high school renovation

Webber Selected for Historic HISD High School Renovation

HISD awards Webber with 2-phase renovation project for Stephen F. Austin High School, which was originally built in 1936 and has gone through several expansion renovations over the years

Phase 1 will start June 2017 and construction is scheduled for completed before the 2019-2020 school year

Houston, TX, May 24, 2017 – Webber, LLC has been selected by Houston ISD to renovate Stephen F. Austin High School in a two-phase project. Construction will include an extensive temporary building education complex along with the demolition and construction of the majority of the existing campus and interior renovations to original 1936 existing facility.

Phase one of will begin in June 2017. There will be a total of 11 portable buildings, which will include 90+ classrooms, all administration offices, choir and a band space. A modular “multi-purpose” structure will also include an air-conditioned dining commons and will also be adaptable for PE activities. The CTE welding classes will be in a permanent pre-engineered structure due to the potential fire hazards and weights implications. Phase 1 will be completed in December 2017.

Phase 2 will begin in December 2017 and include the demolition of the interior of the old school while keeping the historic front façade and renovating the original building built in 1936. In addition, it includes demolition of the rest of the campus buildings that have been added over the years and will be replaced with 184,000 square feet of new buildings.  The new buildings will include the gyms, new classrooms, a library, band and music rooms and science labs. Classroom sizes will increase in size from the current 620-700 square feet to 850 square feet. Science labs size will double. The exterior of the building will have new hardscaping, landscaping and outdoor learning spaces to give the school life into the 21st century. Phase 2 is set to complete in December of 2019.

The Stephen F. Austin High School renovation project is part of the 2012 HISD bond referendum for the construction of new schools, renovations, enhancements and other projects to meet the growth needs of the school district. The school contract estimated cost total is $57.8 million.

“We’re excited with the unique direction we’re taking to renovate a historical building,” saidTim Creson, president & CEO of Webber, LLC. “We pride ourselves on the construction of education spaces that encourage collaborative learning and the Commercial Division of Webber has a long history of building these solutions for many of the school districts across the greater Houston-area.”

Photo by Eric Enfermero – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Tom Burke Award

Webber Executive Awarded HR Houston’s Tom Burke Award

Mitch Beckman, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, Vice President Human Resources Health, Safety and Environment of Webber, LLC, was selected for HR Houston’s Tom Burke Award on May 12 at the organization’s Gulf Coast Symposium.

In naming a recipient of the award, the nomination committee searches for someone who meets seven criterion, as exemplified by Tom Burke in his career. The nominated individual must have a professional HR certification, be a member of HR Houston, be actively employed with a minimum of 10 years HR management experience, a strategic business partner, serve as a role model for the profession, be a leader who sets standards for the profession, and applies his/her professional experience outside his/her organization.

Beckman was nominated and chosen by the HR Houston Board of Directors based on this criteria, particularly in the work he does speaking to organizations outside of Webber, such as the Texas Department of Transportation and various Universities, and professional conferences, on culture, values, and safety. He also takes great pride in mentoring and volunteer work in the HR community, serving on multiple boards and committees.

“Every company wants to be an employer of choice and that starts and ends with the Human Resources team,” said Tim Creson, president & CEO of Webber, LLC. “Mitch has been a driving force in making our company a great place to work during the past 11 years and he is extremely passionate about his role at Webber and the values of our organization.”

Mitch Beckman, Vice President of Human Resources at Webber, LLC accepts Tom Burke Award for excellence from HR Houston with his Webber HR team. From left to right: Jared Branch, Kiran Charania, Jennifer Kissamis, Mitch Beckman, Chelsea Russo and Greg Carlet.
About Mitch Beckman

As Vice President of Human Resources, Safety, Health and Environment for Webber, LLC, Beckman is charged with leading talent development and along with the leadership team, accelerating the company forward. With over 25 years of experience in the engineering and construction industry, Beckman is often sought out as a speaker in the areas of leadership, communication, HR management, organizational performance and safety management.

He is an active member of the Society of Human Resource Management, American Society of Training and Development, Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America and AGC of Texas where he sits on several committees and teams as it relates to human resources management and development initiatives, and is the past president and member of the HR Houston Board of Directors.

He received his B.S. from the University of West Florida and holds Society for Human Resource Management-Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certifications.

About the Tom Burke Award

Thomas B. Burke, SPHR, was a special individual who was a dedicated leader in the human resource profession – a Past President of the chapter and a Past President of the Society for Human Resource Management. At the time of his death in 1996, HHRMA (HR Houston) established the Tom Burke Award for the Distinguished Professional in Human Resources in his memory.

SH 99/Grand Parkway Project Awarded to Ferrovial Agroman, Webber and Granite


AUSTIN, TEXAS (MARCH 28, 2017) – The Texas Department of Transportation Commission today awarded the design-build contract for State Highway 99/Grand Parkway (segments H&I) in the Houston area to Grand Parkway Infrastructure, a joint-venture between Ferrovial Agroman US Corp., Webber LLC and Granite Construction Inc.

“The expansion of SH 99 in the greater Houston area is critical to improving mobility in one of the nation’s fastest-growing regions,” said Ignacio Vivancos, North America Managing Director, Ferrovial Agroman. “With the success that we have had in improving traffic flow and economic development across Texas, we believe our combined team is uniquely qualified to successfully complete this project.”

The $855 million project northeast of Houston spans 52.5 miles through Chambers, Harris, Liberty and Montgomery counties and will substantially increase capacity along SH 99 with the construction of one to two new tolled Lanes in each direction between US 59 to Interstate 10 (I-10) and four additional toll Lanes from I-10 to SH 146.

“The Grand Parkway has played a significant role in the ongoing growth of the Houston community and economy,” said Tim Creson, President & CEO of Webber, LLC. “Webber is excited to be a part of the design and construction of the final phase of this monumental project that has transformed Houstonians’ mobility by directly tying its outlying communities together.”

In addition to constructing new tolled Lanes and upgrading the tolling infrastructure on SH 99 from I-10 to FM 1405, the partnership will also be responsible for maintaining portions of the project, which is expected to be completed within the next six years. Right-of-way acquisition is expected to Last up to 24 months, involving approximately 375 parcels of Land. Utility relocations, which represent 10 percent of the project cost and include major oil and gas pipelines, will present some challenges.

There are also 74 new bridges along the length of the project, and the project team will move more than 10 million yards or earthwork.

“Granite is pleased to be working in partnership with Ferrovial Agroman and Webber on this important project for the greater Houston area,” said Dale Swanberg, Senior Vice President of Granite’s Large Projects Group, “The combined experience of our joint venture team allows us to provide the safest, most innovative and cost effective solution for TxDOT.”

Webber Selected to Build Two Aldine ISD Middle Schools

• Aldine ISD awarded two middle school projects to Webber’s commercial division

• Construction will begin Spring 2017 and open for the 2018-2019 school year

Houston, TX, March 27, 2017 – Webber, LLC has been selected by Aldine ISD in Houston to build two new middle schools – West Mount Houston Middle School and Lauder Middle School. Construction of the two schools run parallel and will begin in Spring 2017 and both schools will open in August 2018.

The schools are designed to educate 1,400 students in grades six through eight, and include classrooms and collaborative learning areas along with bigger hallways, large outdoor learning spaces, additional large and small group learning spaces, art and music program spaces and a theater. Each school is comprised of a 227,000-square foot, two-story, steel structure with a masonry brick façade and includes a cafetorium, gymnasium, science labs and playing fields on 45 acres. Each project also includes parking, roads and detention areas across the campuses.

These new schools are part of the 2015 Aldine ISD $798 million bond referendum for the construction of new schools, renovations, enhancements and other projects to meet the growing needs of the school district over the next five years. The combined school contracts total $93.85 million.

“Our commercial division acquired from Pepper Lawson in 2016, has long been a trusted partner to schools in the greater Houston area,” said Tim Creson, President & CEO of Webber, LLC. “We take great pride in our work of building innovative learning spaces for the community’s future leaders and workforce.”

Cruise Terminal Expansion at the Port of Galveston

Originally posted by Structure Magazine

Strange Bedfellows – The Liberty of the Seas® and an Abandoned Grain Elevator Foundation

The Port of Galveston has served as a hub for the cruise industry since the early 1990s and ranks as one of the busiest cruise ports in the U.S. Its facilities handle more than one million cruise passengers each year. When the industry demanded increased terminal capacity and throughput, the Port was quick to oblige. However, could consulting engineers with Horner & Wyatt in Kansas City, Missouri, who were responsible for the design of a grain elevator complex for the Galveston Wharf Company in 1930, have possibly envisioned their part in accommodating the Port’s expansion of Terminal 2?

Grain Elevator Storage C
Figure 1. Elevation view of Grain Elevator Storage C. Courtesy of Horner & Wyatt.

For nearly seven decades, the grain elevator played a pivotal role in Galveston. Operations of the grain elevator commenced in 1931 and continued until 1998. Three “banks” of silos with a storage capacity of 5.2 million bushels enabled Galveston to be among the nation’s largest exporters of cotton, flour, sulfur, fertilizer, chemicals and grain while the Wharf Company operated. The 168 reinforced concrete silos, each 20 feet in diameter and over 100 feet tall, were supported on 40-inch thick reinforced concrete mat slabs and more than 12,000 thirty-foot long timber piles spaced at 30-inches on center, each way. Figure 1 illustrates an elevation view of one of the original grain elevators.

In June 2003, the abandoned grain elevator site made way for the Port’s $30 million cruise terminal expansion plan with the demolition of the elevator, railcar unloading facilities and offices, and the implosion of the 236-foot tall “head house.” The mat slabs were abandoned in place.

In 2013, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., announced its desire to operate one of its Freedom-Class vessels, the MS Liberty of the Seas®, from the hub port at Galveston. The Liberty of the Seas has a length of 1,112 feet, a beam of 184 feet, a height of 209 feet above the waterline, a draft of 28 feet, an average crew size of 1,300, and fifteen passenger decks accommodating as many as 4,370 passengers.

The existing Cruise Terminal 1 and Cruise Terminal 2 facilities encompass approximately 90,000 square feet. To accommodate larger vessels and to process the ever-increasing number of passengers efficiently, the Port initiated plans to expand the Terminal 2 facility by approximately 60,000 square feet and solicited tenders from design-build teams in 2014.

Webber, LLC, a construction firm with headquarters in The Woodlands, Texas, was awarded the design-build contract in late 2014. They partnered with BEA Architects, Inc. (BEA) and Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, Inc. (LAN), a planning, engineering and program management firm, to design the facility and to prepare the construction documents. Professional Service Industries, Inc. (PSI) was engaged to provide supplemental geotechnical engineering services. The $12.7 million project includes a two-story, 55,000 square foot main building that accommodates security screening, ticketing, and check-in, with seating accommodations for approximately 2,500 passengers. A two-story, 5,000-square-foot connector bridge accommodates the security-controlled passenger embarkation and disembarkation process.

The main building is comprised of a pre-engineered metal building (PEMB) with a full mezzanine framed using open web bar joists and wide-flange steel beams. The connector bridge is also a PEMB with a second level framed using wide-flange steel beams. The ground floor of the main building consists of a conventionally reinforced concrete slab supported on select fill. The ground floor of the connector bridge consists of precast concrete hollow core planks with a topping slab supported by cast-in-place concrete beams and plinths founded on shallow spread footings.

Project Challenges

The bridging documents prepared by AECOM, on behalf of the Port’s alternative delivery strategy, programmed the terminal expansion immediately adjacent to existing terminal buildings whose foundations consist of auger-cast piles. The team was aware of the existence of an abandoned grain silo foundation beneath the footprint of slightly more than half of the proposed expansion and was keen on taking advantage of it for support of some of the superstructure. The remaining area of the expansion was undeveloped.

The site is identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a flood hazard area, and the current Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) lists a Base Flood Elevation of 11.0 feet using the North American Vertical Datum of 1988. When the FIRM is updated in the near future, the base flood elevation will be increased to 12.0 feet. As such, the ground floor of the main building was established with a finished floor elevation of 13.0 feet to provide the necessary freeboard above a storm surge event, with a probability of occurrence of one percent each year. Existing grades across the proposed site varied between 5.2 feet and 7.8 feet. It was necessary to import five to eight feet of select fill contained by perimeter closure walls to enable a soil-supported ground floor slab. A storm surge event would impose hydrostatic, hydrodynamic, and wave loads, as prescribed by ASCE/SEI 7 and ASCE/SEI 24, on the perimeter closure walls.

When detailed design commenced, geotechnical engineering analyses, including laboratory testing for consolidation of a weak soil stratum located between 8 and 25 feet below existing grade, were not yet complete. When consolidation testing was completed, the structural engineering team was presented with the potential for significant settlements given the magnitude of the anticipated surcharge loads from the superstructure and the overburden from the imported fill.

The overburden would impose down drag effects on both new and existing piles, significantly reducing the capacity of the piles to resist compressive loads. Moreover, the potential for significant differential settlement across the proposed new building footprint required design solutions to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Texas Accessibility Standards.

As with any expansion or renovation project, design teams are always challenged with maintaining the form, function, aesthetics, structural integrity, and life safety systems of the existing facility. This project was no exception. Also, the construction team had to accommodate on-going operations at the existing cruise terminals, which created numerous logistical challenges.
The Port had only a limited budget to facilitate expansion and renovation of Cruise Terminal 2. Webber tendered a firm, fixed price offer to execute the program.

Collaborative and Innovative Solutions

Figure 2. Plan view of the Port’s Envisioned Building Configuration. Courtesy of LAN.

The design team developed a number of solutions to accommodate the Port’s envisioned building configuration. Figure 2 outlines the original foundation design that accommodated the existing conditions and the compressible subsoil stratum, and prevented adverse down drag effects on existing pile foundations. Supplemental auger-cast pile-supported mats were incorporated to accommodate portions of the main building that fell beyond the footprint of the existing silo mats. A structural slab supported by auger-cast piles and pile caps was utilized for a previously undeveloped portion of the site. Moreover, minimum pile-setback distances were maintained along the interface with the existing facilities to mitigate otherwise adverse vibration transmission during pile driving operations.

The team collaborated to ensure that the existing grain silo mat foundation, located 13 feet below finished floor, had the capacity and integrity to accommodate 1,500 psf of soil overburden and the anticipated dead, live, and environmental loads imposed on the superstructure. The assessment engaged the geotechnical and structural engineers and Webber’s technical design services and construction teams.

Figure 3. FLAC3D modeling – mat deformations. Courtesy of Webber.
Undeveloped Area
Figure 4. Settle3D modeling – Undeveloped Area Settlements. Courtesy of PSI.

Uniform and differential settlements were estimated using sophisticated three-dimensional modeling software (FLAC3D and Settle3D; refer to Figure 3 and Figure 4). An analysis of the load-carrying capacity of the existing grain silo mat foundation was performed based on a review of the grain elevator design drawings. A non-destructive testing program was initiated to substantiate the integrity of the existing reinforced concrete mat foundation and timber piles.

The program included a visual inspection of the exposed mat slab (Figure 5) and measurement

Silo Foundation
Figure 5. Existing silo mat foundation. Courtesy of LAN.

of its surface hardness and penetration resistance. Rebound hammer test results were correlated with concrete core sample testing. A timber pile was exposed and visually inspected for signs of deterioration or distress. The results of the assessment were positive, and design documents were finalized for construction. Unfortunately, accommodating the unanticipated site subsoil conditions was cost-prohibitive.


Revised Building Configuration
Figure 6. Plan view of the revised building configuration.

With the Port’s cooperation, BEA initiated a complete reconfiguration of the terminal expansion. With the exception of the connector bridge, the entire main building was positioned above two of the existing grain silo mat foundations, as illustrated in Figure 6. The team was determined to utilize a grade-supported ground floor slab for the entire main building. However, the pair of silo mat foundations are separated by 30 feet, and the potential for subsoil consolidation between the pair of mat foundations had to be mitigated.

PSI prepared a narrative for pre-loading that area of the site with a soil embankment 20 feet high. PSI further recommended the installation of vertical wick drains to accelerate the consolidation effort. The construction team implemented this action plan a few months before construction commenced in the affected area.

The connector bridge was designed with a structural ground floor slab to preclude the need for any imported select fill. Furthermore, shallow spread footings were sized with an allowable bearing capacity of only 1,500 psf. An expansion joint was introduced between the connector bridge and the main building to accommodate differential movements. Refer to Figure 7 for a BIM rendering of the final structural solution for the foundation and ground floor systems.

Foundation and Ground Floor
Figure 7. BIM rendering – foundation and ground floor systems. Courtesy of LAN.


Project Benefits/Successes

Webber and its subcontractors executed the seven-month long construction program with no cruise line disruptions, security breaches, or safety “recordables.” The expanded and renovated facility has been operational since July 2016.

Passengers Ramp
Figure 8. Disembarking passengers ramp. Courtesy of Webber.

The United States Customs and Border Protection is one of the Department of Homeland Security’s largest and most complex components. The required segregation of disembarking and embarking cruise passengers can often substantially increase passenger “cycle” times. BEA successfully incorporated an interior ramp (Figure 8), coupled with elevators and escalators, that resulted in a significant improvement in passenger throughput. Passengers can navigate from curbside to the ship’s gangway within nine minutes.

Most importantly, the Webber team was able to deliver the project within the Port’s approved budget. The Port, Royal Caribbean (et. al) and cruise passengers can enjoy the benefits of a well-conceived and executed expansion initiative for years to come. Furthermore, BEA maintains that subsequent site expansion efforts are viable and can ultimately accommodate even larger passenger vessels. Royal Caribbean’s MS Harmony of the Seas®, with accommodations for up to 6,360 passengers, was launched on June 19, 2015, and is currently deployed to Port Everglades.

There is no doubt that the abandoned grain elevator foundations can accommodate any future expansion. Could Messrs. Horne and Wyatt have envisioned such a legacy?


Despite the many challenges, the success of the Cruise Terminal 2 expansion project was made possible because the Port of Galveston, Webber, BEA, LAN, and PSI collaborated on solutions that incorporated imagination, technology, and innovation. With collective diligence and persistence, the team delivered a benchmark for efficiency. When you next embark on a cruise via the hub port at Galveston, know that you are standing above robust foundations designed by
engineers in the 1930s.

Project Team

Owner: Port of Galveston, Galveston, TX
Structural Engineer: Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, Inc. (LAN), Houston, TX
General Contractor (Design-Builder): Webber, LLC, The Woodlands, TX
Design Manager: Webber, LLC, Technical Services, The Woodlands, TX
Architect: BEA Architects, Inc., Miami, FL
Geotechnical Engineer: Professional Service Industries, Inc., Houston, TX
MEP and Civil Engineers: LAN, Houston, TX





Webber Awarded $192M US 281 Expansion in Bexar County

Texas Department of Transportation contract includes widening of 8 miles of US 281 from Loop 1604 to Borgfeld Drive in Bexar County north of San Antonio, TX

Houston, TX, February 26, 2017 – Webber, LLC has been selected by the Texas Department of Transportation to widen the US 281 corridor. The project involves construction of non-toll General Purpose Lanes, HOV/Transit Lanes and frontage roads. Bicycle and pedestrian facilities will also be provided. The project was bid at $192 million and is scheduled to be completed within three years.

The work will also include adding a direct connection to the new VIA Metropolitan Transit US 281, two general purpose lanes and one HOV lane in each direction, and four interchange direct connectors at Loop 1604.

“We are seeing tremendous opportunities in Texas for all of our business lines right now,” said Tim Creson, president & CEO of Webber, LLC. “We have had a great start to 2017 in all four of our divisions.”

US 281 Before

Webber Awarded $119M I-45 Expansion in Walker County

Texas Department of Transportation contract includes widening of 6.7 miles of highway north of Houston, TX

Webber, LCC, a subsidiary of Ferrovial, has been selected by the Texas Department of Transportation to widen the I-45 corridor along the primary hurricane and disaster evacuation route for Houston and Galveston. The project was bid at $119 million and is scheduled to be completed within four years.

The contract includes expanding the interstate to six travel lanes and replacing existing bridges, drainage structures, and frontage roads. I-45 typically carries 48,000 vehicles per day, according to 2015 traffic counts by TxDOT, and the expansion will enhance freight mobility while addressing chronic congestion along the I-45 corridor.

Tim Creson, President & CEO of Webber, said: “We are happy to start out the year with a great winning streak for Webber and hope to keep the momentum going with the long list of TxDOT work available to bid in 2017.”

About Webber, LLC

Founded in 1963, Webber is a leading heavy civil, commercial and waterworks construction company and material producer dedicated to safely providing intelligent solutions to its clients and community. As a wholly owned subsidiary of Ferrovial S.A., an international company based in Madrid, Spain, Webber has access to a global network of skilled engineers, best-in-class technology and vast resources. Webber is headquartered in Houston, Texas, and has been rated by Engineering News-Record as the largest transportation contractor in the Texas/Louisiana region for the past four years. For more information, please visit wwebber.com.

About Ferrovial

Ferrovial is one of the world’s leading infrastructure operators and municipal services companies, committed to developing sustainable solutions. The company has 74,000 employees and operates in over 20 countries. Its main business areas are: Toll Roads, Services, Construction and Airports. It is a member of Spain’s blue-chip IBEX 35 index and is also included in prestigious sustainability indices such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and FTSE4Good.

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Webber Broadens Services with Acquisition of Pepper Lawson

Purchase to enable Webber to develop a new commercial construction division and build out its existing water services.

The Woodlands, TX, April 12, 2016. – Webber, LLC (Webber) announces the acquisition of Houston-based general contractor, Pepper Lawson Construction, LP (Pepper Lawson). The company specializes in commercial construction, and through subsidiary Pepper Lawson Waterworks, LLC, is also a market leader in the construction of water and wastewater treatment plants. With a team of more than 250 dedicated employees, Pepper Lawson collectively generates approximately $200 million in annual revenue. The acquisition enables Webber to strategically leverage the existing leadership team within Pepper Lawson in order to enhance its own, existing water division and to develop a new division dedicated to commercial construction. 

“I am very excited about the opportunities created by this acquisition. Our combined experience, resources, and capabilities enable us to provide a more complete offering to clients including financing, design, operations maintenance and construction across the full spectrum of the construction industry,” said Tim Creson, president and chief executive officer of Webber. “The integration of these companies will take Webber to a new level and enable us to be a stronger force in the highly competitive construction landscape.” 

In 2015, Webber entered the water market organically in response to Texas’ growing population and the ever-increasing water shortages across the state. The acquisition permits Webber to combine the reputation of Pepper Lawson with its own in-house design capabilities and global resources, so that the newly acquired water division can quickly become a turnkey resource for clients, with the added benefit of extensive desalination and treatment plant processing capabilities.

The addition of the commercial construction division further extends Webber’s current capabilities and mirrors the horizontal integration model that its parent company, Ferrovial, employs, serving all aspects of the construction industry. This broader commercial services model provides market diversification and enables Webber to leverage resources and relationships to pursue larger projects and further the company’s design-build capabilities. 

“Webber is widely known as being a leading infrastructure company in Texas. This capability mixed with Webber’s bonding capacity and access to skilled engineers globally, best-in-class technology, and virtually unlimited resources made the acquisition very attractive,” said Atul Raj, president of Pepper Lawson Waterworks. “We look forward to the growth and business opportunities that will be created by the new relationship with Webber.” 

About Webber

Founded in 1963, Webber is a leading construction company and material producer dedicated to safely providing intelligent solutions to its clients and community. As a wholly owned subsidiary of Ferrovial S.A., an international company based in Madrid, Spain, Webber has access to a global network of skilled engineers, best-in-class technology, and vast resources. Webber is headquartered in Houston, Texas, and has been rated by Engineering News-Record as the largest transportation contractor in the Texas/Louisiana region for the past four years.

About Ferrovial

Ferrovial is one of the world’s leading infrastructure operators and municipal services companies, committed to developing sustainable solutions. The company has 74,000 employees and operates in over 20 countries. Its main business areas are: Services, Toll Roads, Construction and Airports. It is a member of Spain’s blue-chip IBEX 35 index and is also included in prestigious sustainability indices such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and FTSE4Good.