Providing Subsurface Utility Engineering consulting services since 1993 in the United States and 2002 in Canada, T2 Utility Engineers specializes in services that reduce the risk of existing underground and above-ground utilities for infrastructure projects.
President of the Canadian business of T2 Utility Engineers, Matt Bourgeois has been with the company for more than 16 years, working closely with an exceptional team and Leadership group providing industry-leading Utility Engineering services to clients across Canada. Over the years Mr Bourgeois has held numerous positions throughout the organization and continues to be passionate about providing quality service to clients and helping them resolve their utility related challenges. We spoke to Mr Bourgeois about the evolution of the company, the industry-leading advanced services that T2ue offers, and the varied and interesting projects it has been involved in over the years.
“The company started in Canada back in 2002,” Mr Bourgeois explains, “with a joint venture between Totten Sims Hubicki [TSH], a small consulting firm offering various engineering services in Ontario, and the US-based firm, Tampa Bay Engineering [TBE], specializing in Subsurface Utility Engineering.”
This joint venture was formed to provide services to the Canadian market, leveraging TSH’s client base combined with TBE’s technical expertise. The company grew quickly, resulting in AECOM purchasing TSH and Cardno purchasing TBE in 2008.
“TSH/TBE continued to operate as a joint venture, and in 2012 it was renamed T2ue Utility Engineers. The name comes from taking one ‘T’ from TSH and the other from TBE. Since 2019 we have been 100% owned by Intega. We are one of five divisions working together to provide engineering services across Australia, the United States, New Zealand and Canada.”
The Canadian arm of the company provides utility engineering services with a staff of around 100, running out of three offices in Ontario – Whitby, Oakville and Ottawa – and one in Edmonton, Alberta. T2ue provides similar services in the United States, with approximately 300 staff, under the leadership of US President Craig Snyder.
Mr Bourgeois has been with the company for over 16 years, having studied civil engineering at Loyalist College in Belleville, Ontario, and finding himself in the industry several years later.
“After graduation, I started working in the residential design business. In 2005 the firm decided to move things from Ontario to Vancouver. As I was recently married with a young family, relocation was not something I was interested in, so I started a job search, which found me at T2ue Utility Engineers.”
Mr Bourgeois started at the company as a drafting technician, taking on new challenges and positions as the business grew. These positions included Project Coordinator, Project Manager, Branch Manager, Regional Manager, and his current role as President.
“I was hired as the fifth employee back in 2005,” Mr Bourgeois says, “and today we have approximately 100 staff across Canada. It has been a very rewarding journey with so many amazing people.”
Servicing a variety of industries
“We provide support to any industry that needs to better understand the below-ground and requires assistance dealing with potential impacts to their proposed work. The majority of industries we work with are transportation, water/wastewater, land development, telecommunications, energy, and gas.”
The company works with many different clients to provide Subsurface Utility Engineering services in accordance with industry-recognized standards and guidelines. These clients include municipalities, government agencies, consulting engineers, land developers, and property owners.
The services the company offers fall into a few different categories, the largest being Subsurface Utility Engineering, while it also offers Utility Coordination, CCTV Sewer Investigations, and Advanced Geophysics.
“Subsurface Utility Engineering is the collection and depiction of underground utility information, following the industry standard ASCE 38, with the objective of reducing the overall risk and cost to design and construction projects.”
Another service offered is Utility Coordination, which focusses on minimizing the need for relocations through early identification and communication with the project design team, reducing claims and extensive delays during construction.
“CCTV Sewer Investigations is essentially driving remote-controlled devices through pipes in order to determine condition and alignment, which aids in the design and maintenance planning.”
Advanced Geophysics is the provision of specialized geospatial surveying and mapping services, using ground-penetrating radar and other tools to investigate underground voids, tunnels, sceptic beds, grave sites, and other anomalies.
The company has many interesting projects currently on the go, including supporting the Finch West Light Rail Transit project in Ontario, along with the Scarborough Subway extension, for which it is providing mapping and utility co-ordination services.
“In the city of Toronto, for a number of years, they have been working to reduce the risk of flooding by improvements to the sewer systems and overland drainage routes across the city. We have been involved in this basement flooding protection program for over ten years, providing survey, mapping, chamber investigations, and CCTV services.”
The company’s Edmonton office is currently working with the overall design team on the Yellowhead Trail Freeway Conversion project, which will convert 25km of road into a freeway, with a program budget of $1bn.
“Providing valuable and often surprise information to our clients is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the job. On one project, we were able to identify a 100-year-old area of railway track in a developed downtown area. Identifying this early in the design allowed for proper planning, cost estimating, and scheduling.”
Another project saw the design team’s plans to relocate utilities under the sidewalk changed after early investigations by T2ue determined that the basements of numerous buildings protruded to the curb line of the road, which allowed designs to be changed, saving costs and avoiding scheduling problems.
“We recently had a job in Moose Factory, which is a very remote location in Northern Ontario. Our field crews needed to drive eight hours to Cochrane, load trucks and equipment onto a train for the trip to Moosonee, then go by helicopter over to Moose Factory island to complete our investigations.”
One of the most interesting aspects of the business for Mr Bourgeois is having the opportunity to work on so many different projects with different clients across Canada. T2 Utility Engineers gets involved in many unique investigations to help clients with underground challenges.
“I have even received a phone call from a homeowner who was looking for assistance finding five pails of gold bars buried by his grandfather on their property. He had a treasure map, and surprisingly enough he had already found four of the five pails, but needed help with the last. Unfortunately the area he needed us to investigate was heavily treed, preventing equipment access, and the client elected not to clear the area.”
Passionate people dedicated to client service
The utility engineering industry is currently experiencing extensive growth, which looks set to continue as more project owners and designers appreciate the importance of quality information as early as possible in the lifecycle of a project.
Alongside this, continued education through industry associations and groups suggests a bright future for the industry. But there are still challenges, most notably scope clarity, which has had some improvements over the years, but still has a long way to go.
“In general, I feel that Request For Proposal scopes are needed to be a bit clearer. Unfortunately, I’ve talked to too many clients that have not received the needed information to complete their designs, and this often comes down to the original scope requested.”
Project owners should clearly request investigations be completed in compliance with ASCE 38, to ensure proper processes are followed and deliverables will be reviewed, signed, and sealed by a professional engineer.
“Working with a trusted, experienced firm can help refine the scope, maximize value, and ensure the information critical to the design and construction is provided,” Mr Bourgeois believes.
This clear understanding of the industry and commitment to exceptional client service demonstrates just how T2ue helps designers, municipalities and project owners reduce their overall risk on projects.
“The health and longevity of any business,” Mr Bourgeois concludes, summing up the biggest lesson he has learned in his 16 years in the industry, “is based on passionate people dedicated to client service, quality and teamwork.”
Specializing in providing reliable underground and above-ground utility information to reduce the risks that utilities present for infrastructure projects, T2ue’s professional and comprehensive services help clients manage the complexity of existing utilities. Find out more about T2 Utility Engineers by visiting www.t2ue.com.