Construction Engineering and Inspection: Committed to Project Integrity

Monaem BouaziziMonaem Bouazizi, PE, manager of GAI’s Orlando Construction Engineering and Inspection (CEI) team, discusses how CEI works to support successful project delivery and helps meet the particular challenge of stormwater drainage.

With highway expansion and other construction projects booming throughout the state of Florida, the oversight, input, and guidance of skilled Construction Engineering and Inspection specialists are vital to help make sure work proceeds smoothly and produces safe, high-quality results that serve the public and meet industry and government regulatory requirements.

Monaem Bouazizi, PE, came to GAI Orlando in mid-2018 bringing more than 16 years’ experience in the industry including 10 years providing in-house highway construction and engineering oversight for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Along with the addition of Robert Harris, EI, Monaem’s skill and experience grows and reinforces GAI’s Construction Engineering and Inspection presence in Central Florida.

On the heels of FDOT District 5 awarding GAI a CEI contract service agreement, we spoke to Monaem about the diverse responsibilities of the CEI discipline and some aspects of construction oversight that are vital to the successful realization of almost every project.

Q: Can you briefly describe Construction Engineering and Inspection?

Monaem Bouazizi: Sure—stated simply, CEI is a very wide-ranging discipline that deals with a variety of projects mainly during the construction phase. We’re often involved in projects from beginning to end, providing help and oversight for all elements of the building process with the goal of supporting the integrity of the completed project. We work closely with the contractor, the engineer of record, various utilities, and, of course, our clients, which can include FDOT, local municipalities, or private clients. And as you can well imagine, there are many, many individual functions that come into play.

Q: Can you point to a particular facet of work that’s common to many projects?

Monaem: Almost all CEI work will provide oversight for a stormwater drainage component—whether it’s a new roadway, new bridge, or widening of an existing road. Whenever new impermeable surfaces are created, additional stormwater runoff must be accounted for and will need to be channeled to a proper/permitted location.

GAI Construction Engineering and Inspection Expertise at Work
Our CEI support played a major role in the successful realization of these projects.

Victory Pointe Park

I-295 Express Lanes

Coastline Drive and Liberty Street Bridge Replacement

SR 100 Rail Trail

Q: What challenges does drainage present, and what sort of drainage engineering trends are you seeing?

Monaem: Well, Florida has one of the highest precipitation rates in the U.S. in terms of both volume and intensity of rain. That means that a road with improper or ineffective drainage can flood quickly, not only impacting traffic flow, but creating a significant safety challenge as well. In addition to keeping roads passable and safe, we are concerned with making sure stormwater runoff is channeled away from private and commercial properties—and we also need to help contractors comply with FDOT, Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), and Water Management District (WMD) regulations for stormwater management.

Florida has one of the highest precipitation rates in the U.S. in terms of both volume and intensity of rain. That means that a road with improper or ineffective drainage can flood quickly, not only impacting traffic flow, but creating a significant safety challenge as well.

We’ve been seeing stormwater drainage strategies evolve in recent years mainly in response to newer regulations, the development of advanced materials and construction techniques, and the desire to have less impact on end users and the environment.

For the materials that go into drainage structures, we saw corrugated metal pipe give way to other advanced and better materials like PVC (polyvinyl chloride), HDPE (high-density polyethylene) and HPPP (high-performance polypropylene pipe), while reinforced concrete pipe continues to be used on a wide scale.

Construction techniques have advanced from open-cut trenching to directional drilling, which can improve or expand drainage capacity without damaging existing road surfaces. Repair techniques have evolved as well, with pipe-lining and ‘shotcrete’ approaches that basically apply additional layers within a damaged drainage pipe; this not only repairs a pipe, it also boosts its structural and load-bearing capabilities—a very important consideration when roads are being expanded to handle more and heavier traffic.

We’re seeing advanced maintenance techniques as well, where visual inspections by staff are giving way to robotic pipe crawlers and push-cameras equipped with laser-profiling capabilities.

Our CEI team needs to stay out in front of all these advances as we review drainage plans to detect and address potential issues, make sure contractors meet FDOT, FDEP, and WMD regulations, and administer for proper construction—all with the goal of creating effective drainage solutions that mitigate potential flooding of roads and adjacent properties and businesses.

Q: Can you describe how GAI adds value for clients in meeting Construction Engineering and Inspection’s many responsibilities?

Monaem: Absolutely. GAI is an employee-owned firm, and its strength comes from the experience, commitment, and collaboration of its people. We have a great mixture of in-house expertise, and we work together toward a common goal, which is offering high-quality, client-focused services for every project we do.

With regard to Construction Engineering and Inspection in particular, our teams work together across regional boundaries—so our growing team here in Orlando can seamlessly draw staff support from Engineering Director Andre Sutherland’s CEI team in the Jacksonville area. Construction Engineering and Inspection teams throughout GAI’s service areas have the local knowledge and expertise to meet our clients’ needs and provide innovative strategies and solutions—and CEI team members are often cross-trained in multiple disciplines so we can always provide efficient yet highly professional services at appropriate staffing levels.

Additionally, our CEI teams can draw from a pool of skilled in-house specialists to help address all aspects of our work; this wide range of services really adds value for GAI’s clients by offering a single source of support throughout a project’s development, design, and construction phases.

Contact Monaem Bouazizi, PE, 321.319.3033, Robert Harris, EI, 321.319.3066, or Andre Sutherland, PE, 904.559.8081, for more information about GAI’s Construction Engineering and Inspection services. 

Monaem BouaziziMonaem Bouazizi, PE serves as Senior Project Engineer (SPE) overseeing Central Florida Construction Engineering and Inspection (CEI) projects for GAI’s Southeast Transportation group. A Professional Engineer licensed in Florida and Illinois, his extensive experience includes 10 years with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), during which time he developed the work program for one of FDOT’s Operations Centers, led FDOT Construction and Maintenance groups, managed FDOT roadway and bridge projects, and managed government and consultant staff.

Andre SutherlandAndre Sutherland, PE has extensive construction and management experience in the Construction Engineering and Inspection (CEI) field. He has participated in a broad range of field operations and situations over the course of his career, working on several major expressway and urban development projects in a range of capacities and increasing levels of responsibility. He continues to grow GAI’s CEI market reach by expanding the company’s client base to additional FDOT offices, private clients, local municipalities, and counties across north and central Florida.

Robert Harris, EI performs Construction Engineering and Inspection (CEI) as part of GAI’s Southeast Transportation Group, applying extensive experience in federal, state, and municipal construction project management, including major road and bridge structure construction. A hands-on, solution-oriented engineer, Robert is known for handling project issues with a proactive approach that keeps projects on schedule and within budget.

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