Engineering & Laboratory Services Division (8500)

Division Chief: Vacant

The Engineering & Laboratory Services Division has approximately 100 staff that provide integrated technical expertise in:  1) Construction Management & Specifications, 2) Estimating Services, 3) Concrete, Geotech, & Structural Laboratory, 4) Materials & Corrosion Laboratory, and 5) Hydraulic Investigations & Laboratory Services.

Construction Management & Specifications (8510)

Group Manager:  Jamie Macartney (; 303-445-3296)

The Construction Management staff provides a full range of construction management type services and support for design activities. Construction /PMP/project administration, and environmental experts provide specific activities including:

  • Constructability and specifications reviews
  • Construction scheduling, tracking, and time impact analyses
  • Contract dispute analysis and claims resolution
  • Developing and monitoring detailed workplans, budgets, contract correspondence and reviewing contractor’ submittals
  • Project Management/Earned Value Analysis

The Specifications staff maintains selected guide specifications and coordinates, prepares, and reviews specifications for a variety of purposes:

  • Modify embankment dams and concrete dams for safety; to rehabilitate and improve roads and bridges
  • Maintain, rehabilitate and improve water conveyance systems infrastructure, powerplant and pumping plant structures, substations, and switchyards
  • Clean up hazardous waste sites
  • Plants and architectural buildings

Estimating Services (8520)

Group Manager:  Daniel Donaldson, P.E., C.E.P. (; 303-445-3080)

Civil/mechanical/electrical cost estimators, all of whom are engineers, provide estimating expertise and services to many types of construction projects throughout the United States. This group prepares Independent Government Cost Estimate (IGCE) that meets the needs of Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) requirements. The group provides support for negotiated procurement and analyses proposals. The estimates prepared are for heavy/civil construction, specialized mechanical and/or electrical, and hazardous waste assessment/cleanup/restoration. Cost estimates (or technical reviews) are provided for new construction, modifications, and life-cycle cost estimates. The group prepares Construction Cost Estimates (CCE) and Project Cost Estimates (PCE) for Authorization/Appropriation by the Congress. The group also tracks historical data and prepares Reclamation’s Construction Cost Trends, which provides a rapid means of determining the current cost of construction of various properties based on previous estimates. The group prepares the following levels of estimates (e.g., Planning Stage through Operations Stage):


  • Planning Stage
    • Preliminary Level Cost Estimate
    • Appraisal Level Cost Estimate
    • Feasibility Level Cost Estimate
  • Design Stage
    • Percent Design Level Cost Estimate
    • Prevalidation Level Cost Estimate
  • Solicitation Stage (pre-award)
    • Independent Government Cost Estimate (IGCE)
  • Construction Stage (post-award modifications)
    • IGCE - Contract Modifications
  • Operations Stage (operation and maintenance)
    • One or more of the previously identified cost estimates

Concrete, Geotech, & Structural Laboratory (8530)

Group Manager:  Janet White, P.E. (; 303-445-2373)

The Concrete, Geotech, and Structural Laboratory provides specialized expertise on engineering materials used to build Reclamation facilities, with an emphasis on concrete and geotechnical materials. This group houses world-renowned laboratory testing facilities, as well as supports extensive field testing and repair capabilities.

Services and Equipment

  • Concrete Technology – Expertise in troubleshooting construction problems, specification preparation and review, material submittal approvals, on-site inspection, batch plant inspection, expertise in state-of-the-art construction materials and practices, research on material problems, and training. These include staff to inspect and evaluate concrete structures for different concrete degradation mechanisms.
  • Concrete Repair – Guidance and technical advice in failure analysis, condition assessment, maintenance, repair, rehabilitation, and preservation of concrete infrastructure. Concrete repair expertise includes evaluation and repair designs from appraisal level to final design, including material selection, drawings and specifications, concrete coring and testing, as well as full on-site concrete repair and chemical and cement grouting applications.
  • Structural Testing – Full-size or scaled testing of building components, substructure, or models in both static and dynamic conditions, including design and fabrication of unique and specialized testing apparatus.
  • Geotechnical Engineering – Capabilities include a variety of services related to the soil and rock materials used for Reclamation structures. These include both laboratory and field investigations of the engineering properties of soil and rock, including in-situ soil and rock testing, as well as groundwater investigations and dewatering/unwatering systems design. Specialized equipment and capabilities include advanced soil and rock shear testing, internal erosion testing, filter material cementation testing, and rock-concrete interface testing. They also offer expertise in geological petrography, providing assistance in evaluating materials and in solving problems related to design, construction, and research.
  • Equipment and Capabilities:
    • Petrographic Analysis
    • 5-million Pound Universal Testing Machine (compression and tension)
    • Concrete Mix Laboratory
    • Dynamic Testing Laboratory
    • Vibration Laboratory
    • Aggregate and RiprapTesting
    • Freezing/Thawing Testing
    • Thermal Properties Laboratory
    • Environmental Testing Chambers (-10 to 180 °F)
    • Relative Humidity Rooms 50%, 70% and 100% (Fog Room)
    • Soils physical properties and compaction laboratory
    • Concrete and Rock Direct Shear Machines (50 kip and 300 kip shear capacity)
    • Cyclic Triaxial and Cyclic Direct Simple Shear soils testing
    • Rock Triaxial Shear testing
    • Soil triaxial testing with Ko-consolidation to develop SHANSEP parameters
    • Field Cone Penetration Testing
    • Field SPT energy measurements
    • Hydrogeologic field testing
    • Large-scale field density testing
    • Field vane shear testing

Materials & Corrosion Laboratory (8540)

Group Manager:  Bill Kepler, P.E., Ph.D. (; 303-445-2386)

The Materials & Corrosion Laboratory offers expertise in engineering materials selection with an emphasis on corrosion control. The group inspects, designs, specifies, and field tests corrosion mitigation systems including protective coatings and cathodic protection. They have competency in non-metallic materials, such as composites and geosynthetics, and environmental compliance and management. The laboratory houses extensive testing capabilities for assessing the interaction of a material with its service environment.

services and equipment

  • Protective Coatings - Provide expert knowledge in coatings and paints for all service conditions. The team writes specifications, reviews submittals, and provides construction support for coatings systems. Personnel are experienced coatings applicators and inspectors, perform in-house and field surface preparation, and coating or coating repairs. They have a complete coatings evaluation laboratory that includes equipment to evaluate weathering, cathodic disbondment, coatings service life, abrasion, adhesion, and mechanical properties.
  • Corrosion and Cathodic Protection – Specialize in design, specification, testing, troubleshooting, and repair of cathodic protection systems for structures such as pipelines, tanks, gates, and other buried or submerged metals. The team has extensive experience in corrosion-related inspections and can assist clients in small-scale cathodic protection system installation. The team has applied research facilities for assessment of new materials, corrosion mitigation methods, and corrosion and degradation issues related to Reclamation infrastructure materials in a variety of environments. They can also perform failure analysis of metallic and non-metallic components.
  • Polymeric Materials – Provide technical expertise related to the use of geosynthetic and polymeric materials for application such as sealants, waterstops, roofing, gaskets, and plastic pipe. Services offered include inspections and specification preparation. They also conduct applied research to evaluate new, improved, or conventional polymeric materials to effect more economical construction, maintenance, new repair, and design approaches.
  • Composite Materials – Assisting clients in researching, selecting, and specifying composite materials for infrastructure projects. Laboratory testing capabilities for mechanical and environmental evaluation of composites.
  • Environmental Compliance and Management - Provide technical and regulatory expertise as required by Reclamation Directives and Standards for compliance with federal, state and local environmental regulations. Services include managing and coordinating environmental management systems, environmental compliance audit programs, hazardous materials, hazardous and solid waste generation during facility modernization projects, chemical inventories, spill prevention control and countermeasure plans, waste minimization and pollution prevention, environmental release of hazardous materials, national pollutant discharge elimination system permits, Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments (property transfers), and environmental assessments/environmental impact statements as required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Hydraulic Investigations & Laboratory Services (8560)

Group Manager:  Bob Einhellig (; 303-445-2142)

The Hydraulic Investigations & Laboratory staff members apply hydraulic modeling, analysis, and field testing expertise to solve a variety of water resources, hydraulics, and fluid mechanics problems. The work is focused on ensuring the safety of Reclamation dams, managing and conserving water resources, constructing, operating and maintaining essential infrastructure, and protecting and improving the environment.

Services and Equipment

  • Water Conservation – Canal automation and operations, water measurement technology and field evaluations, remote flow monitoring and control systems, software tools for design and calibration of water measurement structures (flumes, weirs, gates, etc.), and water management training workshops
  • Environmental Hydraulics – Reservoir selective withdrawal, fish screening, fish protection and passage, design support and field evaluations, river restoration, habitat model verification data collection, reservoir density current measurements, acoustic imaging, total dissolved gas abatement, river sediment flushing, dam removal, and reservoir and river sedimentation related to hydraulic structures
  • Dam Safety – High capacity spillways (labyrinth weirs, fuse plug embankments), dam overtopping protection, spillway erosion modeling, dam foundation erosion modeling, embankment breach modeling, emergency gate closure testing
  • Hydraulic Structures & Equipment – Stilling basins, pumps & turbines, generators, gates & valves, canal structures, intakes and diversions

The Reclamation Detection Laboratory for Exotic Species (RDLES) uses technologies to detect exotic species in habitats associated with water resources management projects. Disciplines include chemistry, botany, entomology, water quality, engineering, limnology and ecology.

RDLES Services and Equipment

  • Scanning electron and cross polarized light microscopy
  • PCR gene sequencing
  • Imaging technologies (FlowCAM and VeligerCAM)
Last Updated: 3/11/19