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Amplified Perspectives

Today’s trending topics explored by key industry leaders.

Each Project Is a Unique Experience

I would describe myself as an adventurer who thrives on challenge and growth. This personality trait has translated well in my career as an engineering and construction project manager, and in dealing with the complex issues that come with seeing a project through from conception to completion....

Project Management Office Provides Adaptability in Uncertain Times

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, organizations are under stress like never before with project shutdowns or delays and potential layoffs or reduced staff. An integrated program management team and project management office (PMO) can supply some much-needed flexibility for organizations to...

Adapting to the New Normal of Healthcare

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the world over the past several months, and many industries have been impacted. Healthcare providers — from enormous, academic teaching hospitals like UCLA to smaller, local doctor’s offices — have and continue to be the offensive line of the COVID-19...

Project Management Office Techniques Create Reasonable Solutions

Recent shutdowns and delays in reaction to the ongoing pandemic and resulting social distancing measures have placed pressure on every industry to keep projects on schedule and on budget. The COVID-19 crisis has led to a lack of resources for many organizations, straining many teams with...

Safety Is First: Best Practices for Safely Returning to the Workplace

After months of self-isolation and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the country is now looking for ways to make returning to normalcy effective and safe. And one of the main questions on everyone’s mind is, “How do we go back to the workplace?”

A Steadfast Workforce Delivers Responsive Power

With a long history of serving the public, electric utilities have weathered a variety of crises, from hurricanes to tornados and fires. Utility personnel have worked around the clock for weeks after hurricanes have devastated communities. Crews from across the U.S. are accustomed to mobilizing...

Extending the Value of Lidar Scanning Technology

Laser scanning at job sites using lidar technology is certainly nothing new. Building point clouds from data collected in this way has long been helping engineers, designers and project managers create efficiencies for project delivery. But in the current climate, faced with the rising need to...

Innovative Technologies Support Safe and Efficient Deployment of Teams

Keeping pace with changing regulations related to the spread of the coronavirus is an ongoing challenge for utilities and the engineer-procure-construct (EPC) companies that design, build and maintain critical infrastructure. Travel restrictions, health advisories and business guidance have...

Adding to the Tool Belt: Augmented and Virtual Reality Headsets

Engineers are problem-solvers at heart. No matter the situation or the challenge, we’re always working to discover different, more efficient ways to approach a problem. As the many industries we touch shift and change, so do those challenges, giving rise to new issues and causing us to discover...

Transitioning to Remote Project Management

As the coronavirus pandemic evolves, remote management of projects is essential. Communities depend on safe and reliable infrastructure, so utilities have a commitment to continue moving critical projects forward — even when key personnel are unable to be in the office or field.

Facility Management for the New Normal

In the current environment — with staffing reductions and remote work being performed at unprecedented levels — various facilities present the need to be managed from off-site locations by fewer employees. Using Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology could allow facility management work...

Successful Means Safe: Mitigating Risk During a Health Crisis

If history has shown our industry anything, it’s that the need for critical infrastructure doesn’t disappear with added risk. The continuously developing COVID-19 pandemic has threatened the stability of the economy and many of the industries we serve. But construction projects — and the workers...

EPC Project Delivery Offers Stability During Pandemic

Even in a pandemic — perhaps especially in a pandemic — critical infrastructure construction projects must go on. As difficult as life-altering pandemic conditions are to manage, they would be even more so without reliable supplies of power, water and other basic services.

Cloud-Based Systems Stand Ready for Seamless Project Delivery Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Utility leaders and employees are balancing many concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic, ranging from their health and well-being all the way to their ability to continue operations and core business functions impacted by what’s happening now and whatever comes next.

Responding to Cyclical Changes in Workforce Availability

In recent years, the construction industry has benefited from a growing economy. Demand for new construction has been strong, and meeting this demand has required a large skilled labor force. But the market is changing. COVID-19 and the recent volatility in oil prices are having major impacts on...

Solve Procurement Challenges by Partnering With Small or Diverse Businesses

As our industry is quickly learning, a global pandemic — and all its impacts on labor availability, material supply, logistics and other still-evolving ramifications — can have a significant impact on construction projects. It can also be a reminder for utilities of the value of a proactive...

How Will the Pandemic Likely Impact the Battery Storage Market?

As you think about your battery energy storage projects in the coming weeks and months, the coronavirus pandemic will surely also be on your mind. As you make plans, here are some things to consider:

Detailed Planning Prevents Weather-Related Construction Delays

Meeting project deadlines and tight budgets is a top priority in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry, but achieving this goal can be difficult. Market pressures, such as fluctuating materials costs, labor availability and the pandemic, can have a significant impact on...

Beginning the Journey to Project Management Excellence

From huge data centers and the growth of electric vehicle usage to renewable integration and distributed energy storage, the demand and operating dynamics for delivering sufficient and reliable electricity have never been greater. Utilities that embrace strategic project management principles...

Guiding the Management of Organizational Change

Change management refers to the many approaches used to prepare and support a business in making organizational change. Unfortunately, it’s usually associated with convincing people to shift from where they are to somewhere they don’t necessarily want to be. The entire concept is predicated on...

Collaborative Contracting Approach Brings Cost and Schedule Efficiency

Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) provides the framework to help simplify and manage large capital projects in the construction industry. But it’s the early integration of construction with engineering and procurement resources that unlocks the real potential for how AWP can impact project...

For Large, Complex Initiatives, Program Management Is Hard to Beat

A program management (PgM) approach isn’t appropriate for most projects. But when the conditions are right, it’s almost always a good idea to utilize it.

Bolster Resources and Achieve Goals Through EPC Project Delivery

It’s no secret that electric utilities are facing many changes. From big data to distributed energy resources to increased regulatory management, new initiatives are affecting every part of the industry. 

Co-Location Brings Project Efficiency

There can be moments of clarity in the midst of a project when lessons learned make a lasting impression — and have the potential to positively guide future projects.

Skilled Mitigation Planning Streamlines Permitting, Offsets Impacts

Successful project permitting sometimes requires environmental mitigation or ecological restoration efforts to offset impacts to wetlands, wildlife or other resources. However, identifying those impacts and selecting appropriate mitigation solutions can be complex. Developers have knowledge and...

Potential Risks and Unintended Consequences of the AWP Trend

Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) has been shown to improve communication, safety and efficiency on industrial construction projects, but it also risks taking the planning out of the plan.

Moving Toward a Data-Centric Workflow in the Construction Industry

Large-scale construction projects require collaboration from many different parties. Engineering, procurement and construction need to integrate seamlessly to deliver projects on time and on budget. But bringing all the necessary data and methodologies into alignment has always been a challenge.

Break Projects Into Defined Work Packages for Construction Efficiencies

Using 3D modeling alongside the Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) process has helped complex construction projects become more streamlined, easier to visualize and simpler to construct. By marrying technology with existing high-quality project planning practices, AWP offers the potential to...

The Safety Advantage of Advanced Work Packages

Well-planned work areas, an informed construction crew and clear work assignments reduce the chance of safety incidents on the work site, which is the No. 1 goal in complex construction project execution. Using the Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) process helps facilitate an improved safety culture...

Reducing Solar Project Risk in a Supply Constraint Market

The federal solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) has been driving solar energy technology adoption in the U.S. since it was enacted in 2006. The ITC has been modified and extended over the years, and now the phaseout of the program has begun, with the reduction of the 30% credit to 10% by 2022.

Illuminating Ways to Manage Solar Manufacturing Quality Risks

The solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) phase-out and Section 201 Solar Tariffs on the import of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules are creating a perfect storm for increased risk to U.S. utility-scale solar projects. As utilities, developers and owners accelerate activity to secure the maximum...

The Changing Landscape of Solar Siting and Permitting

At the onset of solar, projects were typically developed in warm or desert climates. Policy advancements and new technologies are changing the scenery of solar farms. Solar installations have been popping up along mountainsides and in cool northeastern winds. As new landscapes expand the...

For High-Quality Solar Installations, Start With High-Quality Evaluations

From customer demand to the investment tax credit (ITC), many factors are fueling an increase in utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) projects across the U.S. These trends are also bringing new solar construction firms into the market. As the benefits of solar come to light, utilities should...

Geotechnical Studies Reveal Site Obstacles, Reduce Unknowns on Solar Projects

A successful solar project needs the sun, but nearly half of solar installation construction happens underground. This makes what happens under the surface critical to a project’s success. On a job with thousands of foundations, every foot of embedment affects the project cost and schedule....

A Community Outreach Strategy Can Drive Project Success

Vehicle traffic, pedestrians, underground utilities and limited space make urban infrastructure improvement projects complex, but failing to properly engage utility customers and community stakeholders in the process risks stopping a program before it begins.

Navigating Urban Infrastructure Project Constraints

Vehicle traffic, pedestrians, underground utilities and limited space make urban infrastructure improvement projects complex, but failing to properly engage utility customers and community stakeholders in the process risks stopping a program before it begins.

Three Steps to Tackle Urban Infrastructure Project Complexity

Accelerated gas main replacement programs (MRPs) are in progress throughout the U.S. as utilities across the country work to upgrade, replace and repair aging underground distribution infrastructure. While all projects can be complex, programs in urban areas face some specific challenges.

Factoring Constructability into Offshore Wind Development

The planning and permitting complexities associated with bringing offshore wind projects to fruition are why such projects are often four- to six-year endeavors, with construction accounting for the last 18 to 24 months. However, the financial success of any project centers on planning and...

How to Blend STEM Knowledge and Experience to Get More Affordable Solutions

Today’s experienced science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce presents both opportunities and challenges for engineer-procure-construct (EPC) companies and their clients. Knowledge and experience acquired over decades of hands-on engineering work is invaluable, but hiring such...

Managing the Environmental Handoff: Tips for a Seamless Transition

The transition from the construction phase of an oil and gas project to startup and operation is like the handoff in a relay race. You want it to be smooth and seamless. If the baton gets dropped, it can usually be pinned to a communications breakdown.

SPCC Plans Can Avoid Liabilities, Schedule Risks on Construction Sites

Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plans have become routine for operational facilities, but they are often unheeded during construction phases, opening contractors to unnecessary liabilities. These plans are critical to the construction phase and can slow a project's timeline...

Streamlining the Air Permitting Process on Construction Projects

The process for obtaining a construction air permit is different in each state and region. If there’s one thing that is nearly universal, it’s that you can’t start building an industrial project without reviewing the applicability of one.

Retirements Challenge Airport Executives to Build Succession Plans

Airports often have only one point of contact for certain systems on their airfield, the one person who runs all the operations for that system. When that individual retires and takes their knowledge away from the airport, the remaining staff is left scrambling to understand how everything...

Countering the Impact of Workforce Consolidation on Design, Construction

When companies are involved in mergers or acquisitions, the impacts can be wide-ranging. Multiple workforces are often consolidated in the name of strategic synergy. Staff who remain may feel overwhelmed and anxious, wondering if their jobs are secure. Morale can suffer.

Finding Solutions to the Skilled Labor Shortage

A strong construction market is a wonderful thing — until you can’t find the reliable, skilled labor needed to complete your project.

Dispelling the Fear of EPC Project Delivery

It can be difficult for pipeline project owners to determine which delivery method is best suited for specific project needs. One approach to consider is engineer-procure-construct (EPC) project delivery.

EPC Is Accelerating Its Impact on the Transportation Industry

In private industry, owners recognize that being nimble in their design and procurement processes can yield great cost savings and schedule improvements. To achieve these benefits, they have adopted design-build delivery strategies such as engineer-procure-construct (EPC).

Tackling Job Site Challenges with the Advantages of Modularization

In today’s competitive business environment, oil and gas projects often must be completed on compressed schedules and in less-than-ideal conditions — tight footprints, reduced labor availability and elevated work requirements. These challenges can create schedule delays, negative project cost...

Going Into the Deep Freeze for Collaborative Project Success

About 600 km (186 miles) northeast of Calgary, in the boreal forest of Alberta, Canada, Ipiatik Lake is a challenging place to work. Working on the surface of a muskeg formation requires that construction be restricted to wintertime. With the cold winter weather, in which temperatures can fall...

Gender and Cultural Diversity Lead to Better Design-Build/EPC Results

Engineering is a male-dominated field. However, as women are increasingly finding their way into STEM careers and on up to the C-suite, alternative project delivery teams, including design-build/engineer-procure-construct (EPC), also are becoming more diverse.

Attention, Women in STEM Careers: Mentoring Matters!

As more studies roll in regarding women in leadership, it's becoming clear that female empowerment isn't just good for women, it's good for everyone.

Inspired by Family, Driven by Success

Possessing a strong disposition toward science and mathematics wasn’t all that drove me to attain a career in engineering. I was actually born right alongside the family civil engineering business.

Engineering Careers: Role Models, Right at Home

Your family doesn’t determine your career. But when it came to my professional calling, I didn’t have to look far for inspiration.

Get the Most From Your Black Start RFP

Maintaining a resilient, reliable power grid is on the minds of many. Utility companies, independent system operators (ISO) and regional transmission organizations (RTO) understand that preparation is key in avoiding a black start situation that might result from natural disasters, fuel supply,...

Closing the Gap with Design-Build for Water Infrastructure

Today's global infrastructure investment, estimated to be $2.5 trillion per year, falls short of the $3.3 trillion annual investment needed to keep pace with expected growth, not to mention renewal of existing aging infrastructure.

Integrated Project Delivery: Bringing Back the Master Builder

The concept of master builder dates to ancient times. In fact, the word architect comes from the Greek for chief (arch) and builder (tektōn). For centuries, the master builder blurred the lines between architect, engineer and builder. However, over time those lines grew more defined as the...

Counting on Benefits: Design-Build for Commercial Buildings

The commercial sector is often the battleground for an essential conflict between form, function and budget. In this environment, is it possible for owners to expect quality aesthetics without compromising cost and schedule? It is with single company design-build.

Locking in Cost Advantages of Design-Build Project Delivery

Preventing capital project costs from spiraling out of control is a primary concern for most public entities, but the traditional design-bid-build project delivery model can't always provide the early cost certainty clients seek.

Augmented Tracking Promises Improved Material Management, Construction Safety

Major construction projects are massive undertakings involving thousands of parts and materials. Keeping an eye on the countless details is critical to safe, effective work and positive outcomes.

Can Smart Glasses Make Construction Sites Safer?

Builders serious about improving their construction safety records may soon be asking workers to trade in their current safety glasses for a new, “smarter” pair.

Data Center and Utility Matchmaking for a Lower Total Cost of Ownership

It’s an indisputable fact: Electric utilities need customers. Electricity sales in the U.S. have fallen five out of the past eight years, primarily due to improvements in energy efficiency. Here’s another essential certainty: Data centers are excellent consumers of electricity, accounting for...

Bringing Data Centers into Site: Choosing a Strategic Location for Data Center Development

“Will this site work?”

Clients seeking assistance in strategic site selection for data centers will inevitably ask this. That question, however, fails to get to the real purpose of strategic site selection. Finding a site that “works” is important, but finding a site with specific strategic...

Future of Grid-Tied PV Systems

The North American power grid is the most reliable in the world, bar none. That’s the reason so many in the power industry are working hard to avoid any erosion in reliability as more megawatts of solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind generation are introduced to the grid.

Modular Data Centers: Strategy Over Building Blocks

Taking a modular approach to data center development is gaining more attention among data center operators, and it’s easy to see why. In an industry where even a highly accelerated schedule isn’t always fast enough, any strategy that increases speed to market is valuable.

Integrated Design-Build for Speedier Data Center Projects

Integrated design-build is the only form of project delivery that can keep pace with the high demands of the tech industry.

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