Orange County Branch Newsletter

October 2011

OC Firm Spotlight

Spotlight on Atkins

By  Rachel Shepherd, Atkins

On April 1, 2011, PBS&J changed its name to Atkins North America, Inc. (Atkins). While the name may be different, the same dedicated staff members continue to provide technical excellence, quality, and timely response to public and private sector clients. In addition to our 3,000 employees and 80 offices in the United States, we can now bring best practices from the world’s most vibrant markets and draw upon the resources and capabilities that have made Atkins the world’s 11th largest design firm with more than 18,000 employees worldwide.

As a leading provider of architecture-engineering (A-E) consulting services, Atkins provides expertise in a diverse range of specialized areas including architecture, environmental compliance, planning, municipal engineering, site development, structural design, public outreach, and construction administration services. From initial regulatory approvals to permitting and from civil design to construction management, Atkins’ team of professionals brings significant technical expertise to a wide range of municipal, state, federal, retail, office, residential, institutional, light industrial, mixed-use, aviation, transit, highway, and other projects

Atkins has seven offices throughout California, staffed with 220 technical professionals who offer the advantage of regional expertise. Our local Orange staff offers a wide range of disciplines specializing in water, wastewater, storm drains, roadway, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) compliance and water quality, environmental permitting, bridges, landscape architecture, plan checking, staff augmentation, and community outreach as well as funding source identificationand climate change consulting. Regardless of the size or complexity of the project, we have the flexibility to offer customized services to satisfy precise project requirements.

Atkins is committed to the implementation of sustainable design principles and strives to be a responsible steward of the earth’s resources in the planning, design, and construction of projects. We continually look for opportunities to minimize resource requirements, maximize production efficiency, and control waste.  The following paragraphs highlight just a few of our successful—and award-winning—Southern California projects.

Westside Pump Station Rehabilitation

Client: Orange County Sanitation District

The Westside Pump Station is nestled on a small lot between single-family homes in a quiet residential neighborhood in Los Alamitos. Although the required capacity of the facility initially was to be 14.4 mgd, the winter storms of 2004–2005—which produced more rainfall than most of Southern California had seen in more than 30 years—convinced OCSD and the team otherwise and the project was upgraded to include the rehabilitation of the existing 8-million-gallon-per-day (mgd) pump station to an 18.8-mgd facility. Services included preparation of the preliminary design report, utility research, system hydraulics, implementation plan, odor-assessment plan, final engineering, and construction support services. Early in the preliminary design phase, Atkins developed practical alternatives for providing bypass pumping, temporary power, temporary controls, and construction sequencing that gained early District acceptance of key design concepts of the project. Working as a team with OCSD staff, Atkins devised a solid plan for construction that minimized disturbance to nearby neighbors.


Orange County Great Park Program Management, Construction Management, and Design Oversight

Client: City of Irvine and Orange County Great Park Corporation

The Great Park will transform Orange County while setting new standards for sustainability, ecological responsibility, and public space in southern California. It will provide a unique place for residents and visitors to relax, recreate, and mingle.  The Orange County Great Park will include habitat preservation, conservation, and open space; parks and recreation; educational facilities; institutional complex; open-air amphitheater; other public-oriented land uses; and private development of land such as agriculture, research and development, commercial, retail, transit, and residential medium and low-density development. Serving as an extension of Orange County Great Park Corporation staff, the Atkins team is coordinating and managing the planning, design, and construction of all elements within the park.


Pacific Coast Highway Congestion Relief Project, Construction Management

Client: City of Dana Point

Serving as a beautiful gateway to the seaside resort city of Dana Point, the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) Congestion Relief and Pedestrian Bridge project fulfills the City’s aesthetic goals and operational and safety objectives. A clear span over PCH was achieved using variable-depth, precast concrete girders that frame into cast-in-place concrete stairs and elevator towers. Extensive use of architectural finishes, lighting, and public art give the bridge a distinctive look, during day and night. Atkins provided construction management and inspection services for this $6 million capital improvement project which received numerous awards including:

  • CMAA’s Project Achievement Award for “Infrastructure Project with Constructed Value Less then $15 Million”
  • ENR California ConstructionMagazine’s “Best of 2009 Projects: Award of Merit”
  • ASCE’s Orange County Branch “Project Achievement Award”


California Department of Water Resources (DWR) Flood Control Handbook

Client: California DWR

In 2007, new legislation linked local and regional planning and flood management focusing on a 200-year flood level.  More than 27 modifications were made to the existing code sections, varying geographic changes with multiple timelines. In response to local communities requesting clarifications on compliance and the ability to obtain flood data, Atkins, in conjunction with DWR, prepared the “Handbook for Local Communities” to assist cities and counties with compliance and to present general guidance to help develop locally relevant responses.  The handbook received a local and state, “2011 Focused Issue Planning Award” from the California section of the American Planning Association. The handbook can be downloaded at


South Bay Regional Intermodal Transit Center A-E Design Services

Client: City of Redondo Beach

The South Bay Regional Intermodal Transit Center, designated a Project of National and Regional Significance, is a three-phase, $14.2 million construction project that will replace the existing but inadequate regional transit center located adjacent to the South Bay Galleria Mall parking structure. The Atkins team has worked closely with Redondo Beach City Planning staff to achieve consensus on an attractive, welcoming, and efficient transit center that will create a sense of place that will encourage bus ridership, improve public safety, and reduce traffic congestion along the freeways. Numerous sustainable and green elements have been integrated into the design, and when complete, the Center is anticipated to improve overall air quality, public bus transit service, and mobility. The full range of A-E services being provided by Atkins and its subcontractors for Phase I development include architectural and landscape design; structural, civil; and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) engineering; LEED administration; infrastructure design; and construction administration. Project deliverables include construction plans and specifications as well as cost estimates.


Candlestick Point-Hunters Point Shipyard Phase II EIR

Client: San Francisco Redevelopment Agency

The overarching goal for the 702-acre Candlestick Point-Hunters Point Shipyard is to revitalize the Bayview Hunters Point community by maximizing reuse of the naval shipyard, finance improvement of the state parkland, maintain and enhance an historic African-American neighborhood, and to provide housing options and an integrated transportation plan. To help achieve this goal, the Atkins team prepared the EIR and analyzed multiple project variables and alternatives. One challenge involved maintaining progress on the EIR while major components of the land use program were being refined. The Atkins effort involved coordination with multiple agencies including the U.S. Navy for issuance of a Supplemental EIS under NEPA for the Hunters Point Shipyard plans. This project recently received the “Hard Won Victories” award by the California section of the American Planning Association.

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