One growing pain many construction companies endure comes from a need to shift business and project management processes to a system that integrates data across all processes. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems do just that, and there is an upsurge of interest in them. But vendors and companies aren’t consistent when they use the term, and excessive claims are made. Slide Show Photo: Dave Jarosz PROJECT: Robert Diemer Water Treatment Plant PLACE: Yorba Linda, Calif. BENEFITS: ERP pays off for Shimmick on a $190-million project, tracking 600,000 hours of time and labor. As an idea, ERP, when used to unify
California Engineering Contractors, Pleasanton, Calif., was not happy with its high-speed Internet options. Even while paying thousands of dollars a month for bonded T1 lines or similar high-end connectivity at its main office, field offices at projects were often stuck with limited broadband. “In construction, sometimes you just don’t have the facilities for a T1,” deadpans Sam Hanna, CEC Internet technology director. Photo: Mushroom Networks The Truffle can bond up to six internet connections. But most of the company’s data traffic moves between project sites and the main office, and slow connections and digital bottlenecks can cost money. So CEC
Mapping existing broadband service is a requirement for states angling for a piece of the roughly $4.2 billion in matching American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for high-speed Internet expansion. But with a deadline approaching, states and municipalities have been scrambling to find the data. Photo: Connected Nation Michael Ramage (left) explains BroadbandStat at its debut at a Congressional policy exhibition in Washington, D.C., where it attracted interest from local officials seeking to expand broadband. Now, a new tool is available to help. In February, Connected Nation, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit dedicated to expanding high-speed Internet access, launched BroadbandStat, a
The Haitian government has estimated it will take 10 years and $3 billion to repair the damage caused by Jan. 12’s magnitude-7 earthquake, although some warn it may cost more than three times that amount.
Realizing that software interoperability only represents the potential to pass data between differing software products and is not an end in itself, Bentley Systems Inc., Exton, Pa., has developed and is offering for free a set of workflow tools to help designers actually make good use of it. + Image The company announced on Jan. 27 that it is releasing free plug-ins that not only pass back and forth and back again models and tracked revisions within Bentley’s 3-D structural modeling program and two of Bentley’s analysis programs, but it also is giving away a plug-in for San Rafael, Calif.-based
The majority of the focus within the telecommunications sector is on building data centers, the power-hungry, industrial-strength warehouse buildings with sophisticated MEP systems that house racks of servers and network switching gear. While the sector was impacted by the economic meltdown last year, with its share of project cancellations and lingering funding problems, it is poised to recover quickly and continue strong for the foreseeable future, say contractors and industry analysts, who paint a picture of a dynamic, rapidly evolving construction market with high growth potential. Photo: DPR Construction Despite a slight downturn in 2009, demand for data centers is
Paul Brugger, a scheduling consultant in South Jordan, Utah, got so frustrated a few years ago trying to work with massive schedules and enormous Gantt charts that he set out to build a better set of tools for comprehending them.
Social networking is coming to construction. So far, it is not a Twitter-like feed of 140 characters or less, nor is it free of charge. But it could be a highly useful tool to help firms engage each other more openly, cut risk and ease tension in a time of economic distress. One such innovator, Textura Corp., appropriately derives its name from the Latin words for “build” and “intertwine.” In just three years it has built a base of 38,000 users—and 25% of ENR Top 400 general contractors—into an innovative bill-pay site. Textura has turned the tedious business of bank
Construction industry firms and individuals who use social networking face confusion both about how to use the tools and how to measure success, according to research rolled out last month at the Society for Marketing Professional Services’ Build Business conference. Source: Society for Marketing Professional Services Foundation; based on Zoomerang® social networking survey of 576 members, conducted January 2009 Funded by SMPS Foundation, the open Internet-based survey was conducted between Jan. 30 and Feb. 15, netting 371 complete and 205 partial responses from SMPS members. Some respondents clearly confused electronic social networking with going to conferences or other offline networking
Hoping to quickly stake out digital territory, some construction industry firms are trying out the newest social media tools. After the initial rush of enthusiasm, they soon realize signing up for everything all at once may not exactly pay off. Eventually they were able to glean from their early experiences a thoughtful approach to these rapidly populating applications. Photo: HOK HOK brought bloggers from its international offices to its St. Louis headquarters for hands-on training. Todd Andrlik, vice president of marketing and public relations at Leopardo Companies, Hoffman Estates, Ill., says industry firms should consider why social media works, what