MDC Advisor
May 2011
In This Issue
ASHRAE Presentation: Executing Green Design Build Projects

Inoculate Your Project Team to Prevent Construction Failures

Swann Named to Philadelphia Energy Authority Board
Developing Sustainability Strategies - Writing Your Future History

Upcoming Events
ASHRAE Presentation: "Executing Green Design Build Projects"
May 10th, 2011
428 Washington Pike
Carnegie, PA 15106
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The Blue Book's GC Showcase! 
May 11th, 2011
3pm - 7pm
Lincoln Financial Field
The SCA Club Level
1 Lincoln Financial Field Way
Philadelphia, PA 19148
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Event Notice: ASHRAE Pittsburgh Chapter Hosts  Presentation on "Executing Green Design Build Projects" by ASHRAE Distinguished Lecturer:
E. Mitchell Swann, P.E., LEED A.P. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Location: Cefalos
428 Washington Pike
Carnegie, PA 15106
5pm: Networking & Drinks
6pm: Dinner
7pm: Presentation
Green design and construction is leading the charge of new design approaches in almost every section of the building industry. The successful execution of a green building project, or more specifically a LEED certified project, entails a more integrated approach throughout both the design and construction processes.

A key component of green design is the merging of the architectural and engineering design effort to yield a more holistic design. The better the team coordination, the greater the opportunities to deliver a high-performance building. Another movement in the industry is in project delivery. Design\Build and partnering have become much more commonplace project execution techniques even in public sector projects. Design\build seeks to gain time and cost efficiencies by merging the lines between design and construction. Given that both philosophies – green buildings and design\build – have the integration of services at their core, it is only natural that the two would also merge in the delivery of projects. This program will highlight some of the key ideas, elements and issues that are inherent in both approaches and where and how they interface on a project.
For more information on this presentation, please visit the ASHRAE Pittsburgh Chapter website here


Inoculate Your Project Team to Prevent Construction Failures
Robert C. McCue, P.E.
Consulting Engineer
If you are seeing a rise in problem projects and difficult work-outs, take steps now to inoculate your project team for success and profitability. Basic PMBOK training is certainly necessary but not entirely sufficient to ensure success in today’s fast-paced project environment.

Your team should be alert for the following warning signs of impending project trouble:
  • Fuzzy Scope Understanding and Definition – the warning sign – increasing change order processing time and increasing numbers of change orders
  • Schedule Confusion – the warning sign – contractors working without approved or published schedules
  • Cost Creep – the warning sign – larger numbers of craft labor on the job than planned and slow progress as measured by % completion to plan
  • Loss of Control – warning sign – traditional metrics for work measurement do not relate to current work completion or previous estimates
  • Disproportionality of Inputs and Results – the warning sign – additional overtime work does not result in measurable additional progress

Over the past forty years MDCSystems® has evaluated hundreds of failed and failing projects and has found similarities and recurring patterns in the data of these projects.

Potential solutions emerge when projects are viewed comparatively. In other words, Planned vs. Actual comparisons of Scope, Schedule and Budget or Cost provide immediate insight into the critical points of progress and allow analysis of key time frames to occur. However, imposing order and solutions requires the synthesis of these snapshots into a holistic view of the entire project. These are learned thought patterns and are not typically apparent to those involved in the day-to-day action at the team level. Introspection and detached analysis of data and synthesis of action can be learned in the right environment.


Swann Named to Philadelphia Energy Authority Board 
Mitchell Swann, of MDCSystems®, has been appointed to serve on the Board of The Philadelphia Energy Authority. Mitch’s term on the Board will begin 1 May 2011 and will run until January 2016.

Mitch will be joined by Chris Lewis, Esq., Barbara Adams, Esq., Ken Ogawa, P.E. and Emily Schiller, MBA.

The Philadelphia Energy Authority was created based on legislation introduced by Councilman Darrell Clarke in March 2010 and voted on in July 2010. The Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA or the Authority) has as its mission to find innovative and sustainable ways to help Philadelphia purchase, procure and where appropriate, generate energy to reduce the City’s exposure to energy price fluctuations (especially as electricity rates deregulate), improve the City’s efficient use of its energy resources, enhance the City’s sustainability footprint and improve both the environment and quality of life.

Developing Sustainability Strategies - Writing Your Future History 
E. Mitchell Swann, P.E., LEED A.P. 
Consulting Engineer 

Yup, yet another “sustainability” article. It seems that this subject just won’t die. No, it won’t. But organizations that don’t deal with the subject just might experience that result.

If you haven’t been keeping up on it, sustainability is about a lot more than eating nuts and berries, wearing wool sweaters and wearing sensible shoes. It’s about survival. That may sound rather stark – harsh even. But sustainability doesn’t have to be and if you think through it, it shouldn’t be. You can survive at many levels – from “just barely” to “high on the hog”. One is undesirable; the other is, well…unsustainable. So if you want your ‘going concern’ to continue going you need to consider how best to position and prepare yourself for a changing world.

Sustainability has multiple fronts upon which it works and those fronts need to be addressed holistically to get useful results. Unlike the more traditional and linear ‘Sherman to the sea” approach to strategic planning, sustainability makes you look at the interconnectedness of these fronts, their interconnectedness with the systems they affect and the interconnectedness of those systems with each other.

Why should you do this? How does it affect your business?


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