Tag Archives: geotechnical

“Build For Tomorrow” – Key Takeaways from Midwestern Infrastructure Summit

Mark Stapleton, P.E.

Businesses, workers, citizens, and elected leaders came together this week to participate in National Infrastructure Week, May 13-20, 2019. The message this year is: America’s future will be shaped by the infrastructure choices we make today. #BuildForTomorrow

One of the many events that took place nationwide was the Midwestern Summit hosted by the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA) and the Michigan Municipal League (MML) held at the Lansing Brewing Company in Lansing, Michigan.  State and local leaders discussed a regional strategy for economic success, the future of funding and financing infrastructure, and enhancing connectivity. I was fortunate to attend this summit and have a few key takeaways from the event.

Leading the Urban Infrastructure Renaissance

“People attract businesses. Places attract people. Good infrastructure makes good places.”

~ The Honorable Andy Schor, Mayor of Lansing, MI.

Takeaway #1: Quality infrastructure creates a quality lifestyle that attracts quality citizens. Investing in our towns and villages promotes economic success.


What’s next in Infrastructure Funding and Finance?

“Continuing to do things the way we have done them in the past is not working today regarding transportation. For instance, Michigan has 1,200+ bridges that are structurally deficient. The longer we wait to fix them, the more it will cost to repair them.”

~ Mike Nystrom, Executive Vice President / Secretary, Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association.

Takeaway #2: The first step is educating community members on how infrastructure improvements are funded and financed. The next step is conversations with private and public entities to create and implement viable solutions.


Beyond Asphalt and Concrete: Infrastructure for Place Making

“Successful business is built on human capital and human intellectual property and place attracts people.”

~ Jared Fleisher, Vice President Quicken Loans Family of Companies

Takeaway #3: Private companies are investing in good infrastructure because it is good for business and their employees.

Final Takeaway: Infrastructure is built from the ground up. As geotechnical engineers, we have the opportunity to work with both private and public sectors to build sound, quality infrastructure for this generation and the next.

Mark Stapleton, P.E. is an Associate and Project Manager at G2 Consulting Group. His practice focuses on design and geotechnical instrumentation design and installation.


Conference Call: Mark Smolinski

Mark Smolinski
G2 Consulting Group

As long as the clients are pleased and the revenues and profits are good, we don’t watch the clock of our staff,” Smolinski says.

Read the conversation between G2 Consulting Group Principal Mark Smolinski and Liisa Andreassen, correspondent for The Zweig Letter. G2 Consulting was a listed as a Hot Firm (#67) by Zweig Group in 2016.



Country Club of Detroit Athletic Facility

G2 Consulting was retained by McCarthy and Smith, Inc., to design a support system so the construction team could excavate underneath the original “natatorium wing” of the 1930s historic clubhouse. The renovation plans called for relocation of the club’s popular bowling facility to the lower level location previously occupied by an indoor swimming pool, which had been out of use for decades.

Club management’s direction that the building’s architectural character and footprint not be altered in any way created an interesting engineering challenge since the team would need to excavate underneath the existing structure without disturbing it.  Adding to the challenge, the underlying soil conditions were poor with clay along one side of the structure and wet sand along the other.  After considering numerous approaches, the team decided on a series of underpinnings, essentially putting the building on stilts, and then pouring concrete foundation walls to encapsulate the stilts, providing stability for the renovations to occur in the short term and adequate bearing for the long term.

Fast Facts

Project Owner

Country Club of Detroit


G2 Consulting Group provided underpinning design of three (3) perimeter walls and one interior column line.  G2 designed temporary shoring consisting of “push piles” along the perimeter piles and an open cut excavation along with support beams for the interior column line. G2 also provided design of backfill methods which employed Reinforced Earth Technology.

G2 Services Provided

Geotechnical and Design Engineering Services

Earth Retention, Underpinning, and Reinforced Earth Design


  • Ground conditions prevented traditional underpinning techniques. G2 designed and developed an earth retention system to access exterior footing. A unique backfill technique utilized reinforced earth to reduce wall pressures on Country Club of Detroit perimeter wall resulting in significant savings to project.
  • G2 maintained traffic flow to the Country Club of Detroit entrance while working on project.

Smart. Results. Fast. G2’s innovative geotechnical engineering approach expedited the technically complex project resulting in significant savings to the Owner.


Telecom Carriers Expand Coverage with DAS • G2 Provides Environmental Due Diligence

Ben Youra Project Manager G2 Chicagoland

Ben Youra
Project Manager
G2 Chicagoland

In the last few years, wireless data traffic has increased exponentially. People are no longer only accessing the Internet at home or in the office, they are doing it wherever they are from their mobile device. Telecommunication carriers have come up with innovative ways to increase their network capacity. One solution is through the use of small cells. Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) are another solution used to address the need for increased coverage and capacity of wireless networks.

DAS are typically associated with large facilities and venues that may have known peak usage (i.e., a sporting event or concert) as the systems are designed to address the potential for interference from building materials of the structure itself, as well as, simultaneous data usage from a large number of people in a concentrated area.  Thus DAS is a benefit to both the wireless carriers using the system, as well as, the venue owners in providing better service to smartphone users at these locations.
In 2016, G2 has provided environmental due diligence services in the form of Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESA), Phase II ESAs, and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Reviews to its telecommunication clients proposing to install DAS at two venues in the greater Chicagoland area.
Our Phase I ESA for one of the projects found the site was utilized for heavy industrial purposes dating back to the 1950’s prior to the redevelopment of the parcel as a sporting venue in the early 2000’s. At least 16 underground storage tanks with two documented leaking incidents were associated with the historical industrial site within the overall property.  However, given the limited nature of the client’s proposed work below grade, we were able to tailor our scope of work for soil testing associated with the Phase II ESA to address only the areas to be impacted by the proposed telecommunications site development and to address the necessary parameters to satisfy the Illinois EPA’s Clean Construction and Demolition Debris requirements. The soil testing results were favorable and our client was able to proceed toward development of the site with no delays or extra costs incurred.

Country Club of Detroit’s renovation focuses on fitness

Project Manager Mark Stapleton designed the innovative approach to the Country Club of Detroit's historic renovation.

Project Manager Mark Stapleton designed the innovative approach to the Country Club of Detroit’s historic renovation.

Detroit — G2 Consulting Group provided geotechnical engineering services for the historic Country Club of Detroit renovation project. The club required that the footprint or historical architecture of its existing clubhouse not be altered. The $9 million renovations include a new fitness center and bowling lanes at the bottom level of the building that required the replacement of an emptied indoor swimming pool that had been closed since the early 1930s.


G2 Consulting Group provided geotechnical services and found innovative and cost-effective solutions for this historic site’s renovations.


G2 “Maps It Out” For Tower Owners/Carriers

Tony Poisson, Office Manager - Chicagoland

Tony Poisson, Office Manager – Chicagoland

As available tower space becomes more limited, it becomes imperative to tower owners and carriers to make the most of the existing space that is available. Oftentimes, this involves performing a structural analysis of the tower to determine its load carrying capacity and ability to support additional antenna structures. The existing foundation must be evaluated as part of this structural analysis.

What happens when the original foundation plans, geotechnical report, or as-built plans are not available? At this point it becomes necessary to perform an investigation to determine the subsurface conditions at the site and foundation type and dimensions. G2 has performed hundreds of such investigations across the United States for numerous clients including Semaan Engineering, Fullerton Engineering, Terra Consulting Group, W-T Communication Group, and all the major telecommunication tower owners and carriers.

G2 has the ability and network of drillers across the country to perform geotechnical investigations almost anywhere. Typically, our foundation investigations utilize low-strain pile integrity test methods to evaluate drilled piers. We also utilize excavation methods, as necessary, to determine foundation information. Our past investigations have also included evaluation of guyed anchor bars for corrosion below grade.

We also maintain a database of the thousands of tower sites we have worked on over the past 20 years and may be able to locate previous geotechnical reports or foundation designs, potentially saving a substantial amount of time and money required for new investigations.

READ:  Analysis of Existing Tower Foundations


Is the firm you are using AMRL accredited? We are.

Is your consultant providing you with accurate data? Are they providing you with testing that verifies the end product adheres to project plans and specifications? At G2 Consulting Group, we have been site assisting with construction projects for over two decades and providing further testing in our in-house AASHTO Materials Reference Laboratory (AMRL) accredited laboratory.

AMRL accreditation helps G2 Consulting to continually improve the quality of our services through rigorous review of testing procedures, field and laboratory equipment, and our quality system management practices.  Achieving and maintaining AMRL accreditation underscores G2’s commitment to the highest standard of field and laboratory testing.

G2 believes that a fundamental principle in delivering Smart, Results, Fast, is to employ state-of-the-art laboratory, field, and quality control procedures.  By implementing AMRL accredited field and laboratory test procedures and quality management systems, G2 reinforces its obligation to clients to deliver superior quality and technical accuracy for every project.

G2 is proud to offer AMRL accredited field and laboratory testing services. For a partial list of test methods, click here: G2 Consulting Group’s AMRL Accredited Services


G2 Chicagoland Recommends CCDD Services

Ben Youra Project Manager G2 Chicagoland

Ben Youra
Project Manager
G2 Chicagoland

Efficient Process Saves Time and Reduces Costs

Addressing soil characterization during the Geotechnical Investigation phase saves our clients time and money by certifying the soils during the early stages of the planning process. G2 recommends Clean Construction and Demolition Debris (CCDD) services to minimize additional expenses. CCDD is defined by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as ”uncontaminated broken concrete without protruding metal bars, bricks, rock, stone, reclaimed asphalt, and soil generated from construction and demolition activities.”

Disposal of soils that cannot be utilized on site during grading is significantly less expensive at a clean fill facility. Analyzing soil and having certification forms in place early in the project stage helps remove potential delays and unplanned costs. Once site development begins, potential costs arise from stockpiling soils on site while waiting for lab results. These soils may then need to be disposed of at a regulated landfill.  Further, owners can utilize this information to obtain favorable pricing from contractors when their projects bid.

G2 Consulting Group reviews available environmental reports, as well as readily available information within the Illinois EPA’s databases to determine if there are significant environmental issues associated with the subject property or immediate adjoining properties.  Based on our review, we determine an appropriate number of soil samples and locations, as well as a scope for analytical testing parameters.

Soil samples are obtained during drilling operations performed in conjunction with our Geotechnical Investigation using proper environmental sampling protocol. Soil at the project site is visually assessed and screened in the field using a photo ionization detector (PID). Soil samples are selected for analytical testing based on visual observations, PID screenings, or using other pertinent data from our review.  Representative samples are selected and submitted to an accredited laboratory for analysis and comparison with the Illinois EPA’s “Maximum Allowable Concentrations of Chemical Constituents in Uncontaminated Soil Used as Fill Material”.  This analysis is used to determine if soils at the site meet the Illinois EPA’s criteria for disposal at a CCDD facility. Provided the material is determined to be non-impacted, a licensed Professional Engineer completes the Illinois EPA Form LPC-663 certifying that the soils are non-impacted.  It should be noted that final acceptance of the material is up to the individual landfill facility.

Smart. Results. Fast.

G2 Consulting Group’s Chicagoland office performs soil testing in conjunction with Geotechnical Investigations saving time and reducing costs.







G2 Consulting & Partners Provide 2016 Development Outlook for Southeast Michigan

“New development projects and plans for projects in the area are announced on an almost daily basis,” says Mark Smolinski, principal of G2 Consulting Group, a geotechnical engineering and construction services firm based in Troy. “But different from years past, after the announcements the projects are actually happening.”

CAM Magazine June 2016 pg 2


Cunningham-Limp constructs new HARMAN HQ

Jason Stoops, P.E Ann Arbor Office Manager

Jason Stoops, P.E
G2 Project Manager

Congratulations to HARMAN and Cunningham-Limp on the recent opening of HARMAN’s new North American Automotive Headquarters in Novi, MI.

The 188,000-square-foot building, which opened in January 2016, will accommodate 1,000 employees focusing on engineering and development of advanced technology solutions for the connected car, automotive audio, and cloud services.  HARMAN supplies advanced infotainment and audio products to the world’s automakers.  It has a workforce of approximately 16,600 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

As with all Cunningham-Limp projects, I was impressed with the speed and short turn around time to deliver the new HARMAN Headquarters. Cunningham-Limp’s design build services and collaborative approach allows their design subconsultants to work seamlessly with them during the construction process to deliver an outstanding project.

The video below shows the construction process from dirt to delivery.


Michigan Concrete Association – growing an industry

Dan DeGraaf, PE Executive Director/CEO Michigan Concrete Association

Michigan Concrete Association (MCA) is everything concrete in Michigan.  We represent ready mix producers, concrete pavers, cement producers and the affiliate industry.  Our annual conference is designed to help our members learn about new things and to celebrate quality projects. 

“MCA serves as point for current or state of the art technical and business issues facing all sides of the concrete industry,” shares Bruce Wilberding, Principal and lead of G2’s Construction Engineering Services.  “G2 relies on this organization for technical updates and training.”

One of the most exciting highlights from this year’s conference is the announcement  of a new program for construction work force development (click here to learn more).  This program is dedicated to attracting new people to the construction industry in Michigan, which faces a massive labor shortage on the horizon.  MCA is leading a statewide awareness and branding campaign to increase interest in construction careers and simplify the process of finding training and employment in these careers.
The conference also included training on new test procedures for concrete, information on changes in MDOT specifications, announcements on new MDOT projects and updates on ongoing mega-projects,  and discussion on the future of coal (which impacts the supply of fly ash for use in concrete production).
Finally, the conference celebrated cool projects from around the state – G2 Consulting Group was on the team of two award-winning projects: Stephens Road (NB Kelly Rd to I-94) and Beaconsfield Avenue, 9 Mile to Biscayne Ave.

2015 Was a Great Year – 2016 Looks Even Better!

Mark Smolinski, P.E Principal/Project Consultant

Mark Smolinski, P.E
Principal/Project Consultant

After years of slow to no growth in Michigan’s construction industry, especially road building, new construction projects took center stage here at G2 in Michigan in 2015, propelling us into our fourth consecutive record year.

One of the key 2015 highlights was the June acquisition of Birmingham (MI)-based Schleede-Hampton Associates, a former competitor, which will help the combined company expand its expertise as well as reach new industries and geographies.

During 2015, G2 completed a variety of projects for MDOT, including design build work with Dan’s Excavating and Bergmann Associates on the reconstruction of the I-75-University Drive interchange in Auburn Hills. The firm partnered with Hardman Construction to design and build the earth retention walls for the new $450 million Red Wings Arena in Detroit and worked with Giffels Webster and Scannell Properties on construction of the 60 acre, 300,000-sq-ft Fed Ex distribution center in Oak Park. In October, G2 was selected by RS Engineering to become part of the team for reconstruction of the I-94/Cadillac bridge in Detroit in preparation for the massive $3 billion, 20-year I-94 reconstruction project, slated to start in 2017.

Other 2015 highlights include:

  • The company was awarded a three-year “as needed” indefinite services contract by MDOT in January.
  • In June, G2 was part of the team that won the ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineering) Outstanding Civil Engineering Award for its work on the I-96 reconstruction project in Wayne County (MI) in 2014. This project also earned recognition by the Engineering Society of Detroit and CAM magazine as a signature construction project in Michigan.
  • In July, G2 was named one of the top 100 “Hot Firms” nationally by Zweig Group, a leading research, publishing and consulting firm in the AEP (Architecture, Engineering, Planning) and environmental consulting fields. The award is based on revenue growth over three years.
  • In July, G2 added two new equity partners – Mark Stapleton and Amy Schneider, both of whom had been with the firm for over a decade – to its top management team. During the year the company hired 13 new employees a 27 percent increase in staff for the year, and up more than 50 percent from just two years ago.
  • The firm completed more than 2,500 projects running the gamut from infrastructure, waste water, telecomm, health care, automotive and private sector work.

The jobs we won and the recognition we received made 2015 a very good year for G2 and positions us for an even better 2016.  Solving construction problems quickly and efficiently is our focus and we continuously reinvest in our people, our technology and our knowledge to ensure that we can meet whatever construction challenges we’re given. We look forward to successfully meeting more of those challenges and growing the business further in 2016.




“I Need to Get a Job” Networking Event

Mark Smolinski, P.E Principal/Project Consultant

Mark Smolinski, P.E
Principal/Project Consultant

G2 Consulting continues to recruit new talent to serve our clients and our growing business.  We will be hosting an informal networking event on January 5, 2016 from 12- 3 pm at our Troy office for students who are currently looking for full time or internship positions.

This event will help prepare students for spring career fairs by providing some one-on-one time with new and experienced engineers who can share resume and interview tips.

Click here to let us know you’re coming and send a resume. We’ll have some feedback ready for you when you arrive.

Visit our website to learn more about G2 Consulting and open positions.



Flickinger Elementary Conducts Concrete Testing at G2

Bruce J. Wilberding, P.E. Principal/Project Consultant

Bruce J. Wilberding, P.E.
Principal/Project Consultant

When the Academic Talented and Gifted (ATG) program at Flickenger Elementary (Utica, MI) decided to focus on construction this year, G2 was happy to get into “the mix.”

Rob Norris, a parent and employee at Pullman SST, suggested that the students mix concrete and take it to a testing facility to have it tested for strength. The 17 students mixed four different types of cement (1060 PSI and Mapei with and without Aggregate).

Samples of each type of cement were placed in testing tubes, which were taken to G2’s testing lab.  After a tour of the facility, students watched as the concrete they had created was tested. Each cylinder log was placed into a machine to see how much pressure it could withstand.  The whole process was an amazing learning experience for the ATG students and a lot of fun for G2.


I-75 / University Drive Interchange Under Construction

Noel J. Hargrave-Thomas, P.E. Principal/Project Consultant

Noel J. Hargrave-Thomas, P.E.
Principal/Project Consultant

Design and reconstruction of the I-75/University Drive interchange in Oakland County is well underway, scheduled to be completed by year-end with restoration work planned for early 2016.

The interchange features Michigan’s first “diverging diamond” interchange, a relatively new design technology in the U.S. but used extensively throughout Europe. Click here to read more about the diverging diamond design.

G2 Consulting Group provided geotechnical design services for bridge pile foundations, MSE abutments, roadway embankments, sign and signal foundations, and peat excavation as part of the Dan’s Excavating/Bergmann Associates Design-Build Team.

Click on the video below to learn more and watch construction activities.


New FedEx Facility @ Former Detroit Artillery Armory

Chris Nicol, PE/Project Manager

Chris Nicol, P.E.
Project Manager

FedEx Corporation will occupy a 300,000 square foot distribution center currently under construction on the former site of the Detroit Artillery Armory in Oak Park, Michigan. The property had included a 494,000-square-foot building that was a machine gun manufacturing plant during World War II, which has been demolished. The property then was turned over to the Michigan National Guard after the war for training and storage until the early 1990s, and then just for storage until 2000.

G2 Consulting Group was retained by Giffels Webster to perform a geotechnical investigation on the 60 acre site, which had varying depths of fill remaining from former uses. G2 characterized subsurface materials and developed deep and shallow foundation designs for consideration. After reviewing options, Scannell Properties, the construction developer, decided to remove and replace existing fill and construct shallow foundations. G2 now is working with Scannell Properties to perform QC during construction for earthwork, foundations, pavements, floor slabs and structural steel.


International Automotive Company Expands in Auburn Hills

Jason Stoops, P.E Ann Arbor Office Manager

Jason Stoops, P.E
Project Manager

TI Automotive is a leading manufacturer of automotive fluid storage, carrying and delivery systems, with 23,000 employees at 130 locations in 29 countries. The company is expanding its operations at a new location in Auburn Hills by constructing a new headquarters building for 130 current employees and an additional 97 new employees.

Click on the video below to see the project under construction.


Historic Park Avenue Hotel Imploded


Mark Stapleton, P.E.
Project Manager

The demolition of the Park Avenue Hotel was the first implosion of a structure in downtown Detroit since the Hudson’s store in 1998.  The tricky part of the Park Avenue Hotel implosion is that it is situated within the new Red Wings Arena project site.

G2 designed several earth retention systems to facilitate the required excavation which extends to as much as 48 feet deep.  One stretch of earth retention bordered the existing Park Avenue Hotel so that excavation could take place adjacent to the hotel.  When the decision was made to use implosion techniques instead of traditional demolition methods, stability of the earth retention system during the seismic event was considered.  G2 modeled the implosion using earthquake engineering and estimated that the earth retention system would be stressed but not to failure.

The result of combined effort resulted in rapid demolition of the hotel by implosion and an earth retention system that survived that event.

Click here to view the video of the implosion taking place.

hotel implosion

And the wall held!

retaining wall after implosion






Lavergne Avenue Sewer Project , Tunnel and Reservoir Plan

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago Department of Water Management constructed a relief sewer, including a series of drop shafts, drain connections, catch basins and inlets along North Lavergne Avenue. This $20 million project replaced a 100-year-old sewer, preventing flooding in neighborhood homes. Jay Dee Contractors performed this work, which included installation of over 2,600 feet of reinforced concrete pipe sewer in a shallow tunnel (about 60 feet below the ground), five drop shafts connecting to the shallow sewer tunnel or to the existing deep tunnel (over 200 feet below grade), and connection structures to join the two tunnels. G2 Consulting Group assisted Jay Dee by evaluating subsurface conditions to guide construction techniques.

Fast Facts

Project Owner

Chicago Department of Water Management


G2 identified dewatering requirements for construction of the drop shafts, providing shaft designs through both soft ground and underlying rock leading to the deep tunnel, and evaluating design alternatives to meet requirements for constructing the shallow tunnel under an existing railroad line. In addition, G2 assisted Jay Dee Contractors during tunnel construction when the tunnel boring machine unexpectedly encountered saturated soils.

G2 Services Provided

Geotechnical Investigation and Design

    • Tunnel shafts were drilled through soft soils which overlay a deeper rock layer. Limited data was available to define the interface of these two layers. G2 conducted a geotechnical investigation to characterize existing conditions and evaluate dewatering techniques for construction of the shafts.
    • One of the shafts extends over 230 feet, connecting the new shallow collector tunnel to the existing deep tunnel. G2 developed shaft construction designs to provide stability in the soft soil conditions and in the rock.
    • As the tunnel was being constructed, saturated soils halted work.  G2 assisted Jay Dee by designing an approach using grouting and dewatering techniques to enable work to continue.
    • An existing railroad line crosses over the alignment of the new tunnel.  G2 assisted Jay Dee Contractors as they analyzed design alternatives to meet the railroad’s requirements.

Smart. Results. Fast. G2’s geotechnical solutions facilitated an expedited construction schedule for this highly visible project by simplifying excavation of the tunnel drop shafts and addressing construction challenges during tunnel boring.

G2 Consulting Group Adds Two Equity Partners to Manage Growing Business

Amy Schneider, P.E.
Project Manager


Mark Stapleton, P.E.
Project Manager

G2 Consulting Group is excited to announce the addition of two new equity partners in the business – Amy Schneider and Mark Stapleton , both G2 Project Managers.

“G2 has a solid foundation and a wide range of repeat clients which allows the company to gain in market share even during downturns,” says Stapleton.  “By having more of my own skin in the game, I think I’m a better employee and whatever success we have will be even more rewarding both professionally and personally.”

Schneider, who joined G2 in 1998 and has worked on projects in private and commercial development, telecomm, waste water as well as a variety of major infrastructure projects, agrees:  “I love the work I’m doing and the people I work with, and I’m committed to the company for the long term.  My financial investment makes me feel even more committed and a more integral part of the team.”

A 30-year veteran of geotechnical engineering, Stapleton joined G2 in 2001.  His recent projects include managing engineering of 11 earth retention systems on last year’s award-winning I-96 reconstruction project and designing intricate circular and trapezoidal shafts to facilitate construction of tunnels and junction chambers for a Dugway storage tunnel in 2014. His prior work experience was with the United States Army Corps of Engineers where he handled engineering duties in all aspects of civil works projects for the Detroit District.

“We’re fortunate to have plenty of work to go around,” says G2 Consulting Principal Mark Smolinski.  “Having Mark and Amy buy into the company gives them a bigger voice and an even deeper commitment that can only make us a stronger and ultimately more successful company. We’re delighted with their decision and proud to welcome them as associate members in the firm.”