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Pages 5-12

J u l y 2 7, 2 0 1 5 , I s s u e 111 3


Lessons I’ve learned lately Being human, we all have opportunities to learn (and re- learn) valuable truths for dealing with others.

Firms’ website hosting











Third party hosting

On premises

In co-location facility

Y ou’re never too old to learn, if you keep your mind open to it. I have found over the years that whatever I’m experiencing in my life is also happening to a lot of our readers. So, I thought I would share some recent lessons I have learned. 1)Don’t ever deny your first instincts about people. If you think maybe they are disingenuous or dishonest, they probably are. If you think they are good and worth investing in, they probably are. First impressions are accurate more often than not. Always follow your gut. 2)It’s good to give people freedom and autonomy. It helps them develop their decision-making skills. But don’t forget to keep working on making yourself useful and productive no matter how good you are at delegating. You always have to keep getting better, doing more, being more productive, and looking for your own highest and best use inside the organization. 3)Success is fun. No matter what anyone says about how great the learning opportunities provided by failure are, being successful is always better. Yes – the seeds of failure could be sown in your success, but success always beats the alternative. 4)There is just no substitute for honest, ethical dealings with people, and everyone should be treated with dignity. We always have two choices when it comes

Zweig Group’s 2015 Information Technology Survey of A/E/P and Environmental Consulting Firms finds that 38 percent of firms surveyed host their own website. Of this 38 percent, 80 percent report utilizing third-party hosting. Sixteen percent of the firms surveyed that host their own website do so on premises, and 4 percent host their website in a co-location facility. — Leah Santos, research analyst assistant

“ALWAYS take care of your best clients. Give them the best people, best service, and best pricing you can.”

Mark Zweig


F I R M I N D E X AECOM .......................................................... 5, 12 Beardsley Architects + Engineers . ................. 2, 10 Bechtel ................................................................. 5 Call Sign Engineers . .......................................... 12 CB&I ................................................................... 12 Design Workshop . ............................................... 2 Draper Aden Associates .................................... 12 Ecology & Environment . .................................... 12 George, Miles & Buhr LLC ................................... 4 Gilbane . ............................................................... 7 GZA GeoEnvironmental Inc. . ............................... 4 KS Associates Inc. ............................................. 10 P. JOSEPH LEHMAN Inc., Consulting Engineers . 2 Stantec . ............................................................. 12 Thornton Tomasetti ........................................ 4, 10 VIATechnik . .......................................................... 9 Widseth Smith Nolting ........................................ 4 Willdan Group . .................................................. 12

MORE COLUMNS xz GUEST SPEAKER: Reducing complexity. Page 3 PLUS xz SPOTLIGHT ON: Mobile apps. Pages 6,7

See MARK ZWEIG , page 2

Getting off the ground Page 5

BIM becomes more interactive Page 9

T H E V O I C E O F R E A S O N F O R A / E / P & E N V I R O N M E N TA L C O N S U LT I N G F I R M S


A LOOK AHEAD Zweig Group is finalizing preparations for its 2015 Hot Firm and A/E Industry Awards Conference, September 3-4 in Boston. In fact, we’re so excited about the conference, that we’re devoting the next three issues of THE ZWEIG LETTER to highlighting the event and award recipients. Upcoming TZL s will focus on:

ON THE MOVE LEHMAN ENGINEERS NAMES NEW PARTNER P. JOSEPH LEHMAN, Inc., Consult- ing Engineers (Hollidaysburg, PA) announced that Scott Klingenberg has been named a partner in the firm. Klingenberg has been with the firm for nearly 17 years and currently serves as its environmental service director, responsible for all environmental permitting and wetland work associated with civil engineering projects. Klingenberg also provides environmental services, including endangered-species studies and a wide spectrum of reports, covering topics such as hazardous waste and historic structures. He is a certified floodplain manager and a member of the Society of Wetland Scientists. BEARDSLEY ANNOUNCES HIRES Beardsley Design Associates Architecture, Engi- neering, Landscape Architecture, D.P.C. (Auburn, NY) announced that Timothy McSweeney , Luke Eric Ruh , and Steven Rice have joined the firm. McSweeney is an electrical drafter and designer. His experience includes drafting of electrical and mechanical designs for healthcare, education, commercial, and manufacturing projects. Ruh is an architectural designer with skills as a 3D modeler and technician across multiple drafting plat- forms. His experience includes commercial projects and food-service industry equipment layouts. Rice is experienced in the development of conceptual renderings and plans using computer modeling programs. DESIGN WOKSHOP PRINCIPAL ELEVATED TO ASLA COUNCIL OF FELLOWS Design Workshop (Austin, TX), an international landscape architecture, plan- ning, and urban design firm, announced that Principal Steven Spears was recently elevated to the American Society of Landscape Architects Council of Fellows. In order to be considered for nomination by the ASLA Council of Fellows, an individual must be a current ASLA 10-year mem- ber in good standing and have: ❚ ❚ Demonstrated contributions over an extended period of time ❚ ❚ Made a significant positive impact on the public and the profession ❚ ❚ Received recognition for those contributions from multiple sources

August 3: 2015 Hot Firm List

August 10: 2015 Best Firms to Work For

August 17: 2015 Marketing Excellence


Remember, attendees should register for the conference by August 21 . We look forward to seeing you there!


What are you most looking forward to at #HotFirm2015 ? Tweet us @ZweigLetter and/or @ZweigGroup, and come to the conference ready to live tweet along with us! #HOTFIRM2015 COUNTDOWN

More ONTHE MOVE, page 4

MARK ZWEIG , from page 1

and remember that a level head makes better decisions! 7)No matter how many times we learn some of these lessons, we will always have the opportunity to re- learn them. We are all human beings. As such, we have a great capacity for self-delusion. We can easily talk ourselves out of doing hard stuff or into doing easy stuff. So, we repeat mistakes because of it. What important lessons have you learned lately? Have any you want to share them with our readers? If so, email me. We may publish your feedback!

to dealing with people: We can be decent or we can be a-holes. Decent people know how to treat everyone they interact with. A-holes do not and always seek to bully or coerce what they want from people. 5)ALWAYS take care of your best clients. Give them the best people, best service, and best pricing you can. Reward their loyalty – don’t punish it by price gouging or providing poor service just because you can get away with it. 6)When an employee says or does something so stupid that you want to fire them over it immediately, don’t. Take your time and deal with them smartly on whatever the best possible schedule is for you. Be calm

38West Trenton Blvd., Suite 101 Fayetteville, AR 72701 Mark Zweig | Publisher mzweig@zweiggroup.com Andrea Bennett | Managing Editor abennett@zweiggroup.com Christina Zweig | Contributing Editor christinaz@zweiggroup.com Liisa Andreassen | Correspondent lsullivan@zweiggroup.com Richard Massey | Correspondent rmassey@zweiggroup.com

Tel: 800-466-6275 Fax: 508-653-6522 E-mail: info@zweiggroup.com

Online: www.thezweigletter.com Twitter: twitter.com/zweigletter Blog: blog.zweiggroup.com Published continuously since 1992 by Zweig Group, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA. ISSN 1068-1310. Issued weekly (48 issues/yr.). $475 for one-year subscription, $775 for two-year subscription. Article reprints: For high-quality reprints, including Eprints and NXTprints, please contact The YGS Group at 717-399-1900, ext. 139, or e-mail TheZweigLetter@TheYGSGroup.com . © Copyright 2015, Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

Mark Zweig is founder and CEO of Zweig Group. Contact him at mzweig@zweiggroup.com .

ZWEIG GROUP NEEDS YOUR HELP! Zweig Group is working to update its AE Job Descriptions and AE Organizational Charts publications, originally published in 2003. To help us provide readers with the most comprehensive information, please email your jobs and charts to abennett@zweiggroup.com .

© Copyright 2015. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.



Reducing complexity In an industry environment where change has become the norm, firm leaders must be proactive in promoting an organization of client-centered simplicity. O P I N I O N

I t seems the world is becoming faster paced and more complex by the day. External forces continue to reshape the landscape, which, in turn, makes companies continu- ally re-evaluate their offerings and how they deliver them. Competitors continue to change, and this only adds to the pressure to keep up, while technology advancements move at light speed – thus making it increasingly difficult to decide what and when to adopt. All of this adds to the overall complexity that impacts leaders today, who are facing an increasing number of choices and decisions that impact the business. New strategies for growth, approaches to organize the company, ways to analyze the busi- ness, and opportunities to apply technology to deliver information in new and cre- ative ways are just quick examples of choices that face leaders daily. It seems change is the norm of daily life.

Gerry Salontai

business – one that is built around clients. Hav- ing a client-centered focus allows a company to excel in delivery of its work product through deep client relationships and is paramount to success. This re- quires placing your best on the front lines with cli- ents and not tying their hands with administration of internal functions or activities. Anything that im- pedes or stifles the company-to-client relationship should be avoided like the plague. ❚ ❚ Adopting new technology that creates value for the client should be given the priority. Deliver- ing innovation and creativity and going that extra mile for the client is important to differentiation. Asking yourself “How will this benefit the client?” or “How can we deliver more value?” by adopting such technology should be the litmus test in the decision process. At the same time, it is important to answer the question “Will this ultimately benefit our share- holders?” If it doesn’t meet these tests, then resist doing it. ❚ ❚ Keep the organization simple. Fight to reduce layers in the organization that will confuse staff and/or clients. Just because others seem to be mov- ing to the latest new way to structure themselves doesn’t mean your company should. People will function best when they’re not encumbered with layers of complexity that slow things down, create Leaders today must champion change by adopting new approaches and technology while ensuring they operate a financially sound business that continues to build shareholder value.

But can a company get caught up in all this and adopt too much and thus change too much too quickly? Or is it possible that a firm can just get so complicated it actually functions less efficiently? There are some key themes in this article to consider: Promoting focus, agility, creativity, or similar attributes while avoiding bureaucracy, death-by-data, and complexity is important. Leaders are certainly tempted today to adopt and change and thus succumb to much of this. Some, if not many, seem to add layer upon layer of com- plexity to their businesses while not appreciating that there are parts of our business that are so fundamental that trying to overcomplicate them can lead to less-than-desirable performance. No matter how complex the world gets, a few things remain the same. Here are some considerations to keep in mind while navigating though the ever- increasingly complex world we operate in: ❚ ❚ A laser-focused client market strategy is even more important than in the past. Targeting the right market sectors or adding new capabilities while applying the company’s resources effectively is es- sential. At the same time, continually refreshing the strategy of the company is crucial. A company no longer has the luxury of putting together strategies and reviewing them only every three to five years. Continuous evaluation, flexibility, and adaptability is the order of the day. ❚ ❚ This industry will continue to be a people-





THORNTON TOMASETTI ANNOUNCES PROMO- TIONS The board of directors of Thornton Tomasetti (NewYork, NY), an international engineering firm, announced the following promotions: Portland, Maine ❚ ❚ Associate: Colin Schless ❚ ❚ Senior Project Director: Amanda Lehm- an Chicago ❚ ❚ Associate Principal: Jonathan Block ❚ ❚ Vice President: Kevin Jackson and John Peronto ❚ ❚ Senior Associate: Ken Maschke and Todd Whisenhunt ❚ ❚ Associate: Geoffrey Dauksas, Lee Fritz, Matthew Huizinga, Rachel Autenrieth Jackson, Rachel Michelin, Andrew Mur- ray, and Nate Sosin ❚ ❚ Senior Project Engineer: Christian De- Fazio, Mike Gannon, Harrison Garo, Ben- jamin Pavlich, and Mary Williams ❚ ❚ Senior Project Director: Tara Toren- Rudisill ❚ ❚ Project Engineer: Justin Cline, Chris- topher Hart, Alloy Kemp, Jordan Komp,

GZA ANNOUNCES PROMOTIONS GZA GeoEn- vironmental Inc. , an environmental and geo- technical consulting firm, announced that Bradford Roberts was promoted to senior principal in its Norwood office and Deborah Zarta Gier was promoted to associate prin- cipal in its Bedford office. GMB WELCOMES NEW TEAM MEMBERS George, Miles & Buhr LLC (Salisbury, MD) an- nounced new hires to its Salisbury and Sparks offices. ❚ ❚ Sean Kennedy : geographic information systems specialist ❚ ❚ Jon Soistman : full time engineer ❚ ❚ Ryan Clancy and AndrewWright: gradu- ate engineers. WIDSETH SMITH NOLTING ANNOUNCES NEW HIRES Alex Schrader and Ryan Hermes have joined the architecture department of Widseth Smith Nolting ’s Grand Forks, N.D., of- fice. Schrader is responsible for assisting project architects, preparing and presenting proposal estimates, reviewing construction budgets, and more. Hermes is responsible for preparing, supervising, and assisting in the preparation of drawings and tracings for landscape architectural projects.

Andrew McMorrow, Alber Mena Jr., and Julia Seitchik

❚ ❚ Senior Engineer: Mark Ackmann, An- thony Alessi, Kathleen Fogarty, Diarmuid Kelleher, Cassandra Lutz, Laura Meissner, Michael Murphy, Nam Nguyen, Elaine Shapiro, and AbhiramTammana ❚ ❚ Senior Building Information Modeler: Maria Salas Denver ❚ ❚ Senior Associate: Jeffrey D’Andrea ❚ ❚ Associate: Benjamin Kaan ❚ ❚ Senior Project Engineer: Carole Rusch ❚ ❚ Project Engineer: Joseph Camilleri and Jacob Hoffman ❚ ❚ Senior Engineer: Timothy Gilchrist and Devin Mitchell Kansas City ❚ ❚ Managing Principal: W. Steven Hofmeis- ter

❚ ❚ Vice President: Kevin Legenza ❚ ❚ Associate: Gregory Johnston

❚ ❚ Senior Project Engineer: Andrew Lack ❚ ❚ Senior Engineer: Raymond Chou and Walter Hicks

the rate of change is manageable – choose an evolutionary over revolutionary rate of change. And the focus of any growing company should be to “build infrastructure,” not “bureaucracy,” to support the firm’s long-term goals. There are some key themes in this article to consider: Pro- moting focus, agility, creativity, or similar attributes while avoiding bureaucracy, death-by-data, and complexity is im- portant. It might be helpful to compile a list of the “action words” you desire and the ones you want to avoid and use them in your decision-making process. Just remember that we operate a simple business at its core that depends on getting work, doing it well, and get- ting paid for what you did. Keeping these thoughts in mind will help you sort through the complexity we face today. Gerry Salontai is the founder of Salontai Consulting Group, LLC. Contact him at gerry@salontai.com . Some, if not many, (A/E/P and environmental leaders) seem to add layer upon layer of complexity to their businesses while not appreciating that there are parts of our business that are so fundamental that trying to overcomplicate them can lead to less-than-desirable performance.

GERRY SALONTAI , from page 3

bureaucracy, and apply undue burden. Conversely, providing a framework that allows easier access to get things done is paramount – whether it’s communication, client and/or staff interaction, or to facilitate project execution. ❚ ❚ Promote a culture of business savvy entrepreneurs. Mo- tivate and reward your people to serve the client well while building the business and returning acceptable profits to the company. Promote agility and lowest level decision-making for the benefit of the client and the shareholders. And don’t encumber or stifle employees’ ingenuity, creativity, or entre- preneurial spirit with complexity in terms of systems, rules, processes, and policies that must be followed. A simple frame- work and environment to flourish in is important. ❚ ❚ Vigilance in operating the business with an eye toward leaner operations with better and fewer metrics to moni- tor performance. Don’t get lost in the complexity of all the data one can derive from sophisticated project/financial ac- counting systems. This remains a pretty simple business, but one can get lost in the plethora of information and the com- plex spreadsheets that can be built. This business is largely about revenue, efficiency, overhead structure, and cash. Using just a handful of metrics that get to these with some that are forward-looking is all that’s needed. Leaders today must champion change by adopting new approaches and technology while ensuring they operate a financially sound business that continues to build share- holder value. A key to this balance is to choose change that will enhance rather than dominate or mandate how things get done. Change is healthy in an organization as long as

© Copyright 2015. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




Getting off the ground Some firms have already implemented drones on projects, but caution is advised until 2017, when the FAA finalizes regulations for use.

By LIISA ANDREASSEN Correspondent D rones offer potential for capturing data, imag- es, and videos, and inspecting inaccessible and hazardous areas. But is a lack of clear regulations limiting their use by AEC firms? The answer is yes, but change is on the horizon. The FAA is expected to deliver final rules on the use of drones weighing less than 55 pounds by 2017. In the meantime, the agency has begun to permit companies seeking to use the technology for tasks ranging from inspecting flare stacks in oil fields to shooting aerial video to carry out that work on a case-by-case basis. Here are three examples: 1) SRG Partnership, Inc. (Seattle, WA), an architecture, plan- ning and interiors firm, has used the technology to document its new Center for Student Success at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, Wash. There, an atrium running the full length of the building is daylit with skylights and clerestory windows. Using a small unmanned aerial vehicle, the team captured the day-lighting feature and high- lighted key building elements from various angles and elevations. 2) Bechtel (San Francisco, CA), a global AEC firm, in partnership with third-party service provider, Sky- catch, recently got the FAA’s approval to gather and analyze a variety of site data in the U.S. after proving the technology’s efficacy on a project in Australia, according to a press release. Skycatch’s drones can incorporate equipment such as high-definition cam- eras, infrared scanners, and thermal and radiation sensors. 3) AECOM (Los Angeles, CA), a global provider of ar- chitecture, design, engineering, and construction

services, has used small drones to capture views at specific elevations on the site of a proposed project to optimize a building’s design; monitoring mana- tees in shark-infested waters rather than flying a disruptive helicopter overhead; and inspecting the interior of an industrial smokestack, in which toxins are present, for structural integrity. The firm is cur- rently using its in-house drone expertise primarily for its own projects, but expects that as the technol- ogy becomes more widely understood, more clients will request it. PROCEED WITH CAUTION. While companies await FAA clarifications, the FAA and Jackson Boyd, an at- torney specializing in construction law for Ober Kaler in Washington D.C. and Baltimore, suggests contractors consider the following before before in- corporating drones into their business: ❚ ❚ Don’t fly a drone until the FAA says it’s okay. The penalty for doing so is usually a fine. ❚ ❚ While the FAA has approved only a few hundred waivers (Section 333 exemptions) to allow the use of drones for commercial use, it’s getting easier to win one. The process can still take months and requires a lot of documentation. ❚ ❚ Even “pilots” with waivers may not fly their drones near airports. Some waivers restrict flying within five miles of an airport, while others require the devices to stay at least two miles away. The final rule likely will include similar restrictions for using drones near airports. The FAA so far has said it will insist that drone op- erators keep their devices in their sight, without the aid of binoculars, at all times, which means it will be illegal to fly the crafts over wide areas or those with obstructed views. Drones also won’t be

Jackson Boyd, Attorney, Ober Kaler.

See DRONES , page 8




Tools of the trade Mobile applications abound for A/E/P and environmental professionals.


Achieving excellence in everything from project delivery to post-construction services – does it sound challenging? It is. However, several mobile applications seek to make this daunt- ing task easier, and more AEC professionals are turning to apps for: ❚ ❚ Successfully bidding on and delivering complex projects ❚ ❚ Responding faster and more proactively to project change re- quests ❚ ❚ Reducing shrinkage in parts, equipment, and materials ❚ ❚ Reducing costs and staying on budget ❚ ❚ Improving post-construction service levels THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT

BuildCalc Voted one of the best construction calculators, this allows for complete layout of railing and staircase balusters with less guesswork and easily adjusts to the flexibility you need for a custom job.

Architect’s Formulator This Apple app features more than 400 formulas for electrical, carpentry and plumbing calculations. It also includes concrete and excavation formulas for estimating the concrete and bricks required for a job.

Price: $24.99



Price: Free



Control Center 7 Want to monitor the progress of workers offsite? It enables contractors who have installed fixed cameras and Control Center 7 robotics to upload snapshots to colleagues, review videos, and operate cameras remotely.

Save America’s Infrastructure Enter your zip code to find out how many structurally deficient bridges there are in your county and how your state compares to the nation overall. The app includes infographics, videos, national and state data, and news.

Price: Free



It then enables you to take all that information and do something about it in the Action Center. Through the app you can contact your elected leaders with just a few taps and let them know that you expect their leadership in making infrastructure renewal a priority.

Construction Manager Allows the transfer of maintenance logs, daily reports, project estimates and time sheets between company headquarters and construction sites. Salespeople and estimators can also create on-site estimates for

Price: Free



BIMx An interactive 3-D communication and presentation tool for architectural designs.

construction and repair projects.

Price: Free




Price: Free/$49.99 (Pro) Platforms:


Join the conversation @ZweigLetter #AEPapps



ile apps

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iBlueprint For Apple devices, this has a new user interface that lets users create and export custom floor plans and lets contractors access blueprints on jobsites.

Price: Free



360 Panorama Allows not only panorama shots, but actual 360 degree views of the user’s surroundings.

Price: Free/$2.99



PlanGrid A free construction app that lets contractors and architects collaborate with all their project plans, specs and photos on the iPad. Upload your PDF drawings to plangrid.com and they will

automatically sync to all your teams iPads in real time! Any markups you make can also easily be shared with everyone on your construction project.

Construction MasterPro The app offers a range of calculators for

Price: Free



smartphones and iPads, including feet-inch- fraction math calculators, and a version that can be used to estimate materials needed for stair railing and fence projects.

Stud Find An iPhone application that uses the device’s built-in magnetometer to find metal studs, screws, nails and anything metallic in a wall.

Price: $24.99 (Pro)



Price: Free



Crit Designed by Morpholio, this app allows designers to communicate by texting imagery. It provides pop-up notifications and texting interface and retains the discussion thread

Quikrete This app provides professionals distinctive paths to the relevant information they need for a specific job at the right time. With one touch, contractors can access a product’s technical specifications, calculate product quantities, and

between users. Users can import photographs from their smart device’s image library, camera, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Morpholio account and then send messages to other users without sharing cell phone numbers.

even find the closest store to a job site.

Price: Free



Price: Free



Fieldwire A planning app that makes it easy for foremen, project managers and superintendents to collaborate while they are in the field. The organizational app lets crews look at the latest set of plans and share critical information such

BUILD YOUR OWN APP Many companies are customizing apps in-house or hiring outside developers. Tailored apps can provide greater customization based on type of work done, specialty services offered or function as tools to enhance already-established workflows. Gilbane (Providence, RI), a construction management firm, designed iBuild, a proprietary system of mobile and web-based software that manages projects. Gilbane also integrates mobile apps into end-of- project materials, giving clients catalogued digital files that can be integrated into mobile 3D modeling tools.

as photos and punch lists.

Price: Free



© Copyright 2015. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

ULY 27, 2015, ISSUE 1113


CAN I USE A DRONE ? THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION’S SECTION 333 EXEMPTION Unmanned aircraft systems are inherently different from manned aircraft. Introducing UAS into the nation's airspace is challenging for both the FAA and aviation community, because the U.S. has the busiest, most complex airspace in the world. The FAA is taking an incremental approach to safe UAS integration. The FAA currently offers two methods for gaining authorization to fly civil (non-governmental) UAS : 1. Section 333 Exemption* 2. Special Airworthiness Certificate

DRONES , from page 5

allowed to fly higher than 500 feet above ground, according to pro- posed regulations issued earlier this year by the FAA. Likewise, preliminary rules prohib- it any drones from flying over peo- ple who are not participating in the flight. So a construction company using drones to monitor job-site safety or to keep an eye on a vacant work area will have to take care not to allow the devices to swerve over sidewalks or streets where pedes- trians or drivers might pass by. In the proposed regulations, the FAA defined drones for commer- cial use as those weighing less than 55 pounds. That weight includes cameras or other information-col- lecting devices that are attached to the drone. All drones will have to be regis- tered with the FAA, and all “pilots” will be required to pass a test on aeronautics in order to get a certifi- cate allowing them to fly the devic- es. That certification will have to be renewed every two years. Boyd says that the commercial gen- eral liability insurance that most businesses carry does not typical- ly cover accidents, damage to the drone or to property belonging to others, or injuries caused by a drone crash or collision. Many in- surers have started offering sepa- rate coverage for unmanned air- crafts. Contractors should include every employee who will participate in drone flights. And, Boyd adds that some insurance policies exclude coverage if a crash results from an electronic malfunction or equip- ment failure. Look for a policy without those exclusions. Businesses should create specif- ic, written guidelines for how the company will use drones. Boyd says that companies should identify and train all employees who will use them; define the purpose of drone flights; and make a flight plan for every drone “mission” – document- ing where it will fly and whether it will glide over homes, streets and other populated spaces.

A grant of exemption in accordance with Section 333 and a civil Certificate of Waiver or Authorization; this process may be used to perform commercial operations in low-risk, controled environments. *This is the most appropriate method for AEC firms seeking to implement a drone for a project.

Applicants must be able to describe how their system is designed, constructed, and manufactured, including engineering processes, software development and control, configuration management, and quality assurance procedures used, along with how and where they intend to fly.

SECTION 333 EXEMPTIONS Petitions Granted: 746*

Petitions Closed: 85*

On March 23, 2015, the FAA granted an automatic “blanket” COA for flights at or below 200 feet to any UAS operator with a Section 333 exemption, provided that the aircraft weighs less than 55 lbs., operations are conducted during daytime Visual Flight Rules conditions and within visual line of sight of the pilots, and stay certain distances away from airports or heliports.

After receiving a grant of exemption, petitioners seeking to fly outside of these blanket parameters are eligible to apply for a separate COA specific to the airspace required for their operation. Applications must be submitted through the UAS Civil COA Portal via faa.gov.

*As of July 9, 2015.

DRONES INTHE NEWS Meet Gensler’s 3D Printing Drone ( Architect : June 2)

Gensler is teaching 3D printers how to fly. More specifically, a pair of designers at its Los Angeles office built a drone with an attached 3D printer that extrudes concrete. Since launching the project in 2013 as one of 30 like it funded annually over a three-year period by Gensler's in-house research program -- in which the firm invests 18 percent of its profits after taxes each year -- designers Tam Tran and Jared Shier have developed a prototype and showcased their work at South by Southwest's Robot Petting Zoo in Austin in March.

Their goal is to remove one of 3D printing's biggest limitations: the size of the print bed. By taking the technology airborne, the designers say, architects and engineers could one day create at an unprecedented scale as well as in areas where it would otherwise be difficult to haul construction materials or where a conventional, large-scale 3D printer isn’t practical. Art for the Discerning Drone ( Hyperallergic : March 27)

Is your drone all charged up with nowhere to fly? Impending FAA regulations got you down? Fear not, because this summer the Knockdown Center, the sprawling arts space in Maspeth, Queens, will host a drone obstacle course consisting entirely of specially commissioned sculptures. The center recently launched an open call seeking proposals for the exhibition- obstacle course, noting that “the most comprehensive viewer of the work will be the drones themselves” and encouraging artists to design their works with unmanned aircraft rather than gallery visitors in mind.

Researchers take to the skies to asses infrastructure damage ( Phys.org : March 5) Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, have become increasingly popular over the last half dozen years or so among amateur aeronautical aficionados, engineers and generally anyone fascinated with relatively inexpensive flying machines. Drones can be used for a number of applications including civilian and military purposes. Monitoring and surveillance are two of the biggest uses for drones. Now, researchers at the University of New Mexico, along with collaborators at San Diego State University and BAE Systems, are utilizing similar technology to develop an operational prototype that will use innovative remote sensing approaches and cameras mounted on low cost aircraft or unmanned drones to detect and map fine scale transportation infrastructure damage such as cracks, deformations and shifts immediately following natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and hurricanes.

© Copyright 2015. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




BIM becomes more interactive VIATechnik incorporates gaming systems to enhance virtual reality experince of building models; service has been utilized for architecture, contruction, and logistics.


E ngineering services company VIATechnik is mak- ing waves in the advancement of virtual design and construction and building information model- ing. Until recently, being able to experience a con- struction project virtually meant viewing a build- ing through static 3D renderings or models with limited interactivity. That’s no longer the case. “Our engineers can create a virtual environment to help a client interact with a project. The difference with this and something like Revit lies in the ability to create a UI where the client, with no modeling experience, can easily make changes to the model and interact with our work.” BUILDING AN INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE. VIATechnik has taken things a step further with the incorporation of gaming technology into models, creating an in- teractive experience for their clients. The benefits of this technology in the virtual design and con- struction industry are considerable. The service expands beyond just virtual reality for architecture projects to also encompass logistics planning. Anton Dy Buncio, COO of VIATechnik says, “Our engineers can create a virtual environment to help a client interact with a project. The difference with this and something like Revit lies in the ability to create a UI where the client, with no modeling ex- perience, can easily make changes to the model and interact with our work. For example, in a pow- er plant project that we are working on, our client is able to manipulate multiple logistics plans and evaluate various logistical challenges quickly.” With the use of the gaming technology, station- ary 3D models can be turned into virtual environ- ments before construction ever hits the ground. Being able to interact with a project from its ini- tial BIM is also a time and cost-saving benefit. Deci- sions on changes to the project can be made quickly and more efficiently.

Anton Dy Buncio, COO, VIATechnik.

PR Newswire

VIATechnik BIM screenshot

VIRTUAL REALITY IN ACTION. Through a collaborative team approach, VIATechnik has enabled construc- tion firms around the country to increase their es- timating bandwidth and engage in better planning before construction. A condo building-project in New York City, com- prised of six stories of condos above two stories of retail and commercial-space, highlights how VI- ATechnik’s expert estimating and virtual construc- tion capabilities help clients take their project pur- suits to the next level – visualization, planning and problem-solving in a virtual environment prior to breaking ground. First, VIATechnik partnered with a general contrac- tor that needed quantity takeoffs to augment its in-house resources. Using on-screen take-off, VI- ATechnik provided complete quantity takeoffs for all architectural, structural, and MEP trades with detail, accuracy, and speed. A rendered 3-D model, which can be integrated with the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset, pro- vided the client with pre-construction insights and allowed users to walk through a condo unit while immersing themselves in the environment. The re- sults: faster condo leasing, better marketing pres- ence in the community, and a more engaged de- sign/construction/developer team. Some interesting features embedded in the virtual reality program include: ❚ ❚ A map icon in the top right corner allowing users to better understand where in the project they are

See VIATECHNIK , page 10




AISI AND SMDI LAUNCH #SUMMEROFSTEEL ROADTRIP CAMPAIGN The American Iron and Steel Institute and the Steel Market Develop- ment Institute, a business unit of AISI, have announced the launch of the #SummerOf- Steel Roadtrip social media campaign pro- moting steel messaging across North Amer- ica. The campaign will highlight facts, stories and photos displaying how steel benefits the lives of consumers and will run through Sep- tember 14. SummerOfSteel.com features an interactive map the United States, Canada, and Mexico to highlight how steel improves communities, regions, and countries. Each post features information on the automotive, construction, and packaging steel markets and information on public policy and sustainability. A social media contest, which began July 13, invites the public to share images of their encounters with steel for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card. The contest takes

place on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #SummerOfSteel and #contest. The contest winner will be announced Septem- ber 14. THORNTON TOMASETTI MANAGING PRINCIPAL RECEIVES ASIAN AMERICANS IN BUSINESS AWARD Thornton Tomasetti (New York, NY), an international engineering firm, announced that Managing Principal Yi Zhu, a regional leader of the firm’s Pacific Rim operations, has been recognized with a 2015 Outstand- ing 50 Asian Americans in Business award by the Asian American Business Development Center. The award was presented at the 14th annual reception on June 18 at Cipriani Wall Street in NewYork City. PRESIDENT OF KS ASSOCIATES NAMED PRESI- DENT OF ACEC OHIO Lynn S. Miggins, presi- dent of KS Associates Inc. (Elyria, OH), has been named president of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Ohio. This state- wide, nonprofit organization is comprised

of member firms that provide engineering services for construction and environmen- tal improvement projects. The organization’s mission is to enhance the economic and regulatory climate for private engineering companies and assist member companies in improving their business management prac- tices so that they may provide high-quality professional services to their clients. KIME APPOINTED DIRECTOR OF ACEC NEWYORK Beardsley Architects + Engineers (Auburn, NY) an- nounced the appointment of Joseph Kime, a structural engineer, as a director of ACEC New York. Kime will represent the ACEC Central Region, acting as the liaison between the state organization and the Central New York Chapter. Kime is also a member of the Society of American Military Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers.

VIATECHNIK , from page 9

standing of the project’s interaction with the existing envi- ronment. For example, traffic flows, deliveries, and equip- ment moves can be coordinated with the existing roadways and adjacent structures in mind. The team can also foresee how construction phasing and staging will affect the proj- ect’s surroundings. Finally, VIATechnik’s renderings during the design and pre- construction phase not only give AEC firms the ability to visualize the project prior to construction, but also to en- gage the community and encourage the support of all proj- ect stakeholders. For this particular rendering, VIATechnik first created a Revit model from the designer’s 2D plans and then rendered it in 3D. The crossover of gaming technology and construction is an interesting match and one that is an indication of things to come.

❚ ❚ A click-through feature on architectural finishes, enabling us- ers to change paint colors, wood floor finishes, and more to customize their condo and get better insights on what their life would be like as the condo’s owner ❚ ❚ Realistic city views from the windows. VIATechnik’s engineers brought in the true project location from Infraworks 360 to replicate the views that the resident would see from this par- ticular condo unit. For many construction projects, understanding and coordi- nating with the existing environment is crucial to a proj- ect’s success. Through Infraworks 360, VIATechnik creates a detailed site model of the project’s location, bringing in adjacent buildings, infrastructure, and ground topogra- phies. The 3D model of the total project site is immediately valuable from a visualization perspective, but the real val- ue comes from streamlining logistics planning and under-


Hospital Cryogenic Laboratory | Los Angeles VIATechnik’s team converted a laser scan of a large hospital into an intelligent BIM model that included modeled pipe supports, MEP, lighting, and structural components.

Recreational Visitor Center | Branson, MO VIATechnik’s team created an LOD 300 BIM model that included structural, architectural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and civil disciplines for the project.

Brewery VIATechnik converted a high-resolution 3D survey (laser point cloud scan) into a Revit model that the client’s engineers used to redesign a massive brewery. The conversion was modeled to an accuracy of ¼ inch.

© Copyright 2015. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




We’re talking nerdy with you Zweig Group’s 2015 Information Technology Survey showcases firms’ 2015 IT spending on staff, software, and more; provides leaders’ insights. P U B L I C AT I O N S

The 2015 IT Survey , released today, has been updat- ed with input from IT directors at leading A/E/P firms. The information in the report is broken down by firm type, staff size, region of the firm’s headquar- ter office, firm growth rate, client base, and – new this year – firm profit, so you can make compari- sons between your firm its peers. Topics covered include: ❚ ❚ IT spending. In addition to total IT spending data, the Survey provides a detailed breakdown of physi- cal plant expenses, hardware expenses, software ex- penses, data telecommunication costs and Internet access, consulting/support expenses, IT staff costs, and training costs. Use the breakdowns and trend data to find out how your firm’s IT investments match up to other firms and the projections firm leaders are making for IT spending next year. ❚ ❚ IT staff. At what point do firms hire an IT man- ager? In addition to providing IT support for their own firms, do IT staff ever provide consulting ser- vices to other firms? If so, what types of services do they provide, and how much revenue did they generate in 2014? ❚ ❚ Project websites. Are project websites still popular? Whether your firm has jumped on the project-website bandwagon or not, you can find out everything from how much firms charge for project websites to which types of project website systems are most common. ❚ ❚ Systems and platforms. Find out what other firms require for storage, RAM, network cards, processor speeds, and monitors, and make sure your employ- ees aren’t saddled with old equipment that could hurt their productivity and the firm’s profits. This brief list barely scratches the surface. In addi- tion to these topics, the 2015 IT Survey contains data on networking, technical and CADD applications, office productivity and communications applica- tions, and IT management and training. Before your firm makes its next IT investment, use this report to find out what other firms’ experiences have been.

By ANDREA BENNETT Managing Editor

P erhaps no other A/E business imperative holds as much promise or generates as much concern and discussion as technology. On the one hand, A/E/P and environmental con- sulting firms’ investments in technology are driv- en by customers who demand design and delivery technology – e.g., building information modeling and integrated project design) as part of contrac- tual negotiations. On the other hand, many firms realize that tech- nology is necessary to address business needs such as knowledge capture, dissemination, and man- agement; project information management; and document archiving and retrieval. Additionally, financial, operational, HR manage- ment, and customer relationship management systems need to be integrated so that information flows with minimal “friction” between software solutions and among employees. As a result of such factors, technology investment has quickly become a cost of entry into the A/E marketplace, rather than a competitive advantage. The challenge is to define the core work flow pro- cesses, and to integrate the technology to support those processes. Unfortunately, early tomid-stage software capabil- ity development, combined with fragmented tech- nology solution offerings, leaves many A/E/P and environmental firm leaders confused and unsure about where to make technology investments. Finally, the pace of assimilation of technology, such as BIM, by more senior technical experts must accelerate. Future A/E practitioners are cur- rently in school, learning their craft using technol- ogy, and they expect their employers to provide similar tools. Some of those currently in positions of leadership in A/E/P and environmental firms struggle with fully embracing technology. This dis- sonance must be resolved quickly. A/E/P and environmental firm leaders need in- formation about technology solutions; that’s why Zweig Group publishes its Information Technology Survey .





Several firms see decrease in price-per-share, six have net increase While only one firm on the Index took a big loss last month, only six firms had a net increase in stock price with only one seeing an increase in the double digits. Willdan Group (Anaheim, CA) saw loss of 22 percent of its stock price from month to month. Stock analyst company ZACKS released a research report stating: “New home sales in the U.S. increased 2.2 percent in April, reaching the highest level in almost seven years — beating market expectations and signaling a bright outlook for the housing sector in the second half of the year.” This prompted them to suggest AECOM (Los Angeles, CA) and Willdan Group to be among the top companies to take advantage of the market increase in the housing sector. Ecology & Environment (Lancaster, NY) saw the biggest increase in its price-per-share at 15 percent. The 1,000-person environmental con- sulting firm primarily serves the waste management market and reported a 9 percent increase in revenue from U.S. operations. The firm also reported a reduction in operating expenses, resulting in a net income of $1.8 million ($0.42 per share) for the third quarter of

fiscal year 2015, up $2.1 million, which is a 700 percent improvement from a net loss of $0.3 million ($0.08 per share) reported in the third quarter of 2014. While Stantec (Edmonton, AB) has not seen an increase in stock price and is just below its 50-day moving average, the firm has seen tremendous revenue growth, 65 percent of which is from its many acquisitions. The team there has become known for its successful acquisition and integration of many smaller domestic A/E firms as they seek to increase their foothold in the American marketplace. Despite winning several new awards CB&I , (The Hague, Netherlands) international powerhouse engineering firm, is down 8 percent in price-per-share and is 11.42 percent behind its 50-day moving aver- age. Though most firms on the index saw a decrease in price per share over the last month and many are also lagging behind their 50-day moving average you can expect to see some increases in the more reliable growth companies as we progress through the busy con- struction season and more and more projects are awarded. — Ryan Renard, financial analyst/consultant

Share Pricing





Market Close Cap Apr. 30, 2015

Close Beginning of % Month

Change % Change EPS


EV/ Price/ Price/

Book Value

May 29, 2015

Month Change


from 50 -day MA

from 50 -day MA

Rev. EBITDA Sales


AECOM Technology Corp










0.71 12.74 0.37


AMFW Amec Foster Wheeler










1.02 13.51 0.79



Chicago Bridge and Iron Co.










0.58 6.10 0.41



Ecology and Environment










0.33 6.62 0.36



EMCOR Group Inc










0.47 8.91 0.47













0.32 4.66 0.37



Exponent Inc.










3.50 14.64 4.00



Fluor Corp










0.34 5.08 0.37



Hill International Inc










0.66 9.87 0.45



Jacobs Engineering Group










0.45 6.80 0.40



KBR Inc.










0.35 (11.60) 0.45



Stantec Inc










1.75 12.94 1.54



TRC Companies










0.68 7.28 0.80



Tetra Tech Inc.










0.96 11.47 0.85



Versar Inc.










0.38 21.70 0.28



Willdan Group Inc










0.74 8.46 0.73



DOW Jones Industrial Avg.


18010.68 17619.51



*information at close of day July 6, 2015



8.7x 0.79x 2.06x


0.62x 8.69x 0.45x 1.85x


CALL SIGN ENGINEERS ACQUIRED BY DRAPER ADEN ASSOCIATES Draper Aden Associates (Fayetteville, NC) has announced the acquisition of Call Sign Engineers (Fayetteville, NC). “Our partnership combines the expertise of an established North Carolina company with the resources and capabilities of an ENR Top 500 design firm. This acquisition further strengthens our core services and expands our overall capabilities by opening an additional North Carolina office.” Drape Aden said in a release.

© Copyright 2015. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.


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