Underhill Engineering, LLC (Underhill) is a geotechnical engineering firm and SWaM-certified Micro Business serving clients throughout Virginia. Located in Charlottesville, Underhill draws on more than 30 years of Professional Engineer experience in the Construction Industry providing services for both Public and Private clients. Underhill provides geotechnical engineering, geothermal energy solutions, and geotechnical-related construction phase services.
The firm's focus is assisting clients reduce risks related to the underground, allowing clients to meet scheduling, budget and performance goals, through a collaborative / partnership environment.
“This is life!” I heard it but didn’t comprehend, so I asked my friend and guide, Salvator, to repeat what he had just told me. He said again, “This is life!” He waved his arms around within the open-air restaurant, lit that night by tiny white Christmas tree lights, finally stopping his arms and pointing to Lake Tanganyika.
Lake Tanganyika, located in the midst of the Great Rift Valley of Africa, the second deepest freshwater lake in the world, and home to a vast assortment of fish as well as crocs and hippos.
But my companion did not stop there, “Chris, you see, the Europeans, the Americans, they are all rush, rush, rush. Everything is in a hurry. They do not live in the present. That is not life. This is life.” As I squished my toes into the sand beneath our table, heard the crash of the waves against the shore, and smelled the aroma of our grilled fish dinner, I sensed he was right. I was learning a valuable lesson in this little country of Burundi, one that had been racked by genocide. Here I would find peace, in a place you would least expect it. I would see much in my travels, but it is this memory that stands above the others.
As I traveled as an engineer to Africa, Asia, Europe, and Australia, I would gain perspective on what I have to offer to my clients. Yes, 30 years of experience as a Civil Engineer, but it’s more. It’s that personal connection. That’s why I founded Underhill Engineering: to help people solve their problems, guiding them through those dark places we know as the underground. Whether it’s design or construction; geotechnical engineering or geothermal energy; Africa, Haiti, or right here at home in Central Virginia; it’s about opportunities to work together, enjoying the challenges of the journey, breathing in that life, and maybe, just maybe, making a difference in someone else’s life.
The work we do at Underhill Engineering
The work we do at Underhill Engineering
Geo-Professional Engineering is the application of the sciences of soil and rock mechanics, engineering geology and other related disciplines to civil engineering design and construction, and to the preservation and enhancement of the environment.
Underhill is a Virginia SWaM-certified Micro Business. Our services include geotechnical engineering, dam engineering, geothermal energy solutions, and geoconstruction services.
Underhill assists clients reduce risks related to the underground; helping our clients meet schedule, budget, and performance goals through a collaborative approach.
Our clients include Municipalities, Contractors, Owners, Developers, and AE Firms. Underhill's experience includes foundations, tunnels, transportation, water resource, water and wastewater distribution and treatment, housing, industrial, and commercial projects. We undertake projects of all sizes.
Shallow Rock, Groundwater Seepage, Sinkholes, Buried Debris, Expansive or Compressible Clays. These are the conditions that keep Owners and the Design Team up at night, worrying whether any of these might be encountered during development, impacting schedule and/or budget. This is where Underhill can help.
Before any test boring is drilled, Underhill works with you to develop the optimum scope to evaluate your site. This includes a thorough review of the geology to assist in the subsurface exploration program - typically borings or test pits, sometimes combined with geophysical techniques. Field tests are complemented with laboratory tests, the data analyzed, and design recommendations presented.
With this approach, Underhill provides the following benefits:
With fluctuations in fuel costs, ground-source heat pumps offer an attractive solution for heating and cooling. With their increased efficiency, these systems provide lower energy consumption than conventional systems, providing means for owners to meet their long-term energy needs.
Knowing the geology and the thermal properties in the ground are key factors when considering ground-source heat pump systems. Underhill’s team tests the earth’s undisturbed temperature, thermal conductivity, and thermal diffusivity, allowing the heat pump design’s efficiency to be maximized. This is especially important for larger projects where an excessive number of geothermal wells can be costly. Specifically, Underhill’s Geothermal Services offer the following benefits:
Contractors in today’s economy need to be competitive to be successful. Underhill understands this and provides GeoConstruction services to help contractors reduce quantities for a competitive edge. Some examples of these GeoConstruction services include:
Underhill provides these GeoConstruction services through our service agreements with contractors and developers, where Underhill is engaged on individual projects through task orders. Our clients value this approach since it allows for prompt service, especially valuable for projects requiring emergency responses.
Chris Webster, PE, Principal
Our office is located at:
327 W. Main Street, STE 2
Charlottesville VA 22903-5551
434 531 2565