also providing oversight and construction phase geotechnical and environmental engineering support.”
Special inspections and testing
Aside from rail transport, Tectonic is one of the primary providers of construction engineering services when it comes to other types of massive infrastructure projects including roads, dams, bridges and more. The firm is currently on the new Tappan Zee Hudson River Bridge Crossing project slated for completion in 2018.
“We’re providing quality control inspection services for the construction as sub consultants to Tappan Zee Constructors LLC,” notes Benvie. “Tectonic is responsible for all components of special inspections and materials testing, including: pile driving inspection and monitoring; steel inspection and testing of steel components; geotechnical inspection of earthwork, subgrades and backfill; CIP and precast concrete inspection and testing; and asphalt paving inspection and testing – which is all being done through an on-site materials testing laboratory that Tectonic established early on.”
The new Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing is designed for a 100-year service life and will be mass-transit-ready. It features twin three-mile structures, each with 1,200-foot cable-stayed main spans and 350-foot steel girder approach spans.
The new bridge provides eight general traffic lanes, emergency lanes, extra wide shoulders for express bus service, a dedicated bicycle and pedestrian path on the northern span, and scenic overlooks with anti-climb fencing and security cameras. A new toll plaza will include at least three highway-speed E-Z Pass lanes. The project also includes plans for the approximately 35 existing buildings associated with the bridge.
“Work is continuing on the pile foundations of the bridge structure in preparation for erection of the superstructure,” observes Benvie. “Our focus this year will be inspecting construction of the bridge piers, two main tower supports for the suspension cables and then starting the work on erecting the bridge deck once the piers are in place. Tectonic will continue our role overseeing special inspections for construction of both the bridge substructure and superstructure.”
Besides the public sector, Tectonic has a large backlog of work on private sector projects in the metro NYC market. Although work is winding down at the World Trade Center where Tectonic has been involved since the rebuilding began, Benvie notes that Tectonic’s involvement on the Hudson Yards project on Manhattan’s west side should hopefully provide a long-term opportunity.
First in federal contracting
For 2015, Benvie says Tectonic’s backlog of work is at an all-time high. One factor that has facilitated this healthy backlog is the recent award of a five-year General Services Administration (GSA) contract schedule, which provides a streamlined mechanism for federal agencies to award contracts to Tectonic.
“The GSA schedule can also be used by state and local agencies for emergency work associated with disaster relief,” adds Benvie. Tectonic has been an active player in coastal disaster relief work in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. “We have an agreement with the New York State Governor’s Office for Storm Recovery (GOSR), providing environmental engineering and construction management related to the cleanup activity on Long Island, Staten Island and upstate areas all the way to Binghamton,” says Benvie. “This has been ongoing for a while, with the combination of three storms that hit in rapid succession in 2011 and 2012; Irene, Lee and super storm Sandy.”
Tectonic is performing environmental assessments of damaged properties to help the agency determine the state of repair. “We’re also working on environmental compliance of a buffer-barrier system to shield inland properties against future storms,” adds Benvie.
With the recent award of the GSA contract schedule, a wide range of state and federal agency jobs on its backlog and private sector land development work starting to ramp up after a long dormancy following the recession, Tectonic Engineering & Surveying Consultants P.C. is moving swiftly into 2015 merging a vast array of engineering services into one unified powerhouse.
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