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42 Organizations Now Endorse Recommended Practices...
Forty-two organizations now endorse Recommended Practices for Design Professionals Engaged as Experts in the Resolution of Construction Industry Disputes, an annotated list of 13 "shoulds and should-nots" originally developed by the Interprofessional Council on Environmental Design (ICED), a now-dormant, high-level "umbrella organization" in which GBA was active. GBA recognized the need for the document and spearheaded its development through ICED, then accepted responsibility for the document’s publication and long-term management, as well as gathering additional endorsers. The 42 endorsers comprise a "who's-who" of construction-industry organizations. Because the document has been used extensively to impeach the testimony of "hired-gun experts," GBA advises that leaders of "every engineering, environmental, and architectural firm in the nation should be familiar with 'Recommended Practices.' Their lawyers and insurance agents need to be aware of it, too."
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CoMET Business Council Develops Third CoMET Tales
Dealing with Confusing Language in the Quality-Requirements Section of Construction Specifications is the title of the third publication in the new CoMET Tales series of practice briefings developed by GBA's Construction-Materials Engineering and Testing (CoMET) Business Council. According to the new publication, "One of the biggest flaws of model project specifications is their definitions of QA and QC. For example… MasterSpec defines QA as 'activities, actions and procedures performed before and during execution of the work' and QC as 'tests, inspections, procedures and related actions during and after execution of the work.'
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Use promo code COR031 to enroll. For complete details or to sign up, click here.
Know an Environmental Firm That Should Be a Member?
The Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA) has made a commitment to bring its 45 years of business excellence and risk-confrontation know-how to a wider section of the environmental community. Do you know of a firm we should be talking to about membership? If so, please contact John Bachner at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you can help us with a personal introduction, that's even better, but if not, we'd still love to get your recommendations.
Bring home the best of GBA conferences with content on demand — online and on DVD.
GBA Members Connect with Their Community
"The employee-owners of American Engineering Testing have always believed it is better to give and help those with needs; especially if they have no apparent way to change their situation. The founders of the company firmly held that belief but recognized it is also a learned experience and took the time to set up a 'pay it forward' situation for our future leaders and staff." So wrote American Engineering Testing (AET) CEO Terrance E. "Terry" Swor, P.G. And it's all true! Among other things, AET partners with eight other Minnesota-based firms — including Braun Intertec — to create a friendly, annual competition to help those in need during the Christmas season. Last year, the group raised a combined total of $90,000 plus 10 tons of food plus innumerable personal-care items. Says Terry, "When we all give, everyone wins." What are YOU doing to connect with your community? Let us know!
For a complete list of upcoming events, click here.
BUSINESS 101: Learning from D-Day
Sioux City Journal
While millions of people can readily appreciate the hardships D-Day allies had to endure, few understand how the allies overcame those hardships and why the methods used are applicable today to businesses of all types and sizes.
The first lesson to learn, identify what success is. On D-Day, airborne forces were misdropped and scattered throughout the French countryside, making the plan — the how-to of achieving success — irrelevant. Nonetheless, the different airborne units joined one another and accomplished their mission. They succeeded because the commander had told them what success would consist of. As a result, when the plan became irrelevant, everyone applied initiative and determination to achieve mission objectives. Do your employees know what you want them to achieve and why? If so, they'll be able to adapt to change and achieve objectives. Other D-Day lessons you can apply:
leadership at all levels matters a lot;
test innovations before the battle;
small, effective teams at the right place can change everything; and
training and rehearsal make all the difference.
The Ultimate Guide to GBA Resources
The ASFE Resource Catalog lists everything we've offered to date in an easy, clickable, and searchable electronic format. If you prefer, you can even print a copy. Make this one of your go-to references!
The Bitterness of Low Quality Lingers Long after the Sweetness of Low Cost Is Forgot
The Sacramento Bee
The Sacramento Bee's ongoing investigation of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge project is revealing some startling information. Examples:
- Shanghai Zhenhua Port Machinery Co. Ltd. (ZPMC), the Chinese company hired to build key parts of the bridge, had never built a bridge before. Caltrans hired it not because it offered the best quality, but rather because it was the cheapest (possibly because it had no bridge-building experience).
- Caltrans asked an outside expert to assess whether ZPMC could do the job, and Jim Merrill, a senior materials contractor for the bridge project, gave the company a "contingent pass." He also labeled it "high risk." Among other problems, ZPMC didn't have enough qualified welders or inspectors, the audit noted, and routinely welded in the rain, a basic error that often causes defects.
- When ZPMC ignored quality requirements and fell behind schedule, Caltrans paid hundreds of millions of dollars to induce faster work.
- Caltrans permitted an unknown number of cracked or suspect welds in the suspension span. After two senior engineers challenged quality-assurance practices, Caltrans reassigned one and let the other's contract lapse.
Is There Resiliency in Your Firm's Future? Should There Be?
White House Briefing
President Obama has announced the $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition. It invites communities that have experienced natural disasters to compete for funds to help them rebuild and increase their resilience to future disasters. Support targets: Innovative resilience projects at the local level and policy changes and activities that plan for the impacts of extreme weather and climate change and rebuild affected areas to be better prepared for the future. Just about all these projects have at least a geoprofessional component; many are 100% geoprofessional. The key word is "resiliency," and if you don't provide resiliency-planning services, you may be missing the boat.
The Newest Geoprofessional Technology: Solar Paving Panels
Solar Roadways builds modular paving systems that rely on almost-indestructible hexagonal solar panels. They can be used for roads, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, and bike paths; more or less any surface where bitumen, concrete, or paving stones would be applied. Systems are designed to pay for themselves through electricity sales. (The company's creators claim that a nationwide system could produce more clean, renewable energy than the country uses as a whole.) Other system features include LEDs for signage and road markings, heating elements for snow-melting, and channels for data cables and stormwater run-off. Should you become familiar with Solar Roadways? Consider this: The company initiated an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise $1 million for production costs and staff expansion. As of its close on May 31, the campaign had raised more than $1.5 million.
Gain Recognition for Your Outstanding Water- and Wastewater-Infrastructure Upgrades
Water & Wastes Digest
Have you completed a noteworthy, innovative water- or wastewater-infrastructure upgrade that has been in its design or construction phase over the last 18 months? If so, compete for recognition through the annual Water & Wastes Digest Top Project Award program. Submit your most remarkable and innovative project (it's easy to do!). The magazine will recognize the best projects in its December 2014 WWD Reference Guide issue, and at a special WWD-hosted award ceremony during WEFTEC14. Remember this: Clients and client representatives are always impressed when you think enough of their projects to submit them as contest entries, whether or not you win.
GBA has an entire series of webinars on-demand to help you and your employees with professional-practice and writing skills. Best of all, staff members can earn professional-development hours (PDHs) for watching them!
HR DEPT.: Pants on Fire
By Mel Kleiman / MultiBriefs
Old news: People stretch the truth or even blatantly lie during job interviews. But it's not only the applicants who fib in order to put their best fictional foot forward. Employers are just as likely to embellish the truth. When faced with a hard-to-fill position or a shortage of great applicants or when trying to persuade a talented person to leave their current employer, many recruiters and hiring managers make the job sound more appealing than it really is or paint a picture of opportunities that simply don't exist.
2014-2015 ASFE/GBA BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Steven D. Thorne, P.E., D.GE
(Terracon / Somerset, NJ)
Gordon M. Matheson, Ph.D., P.E., P.G.
(Schnabel Engineering, Inc. / Glen Allen, VA)
Joel G. Carson
(Kleinfelder / Omaha, NE)
Charles L. Head, P.E., P.G.
(Sanborn, Head & Associates / Concord, NH)
Kimberly F. Morrison, P.E., R.G.
(Morrison Geotechnical Solutions, Inc. / Denver, CO)
Laura R. Reinbold, P.E.
(TTL, Inc. / Nashville, TN)
Alex Sy, Ph.D., P. Eng.
(Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd. / Vancouver, BC)
Woodward L. Vogt, P.E., D.GE
(Paradigm Consultants, Inc. / Houston, TX)
7701 Las Colinas Ridge, Ste. 800, Irving, TX 75063