Sixty years ago, RBF Consulting (RBF) opened its doors for the first time. Since that moment, nothing about the firm has been average.
Now as a mature firm with over 60 years of experience, RBF has solidified its presence as a community engineer, a multi-disciplinary firm, and an industry leader in new technologies.
Established in 1944 as a company with a handful of employees, RBF has grown to become a nationally recognized firm with over 750 employees and thirteen offices throughout the western United States.
"We are a solid, established firm, yet we bring progressive, new ideas to the world," said RBF Co-President Jim McDonald. "It's that combination of 60 years of experience in planning, design and construction and being on the technological edge of our field that sets us apart."
From the start, RBF has been known as a firm that is constantly expanding its range of client services and taking a leadership role in new technologies and innovation. In the 1960's, RBF was a leader in engineering computerization. In the 1980's, RBF was one the first survey firms in the country to offer Global Positioning Systems (GPS) surveying capabilities. In the 1990's, RBF aggressively expanded its capabilities in GIS Systems. By the late 1990's, RBF had evolved far beyond the traditional, project-oriented company, offering a remarkably diverse range of professional services and disciplines. For sixty years, RBF has surpassed industry standards, pushed the envelope on technology and met the needs of their clients with services far beyond those of the average engineer.
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers "Infrastructure Report Card," there is a 1.3 trillion dollar need for infrastructure repairs. Some of the most complex issues facing today's building industry are traffic, redevelopment of underutilized sites, water supply, storm water runoff and air quality. Redevelopment of urban areas is critical. Over 80% of the population lives in urban areas, with much of the built environment aging fast and half the dwelling units built before 1967.
Stormwater Quality and Management
Nowhere are the issues of engineering technology more evident than in the rapidly shifting demands of storm water management. RBF helps governmental agencies as well as land development clients meet storm water runoff quantity and quality requirements with comprehensive, multi-objective state-of-the-art approaches that include NPDES construction permit compliance; SWPPP development, construction site inspection, training and reporting; NPDES municipal agency requirements, including: post-construction BMP design, WQMP development, and erosion and sediment control programs; drainage master plans; runoff management plans, and storm drain facility design.
RBF's professionals enable clients to maintain an edge over their competition with flood control design criteria, watershed modeling techniques, storm water system requirements, storm water pollution control and assessment, agency processes, and regulatory issues. By bringing together experts in watershed management, flood control engineering and storm water regulations, RBF engineers are able to develop practical, cost-effective strategies to meet agency requirements and environmental needs for all clients.
Water Supply, Reuse and Desalination
In addition to storm water requirements, builders and developers are also faced with water supply issues. RBF is uniquely positioned to assist and guide all parties through CEQA documentation, water supply assessments, water master planning, and with Urban Water Management Plans (UWMP), and subdivision planning and approval for any development project.
Water availability to meet the potable and irrigation needs of new developments and rapidly growing communities is a critical aspect on today's projects. RBF's water resources expertise provides clients with innovative solutions to water, wastewater and recycled water challenges. Through the application of RBF's leadership in water recycling and reuse, RBF has solved complex water supply and wastewater disposal issues. The resolution of these challenges has resulted in vibrant communities. "RBF is committed to developing projects that maximize the safe and beneficial reuse of water, one of our most precious natural resources", stated Mr. Paul Klein, RBF's Sacramento Office Manager and President of the WateReuse Association, California Section.
As an established leader in the Water Resources industry, RBF has emerged as a major player in the successful delivery of desalinated water projects. With uncertainties in the reliability and quality of imported and ground water supplies, local and regional agencies throughout the Western U.S. are investigating brackish and ocean desalination projects to create a reliable balanced water portfolio. As a multi-disciplinary engineering and environmental planning firm, RBF offers clients a unique one-stop service in the feasibility, conceptual design, environmental compliance, regulatory permitting and construction of desalinated water projects. RBF has recently completed design studies for more than 10 desalinated water projects, and is currently providing engineering, CEQA compliance and regulatory permitting services for six of the West Coast's ocean desalination projects.
Land development, which was once primarily focused in open field areas, is shifting more and more to the redevelopment of aging and underutilized areas. RBF has a distinct advantage in being able to apply decades of experience in master planned communities, public works engineering, urban design, and community involvement to provide valuable infill development and revitalization services to public and private sector clients. Providing planning, design, and construction services in the built environment requires not only solid technical skills, but also exceptional abilities in community involvement. RBF is a pioneer in developing meaningful and transparent public participation strategies that establish trusting and forward-working relationships with every member of the community. Being successful in today's complex urban settings requires a fully integrated transdisciplinary approach to infrastructure, transportation, urban design, land development, economics, and community involvement. RBF is reaching across disciplines to provide clients and communities with the most relevant services for the urban challenges and opportunities of our day.
THE BENEFITS OF FUTURE TECHNOLOGY
"High-precision" surveying is a developing technology that will revolutionize surveying from the air with the collection of topographic data through light detection and ranging systems, or "LiDAR." By combining traditional photogrammetric data with LiDAR data, more precise surfaces can be generated, consequently leading to more accurate contours. RBF is on the cutting edge of this new technology and is currently conducting an R&D project for the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA).
Terrestial surveying from the ground is also evolving and can capture a remarkable level of detail, down to the individual bolts on a bridge. Detailed and extensive data capture within dangerous environments (ie. Highways, HazMat sites) can be achieved without the need to occupy the subject area. Due to the graphic nature of the "point cloud," formerly inaccessible locations, such as "bridge column to deck" join locations, can easily be located in a CADD environment in 3-d coordinates.
This wealth of data, which is exploding in both range and precision of detail, in the future will be stored in "Data Warehouses" where land development companies would for example, be able to purchase the data or usage rights. With continually improving wireless communication, developers should have immediate, real-time access to data that can be interpreted and applied to mapping and design projects with remarkable accuracy. Clients will be able to access and interact with the data on their own time and from multiple locations including office, home or in the field.
Geographic Information Systems
RBF is currently providing similar services for Riverside County with a comprehensive, highly advanced GIS database. GIS databases produce reports, maps and charts that public agencies and developers can utilize for everything from assisting an engineer with a grading design, to helping a sales office determine pricing, to creating a highly accurate, three-dimensional "drive-through" or a visualization of a project.
RBF is also part of a multi-disciplinary consultant team working on the Riverside County Integrated Project (RCIP) www.rcip.org- a comprehensive approach to the County's planning, conservation, and transportation needs. The RCIP tasks include updating the Riverside County General Plan; identifying transportation corridors or toll roads to address current congestion problems and future transportation and transit needs; and creating a multiple species Habitat Conservation Plan to ensure the preservation of open space, endangered species, and prime habitat areas through an area-wide permitting process. The three-tiered RCIP incorporates input from the public and a wide variety of stakeholders, including environmental organizations, business associations and property owners, along with the Riverside County Transportation Commission and state and federal regulatory agencies.
RBF has also been breaking ground with its IT network, both for internal use and interaction with its clients. As Wide Area Network (WAN) speeds increase dramatically, multi-office networks will evolve into a specialized "internet" that allows data to be easily shared among consultants and clients. In addition, RBF is already creating and using extremely collaborative websites that allow data to be posted instead of stored on servers, enabling several people to be working on the same files at the same time. Finally, the new "Iprint" process will allow anyone to print to any office or client location via the internet.
Commitment to the Future
With today's constantly evolving environmental and technology trends, RBF is focused on the future to achieve a balance between community and environmental concerns and the client's needs by providing creative solutions for each project. "With continued success comes the responsibility to develop innovations that address the changing dynamics of our industry," says Bob Kallenbaugh, Co-President of RBF. "We're earning a national reputation for doing just that."
RBF Consulting's ability to meet today's challenges with state of the art technology, to meet their clients needs with a multi-disciplinary approach and to meet tomorrow with an unmatched commitment to the future, will make the next sixty years an exciting era of engineering the future for RBF and its clients.
San Diego County Offices:
9755 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, Suite 100, San Diego, CA, 92124
5050 Avenida Encinas, Suite 260, Carlsbad, CA, 92008
Offices located throughout California, Arizona and Nevada
For more information, please contact Mr. Richard Rubin at 858.614.5000 or visit our website at www.rbf.com
RBF was ranked No. 76 in the Engineering News Records Top 500 Design Firms