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VOLUME 9 ISSUE 7 csengineermag.com
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THE COVER Flood Protection in the Great Plains: Moore Engineering Wins the 2023 Engineering Drone Video of the Year Competition CHANNELS ENVIRONMENTAL + SUSTAINABILITY 12 Expanding the Understanding of Sustainability TECH & SOFTWARE 13 Leadership and Advocacy in the Construction Industry 14 Water, Water, Everywhere… Nor a Drop Amiss 16 Palmer Paving Gains Estimating Speed and Flexibility, and Powerful, Easy Tracking and Analysis with Software Technology STRUCTURES & BUILDINGS 18 Mass Timber in the United States TRANSPORATION & INFRASTRUCTURE 20 How Electric Aviation Is Transforming Transportation with Advanced Air Mobility 22 A bullseye for construction: Eliminating error and rework with cutting-edge tech 24 Going Driverless: an Update on the Cairo Monorail System 26 Well-funded mobility projects in 2023 will include massive amounts of technology UNPILOTED SYSTEMS 27 Drones, Dogs, and Robots: Envisioning a Safer Future for Construction Workers 29 Preaching the Drone Gospel 30 Drones, Trees, and Water: A Highway Project in Romania
BUSINESS NEWS 32 Equity in Design WATER + STORMWATER 36 Water Management and Sustainability departments 8 Events
37 Benchmarks 40 Reader Index
Columns LOOKING BACK, MOVING FORWARD 6 Driving Back through the History of Autonomous Travel Luke Carothers INDUSTRY INSIGHTS 7 The ElevateAEC Conference: Taking the Industry to New Heights
looking back, moving forward
Driving Back through the History of Autonomous
Travel Luke Carothers
There have been several significant advancements in autonomous systems in the last decade, particularly in the field of self-driving cars. Whether it's a self-driving car from Google or Tesla, there has been no shortage of headlines proclaiming the future of travel. While these accomplishments and advancements are significant in our time, they point to a much larger historical trend that makes such technological innovations an inevitability and suggest that their true potential may yet be unknown to us. Although the world’s first remote-piloted car was debuted by General Motors at the 1939 World’s Fair, the first autonomous (self-driving) car prototypes were not introduced until the 1980s after nearly 30 years of testing. The idea of a self-driving car perhaps began with General Motors’ demonstration in 1939, but it would take another 14 years before serious testing began on a truly automated system. In 1953, became the first to successfully demonstrate the viability of a self-driving car when they did so using a miniature car guided and controlled by wires on a laboratory floor. With the system’s viability established, RCA Laboratories worked with the State of Nebraska to construct a full-size test system just outside of Lincoln. This proposed test system consisted of a series of circuits buried along stretches of pavement, paired with a series of lights on the edges of the roads. By sending impulses from the circuits to the car, the test was able to successfully control the direction, speed, and velocity of the car. Despite the demonstrated success of this automated system, further development was hampered due to the cost of installing the necessary support infrastructure. While RCA Labs’ autonomous system proved a novel approach when applied to vehicle piloting and infrastructure, it is framed on technological advancements that had been applied to railroads for decades at that point. A century earlier, railroads played a massive role in expanding the United States to its current size. With a network of railroads as the fuel source, the United States expanded rapidly during the Industrial Revolution and continued to do so through the end of the 19th century. The presence of railroads grew in tandem with the United States’ growing population and territory, and, by the 1870s, railroads were beginning to experience challenges stemming from this rapid expansion. Running on fixed rails, trains are particularly susceptible to collisions and delays, and the process of railroad signaling was adopted at its creation to control the movement of traffic. However, traditional hand signaling was proving antiquated by the 1870s and new systems were developed to allow this network of railroads to continue supporting this period of American growth.
Seattle Municipal Archives - Flickr: General Motors exhibit at World's Fair, 1962
One of the first automated systems to be developed–automatic block systems for railroad signaling–was introduced in 1872. With signals placed on trains, a train’s movement would short-circuit the electric current supply and de-energize the relay. Using this system, railroads were able to greatly reduce collisions and delays by only allowing one train per block at a time. When automatic systems for railroad signaling were introduced, they solved a massive problem that was hampering the reliability to railroad networks. In the subsequent decades, railroads continued to expand, snaking out to every corner of the United States. This twisted, dense network of passenger and freight rail, intercity lines, companies, and subsidiaries relied heavily upon simple advancements in automation technology as automated signaling systems continued to improve. By the 1920s, advancements in automation allowed for various experiments into creating the world’s first driverless train. And, again, despite similar viability testing, it would be decades before the first fully automated trains would be introduced to the public. More so, these early tests of automated train systems provided the initial framework for our first attempts at self-driving cars. The parallelled histories of car and railroad automation provide important insights into the effect that the current push towards AI and automation will have on the development of technology in the future. Americans demonstrated a preference for the freedom and luxuries that automobile travel affords as our vast network of railroad infrastructure was slowly replaced with roads and highways. This recently renewed push towards automated driving systems has historical similarities to the environment that brought about the first automated train testing, suggesting that technologies currently being applied to self-driving cars may have reverbating effects in technological advancements yet unknown.
LUKE CAROTHERS is the Editor for Civil + Structural Engineer Media. If you want us to cover your project or want to feature your own article, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ElevateAEC Conference: Taking the Industry to New
Panel Discussions You’ll hear directly from the top-performing firms in the industry on topics ranging from workplaces of the future to the impact of technology and AI. These panel discussions serve as the ideal platform to share ideas and learn from each other. Strategies and Tactics Looking for tips on how to build a strong Board of Directors? Need new ways to drive performance and efficiency? Interested in learning about remote work and its impact on recruitment and retention? You’ll learn how to implement strategies and tactics for these subjects and more from the best of the best. There are a whopping 16+ breakout sessions to choose from, covering every area of the business from project management and marketing to ownership transition and a host of others. A past attendee said, “This conference is the best in the industry. With great networking opportunities, valuable learning sessions, and access to the best advisors – this conference is a must-attend for any AEC professional.” Celebrating Success in Style And, this year’s conference is not just about learning – we know how to have some fun too. Join us for our iconic black-tie awards gala, where we'll honor the 2023 winners of the Hot Firm list, Best Firms To Work For, Marketing Excellence, Excellence in Client Experience, Rising Stars, Top New Ventures, and the Jerry Allen Courage In Leadership Awards. If you want to kick your celebration up a notch, there’s an opportunity to join the awards gala after party, where you’ll experience PGA's world- renowned, modern ranch-style beer garden concept that incorporates six live hitting bays and features expansive views of the resort. It’s sure to be an experience to remember. Let’s Build Something Together There’s no need to go it alone when it comes to taking your business to the next level. Most successful business leaders will tell you that collaboration is key. So, don't miss out on the biggest event in the AEC industry – register now for the ElevateAEC Conference to learn, connect and celebrate. We’ll be waiting for you. Registration is open for the annual in-person conference in Frisco, TX from September 13-15.
Heights By Liisa Andreassen
It’s that time of year again – the ElevateAEC Conference is right around the corner and the excitement is building. This year's conference promises to be bigger and better than ever, with a jam-packed agenda designed to help you network, learn, and celebrate like never before. Here’s a peek preview of what’s in store. In its 6th year, the Elevate AEC Conference & Awards Gala continues to meet and exceed its mission. How? The ElevateAEC Conference is the largest in-person gathering of industry leaders and award-winning firms – all interested in advancing the "elevate the industry" vision. This year’s ElevateAEC Conference is scheduled to be held in Frisco, TX (the new headquarters of the Professional Golf Association – PGA) at the newly-opened Omni PGA Resort. This venue is the perfect place to mingle, connect, and learn together and it’s filled with many post- conference activities to enjoy too. Attendees who enjoy a good game of golf can choose from two 18-hole championship courses and there’s even a lighted 10-hole, par-3 short course for those who want to venture out after dark. Now, if golf’s not your thing, take a dip in one (or all) of its four onsite pools, including an adults-only rooftop infinity pool, or rejuvenate at the spa. And everyone can find some fun in its exclusive district where a variety of signature dining and retail concepts, virtual game experiences, programmed entertainment, and more is all available right at your fingertips. Connect and Celebrate When it comes to professional events, there’s nothing better than learning, connecting, and then celebrating your successes with colleagues – together. When you attend the ElevateAEC Conference, you’ll have the ability to do all three. We’ll have: Incredible Keynote Speakers This year’s lineup is dazzling. Their insights will leave you energized and ready to take your business to the next level. The opening keynote speaker is Bolanle Williams-Olley, CFO and co-owner of Mancini Duffy, and best-selling author of Build Boldly, a practical playbook written to ignite individuals and leaders to take bold, courageous action and craft their own unique playbooks for success. See a complete list of speakers here.
BOOK HERE BY AUGUST 18 . If you have questions or are interested in getting a group rate, contact: email@example.com or call the Zweig Group team at 800.466.6275.
events + virtual Events
Business of Automated Mobility Forum: Flight Path to UAM September 27-28 Join SAE and AUVSI, along with industry and government stakeholders, for collaborative discussions to accelerate the evolution to a safe and efficient low-altitude transport system. Engage on the critical topics to realize the potential of UAM, including regulatory outlook, vehicle development and production, operational management, UTM, safety, and security. https://www.auvsi.net/bamforum/home
Project Management for AEC Professionals july 12 – Boise, ID
This one-day training will help take the guesswork out of leading a project team; and is presented in lecture, tutorial, and hands-on case study sessions. Attending project leaders will leave equipped with practical, science-backed skills that will allow them to empower their teams, optimize their project process, and surpass project goals. https://zweiggroup.com/products/project-management-summer-2023
BIBM Congress September 27-29 – Amsterdam
The Principals Academy july 13-14 – Boise, ID
The 24th BIBM Congress will take place in Amsterdam! The congress will be held in the Dutch capital—the “Venice of the North.” The congress will be under the slogan “Green | Digital | Resilient | Precast Concrete Solutions.” Congress language is English. https://bibmcongress.eu/
The Principals Academy is Zweig Group’s flagship training program encompassing all aspects of managing a professional AEC service firm. Elevate your ability to lead and grow your firm with this program designed to inspire and inform existing and emerging AEC firm leaders in key areas of firm management leadership, financial management, recruiting, marketing, business development, and project management. Learning and networking at this premiere event challenges traditional seminar formats and integrates participatory idea exchange led by Chad Clinehens, Zweig Group's President and CEO, Phil Keil, Principal and Director of Strategy, and Will Swearingen, Principal and Director of Ownership Transition, along with the firm's top line of advisors. https://zweiggroup.com/products/the-principals-academy- summer-2023
SEAoT State Conference SEPTEMBER 28 - 29
The Structural Engineers Association of Texas is hosting their annual conference in Houston, TX. This two-day premier structural engineering conference in Texas features world-class speakers and panelists discussing various technical topics, industry challenges, and business practices. Look for Zweig Group's Kristin Kautz as she speaks about The State of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in AEC. https://seaot.org/2023-state-conference/
October 2023 Chief Strategy Officer Roundtable October 11-13 – Fayetteville, AR
M&A next Symposium September 12-13 – Frisco, TX
Reserve your seat at this highly interactive event designed to provide M&A education and practical application through interactive roundtable discussions, thought leadership from expert panelists, and focused networking to connect leaders from across the country. You will end the day better informed about the opportunities for M&A as a growth strategy. www.zweiggroup.com/products/2023-m-a-next-symposium
The CSO Roundtable Retreat is a unique opportunity for AEC firm leaders to engage and interact with industry peers to discuss current issues facing firms today, explore industry trends and next practices, and confront the biggest challenges they face leading their firms. Come prepared to discuss your biggest challenges and successes during this highly interactive session. With you in control of the subject matter, roundtable discussions strike at the heart of what you need to effect change in your organization. https://zweiggroup.com/products/chief-strategy-officer-roundtable
ElevateaEC conference & Awards Gala September 13-15 – Frisco, TX
Registration is open for the annual in-person conference in Frisco, September 13-15. The 2023 winners of the Hot Firm list, Best Firms To Work For, Marketing Excellence, Excellence in Client Experience, Rising Stars, Top New Ventures, and the Jerry Allen Courage In Leadership Awards will be celebrated at the iconic black-tie awards gala. www.zweiggroup.com/pages/annual-elevateaec-conference
NCSEA Summit NOVEMBER 7-10 – ANAHEIM, CA
Leadership Skills: Strategies & Tactics November 2-3 – Nashville, TN
Meet the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations in the happiest place on earth to network and learn with the happiest engineers around. Interact with and learn from leaders in the field, curious problem solvers, and expert speakers. Stay current on advancements and best practices in structural engineering and building and design codes—in education sessions and in the Exhibit Hall. Discuss technical, business, and industry challenges—and work toward solutions in a collaborative community. Look for Zweig Group's Kyle Ahern and Shirley Che at their breakout session: A modern day AEC professional's guide to Employee Experience (EX). https://www.ncseasummit.com/
This course takes a project-based approach to identifying, dissecting, and solving a series of issues that plague modern AEC firms. Attendees will collaboratively work business cases that focus on leading through uncertainty, recruiting and retention, upskilling staff to close competency gaps within their firms, enhancing client experience to drive higher fees, and staff performance management, among others. At the conclusion of this training, attendees will leave with a personalized strategic plan, a series of new skills to successfully lead the implementation of their plan at their organization, and a leader briefing plan to bring back to their firm. https://zweiggroup.com/products/leadership-skills-for-aec- professionals-winter-2023 This is the unmissable global event for the lifting industry; almost 100 exhibitors, over 1,500 industry professionals attending, two days of knowledge sharing and training, as well as the celebrated LEEA Awards. The annual event hosted by the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association, the leading global representative body for all those involved in the lifting industry worldwide, is your chance to connect with your customers, meet new clients and do business. The show attracts end users from a wide range of vertical markets, including oil and gas, energy, offshore, road & maritime transport, construction, utilities, rail, renewable energy, civil engineering, entertainment and manufacturing, and more. https://liftex.org/liftex-liverpool-2023 LiftEx 2023 November 21-22 – Liverpool
Flood Protection in the Great Plains Moore Engineering Wins the 2023 Engineering Drone Video of the Year Competition
By Luke Carothers
Judging Panel: • Margot Moulton • Maxim Baklykov • Bryan Baker
The closing of the 2023 Engineering Drone Video of the Year Competition marks a period of celebration that not only recognizes the outstanding videos that graced this year’s competition, but also the tremendous impact that drones and UAV technology have had on our wide-reaching industry. The 2023 EDVY finalists represent projects from eight different states as well as Puerto Rico. Ranging from large scale transportation and infrastructure projects to single- residential constructions and everything in between, the 2023 EDVY finalists are testament to the continuing importance of drones/UAVs to the AEC industry. This year’s judging panel was tasked with pairing down the strongest field of competitors since EDVY was launched in 2017. With over 30 videos submitted for consideration, the judging panel was asked to evaluate each video based on: 1)the video’s capacity to contextualize the project, 2) subject and purpose, 3) demonstrating an innovative use of drones, 4) demonstrating the flight capacity of drones, and 5) demonstrating the visual capacity of drones/UAVs. Using these criteria, the judging panel examined each of the videos entered in the competition to determine what stood out as the best of the best. After the initial round of judging, the final scores were close enough to merit an additional round of voting. What emerged from this intense period of judging and evaluation were ten videos that would closely vie for the top spot in this year’s competition. To determine what video deserves the top spot as the winner of the 2023 EDVY Competition, the audience of Civil+Structural Engineer Magazine participated in a 14-day voting period. As has become a yearly occasion with the EDVY Competition, voting took off immediately after the videos were posted, and, over the first two days of the competition, more than 2,000 votes were cast for the finalists. After the close of that second day, four finalists had set a good pace
• Luke Carothers • Andrea Perotti EDVY 2023 Top Ten: 1. Moore Engineering–”Maple and Upper Maple River Dams” 2. Moore Engineering–”Lisbon, ND: Spring Flooding” 3. HSR Constructors–”Brightline Phase 2: Orlando to West Palm Beach High Speed Passenger Rail Expansion” 4. Nebraska Department of Transportation–”UAS Program Launch/Lincoln South Beltway Project” 5. Jose Espinal Vazquez and Associates–”VA Heroes Hospital” 6. CRAFT | Engineering Studio–”Nantucket Residence” 7. Caulfield and Wheeler–”CWI 2023 Engineering Drone Video Contest: Avenir” 8. KCI Technologies–”Houston Public Works Northeast Transmission Line” 9. GeoStabilization International 10. CES Consulting, LLC–”Quality, Delivered”
above the rest of the field. One of these finalists was a submission from HSR Constructors who focused on the construction of the Brightline Phase 2 from Orlando to West Palm Beach. Following the construction
of a high speed passenger rail expansion, HSR’s submission uses drone flight to contextualize movement throughout the project, and provides key information in location specific overlays. Another submission that emerged as a contender after day two was from the Nebraska Department of Transportation covering their UAS program launch and the Lincoln Beltway South Project. NDOT’s submission to the 2023 EDVY competition is emblematic of the level of production that has become the standard for the competition in recent years. Using both narration and impressive drone-produced visualizations, NDOT’s submission is an effective tool for understanding both the project being covered and how drone technology has impacted its design and development. A similar effect was deployed to similar success with Moore Engineering’s submission covering flood infrastructure planning in the town of Lisbon, North Dakota. Utilizing a voiceover from Lisbon’s Mayor Tim Meyer, this submission details the city’s response to intense flooding in 2009, 2010, and 2011, which was completed by working with Moore Engineering. As the competition moved beyond the second day of voting, the four videos vying for the top spot began to slowly fade to three. For the next week of voting, three videos would trade and exchange places, but, as the voting period drew to a close, it soon became clear that a submission from Moore Engineering would claim the top spot. However, as the only competitor with two videos to make the final round, the question still remained as to which of Moore’s submissions would win. In the end, Moore Engineering’s "Maple & Upper Maple River Dams" emerged as the clear winner of the 2023 Engineering Drone Video of the Year competition, garnering over 1,000 more votes than the second place submission. The 2023 EDVY winner gives viewers a unique perspective on two projects that have massive footprints in terms of size and impact. The winning video uses the perspective afforded by a drone juxtaposed with textual information to give viewers a unique and important perspective of two, large-scale engineering projects. The person responsible for both of Moore Engineering’s entries to this year’s finalists is Cody Rogness, Videographer and Media Specialist for Moore Holding Company. Working closely with Moore Engineering as well as their other related companies, Rogness draws on his varied background–which includes TV news, TV shows, commercials, and documentaries–to produce content like the Maple and Upper Maple River Dams video that provides an important function both internally and externally. According to Rogness, for projects like these, drones are an essential tool for communicating their scale, and that, with such a scale, drones are a great tool for saving time compared to traditional video and photography. While Rogness is primarily involved with using drones as a tool for communicating externally, he also notes that these same qualities can be applied to design and construction with maps and other drone-generated models. Kurt Lysne, Market Leader for Moore Engineering, says that they have historically utilized drones for preliminary design data collection, LIDAR, aerial photogrammetry, and surveying pre-existing site conditions, as well as documenting and monitoring construction.. Lysne further adds that, when coupled with an Emmy Award-winning videographer like Cody Rogness, drones become a powerful tool for marketing, giving them a powerful tool to communicate their goals and
successes. And certainly, the winning video of the 2023 Competition is a demonstration of Rogness' ability to tell a story. To gather the footage that comprised the winning video, Rogness used the natural landscape to tell part of the story, shooting the footage during Spring flooding. Harnessing the image of Spring floods coming over the spillways of the Maple and Upper Maple River Dams, Rogness adds a crucial element of context to their regional importance. The winning video is unique in that it combines textual information, perspective, and the natural landscape to tell the story of two immense structures. Similar to winners from recent years, Cody Rogness’ winning submission on behalf of Moore Engineering can be used as a timestamp of the relationship drones and UAVs have with the AEC industry. As Lysne puts it, the winning video, “[completes Moore’s] suite of services that drones are used for.” By combining their important uses on the technical side of projects with the ability to tell a story that captures importance and scale, drones are an invaluable tool for communicating the importance of the work done by the AEC industry, and this year’s winner is emblematic of this ever-developing function. LUKE CAROTHERS is the Editor for Civil + Structural Engineer Media. If you want us to cover your project or want to feature your own article, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JULY 2023 csengineermag.com
When it comes to discussing sustainability in the AEC industry, there is a tendency to focus on environmental concerns. Much of this conversation revolves around things like energy efficiency and emissions, but this has begun to change in recent years. The definition of sustainability in the AEC industry is evolving to view our impact on the built environment as a balance between environmental concerns, biodiversity, and social justice. Fiona Cousins is the Chair of the Americas at Arup. As the first female Chair of Arup in the Americas, Cousins has demonstrated her leadership and has been recognized by both the National Building Museum for dedication to shaping a better world through the built environment and by the Beverly Willis Foundation for her impact as a leader championing the advancement of women in engineering and sustainability. Her influential leadership philosophy is reflected in her deep engineering experience, where Cousins believes that sustainable development isn't only about scaling up but also about embedding sustainable thinking into every project– no matter the scale or location. Cousins began her career in the UK in the 90s with a background in mechanical engineering, and started doing primarily analytical work around the thermal response of buildings. After this, she moved on to start working on the architecture and design side of the industry. During this part of her career, Cousins was focused on offsetting the cost of buildings through energy efficiency. After moving to California in 1996, Cousins began expanding her expertise throughout the broader spectrum of sustainability. This meant focusing on sustainability issues such as water, which is a central issue in California as well as things like materials selection. Cousins spent three years in California building and designing before moving to New York City in 1999. Bringing this focus on the broader spectrum of sustainability, Cousins continued her work as a mechanical engineer. Soon, Cousins established a sustainability consulting business within Arup, which required her to think about the impacts of sustainability from different types of organizations. This also required her to think about how those organizations can be organized best to promote sustainability. During this time, Cousins worked as a project manager or director for a number of large-scale projects including the US Embassy in London and the Cornell Tech Building on Roosevelt island. Cousins also maintained her sustainability consulting work. In 2017, Cousins was appointed to Arup Group Board, and was asked to take on the role of digital transformation. In her first years at Arup, Cousins worked to Expanding the Understanding of Sustainability By Luke Carothers
identify the elements of the built environment that worked within this digital transformation. In 2022, Cousins was appointed to the Chair of the Americas for Arup, which oversees their work in the United States, Canada, and Colombia. With sustainability being a more and more pressing topic of discussion in the AEC industry, Cousins believes that, for a long time, there was a tendency to focus on environmental issues in isolation. While the things we extract during the construction process–water, energy, materials–certainly matter as a part of sustainability, they are only a small part of a much larger issue. According to Cousins, sustainability is a very large and complex issue, but, in the simplest terms, it can be broken down into three main aspects. The first is climate change, which encapsulates many of those same issues that were the primary focus for years before. The other two aspects in the broader discussion of sustainability are social justice and biodiversity in nature. These categorizations are indicative of an evolving definition of sustainability as it pertains to the AEC industry. This evolving definition of sustainability is critical as we respond to the effects of climate change. To develop solutions that address these critical areas, Cousins believes that the concepts of sustainability must be embedded into every level of every project. This means first understanding the concept of sustainability from an individual level on the project then examining it from through the lenses of climate change, social justice, and biodiversity in nature. Furthermore, this requires projects to examine their sustainability as it pertains to the supply chain and any downstream activities associated with it. Cousins believes that this foundational thinking about sustainability is critical in that it also allows people to generate more awareness around sustainability. Over time, the more awareness and understanding there is around these concepts of sustainability, the more they will start to appear elsewhere in the AEC industry. As the AEC industry continues to respond to climate change, this evolving understanding of sustainability is critical to developing a more accurate view of its interconnected nature. By understanding sustainability as a balance between climate change solutions, social justice, and biodiversity in nature we create solutions that are equitable and environmentally-friendly.
LUKE CAROTHERS is the Editor for Civil + Structural Engineer Media. If you want us to cover your project or want to feature your own article, he can be reached at email@example.com.
Tech & Software
The construction industry has made tremendous progress in terms of the number of women represented. Not only are there more women in the construction industry than ever, but the number of women in the industry has increased steadily since 2016. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that, as of August 2022, women made up 14 percent of the construction workforce. While this represents a significant increase on the lows of 12.4 percent in December of 2015 and 12 percent in 2005, there is still a lot of work to be done in the way of progress. Part of the steady increase in the number of women in the construction comes as a result of an increase in women in leadership positions. As more women enter the workforce, there are more opportunities for women to fill leadership roles and support other women looking to advance their careers. There is also the opportunity to alleviate the current labor shortage by hiring more women in the industry. There have been significant changes in the AEC industry during the last fifteen years, and Danielle O’Connell has not only experienced these changes, but has been a driving force. O’Connell is the Senior Director of Skanska USA’s National Emerging Technology team. A 15-year year veteran of the AEC industry, O’Connell has spent the last five and a half years with the global building and development company Skanska. Prior to taking her current position, O’Connell held a number of different roles including BIM/VDC management, project manager, and owner-side positions as well as spending a short time with a technology company. O’Connell points out that, when she first started in the construction industry, there weren’t many women in the same roles as her, particularly within BIM/VDC and construction technology. This realization was a catalyst for O’Connell’s drive to be a resource for other women. This means paving a path for women looking for similar roles, and encouraging them to incorporate “their passion for these things into more traditional operations roles.” And, to develop these leadership skills, O’Connell says that she has not been short of outstanding examples of leadership and advocacy to look up to. While O’Connell points to leaders and advocates within her career that have shaped her professional life, the same leadership and advocacy can come from outside forces and shape one’s professional life. Leadership and Advocacy in the Construction Industry By Luke Carothers
Ankita Ramakrishnan is an Assistant Project Manager for Lendlease Construction. Ramakrishnan grew up in the Bay Area in California, having recently relocated to New York to pursue her passion in construction and development. As a woman of color working to level the playing field in these fields, Ramakrishnan is focused on the sustainable environment, social responsibility, and resource conservation. Growing up in the Bay Area, she gained firsthand experience with gentrification and expensive housing, which shaped her interest in building affordable homes rooted in ethical community development. Ramakrishnan is focused on ethical community development because it means providing safe, clean places for people that will enhance their standard of living. She believes it's as simple as this: we need to service communities’ wants and needs. Ramakrishnan understands that, while this goal seems clear, the process to provide these resources is “oftentimes tied up in red tape and difficult to expedite.” This difficulty prevents resources from being allocated to communities that need them most. Ramakrishnan believes developers need to have stronger relationships with local governments, and that these local governments need to be motivated to create positive change for their communities. She points to community organizations like RYN, which “have been incredibly useful for me to organize grassroots movements in order to propose long term changes that better communities at large.” Ramakrishnan points to her upbringing in the Bay Area as a big influence on her unique perspective. She says that sustainability was not only encouraged but was actively discussed and innovated upon. This framework allowed Ramakrishnan to pursue her passion for sustainability with active support from teachers and peers. Whether leadership and advocacy come from teachers, peers, coworkers, managers, or anywhere else, these elements are essential to continuing progress in the AEC industry’s journey towards diversity, equity, and inclusion. We've even seen technology partners like Autodesk step into the conversation with DEI efforts such as the initiative in which they funded safety harnesses specifically designed for women. As Ramakrishnan points out, there is a direct link between our industry and the lives of people in communities all around the world. Our ability to effectively respond to the challenges of the future hinges on our ability to respond to the communities we serve. By demonstrating leadership and advocacy, we can grow our industry to include more voices that will help solve our coming challenges.
LUKE CAROTHERS is the Editor of Civil + Structural Engineer Magazine. If you want us to cover your project or feature an article, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JULY 2023 csengineermag.com
Tech & Software
Location Intelligence Helping the UK’s Massive Team2100 Infrastructure Project Tap into a River’s Worth of Data-Driven Insights Water, Water, Everywhere… Nor a Drop Amiss
By Dan Culli
In this recent article in Civil + Structural Engineer Magazine , my colleague Mike Housby wrote about how managers of large capital projects are swimming in data that has the potential to help them make better, faster decisions. But there is a problem: there are several obstacles to making that data truly consumable and actionable. He quoted the famous line from Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner to describe the conundrum: “Water, water, everywhere. Nor any drop to drink.” So much data. Too few insights. It’s a problem that every project manager I know can relate to. Mike didn’t just diagnose the problem, though. He mapped out how organizations responsible for these large capital projects can tap into the potential of that data by using enterprise GIS and location intelligence. That technology and the best practices he discussed are a gamechanger for managing large construction projects in ways that keep them moving forward, simplify management of all the moving parts, and make it more likely for these massive projects to stay on time and on budget. One of the UK’s biggest infrastructure projects is a great example of that: The Thames Estuary 2100 flood risk management project, based in London.
Referred to most often as TEAM2100, the UK Environment Agency’s Thames Estuary Asset Management 2100 Programme is the first step in a nearly century-long plan to manage tidal flood risk for the UK’s most important and famous river. TEAM2100 encompasses the tidal Thames estuary and associated flood plains from west London downstream to the North Sea, protecting over 1.4 million people and £321 billion pounds worth of property from tidal flooding. The asset system comprises more than 4000 flood defense assets, including 350 kilometers of walls and embankments, the iconic Thames Barrier and several other tidal barriers, 290 outfalls, 348 frontage gates, and just over 100 pumping stations, each with hundreds if not thousands of related data components. The volume of data related to the programme is enormous. But no one is quoting Coleridge’s “Nor a drop to drink” line when it comes to turning that ocean of data – or in this case, a massive river of data – into “drinkable” insights. Location intelligence has been a critical tool for management of the TEAM2100 programme. I have been directly involved in the TEAM2100 integrated delivery team for several years working with its lead partners, the Environment Agency (EA) and Jacobs, who are responsible for overall management of the Thames Estuary work. In that role, I have promoted location
intelligence as a critical tool to enable project success. Jacobs knew how complex project controls and data management would be for orchestrating such a large initiative, and they made an important decision to use Enterprise GIS and location intelligence to address that challenge. Jacobs leveraged its geospatial partner Locana to develop an enterprise GIS platform that connected data sets and computing systems so that project managers were able to easily utilize data analytics and data visualization to successfully execute programme functions. Early in the project, TEAM2100 experienced an onslaught of data, which included large amounts of legacy information, infrastructure assessments, and newly-generated information from the new projects. Data management quickly became difficult using a collection of spreadsheets, databases, engineering drawings, and software. In addition, the size and scope of the program, with many projects going on at any time, meant deploying disparate systems that lacked complete integration. This led to data issues, including redundancy, latency, incompleteness, and low confidence. Project leaders at the EA, Jacobs, and Locana recognized the potential to use location as a critical factor for solving these challenges. Enterprise GIS provides a natural integration point for multiple systems, enabling users to consume data from different sources for analysis and visualization in one platform. And pulling asset data and related information into a location-based format—a map—would make it easy for stakeholders to find and view the necessary information. From program inception, Locana developed the enterprise GIS platform known as Estuary Eye (E.E.). The platform was designed using ArcGIS software from Esri, including Esri’s Web AppBuilder for web applications and Survey123 and Field Maps for mobile capabilities. The solution integrates multiple systems, including Oracle’s P6 and Bentley’s ProjectWise engineering software, into a seamless web-based GIS solution, providing a single source of truth for users across the programme. E.E. breaks down silos between data sets, computing systems, and, vitally, people that are so common with large capital projects. The result is not only a more unified overall view of the programme through data, but the ability to derive actionable insights that were previously unavailable. Asset management is an area where the impact of E.E. has been dramatic. Through the insights that E.E. produces, TEAM2100 is able to more effectively manage the full life cycle of thousands of assets across the massive geographic area of the Thames Estuary. E.E. uses location intelligence to deliver over 400 users a rich array of up-to- date data that is used for every aspect of asset management, including planning, scheduling, construction, operation, and maintenance. E.E. holds over eight terabytes of information accessible through 400 map layers, including over 200,000 photos, survey data and elevation profiles, georeferenced drone video, and more. In addition, the platform contains open-source technology for viewing large LiDAR datasets using a web browser. TEAM2100 is using the system across all aspects of asset management, including analyzing assets within their geographic context, how they interface with neighboring assets, what they are made of, their
condition, and whether opportunities exist to take advantage of a single site visit versus going back to the site repeatedly. Teams go to an area with mobile GIS applications built on Esri’s Survey123 and Field Maps to capture information about the assets. The data is then submitted from the field and instantly viewable in E.E. by engineers or analysts in other locations. A great example of the impact of E.E. is how TEAM2100’s staff can perform analysis that provides predictive maintenance and reduces the need to respond to asset failures. The location intelligence produced by the system helps accelerate construction projects by quickly providing engineers with topographic survey data from various sources and time periods. They can perform visual inspections using a wealth of geotagged photos and georeferenced videos, as well as record asset defects in the office and from the site. Ease of access was a key guiding principle for TEAM2100’s E.E. system. The data and insights from E.E. are available through a single GIS viewer that can be accessed easily by a range of devices, including mobile devices in the field. That puts the power of the system into the hands of TEAM2100’s team and its construction partners wherever they are working. This empowers workers at every level of the project. At the tactical level, users can find information for their day-to-day work in an hour instead of days or weeks removing one of the most frustrating causes of delays. In addition, the richness and immediate accessibility of the information often means they can proceed with their workflow without requiring a site visit. That saves the time and expenses and makes their jobs safer. At the macro level, senior leadership is able to leverage the insights from E.E. to do more effective long-term asset programming and forecasting, filtering data as needed to plan 18 and 24 months out. They can view variables such as where current projects exist and where future assignments will occur. The GIS also provides a longer term look at the asset system, where information on management of the defenses out to 40+ years is available via a series of StoryMaps. No two capital projects are the same, but the data challenges and project management complexity I’ve discussed above are universal. TEAM2100’s years-long use of Enterprise GIS and location intelligence on one of the UK’s largest infrastructure projects provides a blueprint for how other organizations can tap into their oceans—or rivers—of data as well.
Dan Culli is a GIS Consultant at Locana, an international leader in spatial technology. Based in London, Mr. Culli is a highly qualified GIS professional, geospatial analyst and geographer with solid experience in enterprise GIS, spatial data analysis and management, business analysis, remote sensing, and policy analysis and development. He has served in multiple levels of government and the private sector in both the UK and the US across a variety of application areas including AEC, urban issues, and agriculture.
JULY 2023 csengineermag.com
Tech & Software
Palmer Paving Gains Estimating Speed and
Palmer Paving is no stranger to benefits of software technology, and a unified approach to estimating, performance tracking and accounting continues to pay dividends. Technology systems at the company based in western Massachusetts include B2W Estimate and B2W Track from B2W Software and the Vista accounting/ERP program from Viewpoint, all Trimble companies. Palmer is a Peckham Industries subsidiary specializing in highway construction, commercial paving and excavation and sitework. The company also supplies asphalt and aggregates with four plants. Bidding fast and accurately with software “What makes the estimating software so effective and one of the leading products out there is the availability to customize it, to really tailor it to the jobs that we bid,” says Jim Madden, chief estimator. Palmer Paving creates more than 500 estimates annually. Large bids are in the $10- and $20-million range. Smaller projects might be worth less than $150,000. Flexibility, and Powerful, Easy Tracking and Analysis with Software Technology By Greg Norris
Regardless of bid size, a prepopulated database of accurate cost items within the estimating software is a big time saver. Estimators at Palmer have also built various crew structures and tasks for completing work, along with personnel, equipment, and other costs associated with these crews and tasks, into the software. These can be plugged into the bid as required. “We can get a small, routine bid out of here in 15 or 20 minutes, if we have all the information for it,” says Madden. “With a larger, more complex job, the software allows us to not have to build the whole thing from scratch.” Bidding on larger jobs can be a collaborative effort at Palmer Paving. One estimator could be inputting subcontractor pricing while others work on other aspects. This ability for multiple estimators to work simultaneously, without confusion over versions or who changed what, is a powerful advantage of estimating with specialized software.
For DOT projects, the software comes with a database of cost items used by each state. Contractors like Palmer Paving can have them pre populate those item databases with their costs. “The software is great for DOT bidding because it’s so automated,” says Madden. “When we download a state bid form, a lot of items can be pulled automatically from our database, and we just have to add quantities and make adjustments.” Because they don’t have to look up and enter items manually, estimators instead move right to the more strategic work of reviewing and modifying estimates. When they’re ready, they export bids easily from B2W Estimate to a CSV file for uploading to the state system. The fast, seamless process buys valuable time. “We’ve been able to make changes two minutes before the bid time and export it, upload it, and get it in on time with that change in there,” says Madden. Agile performance tracking in the field Contract administrator Mary Lessard oversaw adoption of software for field tracking at Palmer Paving. Electronic field logs were a big improvement, she says, citing less effort, more accuracy and instant access to consolidated data in a single place. “We’re capturing labor, billing quantities, equipment hours, and production and subcontractor quantities,” Lessard explains. “All the information for a particular job is in the system and at our fingertips, so there is less error in entering employees, equipment, tracking accounts and quantities.” Foremen also leave notes in the logs to explain circumstances impacting labor hours or production quantities on a particular day. “The foremen are basically our eyes and ears out there,” Lessard says. “What they enter in those field logs gives me a picture, so I can do the next step and actually bill the job.” Adoption of the field tracking software was relatively smooth, according to Lessard, once some foremen got over what she calls the ‘I’m scared of a computer’ thing. In a construction sector like paving, where jobs can be similar from a crew and equipment standpoint, the option to create new field logs by copying previous ones has proven to be an appreciated alternative to starting from scratch. Estimating, field tracking, and accounting systems are integrated Palmer Paving has developed tight integration and a smooth data flow between systems used to manage estimating, performance tracking in the field and its accounting or ERP functions. Bid data, including estimated costs and tracking accounts, are exported directly to the Viewpoint Vista accounting ERP system for budget creation and job costing. “After I set up the job in Vista, I imported it into B2W Track, so whatever is in Vista exactly matches Track,” Lessard explains.
“Payroll hours, equipment hours and production quantities are brought into the accounting system from Track,” Madden adds. Those production quantities, captured on the field logs, are then used for billing. They can also be compared versus the original estimate. The process eliminates the need to reenter the data manually, saving time and removing opportunities for errors. “Overall, it definitely does save time,” Lessard concurs. The export/ import functionality is way more efficient than keying in all of that information, and if something comes in incorrectly, it’s an easy thing to fix.” Cohesive field tracking and estimating systems give Madden and his team another advantage. They make it easier to use actual production data from work that has been completed to sharpen the accuracy of upcoming bids. “I can look at production reports, which are derived from daily field logs, and see average tons of asphalt paving per shift, for instance,” Madden explains. “That’s very powerful information for us when we’re bidding a similar job.”
Greg Norris is Director of Marketing Communications at B2W Software, a Trimble company. The B2W platform connects people, workflows and data and includes unified applications to manage estimating, scheduling, performance tracking, equipment maintenance, data capture and business intelligence. Greg can be reached at: email@example.com.
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