MDC Systems® has recently entered the commercial drone industry with its drone for various inspection and engineering evaluation services. The future for the commercial drone industry looks very bright. In 2015 the U.S. commercial drone market size was an estimated $400 million, and by the year 2022 it is projected to grow to over $1 billion.
Cost and Schedule Issues
You are a month and a half into construction of a planned one year project. It’s a new client and if you do well, you are in line to construct his future projects. However, the Engineers’ drawings don’t quite match the existing site conditions; there is already an inordinate amount of Requests for Information (RFIs), and the Client is very involved with your construction means and methods. No change orders have been written because 1: You “worked-around” the site layout problems; 2: There is still time to resolve the unanswered RFIs and 3: The finish milestone on the project has not been affected because you used float in the schedule. In any event, you don’t want to “nickel and dime” the new client.
Over the last several years, supply management professionals have been spending a majority of their time in creating, implementing and managing Business Continuity Planning (BCP) for critical products, materials and services. BCP is a strategic management process that focuses on insuring continuity of supply. The main objective is to identify and minimize or eliminate business interruptions in the event of a catastrophic event or major incidents occurring within the supply chain that can lead to adverse consequences for your business. Ten to twenty years ago, supply disruptions were caused by major snow storms, truck breakdowns, labor strikes, fire or explosions, electrical outages, machine breakdowns or even a truck driver making an unscheduled social visit.
by Michelle N. Delehanty, PE, PMP
MDC Systems® Consultant
According to the farmer’s almanac, this upcoming winter is predicted to be more severe than last year, which already seems as if it were one for the record books. For many regions throughout the United States, that means a multitude of storms, extreme cold, and potential closings to schools, offices, and, most problematic, construction sites. These closings of construction projects can lead to schedule delays, change order requests, and ultimately claims. In order for a contractor to justify to the owner that there is indeed a weather-related construction delay, they must demonstrate four specific things: (1) that the delay is within the terms of the contract (2) that the activity delayed had a direct effect on the project end date (was on the critical path), (3) the weather event occurred in excess of the “normal” weather for the season, and (4) there is documentation of which specific activities were delayed on each weather occurrence.
Our long history and experience is that the failure rate for projects in general has remained high. Why haven’t the advances in project management science, computers technology and communications been effectively brought to bear on the engineering and construction business? What about the advertised beneficial impact of 3-D computer-aided design, computerized critical path methods schedules and building information modeling? Are today’s engineers not as good as those who built the mega project of yesteryear like the Panama Canal, Empire State Building or Hoover Dam?
Using Project Management Modeling Tools to Quantify, Analyze and Reduce Exposure to Risk
Some project histories are very complex and traditional schedule and damage analysis methods are not able to quantify the impacts of events that have occurred over the life of the project. In these situations MDC&Reg has relied upon more sophisticated mathematical and system based models to attribute impacts to particular events. The usual methods of determining and reducing risk on construction projects include schedule forecast, cost forecasts and change review analysis performed by the project team. However, sometimes these techniques do not allow for an overview that properly adds the effects of many individual events. On these occasions the project team needs more powerful and sophisticated tools that can include multiple project factors including resource availability, site conditions, environmental factors and productivity levels for both planned and actual conditions on the project to date, all factors that cannot be completely comprehended by the project manager without the aid of analysis.
We have never met an Owner who was happy to hear, “We need a change order.” What we’ve learned over the years is that even though change orders are facts of life in construction, there are strategies to help you avoid them.changeorders-graphic
Change orders (CO) fall into two categories – owner driven and non-owner driven. Both can be mitigated.
Owner driven change orders happen when Owners change their minds, adding a window here or changing the carpet there. We’ve even seen buildings moved and floors added mid-project, which leads us to the first CO avoidance strategy.
By definition, an estimate is an approximate calculation. This inherently infers that there is a certain amount of risk involved with any estimate. The risk will vary depending on the quality and the detail of the estimate and on the detail of the design information available at the time the estimate is prepared.
The quality and detail of an estimate is usually defined in the requested scope of services. An estimate can be an opinion of cost or a detailed estimate. The opinion of cost is an estimate prepared based on a professional’s best approximation of what a project will cost.
Hiring an engineering expert shouldn’t be an arduous task, although sometimes the process may seem overwhelming. Usually the claim is at the point where you want answers yesterday but because of resourcing, workloads, or budgets you are in a time crunch to find them. Even if you are not initially intending to use the services of an expert, gaining access to certain portions of data during discovery is a proactive way to ease trouble or scrambling down the road. Whether it’s for a third party opinion, an independent design, a mediation statement, or a testifying expert, the engineer you hire will likely need information from the sources discussed below.
Can a Designer or Owner shift responsibility for design errors and omissions by requiring an enhanced effort for construction coordination drawings by contractors?
To answer this question we will recount an example project that was bid as Design-Bid-Build where the fundamental element of the dispute was design defects with regard to spatial arrangement and sizing of system features.