It’s no secret that America’s infrastructure is desperately in need of investment. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave the country’s infrastructure an overall grade of D-plus in its 2017 Infrastructure Report Card—dangerously close to an outright failing grade. The ASCE estimates that the U.S. will need to spend nearly $4.5 trillion by 2025 to fix the country’s roads, bridges, dams, and other infrastructure. Our nation’s roads and bridges—commonly referred to as the “backbone” of the U.S. transportation system—received grades of D and C-plus, respectively. These transportation systems are deteriorating due to advancing age, increasing use, and inadequate funding. This degradation leads to a significant cost to users in terms of time, money, and safety. There are over 4 million miles of road in the United States, and the cost to maintain these roadways can vary greatly by state. Several factors determine maintenance costs, including the type of pavement surface, its current condition, its geographical location, average precipitation, number of annual freeze/thaw cycles, and frequency of use. Three-Dimensional Geocells Provide Solutions to Aging Infrastructure The long-term performance of infrastructure construction projects depends on the strength of the underlying soil. Through an interconnected honeycomb-like network, 3D geocells confine and stabilize… Read more »
Posts Tagged: Construction
By: William G Handlos, P.E. Why do some Architectural and Engineering consultants perennially get their choice of work? Let’s face it, most of the time; all of the invited and interviewed teams have the requisite experience and competence to accomplish the stated scope of work. You’re pretty sure that you have checked all the boxes on your Statement of Qualifications and your written proposal is complete and clearly shows your team has the design solution experience relevant to the task at hand. So why do you not have more wins? Let’s take a look at how clients really make decisions. Here is how we think that we choose. Does the consultant have: Unimpeachable character Relevant solid experience Exhibits problem-solving skills Outstanding communications skills Excellent interpersonal skills Most consultants also believe that the best way to reach success in a presentation is to build the case for their side using reason and facts. Of course, there always needs to be a fundamental foundation of experience and qualification as a cost of entry. Written proposals are much more objectively weighed. However, neuroscience tells us that the factors that really affect decision-making are more emotional than logical. Here is how we really… Read more »
Written by William G. Handlos, P.E.
Written by William G. Handlos, P.E. Lightweight Construction Mats Construction access in soft soils present a common challenge engineers and project managers face while attempting to complete a project on-time and within budget while avoiding scheduling delays and associated costs. These soft soil sites may also be located in remote, difficult to access areas making construction impossible without a good site access system. Popular construction mat systems are made out of a range of materials including timber, laminate, steel and composite mats. They can be effective, but are also costly. They can also put laborers at risk as they require heavy equipment to install. The ideal mat system for access road construction would be designed to have a high utility-to-weight ratio and would deliver an eco-friendly alternative to current technology. A lightweight construction mat system made from high density polyethylene (HDPE), GEOTERRA®, was created by Presto Products in 2003 to meet the needs of major oil and gas companies working in remote areas of the Amazon jungle. Transporting materials to these sites by helicopter precipitated the need for light, yet strong mats for work platforms and roadways. As the first of its kind, the mats capitalize on the sustainable characteristics of… Read more »
Written by William G. Handlos, P.E. Specifying Engineers and Architects work tirelessly to build plans and specifications that capture the essence of their vision as they work to write the guiding documents for their project. They make decisions about product types, grades, and take great pains to build into their documents citations of certifications and standards to assure only quality materials are allowed on the site. Yet, when challenged to accept “or equal” substitutions, it seems that all the standards of care can sometimes be lost and substandard materials seem to too easily find their way onto the site. The reason for this lapse is often a result of the timing of the hand-off between the design team and the project management team occurring just as the contractor award occurs. Contractors are concerned about leaving too much money on the table (the difference in value between the winning and the second bid). Just moments after the bid opening or notice of award, bid shopping commences. Bid shopping on publicly-funded projects is disallowed by legislation in some localities, but even when formally disallowed, informally it occurs widely. With the economic power of the project award and with the pressure of the potential… Read more »
Written by William G. Handlos, P.E. As a manufacturer of specialty engineered geosynthetics, Presto Geosystems markets and sells through a worldwide network of geosynthetics distributors and representatives. Why? What value does a network bring? The decision to work through distribution is driven by the value that the network brings and is reinforced by the success of this model over thirty years of operating experience. Now and then, the model is challenged. Contractors sometimes see the distributor as a non-essential layer of cost. But, take a closer look and see how a well prepared network adds value to both the manufacturer, the contractor and most importantly…..to the project owner. It would be impossible for each geosynthetics manufacturer to maintain a sufficient workforce to cover the US, much less the world market. Distributors function as a sales and service cooperative – shared by all manufacturers for whom the distributor represents. Distributors vary in the number of manufacturers they represent. But, it is not uncommon for the local distributor to carry dozens of products from 6 to 10 manufacturers. Engineers and Architects as well as contractors benefit from local trade shows and educational presentations sponsored by informed product salesmen who are known and trusted… Read more »