Two books, two passions, and hope for a better year. That's how 2010 is shaping up for me.

First, the year ahead. 2009 has been a tough year. A number of people I work with have been laid off; a number of firms I work with have shut their doors. And a few who thought they would retire have stayed on “for one more paycheck” after watching the 401 tank.

Yet slow times may also be times for preparing for the future. In this past year, I have been able to use some “float” to accelerate not one, but two textbooks.

Both books concern subjects on which I'm passionate.

The 7th edition of
CPM in Construction Management, (O’Brien and Plotnick) was initially expected out for 2010; instead the editors of McGraw-Hill pushed us to be “in stock” by the end of August. Changes of the 7th edition were initially driven by acceptance of the RDM (Relationship Diagramming Method) format, merely postulated in the 6th edition, but now implemented in Primavera’s high end Pertmaster software. Acquisition of Primavera by Oracle, and the publication of RP-29 by AACEi (Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineers International) have also dramatically altered the technical landscape for readers of the text. 

And so, the 7th edition has been largely rewritten to incorporate and explain RDM as part of the continuing evolution (ADM, PERT, PDM, RDM, ...) of CPM planning and scheduling; to replace screen by screen directions for Primavera’s P3 software with increased coverage of Oracle P6, Deltek Open Plan and Microsoft Project; and to provide not only our recommended practices for resolving claims of delay and disruption, but also to review those proposed by the authors of RP-29 and other practitioners. The CD provided with the text now features a fully licensed copy of Deltek Open Plan rather than the 60 activity limit demo of P3. (Oracle does not permit distribution of software by CD; however, instructions are provided for free downloads of evaluation copies of P3 and P6, and our CD continues to provide reference material for users of P3, including the redacted chapter of the 6th edition). 

My second text of 2009 has also been accelerated from sometime next summer to “in stock” for January 22, 2010. Contracts and the Legal Environment for Engineers & Architects was the text I had as a student in 1974 (then named Contracts and Specifications for Engineers by Dunham and Young). It was taken over by Professor Bockrath in the late 1970s, who now has had me join him in a major update to produce the 7th edition of this classic. Once again, recent events, ranging from the cases of Kelo v. City of New London (restating the law of eminent domain) and Bilt-Rite Contractors, Inc. v. The Architectural Studio (redefining liability of engineering professionals), to new technologies (such as digital sealing of prints and the blurring of text and voice), to a drastically increased need for the understanding of legal systems of other nations and cultures, have significantly altered the legal landscape and need to update the text. 

Hopefully these two new texts finalized and published in this economic downturn will help us prepare for the coming rebound. So farewell to the naughty aughties and welcome to the teeming tens.

And a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to all.