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  Our structure inspection and asset management capabilities help our clients keep their transportation networks open and moving for roadway users.

Ryan Nataluk

Bridge Inspection Program Manager

Denver, Colorado

Awarded ENR Magazine’s “Top 20 under 40” Engineering Excellence Award in 2011, Ryan is a professional engineer who knows how to stay on the leading edge of his field. An expert in structure asset management and preventative maintenance activities, Ryan has employed both traditional and innovative inspection methods—from mechanical equipment to rope access climbing.

Currently serving as our Bridge Inspection discipline leader and overall Inspection Program manager (for nationwide bridge services), Ryan’s a certified engineer in nine states and has 19 years of experience. Throughout his career, he’s performed and managed inspections in 16 states as well as in Canada.

Serving as project manager for bridge inspections across both Colorado and Nevada, focusing mostly in Colorado, Ryan has worked on many breathtaking projects including the O’Callaghan-Tillman (Hoover Dam Bypass) bridge, where he climbed approximately 2,000 feet of bridge to provide arm’s length inspections for difficult-to-reach areas. On complex projects such as fracture critical bridge and dam intake inspections, Ryan has combined confined space methods with rope access techniques and non-destructive testing.

Ryan continues to perform duties as a senior team leader for complex and fracture critical inspection projects. Prolonging structure life expectancy is his goal, and he’s conducted numerous talks and seminars on the topic around Colorado and the US.


Bridge inspections by rope—in my article “High Over Hoover Dam” published in the October 2013 issue of Civil Engineering Magazine explores a first-hand view of this field of bridge inspection.

Engineers on rope

A conversation with Ryan about our Rope Access Engineering services

Transcript of the video follows
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<p>Ryan nataluk</p> <p>There’s many ways to access bridges and structures. Some bridges are set up more traditionally where we have to use more mechanical access equipment and ladders and bucket trucks and things like that, and many engineering firms can do that. But where my niche lies and our group lies is we use rope access techniques on bridges that are more suited for climbing</p> <p>My crews and I, we inspect bridges all around the US and sometimes help our Canadian offices to look at them for safety to ensure they’re safe for the travelling public</p> <p>We are structural engineers on rope, so we are engineers that know the background of structures, how they’re built, and we know how the materials deteriorate over time. We can specifically tell a client how to repair something, how to fix it, and how to keep it in service for longer.</p> <p>our climbing techniques are fast and efficient. We don’t need any traffic control which costs a lot of money to set up. We don’t need mechanical equipment which are large pieces of equipment to put in the roadways. We don’t utilize that so we’re out of the way and we get it done faster and cheaper</p> <p>Most of our clients are departments of transportation, and then we have a lot of private clients. We’ve been doing work for railroads and other infrastructure holders or owners, tower owners, tank owners, things like that. People that have infrastructure that are hard to access and can utilize our structural engineering services along with our rope access services to evaluate their structures</p> <p>So really what we do is we try to help the client plan for maintenance and rehabilitation over the life of the structure to make sure their investment, they get the full life out of their investment.</p> <p>A typical climbing team is a&nbsp; minimum of four people, but we’ve had climbing teams of up to eight people. For instance we just inspected a bridge in west Virginia that took a team of eight people. We had eight different engineers from five different Stantec offices around the United States and Canada. It was our a-team climbing team you should say, and it took eight of us seven days to climb a bridge in west Virginia over the ohio river.</p> <p>Safety while we’re out in the field is the number one thing we think about. Bridge inspection can be hazardous because you are working in traffic, you’re out and about, there are a lot of things going on both physically and with the weather environment, it could be very cold, it could be very hot, it could be windy and rainy, but we take a lot of precautions to ensure our safety.</p> <p>Right now we have a 100% safety record, but we have a very detailed process, assembling site safety plans, we have team meetings on how we’re going to go about climbing and repelling each element. We talk about each situation you could get in doing that, and what a rescue would entail if someone got in trouble in some certain situations.</p> <p>you are hanging by ropes, but as long as you know what you’re doing and you know the gear and you have the right training, it’s probably safer than walking across the street.</p> <p>The work we do, it’s very exciting, and there’s always different challenges day by day. One day I might be in the office checking a report or checking calculations, and the next day I might be using rope access techniques to inspect bridges in Nevada, or Colorado or west Virginia, or even Canada.</p> <p>we work very close together and so we really have formed a good bond, with our clients and within the group, so that’s why I stay at Stantec.</p>

How bridges stay healthy

Join Stantec engineers to learn how we helped our client keep this bridge safe for the travelling public

Transcript of the video follows
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<p>Ryan Nataluk: You wouldn't just buy a car and never put new tires on it or do an oil change with it. Well bridges and infrastructure, they need their oil changed every once in a while to keep them up and running.</p> <p>Kip Skabar: A typical bridge inspection is to actually have an engineering judgment according to an established set of criteria In this case, there's over 40 different bridge component types that have to be evaluated. The only way to access some of these components is by industrial rope access in this case</p> <p>Marie-Andreé Paulhus: When I was studying, I was a rock climber. I didn't know much about “rope access engineer.” they talked to me about they did rope access and I was like, &quot;What? That's amazing. I want to do that.&quot;</p> <p>Niall Eivers: There's a lot of different tasks that's involved, different personnel. We have crews of 8 to 10 people on-site at one time, different types of equipment machinery.</p> <p>Kip: There's not too many firms out there that actually have that expertise to put engineers up close and personal with cable-stayed structures such as this at high elevations.</p> <p>Ryan: we're inspectors first and we're climbers second. We use the climbing as a tool to inspect. You need to know material properties of steel, concrete, timber, so you know when they sit in the elements over time, how they deteriorate, and most importantly, how our clients can repair them or protect them. I've climbed many mountains around the world and dropped into a lot of caves. and so Once I learned that I could actually use my skills to perform, use my climbing skills to perform engineering, it was exciting for me.</p> <p>Kip: By doing an inspection like this, we're actually setting providing a set of baseline data in order to help us better manage the asset over its lifespan. we're following the Ministry standards for bridge inspection in such a way that the condition ratings are applied in a very similar manner by qualified inspectors so that that inspection form can be compared to all the other precedent type of bridge inspections that have been done, and therefore, the end result is much more valuable to the city.</p> <p>Steve Brown: It was interesting, when we did go out to tender, Stantec were the only ones that actually had climbers onboard. The rest we're going to be doing it by binoculars and by what they called a visual inspection. I think just by having climbers, we're getting a closer inspection, a far greater inspection.</p> <p>Kip: I’m really excited to bring the team together today and its really rewarding to see everything happening very safely and going off according to our plan. Hopefully you’ll see Stantec inspectors one day hanging off of other cables in the area, and we’ll be doing it safely and we’ll be helping our clients to better manage their structure assets over the entire lifespan of the bridge.</p>

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