Drive around downtown Birmingham long enough, and you’re bound to see BHATE Geosciences signs on construction site after construction site.
That’s because BHATE has worked on the majority of high-rise buildings in town, ranging from Regions Harbert Plaza to the Wells Fargo Tower, Topgolf and the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.
Since its inception in 1975, the company has provided geotechnical engineering, geophysics applications, environmental services and construction materials testing and special inspections, among other services, to the region’s design and construction industries. In 2017 the company added 12 jobs, placing it on the Birmingham Business Alliance’s New and Expanding Industry List.
“There was a need for that type and level of expertise in the marketplace, so here we are,” said BHATE CEO Uday Bhate. “Birmingham is a very unique area for construction because of its geological condition. Because of the uniqueness of the area, sinkholes happen all over Jefferson County, and there are a lot of geological hazards from that standpoint.”
Most of BHATE’s work is done underground, seeking to identify geological hazards before construction crews build on a site.
“Having a good evaluation from a professional firm such as ours can make a huge difference in the solutions that are developed and how construction cost is managed,” Bhate said.
BHATE is always on the cutting edge of new technology in the industry. Case in point: the company has been focusing recently on infrastructure and roads, so it invested in new ground-penetrating radar technology that can assess infrastructure at highway speeds without having to close roads.
“We have invested a lot of effort, money and training [into this technology] and have hired additional staff for this particular technology,” Bhate said. “We are the only ones in the state that have that capability and equipment that we own.”
Clients including the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Encompass Health appreciate BHATE’s client-centric focus.
“Responsiveness to client needs is the key ingredient for our success,” Bhate said. “We work very closely with our clients not necessarily on a transactional basis, but we deal with them more as a friend – someone we care about and want to see succeed. Seeing our clients succeed will make our company a success long-term.”
Bhate calls his staff of 90 family-like with a strong emphasis on mentoring.
“We are still a small firm and are not so large that everyone doesn’t know everyone,” he said. “We work together and look out for each other, take care of each other and work together to take care of our customers. It’s pretty simple.”
Already 43 years in, BHATE isn’t slowing down – you’ll certainly see more BHATE signs as you drive through the city. As long as the city has a commitment to safer infrastructure, BHATE will have work to do, and that commitment to safer infrastructure is not just a priority to the Birmingham Business Alliance but to the seven-county region as a whole.
It all comes down to keeping abreast of the newest innovations and hiring the right people to take care of clients, Bhate said.
“We are a leader in the industry, and the way we do that is by embracing new methods and having top-quality people manage services for our clients,” he said. “We’ll continue to invest heavily in new methods and new technology to do things better.”