Over four decades ago, Southern Earth Sciences, Inc. (SESI) got a humble start in the garage of its founders, Dr. James E. Laier and Diana Laier. During the last 40 years SESI has earned a trusted reputation as a leader in providing quality, value and innovative solutions not only in Mobile, Alabama, where the company was founded, but throughout the entire southeast. The firm provides geotechnical engineering, construction materials testing and environmental consulting. SESI has gained the confidence of clients across the South and set a path for the company’s continued growth and excellence.
Showcasing its diverse services and expanded reach across the southeast (the company has offices in Tallahassee, Panama City, and Destin, FL; Mobile (headquarters), Summerdale, and Montgomery, AL; and Baton Rouge, Mandeville and New Orleans, LA), SESI works with clients of all sizes and has the capacity to cover a multitude of projects both small and large in scale for individual, government and private clients.
Airbus Final Assembly Line (Airbus FAL-US) – Mobile, AL
Airbus made history with its decision to create an A320 Final Assembly Line in Mobile, Alabama. The FAL-US is the first facility of its type for Airbus on US soil. SESI is proud to have been a part of this historic $600-million facility. Along with serving as the Geotechnical Engineer of Record, the firm provided construction materials testing and special inspections under multiple contracts.
In support of the geotechnical design for the project, SESI crews completed nearly 2 miles of Cone Penetration Testing (CPT) and conventional soil borings. Design challenges included variation in pile bearing strata by as much as 30 feet within the same building, very strict pile settlement tolerances, and the addition of up to 8 feet of fill over highly compressible soils and groundwater as high as 10 feet above the basement base and media channels.
Upon fulfillment of their geotechnical contract, SESI was again selected by Airbus and the Program Management Team to provide Construction Materials Testing (CMT) and Special Inspection Services for various subcontracts throughout construction.
Axiall Ethylene Cracker Facility – Lake Charles, LA
The project consists of the construction of a new ethylene cracker facility situated on approximately 230 acres of undeveloped property located south of Interstate 10 (I-10) and west of I-210 near Lake Charles, LA. The facility will be comprised of various types of structures including multi-story process structures, cooling towers, storage tanks, piping racks, offices, miscellaneous warehouse structures, railroad lines and various paved areas. Pile foundations will be used for most multi-story process structures, large storage tanks, etc. Shallow foundations are being considered for lightly loaded miscellaneous pipe racks and office structures. SESI provided subsurface exploration and geotechnical engineering services during the design of the facility. Field investigations included over 60 soil borings and over 80 CPT soundings totaling more than 7,000 linear feet. Engineering evaluations including analysis of various types of deep pile foundations, mat foundations, shallow footings, soil response to dynamic loads, seismic site classification and hazard assessment, heavy duty and heavy hauler concrete and aggregate surfaced pavement design, soil corrosivity and electrical resistivity and soil stabilization options. SESI performed all static pile load testing and High Strain Dynamic Pile Testing (PDA) during the test pile program and is currently providing Materials Testing and Inspection services during construction.
NASA Center Crawlerway – Kennedy Space Center, FL
In 2010, and again in 2016, Southern Earth Sciences, Inc. conducted studies to evaluate the soil conditions along the Crawlerways at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to determine if modifications are necessary to support the next generation of space vehicles.
In 2010, SESI performed testing to evaluate the Crawlerways ability to support vehicles estimated to be 33% heavier (total weight) than any previous load. SESI mobilized on June 20 to perform 160 CPT tests and completed testing on June 29, several days ahead of the fast-track schedule. There was an urgency for the testing to be accurate and timely to avoid delays to launches scheduled by NASA. Precautions were in place to allow for testing to be placed on hold should the Crawlerways be needed during an emergency. SESI was able to complete the testing ahead of schedule and avoid any negative effects to NASA operations.
For more information on Southern Earth Sciences, Inc. (SESI), go to www.soearth.com