In episode 76 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I interview two guests that work in the Civil Engineering world and have worked on very special projects that are helping our community and the world as a whole. They are Alan Lloyd, CIH, CSP, Associate Vice President and Corporate Health and Safety Officer from Pennoni, and Menzer Pehlivan, Ph.D., P.E., from CH2M who was one of the stars in the Dream Big Movie.
In episode 067 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I visit the Mount Rushmore National Memorial and will be telling you about the construction of this amazing monument, which is a massive sculpture carved into the side of a mountain in the Black Hills region of South Dakota. I will be talking to Maureen McGee-Ballinger from the National Parks Service as well as Lou Del Bianco who recently published his book: Out of Rushmore’s Shadow: The Luigi Del Bianco Story – An Italian Immigrant’s Unsung Role as Chief Carver.
Here are some of the questions I ask about the Mount Rushmore National Memorial:
- Take us back to before the monument, where did the idea come from?
- How do you budget for a project like this?
- How many workers were involved in the construction of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial and how long did it take to complete the project?
- Did the designer Borglum have any idea how long this project would take?
- Tell us about the stone itself and what they encountered while carving it?
- How were safety procedures implemented on Mount Rushmore?
- Tell us more about the actual construction of the monument?
- What did they do with all the rock that they blasted?
Here are some key points discussed in this episode:
In episode 066 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I talk with Scott Jennings, P.E. principal of SJ Construction Consulting, LLC about the importance of cost estimating for civil engineers.
Here are some of the questions I ask Scott:
- Can you walk us through the process of putting together an construction cost estimate? What is involved?
- Do contractors use unit pricing for their estimates, or do they evaluate each individual item in a job and customize the pricing to each of the construction activities?
- How is job site and/or corporate overhead incorporated into a bid?
- How is profit/markup handled?
- Is industry standard for bids to often be unit priced (versus lump sum). How are the unit prices determined by contractors (or civil engineers)?
- Is there a difference between estimates on bid day and change order estimating?
Here are some key points discussed on Construction Cost Estimating:
In episode 061 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I talk with Shalene Thomas who is the is the Emerging Contaminants Program Manager for Amec Foster Wheeler about understanding emerging contaminants and Regulatory Matters for Civil Engineers.
Here are some of the questions I ask Shalene:
- What is PFAS?
- Why are these substances a concern now or have they been for a while?
- What kind of work is underway to help us better understand the effects these substances have on humans?
- What are the current drivers for action?
- What are some key EPA or state regulations related to PFAS one should be aware of?
- What are options for remediation and clean-up?
- As a civil engineer, what are three important take-away items to know about PFAS?
Here are some key points discussed in this episode on emerging contaminants and regulatory matters for civil engineers:
In episode 58 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I talk with Jonathon Monken, Senior Director, System Resiliency and Strategic Coordination in the ITS Division of PJM Interconnection about the resilience of electricity infrastructure systems, Black Sky events, and what civil engineers can do to help reduce risk to the electricity infrastructure systems.
Here are some of the questions I ask Jonathan:
- Can you describe for us the top three resiliency issues that our electrical infrastructure faces in the U.S. today?
- What are, if any, interdependencies with natural gas and communications in the electricity infrastructure system?
- What components of the electrical system need to be addressed first?
- Can you explain what Black Sky is?
- What are some of the mitigation steps that can be taken at the regional level to lessen the duration of outages?
- How does resilience planning different from planning for reliability and efficiency?
- What is your definition of resiliency?
- How can the industry ensure the protection of our nation’s electricity infrastructure systems from cyber-attacks, or at least give operators a chance to limit the impact from a cyber-attack?
- Are there physical barriers that can be used to improve resilience or this a cyber defense only?
- What might be the best role for civil engineers to help in resilience planning to reduce risk to the electricity infrastructure system?
Here are some key points discussed in this episode on the Resilience of Electricity Infrastructure Systems:
In episode 055 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I talk with Kevin O’Beirne, P.E. about working with changes, claims, and disputes on construction projects. O’Beirne gives some excellent tips in the this episode which will help engineers to acquire a greater success rate with regards to construction projects.
Here are some of the questions asked on working with changes, claims, and disputes on construction projects:
In episode 040 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I interview John Lowe author of A Guide to Managing Engineering and Architectural Design Services Contracts – What Every Project Manager Needs to Know. During the episode, Johns outlines the top 10 items that civil engineering professionals should be aware of with respect to Engineering and Architectural Design Services Contracts.
Here are some of the questions I ask John:
- Tell us more about Accounts Receivable and the impact they have on projects?
- What do you mean by creating a Culture of Awareness to Professional Liability Issues?
- What is Stop Work Authority?
- Why is shop drawing review important?
Quotes to think about:
Here are the “Top Ten” considerations that are the most critical when dealing with Engineering and Architectural Design Services Contracts:
10. Accounts Receivable
When a client falls behind in paying, this can be the precursor of other problems. It frequently can mean that they are running out of money or are unhappy with the Consultant’s services. Either way, immediate action is called for in order to find out what the problem is and how to get it fixed.
9. Purchase Orders
The Standard Terms and Conditions (fine print) that come with purchase orders are not for the Consultant’s benefit. Accepting them can void professional liability insurance coverage.
8. Create a Culture of Awareness to Professional Liability Issues
Most civil engineers don’t think about professional liability issues while they are doing the design. They only do so once there is a claim on one of their projects. Consider having weekly lunch seminars on liability law topics in your office so that you and your staff members are aware of these issues at all times.
7. Contractor Requested Changes from Contract Document Requirements
Be very careful when a contractor request changes from contract document requirements. These changes are almost always requested to benefit the contractor. Acceptance of these changes rarely inures to the benefit of the design professional or the Owner.
6. Stop Work Authority
To stop a project almost always initiates a host of complex, expensive, and time consuming activities that frequently have professional liability and legal consequences. As the lead civil engineer, you must be aware of who has the authority to stop your projects when you are reviewing your contracts.
5. Shop Drawing Review
A proper shop drawing review is extremely important. Inadequate shop drawing review can have consequences ranging from increased project cost to loss of life.
4. Scope of Work
It’s only with a clear scope of work that the expectations of all parties can be expected. Everyone that is involved in the project, should have a copy of the detail scope of work so that they don’t miss something that was included or start adding scope to the work that was excluded during the negotiations.
3. Expectation Management
Many clients will expect perfection from the Consultant. Unless this expectation is properly managed from start to finish, having a successful project is highly unlikely.
2. Constructability Review
There should always be a constructability review. The best time to have one is at the preliminary design phase, but always before advertising for bids. Otherwise, the review will occur during bidding or construction with potentially costly consequences.
No matter how much documentation is prepared, when problems arise, most project managers will agree that they wished that there had been more documentation and that it had been better. Remember the Chinese Proverb, “The faintest of ink is more powerful than the strongest memory.”
More details in this episode…
About John Lowe:
John M. Lowe, PE is a 1961 Civil Engineering graduate from the University of Florida. Following three years of military service as an Army pilot, he enjoyed forty-six years as a consulting engineer involved in both private and public projects as project manager, principal-in-charge, or office manager. He has been registered and practiced in FL, GA, SC, CA, and OR. His last employment assignment was as a Design Coordinator with Oregon Bridge Delivery Partners. In 2010, he retired from full time employment and formed Lowe Consulting, LLC and began giving back to the profession by sharing what he had learned about contracting for professional services and managing professional liability issues (PLI). This process began by appearing as a guest speaker on these subjects to senior engineering students at Portland State University, University of Portland, and Oregon State University. He has also addressed these subjects at professional society meetings, public agency training sessions, and webinars. To facilitate getting this information to a wider audience, he wrote and self-published a book entitled “A Guide to Managing Engineering and Architectural Design Services Contracts – What Every Project Manager Needs to Know.” You can contact John via his website.
This episode is brought to you by PPI, the leader of civil engineering FE or PE exam preparations. Use promo code CIVIL for 20% discount at PPI2Pass.com/coach.
Books mentioned in this episode:
Please leave your comments or questions in the section below on managing your engineering and architectural design services contracts.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success
In episode 022 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, Todd Hay, who has 23 years as a civil engineer working on multidisciplinary firms, talks about cross marketing, communicating effectively, working on proposals for multidisciplinary projects, and more.
Here are some key points discussed in this episode:
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Here are some key points discussed in this episode: [Read more…]
In episode 018 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, Chris Knutson interviews Carl Pritchard, who is considered the “fun guy” of risk management and an author of two books on the subject. Pritchard also lectures around the world on the topic. He teaches project and risk management, consults on risk management practice and works to ensure that organizations embrace the possibilities of risk management, rather than fear it.
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