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April 13, 20205 min read

How Engineering Firm Christopher B. Burke Engineering, LTD (CBBEL) Uses ClimaCell to Help Local Communities Stay Ahead of The Weather

Christopher B. Burke Engineering, LTD (CBBEL) is a full service consulting engineering and surveying firm based in Chicago, IL. With a focus on civil, transportation/highway, municipal, traffic, construction, water resources, environmental, structural, and mechanical engineering, the firm represents deep expertise across an array of project types. Since inception in 1986, CBBEL has always had a commitment to being a leader and pioneer in the engineering world. For this reason, when CBBEL first engaged with ClimaCell we couldn’t wait to start working together!

The team at CBBEL was generous to sit down with us last week and share some of their insights around the advantages of having predictive weather insights as an integral part of their day to day operations. We’ll highlight the core themes of the discussion here and thank you again to the team at CBBEL!

  • Use Case: CBBEL is currently working with local communities in the Chicago area on helping municipalities manage floods. This includes warnings, action plans, and longer term improvements that can be made. 
  • Operationally: CBBEL works with a number of municipal departments including engineering and public works departments which it maintains contact during storm events. 
  • Cost Savings: CBBEL has been able to save local communities money on multiple occasions since working with ClimaCell. For instance, by using ClimaCell CBBEL is able to understand which rain storms are severe vs. a passing rain event. The parameters that communities track is the precipitation per hour in addition to total precipitation accumulation over a 4-6 hour timeframe. By knowing in advance what the outcomes of precipitation per hour and total precipitation accumulation CBBEL can suggest to local communities whether they’ll need to mobilize Public Works staff during potential flood risks or not. Each time the community doesn’t need to schedule work, dollars are saved. Working with ClimaCell gives CBBEL the confidence to make Go-NoGo decisions at the right time.
  • Safety: With ClimaCell, CBBEL is able to see days in advance and in real-time what the risk factors are across rain, accumulation, high wind, lightning, and more. This allows the team to implement safety protocols and work with teams in advance based on the variability of weather conditions.
  • Customer Experience: Understanding the impact of weather in advance has helped CBBEL elevate their customer experience twofold. First, the team is able to increase trust and reliability with their direct client across municipalities by offering accurate recommendations and strategy. 

“By having access to predictive weather, we’re able to understand ahead of time which storms are more severe and likely to produce flooding conditions than storm events that are less intense. It’s a huge advantage for both our team and our customers” – Thomas Burke, Vice President and Head of Water Resource Department 

  • Internal Scheduling and Team Communication: Communication, both internal and external is key during weather events. Everything is moving so quickly, that communication can often fall apart with mixed messages going out. With ClimaCell, CBBEL is able to automate communication to ensure there’s a single source of truth. For internal communication, the team can send updates to municipal workers about upcoming storms, when storms will end, and what the predicted total rainfall will be. This can include things such as closing off roads at risk of flooding, or assigning workers to specific communities based on where the most intense and highest rainfall will occur. 
  • External Communication: Just as easily, external updates can be pushed out to social media informing the public of what’s happening, when, danger areas, what to do, and sending out all clear/all good updates when it’s safe to go out again.

As you can see, the benefit of knowing the impact of incoming weather completely changes the way teams are able to operate. Hats off to the entire team at CBBEL for utilizing predictive weather insights so many different impactful use cases. We’re thrilled to see how the team continues to innovate and be a pioneer in the engineering world. Cheers!

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