CalGeo E Newsletter

June 26, 2015

CalGeo Works To Clarify California Code

By Bob Lokteff, Blackburn Consulting


California Capitol
CalGeo Clarifies Code »
Outstanding Project Award »
CalGeo Student Outreach Program »
GBA News »
New California Sick Leave Law »
Member News »
Thank you Donators »
Safety First »

CalGeo has been working for over a year with the California Board for Professional Engineering, Land Surveyors and Geologists (CBPELSG) on revising California Code language to clarify the importance of engineering oversight when it comes to construction materials testing and inspection.

The process began last March when CalGeo met with the CBPELSG Executive Director. CalGeo described how, as part of their Civil Engineering services, our member firms provide construction materials testing and inspection (CMT&I) in order to document that construction is performed in accordance with the project design recommendations, plans, and specifications. We explained that as Registered Civil Engineers (RCE), our member firms are committed to public safety and believe that RCE oversight of the CMT&I is required to uphold this commitment to the public's health and safety. We said it is not enough to rely on a strict comparison of the design requirements versus the construction test results; a RCE's interpretation of results is often necessary to ensure thoroughness and quality. We then shared that several CalGeo member firms have recently become aware of individuals and companies that perform CMT&I without the direct oversight of a RCE. Because CalGeo believes these services should be performed under the oversight of a RCE who has experience in materials testing and inspection, this news concerned CalGeo.

The CBPELSG Executive Director shared our concern and recommended CalGeo bring the issue before the full board, which we did last September. The board also shared our concern and recommended we work with the board's Civil Engineer, Structural Engineer, and Geologist & Geophysicist Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) on revising code language to address this concern. CalGeo attended the TAC meeting last October where we discussed our concern and requested a clarification of the California Code with regard to engineering oversight of construction materials testing and inspection. The TAC wants to better understand the issue and requested we work directly with one of their members to develop draft code revisions to address the concern.

CalGeo is currently providing supportive information and draft revised code language to the TAC representative for his review and input. Our hope is that clarifying language will be agreed upon this year and the code revised shortly thereafter. The process is long, but we believe the goal is worthy.


Outstanding Project Award

Medium Budget Winner - C2Earth, Campbell, CA

A Ten-Year Long Project Involving a Venture Capitalist, His Multi-Million Dollar Ridge-Top Home, and a Town's Daunting Building Codes

Building in the Santa Cruz Mountains requires an acceptance of risk and an extensive knowledge of geology and foundation engineering. A venture capitalist was determined to build his dream home in these mountains on a property that was beset by geologic and geotechnical problems. We were hired to evaluate the difficult building conditions and develop geotechnical recommendations in order to help him accomplish his dream. The primary constraints to the project included:

The presence of both deep-seated and shallow landslides flanking the ridge-top building pad;
Limited access to the property via a narrow single-lane roadway with an over-steepened cut;
The Town's building codes.

Completed swimming pool adjacent to residence

During the fall of 2003, we began working the single-family, two-story home development. The project involved drilling 172 piers, installing 109 soil nails, placing up to about 8 feet of geofoam, constructing a geogrid reinforced slope, drainage improvements and an on-site septic system. The development was successfully completed in mid-2012. For complete report, click here


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CalGeo Student Outreach Program & Rising Star Award

Congrats To Cal State Fullerton!

By Neal Berliner/Geocon

2015 Conference Student Attendees

The purpose of the Student Outreach Program is to promote geotechnical engineering in California universities as well as to provide a means for students to learn more about the geotechnical profession. Students that are involved in the program have the opportunity to interact with practitioners, find internships, and find employment after graduation. We support the student chapters throughout the year with funding, speaker presentations, field trips, and mentoring. This is proving to be highly successful for both the students and CalGeo members. Our efforts are partially funded by the Silent Auction at the annual conference, and we thank all of you who donated or purchased items this year!

This year's Rising Star Award evaluation was again difficult, as we had very competitive groups including UCLA, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Fullerton, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and our newer chapter at San Diego State University. After careful review of their accomplishments for the year with the student liaisons, we were very impressed with the efforts and accomplishments, and decided that this year's Rising Star Award belonged to Cal State Fullerton! They had great social events, speakers, student forums, field trips, volunteer activities, and won 1st Place at the Geo-Institute MSE Wall competition. We are very proud of the excellent effort and enthusiasm by all the students, in all the chapters, and wish them the very best in the coming year.

Please click on the links below to find out more about our student chapters.

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GBA News

Getting Paid: New GBA Publication Tells A/E/E Practitioners How To Do It

In an ideal world, design and environmental professionals' bills would all be paid within 30 days. Recognizing that we do not live in an ideal world, the Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA) has developed a brief but comprehensive guide to getting paid. Titled Getting Paid, the new, 19-page guide comprises 21 chapters, each focused on a specific technique to achieve prompt payment while avoiding some clients' efforts to avoid payment altogether, typically by filing a negligence claim.

The author of the guide is John Philip Bachner, an independent consultant and long-time editor of GBA's newsletter, NewsLog, an every-other-week publication that's available free of charge. For many years, Bachner penned a NewsLog column titled "Getting Paid." Content of the new guide is based on those columns, with updates through April 2015. Require Collectors To Abide by the Ten Commandments of Effective Collectors.

Getting Paid is available to nonmembers at $125 per copy; members receive it as part of their membership. Order it from the GBA website.


Joel G. Carson To Succeed John Bachner as GBA Executive Director

Joel G. Carson has been selected to serve as executive director of the Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA), succeeding John P. Bachner. Bachner's firm - Bachner Communications, Inc. - has managed GBA since May 1973; Bachner has served as GBA's chief of staff during that span. GBA will become a fully self-managed entity in November 2015. Carson will be tasked with assembling the new management team that he will lead to achieve GBA's long-term strategic vision.

Mr. Carson began his career in 1988 after majoring in civil engineering at the University of Utah. In 1993, he joined the staff of Kleinfelder, a multidiscipline technical-services firm that today employs some 2,000 staff members worldwide. Carson quickly initiated a 20-year focus on environmental engineering, hydrological and hydrogeological site characterization, and remediation. At the same time, he began a steady progression through the firm's management hierarchy, now retiring there as manager of the commercial segment of its private-sector market, responsible for the segment's strategic leadership and marketing direction.

Obtain more information about GBA at its website ( or by contacting the organization at or 301/565-2733.

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New California Sick Leave Law

By Van Goodwin, Esq./ Littler

The new California Sick Leave Law will become fully effective on July 1, 2015. Your current PTO or Sick Leave Policy should be closely examined to ensure compliance with this new law, and you must individually notify all employees hired prior to January 1, 2015 of any changes to the terms and conditions of employment that relate to paid sick leave within 7 days of the actual change and no later than July 8. An approved notice form is available on the DLSE website; otherwise you must inform each employee of the information regarding paid sick leave using one of the alternative methods specified in California Labor Code section 2810.5(b).

Please contact me at if you have any questions regarding the new Sick Leave Law or whether your PTO or sick leave policy is compliant.

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Member News

ELE Extends Discount To CalGeo!

For a limited time, ELE International is offering at 7% discount on all ELE Products! To take advantage of the discount and for complete information, download the offer here: ELE general products brochure


Gregg Drilling's BIG Announcement!

Gregg Drilling is excited to announce some new additions coming THIS SUMMER! Stay tuned and visit our website on June 24th for the big announcement and details:

If you haven't been to Gregg's website, we have all our equipment capabilities listed on there as well as links to our educational webinar series on Cone Penetration Testing. To take a look at some of our existing Equipment available to schedule visit: To see our YouTube webinar series by renowned CPT expert Dr. Peter K. Robertson, visit:

Don't forget to mark June 24th on your calendar for our BIG announcement.

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Thank You Donators

On behalf of CalGeo and its Board of Directors, we would like to extend our thanks to the following businesses, firms and individuals for their generous contributions to the CalGeo Silent Auction that raised funds for our Student Outreach efforts. This year's auction raised nearly $3,000.00.

Katy's Place, Carmel Pacific Repertory Theatre, Carmel
Monterey Symphony, Monterey, CA
Quail Lodge & Golf Club, Carmel
Monterey CVB
Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey
Hayward Baker
Bill & Nola Kenney
Farrell Design-Build Cos., Inc.
Neal & Heidi Berliner/Geocon
Danny Cohen/J.C. Baldwin Construction
Judd King/Earth Systems
James & Sharon Rowlands
John Sutton/The Sutton Group
Amanda Hancock/Middle Earth Geo Testing
Robin Rinehart/Rinehart Designs
Monterey Bay Whale Watch, Monterey
Richard Martin
Mike Cazeneuve
Helen & Stavros Chrysovergis
Hannes Richter
Mike Moscrop
Rob Fingerson
Larry Taylor

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Safety First

Stopping For Water Keeps You Going

Courtesy of Cal/OSHA

California employers are required to take these four steps to prevent heat illness.

1. Training
Train all employees and supervisors about heat illness prevention.
2. Water
Provide enough fresh water so that each employee can drink at least 1 quart per hour, or four 8 ounce glasses of water per hour, and encourage them to do so.
3. Shade
Provide access to shade and encourage employees to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least 5 minutes. They should not wait until they feel sick to cool down.
4. Planning
Develop and implement written procedures for complying with the Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention Standard

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