When projects are highly technical and require specialized expertise, look no further than Bauer Foundation Corporation (BFC). BFC is the U.S. subsidiary of the Bauer Group, a German foundation equipment manufacturer and specialty contractor. Building on the reputation and expertise of its parent company, BFC utilizes state-of-the-art equipment and techniques to serve U.S. customers in the industrial, commercial, residential, and government sectors.
“We’re a specialty geotechnical contractor, with focus on deep foundations. We can offer just about any type of specialty geotechnical solutions that the group does worldwide, but our areas of specialty in the U.S. are drilled shafts, soil mixing, diaphragm walls, grouting, displacement and augercast piles, and support of excavation,” explained Business Development Manager Bob Faulhaber.
Being a subsidiary of the Bauer Group is one of the company’s greatest assets, according to Faulhaber. “Worldwide, the Bauer Group includes over 110 subsidiaries in seventy different countries, so we’re able to draw from a significant amount of knowledge and experience from those groups for application here in the U.S.”
Bauer Foundation Corp entered the U.S. market in 1992 with the acquisition of Coastal Caisson Corp., which was established in 1972. It operated under the Coastal name until 2004.
“Few, if any, geotechnical contractors in the U.S., or even in the world, can rival the breadth and depth of experience that we benefit from within the Bauer Group. There are other groups in the U.S. that operate with European parents as well, but I feel that our connection with our group of companies, both regionally and worldwide, is stronger than any of our competitors,” said Faulhaber.
The Army Corps of Engineers is one of the clients that relies on Bauer Foundation Corp.’s global network and capabilities. “Particularly with the Army Corps of Engineers’ projects, there are very few competitors that can even execute the work, so it’s an obvious advantage for us to be able to go into these very large, highly technical projects. The Corps have been pleased with our work, and we continue to do work with them,” said Faulhaber.
Recently, Bauer Foundation Corp. worked on a $120 million contract at Center Hill Dam in Tennessee. Center Hill Dam was one of the USACE’s highest risk and most critical projects in dam safety. The project entailed the installation of a barrier wall through the embankment, extending up to 310’ deep from the top of the embankment into the foundation rock below to improve safety and decrease the risk for the surrounding communities.
“We’ve also worked on two other dams for the Army Corps of Engineers: Pine Creek Dam and Wolf Creek Dam, so we have a significant amount of experience with the Army Corps Dam Safety Program. The USACE’s significant emphasis on quality and safety creates an environment where only the most experienced and capable contractors can succeed.”
Also for the USACE, the Herbert Hoover Dike rehabilitation project on Lake Okeechobee in Florida is another proud achievement of Bauer Foundation Corp. The multi-million dollar project included the installation of a seepage barrier to eliminate seepage through the dike that was causing internal erosion that could comprise the integrity of the dike. Again, Bauer Foundation Group’s performance has led it to obtain repeat work with the Army Corps of Engineers on this project where it has been working for over ten years.
Other work on which it has excelled includes the HealthSouth project in Birmingham, Alabama. Bauer Foundation Corp. introduced innovative methods including specialized tooling and permanent full-depth casing to address special challenges on the project. Bauer Foundation Corp. installed 126 shafts of varying diameters with depths up to 125 feet. It also drilled and imaged 125 probe holes that were six inches in diameter.
The site is located above abandoned coal mines that posed substantial technical challenges during deep foundation construction. In order to verify the integrity of the foundation work, BFC implemented an imaging program that allowed geotechnical engineers to inspect excavations without risk. The move eliminated the need to put someone in the open excavation for analysis, which is a significant safety risk.
Bauer Foundation Corp. acquires projects of this magnitude because of its attention to detail. Pollution prevention methods, hazardous material handling, erosion control and soil contamination mitigation are all taken into account. As a member of the Deep Foundation Institute (DFI), as well as a multitude of other industry organizations and agencies, Bauer Foundation Corp. has a commitment to quality.
Every project is a healthy and safe worksite for Bauer Foundation Corp.’s people, its clients and the environment. Field employees are OSHA certified and receive other safety training and education. An in-house certified trainer reinforces standards and ensures safety.
“It’s a top priority for us at Bauer. Nothing is more important than to make sure your people and your subcontractors get home healthy and safe. And for us, that safety culture starts at the top. We have a corporate safety officer, Patrick Conroy, who is a veteran in the industry and empowered to implement any procedures that keep our people safe,” Faulhaber noted.
Strong hiring practices are part of the reason for the company’s continued growth in both abilities and reputation. A great deal of effort is undertaken to hire people who complement its knowledge base and expertise. A high standard of quality is both expected and delivered.
“We always pursue excellence, and we execute extremely challenging and exciting projects that require our people to be the best. So I think a major point of attraction is the opportunity to be a part of those projects. We challenge our people and give them the opportunity to learn and grow on projects using techniques and technology that’s not available anywhere else,” Faulhaber said.
That is what brought Faulhaber and many others to Bauer Foundation Corp., and it is what continues to fuel its success in attracting the best talent in the industry. Faulhaber acknowledged that the construction industry is not always the most glamorous careers, so it is important to treat people right and do what is best for the employees.
Within the Bauer Group of companies is an equipment arm, which manufactures much of the equipment used by BFC. However, that equipment is sold to competitors as well, giving them access to some of the best equipment in the world, which means Bauer Foundation Corp. has to differentiate itself through its people.
“The construction industry is not the easiest industry to be in. It’s hard work, long hours and a fair amount of travel, so we always want to make sure that we do what we can to make sure that our employees have an opportunity to grow and learn and stay safe. I think those are all things that people are attracted to in the company,” said Faulhaber. “Because our work is very specialized and extremely technical, if we don’t have great people, then we can’t execute,” he said.
“We operate in all the major construction markets,” said Faulhaber. “We see expansion and growth potential specifically in the transportation market, water and wastewater, including the environmental work that’s associated with combined sewer overflow projects, as well as the tunneling and industrial markets. These are the areas that we’re focusing on in the future.
“We started 2017 really strong and have strong backlog all the way through to the end of the year, so we’re in the enviable position to work on filling that backlog with work that we know will be profitable for the end of 2017 and 2018.
“We’re looking to leverage our in-house engineering capabilities and our technical expertise and experience to continue to execute more complex and high-profile projects,” said Faulhaber.
Primarily serving the Southeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic and Texas-Louisiana markets, Bauer Foundation Corp. is looking to the mountain states, the Midwest, and the West Coast for future growth.