AEC in California
Associated Engineering Consultants
20179 Charlanne Dr
Redding, CA 96002
530.226.1616
AEC in Colorado
Associated Engineering Consultants
7459 Taft St
Arvada, CO 80005
303.432.8576

Frequently Asked Questions...

What is asphalt?

Asphalt is a bituminous material, dark brown or black in color, and occurs naturally or as a result of the distillation of petroleum products. Asphalt is found in crude petroleum and has uses in paving, roofing, and industrial applications.

What is asphalt concrete?

Asphalt concrete (AC) is a mixture of asphalt and aggregate, which has been mixed together and compacted to form a definable mass or structure.

What is an asphalt pavement?

Asphalt pavement consists of a layer of asphalt concrete that is placed over supporting layers of courses of crushed rock, gravel, slag, Portland Concrete Cement (PCC), brick or block concrete.

What is the typical lifespan of asphalt pavements?

While this is somewhat of a general question, it is typical to expect asphalt pavements to last at least twenty years if properly constructed and maintained. The lifespan of pavements is subject to usage patterns, environment, topography and other related issues.

What is pavement engineering?

Pavement Engineering is a branch of civil engineering that employs both traditional and cutting edge techniques to achieve an increase in the quality of AC and PCC pavements used in the construction of roads, parking lots and other related surfaces with a focused on increased durability in an economical manner. Pavement engineering draws upon a vast body of historical data in addition to sophisticated testing and modern computerized modeling techniques to extract the best product for the best price to the client.

What is pavement management?

Pavement management is simply the management of on investment in pavements. Typically, management is geared towards maximizing the lifespan of the pavements in an economical manner while at the same time maintaining an aesthetic appeal.

When do you need a pavement engineer?

While it is obvious that you need to undertake new construction or a rehabilitative action, it is not always clear how to go about it. A pavement engineer can assist their clients in identifying specific needs and specifying those needs in the form of a plan that a contractor can easily follow, yet is binding such that the contractor performs in an efficient and compliant manner.

What is a pavement management plan?

A pavement management plan (PMP) is a strategic analysis of pavement conditions, determining the type, cost and timing of maintenance and rehabilitation actions needed in various paved areas, prioritizing needs with respect to available funds and budgeting the cost of improvements over several years.

What causes pavements to fail?

There are numerous things that can cause a pavement to fail. Cause are, but are not limited to poor initial construction, inadequate AC thickness, weak subgrade materials, usage patterns, poor drainage topography, general environmental conditions and a general lack of maintenance. In addition, pavements fail as a function of age and ultimately must be rehabilitated or replaced.

Can an older or failing pavement be rehabilitated?

In most cases the answer is yes. Many pavement surfaces can have failing areas removed and replaced. The application of a seal coat will extend the life of the existing pavements while improving aesthetics. Some pavement surfaces may require the placement of an AC overlay, which though costly, is typically a less expensive measure than complete reconstruction.

When does it become cost prohibitive to rehabilitate the pavement structure?

Rehabilitation measures become cost prohibitive when the measure or action will likely not approach its desired lifespan. For example, placing an AC overlay over a section of pavement which is severely cracked, raveled, rutted, pot holed, brittle, and for all practical purposes failed would do no good as the new AC overlay would only briefly mask the existing flaws. Therefore it would be wiser to remove or recycle the failed pavement and establish a firm base upon which the new AC can be placed.

Can a failed pavement be recycled?

Failed pavements can be recycled in a variety of ways. The most common is to pulverize the existing pavement and blend it with existing base materials. This blend of materials will serve as the base material over which an AC structure will be placed.

How do you determine pavement needs?

Typically, the best course of action is for a client to express their intent of usage for a particular section of pavement and supply any empirical data, such as traffic counts, or observations that may be of use to the engineer. The engineer will usually make a site visit and evaluate the existing conditions and gather data as needed so that a proper recommendation can be made.

How do you find a qualified contractor?

While there are many qualified contractors, it is often the case that the engineer will have a list of contractors in your region that are licensed, bonded, professional and competitive in terms of price. The engineer can also administer to the actions of the contractor during the construction and bidding periods.

Is there a way to predict how and when pavements will fail?

There are several ways that this can be accomplished. First and foremost there is a vast body of historical knowledge that can be applied to predictive modeling or assumptions. In addition, an evaluation of existing conditions with a particular focus on signs of fatigue can also assist in the predictive methods. Combine the aforementioned with cutting edge testing and evaluative techniques and generally predictions with regard to pavement lifespan and rates of failure are quite accurate.

How do you ensure proper construction?

In addition to a proper set of plans and specifications prepared by an engineer for use by the client and contractor, it is often recommended that field staff should be on site to inspect the quality of construction through visual inspection and material testing. Should a situation arise that was not foreseen by the engineer, the presence of an on-site inspector will allow such circumstances to be dealt with in a satisfactory manner.

Are there limits to when you can pave?

Typically, paving takes place in the late spring, summer, and early fall months. This is due to the fact that paving is sensitive to temperature and rain. Ultimately, this is answered on a regional basis due to the wide variety of climates.

What are the costs of engineering?

The costs of engineering can range form a nominal fee to rather signifigant amount. However, engineering fees should be measured in terms of percentage of the total cost of construction. When viewed in these terms, it is typically a very small fraction of the total cost (typically less than 10 percent), yet plays a significant role in ensuring that a professional work product is produced.

What if only specific engineering services are needed?

There are occasions when only specific services are required as opposed to the entire scope. If this is the case, the services are gladly provided with recommendations for additional engineering services being made only if they are warranted.

Are there any general laws that need to be addressed before paving?

When undertaking paving projects, there are a host of local, state and federal laws that must be taken in account. Awareness of environmental laws and compliance to standards set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) must also be taken into account.