Burns Engineering was started in 1985 by Cecil Burns, David Dennis and Larry Cooley to provide geotechnical consulting services. Our first office was at 850 Foley Street within the 55 Place office/warehouse complex in Jackson, Mississippi. That relatively small office consisted of a narrow slot in one of the warehouse buildings and included a reception area and two offices at the front, a soils lab in the middle, and shop toward the back. We had a Mayhew 200 drill rig, a water truck, and a Dodge pickup. The soils lab was equipped to primarily run water content tests, Atterberg limit tests, and unconfined compression tests. We also did earthwork construction observations/testing using a drive cylinder and Coleman stove. Our first nuclear moisture/density gauge was a used Campbell Pacific that we bought from a local construction company. We did about 80 projects our first full year in business. Gene Powell and Jim Ellison were two key employees who helped get the company started.
As the company grew, the need for additional space became evident. Arrangements were made with J. W. Underwood to construct and lease to us an office with a fenced compound at 104 East Marketridge Drive within the 220 Business Park in Jackson, Mississippi. We moved into that office in 1989. The new facility had three offices and more spacious laboratory and shop areas. Shortly after moving in, we purchased triaxial and consolidation testing equipment for the soils laboratory, a Failing 1500 drill rig, and our first Troxler nuclear moisture/density gauge. We were at the 220 Business Park location for five years. During that time we continued to grow and expand our services and client base. Doug James joined the company and helped us to enter more fully into the construction observations and testing business. We then bought our first concrete compression testing machine. Mr. Burns retired in 1991, and soon thereafter Eddie Templeton joined the firm. The company name was changed to Burns Cooley Dennis, Inc. (BCD) in 1992. Eddie became an owner and principal in 1993.
We eventually decided to construct our own facility at 551 Sunnybrook Road in Ridgeland, Mississippi. We moved to that location in 1994. Initially, the facility included a single-story office building with six offices, a conference room, a soils lab and large attic storage area; a shop with a large fenced compound; and a small construction materials testing laboratory that abutted the shop. Over the years as we grew, we enlarged the construction materials lab and took in the attic to provide second floor office space. We also expanded our construction materials testing operation, including the asphalt and concrete labs into two off-site spaces in Ridgeland. These offices/labs eventually expanded into a new building on Commerce Park Drive in Ridgeland in November 2003.
Today, BCD is the largest geotechnical and materials consulting firm headquartered in Mississippi. BCD also maintains the largest geotechnical and construction testing staff within the State of Mississippi. We provide complete geotechnical consulting services, including engineering; soil borings; laboratory testing; construction materials engineering and testing for earthwork, concrete and asphalt; and pavement research and design. In addition to our Ridgeland offices, BCD also has branch office locations in Hattiesburg, Hernando, Starkville and Gulfport, Mississippi.
BCD has two generally broad areas of practice: (1) Local or General practice and (2) Specialty Practice. The local or general practice includes the following variety of projects:
- Streets and parking areas
- Solid waste landfills
- Single and multi-story buildings
- Power plants
- Lagoons and treatment facilities
- Treatment plants
- Retaining walls
- Industrial facilities
- Elevated and ground-supported tanks
- Communications towers
- Transmission lines and distribution facilities
- Sewer and water lines
Clients for our general practice include:
- Civil Engineers
- State Agencies
- Counties (or Parishes)
We have a total of seven specialty practice areas that are beyond the practice of routine geotechnical firms. These specialty practice areas are as follows:
- Due-Diligence, Economic Development and Preliminary Soil Studies
- Value Engineering and Design-Build Optimization
- Earth Retention and Landslide Stabilization
- Water Resource Projects and Dams
- Pavement Materials Design, Construction, Research, Forensic
- Roadway and Bridge Transportation
- Forensic Studies
- Specialty Geotechnical Field Testing
The professional staff of BCD is highly trained and experienced in geotechnical engineering, engineering geology, and materials and pavement engineering. Each senior staff member holds a Master of Science degree in geotechnical engineering and three staff members hold doctorate degrees. The principals of the firm as well as the senior and staff engineers are actively engaged in projects on a daily basis.
Since its founding, BCD has successfully completed over 7,000 geotechnical engineering projects. These projects have been conducted for engineers, architects, industries, construction firms, developers, private individuals, local governments and state and federal agencies. From the smallest assignment to the largest project, BCD treats everyone with the same commitment to excellence and attention to detail.
The Construction Materials Department of BCD engages in construction observation and testing services (earthwork, deep foundations, concrete and asphalt) on a daily basis. BCD currently employs over 40 individuals that are trained and certified to conduct moisture/density tests during earthwork construction, and to do concrete construction testing and/or asphalt testing.
Since 1995, BCD has successfully completed over 2,700 construction observation and materials testing projects for a wide variety of clients on various types of projects. Large construction projects that BCD has provided the services on include three power plants in Mississippi; three casinos in Mississippi; and several large commercial/industrial facilities throughout Mississippi, including the Nissan plant in Madison County. BCD has also provided testing services on numerous FAA and MDOT pavement construction projects in the last several years.
BCD maintains well equipped and technically advanced soils, earthwork, concrete and asphalt testing laboratories. Laboratory and field technicians are experienced in conducting all ASTM and AASHTO standard soils, earthwork, concrete and asphalt laboratory and field tests. BCD has qualified personnel with significant experience in providing construction observation and testing services for roadways, highways and airfield pavements. The laboratory facilities have been certified and inspected by the Corps of Engineers (COE), Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT), and AASHTO. BCD participates in AMRL’s and CCRL’s soils, aggregates, asphalt and concrete proficiency program which is a national testing program that evaluates laboratory testing accuracy. Technicians are currently certified by MDOT, ACI, AASHTO and NICET in the areas of soils, aggregates, asphalt and concrete. BCD personnel are also active in teaching MDOT, MAPA, MCIA, and ACI certification programs for materials technicians.
BCD’s soils laboratory is equipped and staffed to perform strength and compressibility tests, permeability tests, classification tests, and other physical tests. The laboratory includes eight Casagrande lever arm devices for consolidation testing; two load frames for compression testing; four hydraulic panels for backpressure saturation and triaxial consolidation; nine flexible wall triaxial chambers; and miscellaneous apparatuses for conducting routine classification and index tests. We also provide data for chemical/corrosion testing such as pH, soluble sulfates, chloride ion content and resisitivity.
The types of tests performed in our soils laboratory include:
– Triaxial compression tests with pore pressure measurements
– Consolidation and swell tests
– Unconfined compression tests on soil
– Unconfined compression tests on rock
– Permeability tests
BCD’s construction materials laboratory is equipped and staffed to perform compaction tests, classification tests and other physical tests to determine the acceptability of proposed fill material or site soil and to determine compaction criteria for use in the field by our technicians. We perform concrete and asphalt mix designs, forensic analyses, and related laboratory testing. The construction materials department is managed by R.C. Ahlrich, Ph.D., P.E.
The types of tests preformed in our construction materials laboratory include:
– Compaction tests
– Atterberg limit tests
– Sieve analysis tests
– California bearing ratio tests
– Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (DCP) tests
– Routine classification tests
– Soil cement design
– Soil lime designs
– Hydrometer tests
– Moisture content tests
– Dry density tests
– Shrinkage limit tests
– Concrete mix design tests
– Compressive strength tests for cylinders
– Splitting tensile tests for cylinders
– Flexural strength tests for beams
– Concrete unit weight tests
– Floor flatness
– Marshal mix designs
– Gyratory mix designs
– Asphalt density determinations
– Asphalt extractions
– Aggregate properties evaluations
– Asphalt binders tests
– Tensile Strength Ratio
All construction observation and testing are preformed under the supervision of a project engineer. We also provide engineering consultation to contractors and owners on earthwork, concrete and pavement construction, pile driving, etc. Field technicians are AASHTO, ACI, NICET, and/or MDOT certified. Construction inspection and field testing services are provided by BCD for the following:
– Earthwork construction
– Landfill construction
– Concrete construction
– Dipstick concrete slab evaluation
– Asphalt pavement construction
– Concrete pavement construction
– Drilled pier construction
– Installation of driven piles
– Installation of auger-cast piles
– Pile load tests
– Pile Driving Analyzer (PDA)
From the beginning, our company has been blessed with good and talented people and an abundance of work. We are very thankful and look forward with much anticipation to the future.