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Avoiding Claims & Disputes: It’s the People

Avoiding Claims & Disputes: It’s the People

Large construction projects are risky, and when they end with claims or disputes, the blame is usually placed on unfair contracts, planning or estimating errors, design deficiencies, unforeseeable delays, poor productivity, or other process or technical factors. These are simply indications of the real root cause: the project management capability of the companies working together on the project.


Proving Damages Using Trial Graphics

How does the construction attorney decide which particular demonstrative type – bar chart, timeline, “measles” diagram, etc. – will be the most effective method to convey his or her client’s position to the judge, jury, or an arbitration panel? Consultants and attorneys should discuss the need for graphics and demonstrative exhibits early on in the process to allow time for strategy and preparation.


Strategic Management of Human Capital

By Eric K. Rodriguez, P.E. The Workforce Problem The retirement of the Baby Boom Generation (those born between 1946 and 1963) has prompted much thought and discussion about a potential gap in the American workforce. That discussion has definitely occurred within the engineering profession. However, the situation may not be as dire as some believe it to be. A quick look at birth statistics and the number of science and engineering (S&E) degrees awarded annually paint a more positive picture. Figure 1 shows the relationship between the two statistics.     Figure 1: S&E degrees awarded have steadily trended upward despite drastic declines/inclines in the birth rate. Sources:  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. VitalStats. http://www.cdc.gov.nchs/vitalstats.htm. December 2011 and National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resource Statistics. 2008. Science and Engineering Degrees: 1996-2006. Detailed Statistical Tables ...


Hurricanes' Problematic Construction Impacts

While the recent storms in Texas and other areas in the southern United States represent a silver lining for those involved in repair and reconstruction, these storms have caused disruption and delay on many construction projects that were underway prior to the storms. In many cases, those associated with the construction industry have experienced costly delays and increased expenses to their construction work.


Dispute Avoidance Through Improved Change Order Management

Contractors and owners involved in a construction project understand that the project will inevitably experience changes that will impact the scope, cost or schedule. An effective change order management system can be the difference between a successful project and a delayed and over-budget project that ends up in a dispute.


Retroactive Labor Productivity Evaluations

Several methodologies are available to quantify field labor productivity impacts that a contractor could experience during construction. Two of the most widely used methodologies in both construction and legal forums are the Measured Mile Methodology and the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) Factors Methodology.


Assessing Labor Productivity

The analysis of the labor productivity of the workforce and the utilization of material and equipment are major factors in determining whether a construction project will be completed on time and within budget. Concerning the project budget, every construction project should have a budget established prior to the commencement of work. The contractor’s goal should be to complete the project within the time frame and at the costs established in the budget. After construction has begun, an analysis of the project costs for materials, equipment, and labor should be performed on a periodic basis. Evaluating the material and equipment usage is relatively straightforward; however, there are multiple components within the construction process affecting labor productivity that must be considered when performing a labor productivity analysis. This paper describes many of these components and their effect on labor productivity. Regardless of ...


Death, Taxes…and Changes

Benjamin Franklin was once quoted saying, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Franklin was not a construction expert; otherwise he would have included project changes in his famous quote. Most projects have changes that impact scope, cost, or schedule – it’s how the changes are managed that determines project success. This article seeks to summarize some basic steps that can be taken to ensure that project changes are not the death of you. An effective change management process includes the following five (5) important steps: identification of the change; notification of the change as required under the contract; documentation of the impact of the change; preparation of the change order proposal; and resolution of the change order proposal. Diligent change order management enhances your company’s bottom line and ensures that project changes ...


Power Projects Fuel Construction Industry Growth

Currently, overall construction spending is increasing globally after a prolonged slowdown. In the United States, Interface Consulting expects the increasing demand for energy and the retirement of older, less efficient power plants to drive investment in power projects. In recent years, the quantity and size of power construction projects has reflected considerable growth in that subsector. Based on Interface Consulting’s research and experience, this trend is expected to continue for several years.


International Arbitration – Lessons Learned from an Expert's Point of View

International arbitration is experiencing significant growth in recent years due to many mega engineering and construction projects being developed around the world. Such projects bring together participants from different corners of the world, including host country owners, large international engineering and construction contractors, and international banks. When disputes arise, the parties often select international arbitration forums. These forums offer many advantages; however, each forum offers several unique features that engineering and construction experts need to understand before engaging in this type of work.