The Parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant

Nata Metlukh is a San Francisco-based artist specializing in editorial and children’s illustration. In an ancient story, a wise man leads five blind men  to an elephant and asks each man to describe the animal.  The first man explores the massive sides of the beast and declares the elephant is like a wall. The second grabs the tail and exclaims “It is a rope!”  The third runs his hands over the ears and announces the creature is as flexible as a boat sail; the fourth strokes the trunk and decides it is just like a snake; the fifth grabs a leg and announces it is a pillar.

“You are all correct,” says the wise man. “You have described what you have experienced. But the totality is something much larger and different.”

Just like the elephant in the fable, Barry Isett & Associates, as a multi-discipline engineering firm with nine departments, is sometimes perceived as just a portion of the sum of all our parts.  A number of clients consider BIA their “go to”  for a specific discipline, such as civil engineering or environmental consulting. Others regard us as their pre-qualified surveyor, or the structural engineer of choice, the forensic engineer to call in an emergency, or their selected MEP engineer.   To still others, we are their municipal engineer, engineer of record, or code consultant.  BIA is all of those things, but we are even more.

Under the guidance of an overall engineering project manager, BIA departments provide synergistic service – a single engineering source appreciated by many clients.  A current multi-discipline project is Hazleton Area School District’s Maple Manor Elementary/Middle School designed by Crabtree Rohrbach & Associates Architects of Mechanicsburg, PA.  Members of BIA’s survey, environmental, landscape architecture and civil, structural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering teams are all engaged in the project, which involves the renovation of the former Bishop Haffey High School, and the design and construction of a two-story 30,000 SF addition to transform the building into a school with 40 classrooms that will serve K-8th grade students.

At the Coatesville Veterans Administration Medical Center, another multi-discipline BIA team is developing solutions to repair underground corridors that interconnect buildings. Used by staff and patient transport, the corridors have been damaged by water infiltration over the years. Our team is providing forensic investigation to determine the extent of the damage, testing for the potential presence of asbestos, developing improvements to drainage and stormwater systems, conducting topographic surveys and preparing landscape plans required due to the improvements.  BIA will prepare construction documents, assist with the bidding and provide services through project close out.

While we are happy to provide solo services, we offer streamlined project communication and coordination in multi-discipline projects. 

Click here for the entire picture of BIA services.