Merit Engineering awarded “Best in State” Gold Award

Merit Engineering received the “Best in State” Gold Award for Technical Value to the Engineering Profession (Engineering Excellence Awards – 2004) from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Washington (ACEC Washingtion). The following is from the ACEC web site:

Gold Award for Technical Value to the Engineering Profession
Merit Engineering, Inc. – Western Washington University Communications Building and Student Center – Bellingham

Western Washington University’s planned Student Recreation Center required construction on an erratic bedrock subsurface that would most likely cause construction change orders and cost overruns. With impressive mathematic derivations, Merit Engineering recalculated the capability of drilled shaft and rock socket pillars to more closely match field conditions, proving their technical and economical feasibility. The firm’s new equations set an important baseline calculation for other projects to effectively use drilled shaft and rock socket pillars, and enabled Western Washington University to complete the project under budget and without construction

Portage Bay Park Project

Project Description

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) is proposing the development of Portage Bay Park, located along the north shore of Portage Bay in the University District. The 3-acre site, 1.65-acres of which is comprised of dry land, is west of the intersection of NE Boat Street and 15th Ave NE and is adjacent to Sakuma Viewpoint. The site was purchased from the University of Washington as mitigation for impacts from the SR520 expansion project.

The project proposal includes removing existing structures, on-site remediation, and habitat restoration. The park will also provide passive recreation opportunities, community gathering space, water access, and shoreline habitat areas.




Project Purpose

Enhancement of the aquatic environment. Seattle’s shorelines tend to be hard spaces due to the presence of high intensity uses and remnants of few natural environmental features. The Portage Bay Park site itself has a long history of intensive uses, which have left the site deeply contaminated. Extensive environmental remediation is planned in order to bring the site back to a healthier state.


Project Soil Sampling and Lab Testing



Merit Engineering has obtained an Overall performance Rating Score of 94 / 100.

Merit Engineering is awarded “GSA PES Schedule Holder

And Of all the factors in development, understanding the properties of soil and rock on site is the most fundamental to the design of structures and infrastructures. Our soil tests provide invaluable data towards a project’s design; our engineer’s expert interpretation is equally important. It is also important for engineers to have the knowledge to correctly apply the properties into the design models. We are so proud that we obtained an Overall Performance Rating Score of 94 out of 100. The performance review was conducted by Dun & Bradstreet, an authorized agency to conduct such a review for the GSA (General Service Administration) of the US Federal Services Department. This review was carried out by contacting more than 25 of our clients.
Our team is committed to reliable providing, on-time, cost-effective consulting & materials testing services.

Drilled Pier with Rock Socket Foundation System for WWU’s new buildings

For the most recent two major buildings on WWU (Western Washington University) campus, Student Recreational Center (~$26,000,000 construction value) and Communications Facility (~$40,000,000 construction value) buildings, more than 300 piers were installed for each building. The drilled pier with rock socket has capacity almost twice or three times higher than traditional piles ended on top of bedrock without penetration into bedrock. Therefore, significant savings have been realized for both of the project. The piers derive capacities from both friction and cohesion between the pier and the surround bedrock, while in the past, rock cohesion was not considered in design perhaps for no existing solution that includes the effect of cohesion.

Bedrock Profiles with the aid of Modern Computer Software Modeling

In the past, WWU had experienced significant difficulties during construction dealing with unforeseeable subsurface conditions. Almost every project encountered changing order due to finding of unknown subsurface condition, in particular the depth of bedrock was found much deeper than expected. The so unique characteristics of bedrock profile at the WWU campus is perhaps due to the glacial geology, which shaped the ground in several tens of thousand years ago. The profile on the campus is so unique that in one place bedrock is outcropping while 2 fee away, bedrock may dip into 20 feet below. Therefore, accurately determining the bedrock profile is a key factor in cost control during construction and maintaining predictable construction schedule. Many efforts with various methods had been tried with no success until Merit Engineering starting work with the university. Merit Engineering employed computer software technique into bedrock profile modeling incorporating field test results successfully predicted bedrock profile. Until now, the method has been tried in three major projects: Haggard Hall Renovation (~$20,000,000 construction value); Student Recreational Center; and Communications Facility. All three projects proved the very success of the modeling results. No unknown subsurface conditions (especially the depth of bedrock) were encountered in all three projects, so there were no change order due to surprising subsurface conditions. Therefore, significant savings and predictable schedule have been achieved.