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Preventing Failures by Contractors and others looking at new fields to work in
3

Preventing Failures by Contractors and others looking at new fields to work in

Preventing Failures by Contractors and others looking at new fields to work in

(OP)
In the Nov 25 - Dec 5 issue of Engineering News Record, editorial by Thomas Schleifer, PHD he notes that many construction project failures by contractors, as well as others, is due to them taking on jobs which are not types they have experience in. He is offering a free program for contractors, owners, designers and others, which assists them in selecting jobs to bid on, etc. It is available at his WEB site.

www.SimplarInstitute.com/ProjectSelectionProgram

RE: Preventing Failures by Contractors and others looking at new fields to work in

Oldestguy - From my days as a bridge contractor, Dr. Schleifer's list is remarkably accurate and complete. Tried to determine if anything from my experience was not included. Came up with one item - availability of commercail electric power at the job site. This is something we always investigated before bidding - operating a construction project using generators is both expensive and challenging.

This comment could easily be grouped with 3.4 "Are there unusual access, room-to-work, parking, dust, noise, storage space or traffic issues?"

Many other sections show his deep insight into the fine points of construction contracting. We skipped bidding or inflated our bid price on many projects for subtle reasons.

www.SlideRuleEra.net idea
www.VacuumTubeEra.net r2d2

RE: Preventing Failures by Contractors and others looking at new fields to work in

(OP)
SlideRule:

I didn't review all of the questions. However, here are a few that I recall as important.

I spent some 19 years with an engineering-testing firm and 8 with others before before going on my own.

Having spent a lot of time supervising grading inspection, etc., one item that should be considered is: What firm will be inspecting? Also what about the reputation of designers and owners in handling contracts? I see these are touched on with plenty of weight to them

Our engineering and testing firm received many a job for testing and engineering after contractors were burned by another such testing firm. That firm didn't have common sense and the intelligence to know that some methods of testing do not always give the correct answer, especially dealing with compaction. The newer nuclear more rapid methods are fraught with negative effects not always recognized. Also some soil does not always exhibit suitable characteristics as checked by certain testing methods.

RE: Preventing Failures by Contractors and others looking at new fields to work in

Experience is expensive, whether rented or bought.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Preventing Failures by Contractors and others looking at new fields to work in

Perhaps if you need Dr. Schleifer's checklist to decide if you should bid on a job, you should not be the one making that decision?

RE: Preventing Failures by Contractors and others looking at new fields to work in

I think the screening still do not address the fundamental problem of having capable engineers within EPC's who are retained through serious development programs, long term cooperation, training (on projects but also FORMAL training), etc. It takes ages to develop experienced engineers on a particular discipline, on a particular equipment; it takes also efforts and commitment by the organizations to have good team spirit (genuine) and well functioning teams you can rely on. But I don't see EPC's taking this route, in fact they are looking into making profit fast and their leader can no more recognize the complexity in industrial problems (the culture is gone). Even worse, there is a tendency to literally steal merits from others and third parties who did the real work/mitigation which helps things not to go wrong. Yes I do mean senior people who are in fact very juniors and who take a high profile. I've seen plenty of them and that made my experience sour and frustrating. This includes EPC's (no name dropping, but major ones) who can easily score high on the subject survey, but based on insider info it is known what their worth is.

RE: Preventing Failures by Contractors and others looking at new fields to work in

This reminds me to update the Performance Bond requirements in my contracts. I usually ask these questions of the Contractor's bond carrier. They should be your friend.

RE: Preventing Failures by Contractors and others looking at new fields to work in

Couldn't agree with rotw more.

RE: Preventing Failures by Contractors and others looking at new fields to work in

current workload (backload), ability to provide the required services is key

for instance, a small company with a large backlog may struggle and
a large company on a smaller project, might not give its full attention

given that many projects are not EPC or design/build, the design engineering would be finished already and not a factor. But for EPC, the working relationship between the contractor and the engineer needs to be good. A past history of successfully working together, hopefully with the same owner also would help.

construction quality control (CQC) and owners quality assurance (CQA) are a big deal and there should be some thought put into this before the project is bid.

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