Want to achieve a 50% boost in construction craft productivity? The Construction Industry Institute aims to fulfill this ambitious goal with a six-year craft-productivity research program. The first phase, focused on mechanical trades, was one of CII’s seven research projects wrapping up in 2009, according to CII Chairman John Dalton, who also is COO for Mustang Engineering, Houston. “The study gives us the benchmarking and metrics to check that craft construction productivity is properly planned and implemented.” Image + Source: Construction Industry Institute On a scale of one to 10, the study compared projects with higher and lower implementation of
Officials say the catastrophic 2007 collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minnesota that killed 13 people revealed shortcomings in visual bridge-inspection techniques, particularly of gusset plates and other components. Mark Bagnard, lead investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, told attendees at the annual International Bridge Conference, held this year in Pittsburgh on June 14-17, that the state’s load ratings of bridges were inadequately measured and did not include gusset plates. As far back as 2003, photos showed the gusset plates were bowed. “Despite the photos, this bowing was not reported in either of two inspections.…One inspector actually saw
T op bridge contractors and designers have formed a group dedicated to better ways of funding and building bridges. Spearheaded by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), the Bridge Policy and Promotion Council will promote alternative funding methods like private-public partnerships, as well as high-strength materials and high-tech building and inspection tools. “What we have attempted to do is to get key players...together under the banner of ARTBA to enhance the lobbying effort, get our thoughts into the legislation and influence the [six-year federal transportation] reauthorization,” says BPPC Chairman Robert Luffy, president and chief executive officer of Coraopolis,
Officials at the nation’s largest drinking-water association called for a new mechanism to fund water infrastructure that is generating buzz on Capitol Hill: a national infrastructure bank. Meeting for their yearly conference June 14-18 in San Diego, American Water Works Association officials announced they would work with lawmakers in Washington, D.C., to push for legislation that would establish a bank to support water infrastructure projects. The current credit crunch has made it “hard for communities to access capital for critical infrastructure projects,” despite the infusion of funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, said Michael Leonard, AWWA’s 2008-2009 president
Some American Institute of Architects’ 2008 model contract documents for integrated project delivery are being challenged by at least one prominent lawyer who also is an architect and general counsel for a major A/E firm. The documents create a limited-liability company called a single-purpose entity (SPE). Do not use these model documents without “competent legal counsel review,” because they are “flawed,” says Bill Quatman, managing director for Burns & McDonnell Engineering Co., Kansas City. The single-purpose-entity agreement sets up a limited-liability company that contracts for design and construction. Under the SPE model, the owner has three managers, controlling the board.
On April 30 at its national convention in San Francisco, the American Institute of Architects released replacement construction manager documents and an updated version of AIA Contracts Documents software. The CM documents cover CM as advisor and CM as constructor. The CM documents replace those released in 2007 and 2008. They include dispute resolution check box that enables parties to select the method of binding dispute resolution. They incorporate the concept of an initial decision maker fill point where the owner and contractor may identify a third neutral party IDM other than the architect. The documents include digital data provisions
On April 27, the U.S. Green Building Council and the Green Building Certification Institute released LEED Version 3. The latest version of the green building rating system, in the works for more than three years, "sets the stage for the growth and improvement of the whole LEED program for the next several years," says Mike Optiz, USGBC's vice president for LEED implementation. The current release includes LEED 2009, LEED Online Version 3 and a new certification process based on ISO standards, administered by the GBCI. It also updates all the LEED categories at once. These include LEED for new construction,
The White House announced on April 2 that President Obama has selected Victor M. Mendez, former director of the Arizona Dept. of Transportation, to lead the Federal Highway Administration, subject to Senate confirmation. The President also chose Jo-Ellen Darcy, a long time Senate aide, as assistant secretary of the Army for civil works—the Pentagon official who oversees the Corps of Engineers—the White House said on March 31. Mendez joined Arizona DOT in 1985 as a transportation engineer and rose through the ranks to become the agency’s director in 2001. He left the top agency job in February after Jan Brewer
Jo-Ellen Darcy, a long-time Senate staffer who has specialized in water and environmental issues, will be nominated as assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, the White House announced on March 31. The assistant secretary oversees the civil works program of the Army Corps of Engineers. Darcy currently is senior environmental advisor to the Senate Finance Committee. Before that, she spent more than a decade as a staffer on the Environment and Public Works Committee, where she played a key role in drafting Corps-related legislation. Her positions on the EPW staff included senior policy advisor and deputy staff director.
Michael L. Connor, a top Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee staffer, is President Obama's choice to lead the Interior Dept.'s Bureau of Reclamation, the White House announced on March 18. Connor has been counsel to the energy committee since May 2001 and worked on water, Indian lands and energy issues. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar served on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee during his term in the Senate. Connor worked at Interior from 1993 to 2001 as deputy director and director of the secretary's Indian water rights office. Connor's nomination as Commissioner of Reclamation is subject to Senate confirmation.