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SDC & Associates, Inc. Construction Claims Consultants

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This series will begin in February 2017. Contact our office for more information. Dates and locations are attached.
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This is a very beneficial series, sign up early. Limited seating.
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Keep All Plans and Specifications
As part of a comprehensive documentation system, contractors must keep copies of updated and revised plans and specifications. This includes a running account of all revisions and changes made to the original plans and specifications. The plans and specifications should be organized so they tell at a glance what the current contract requirements entail.
A contractor must carefully review and follow the plans and specifications for your scope of work. Superintendents and foremen also should review and follow the plans and specifications as they relate to your scope of work. Make sure your field personnel carefully read, understand and follow the plans and specifications. Never assume that all the parties know what is required.
Never assume that something is to be built the way it was constructed on a previous job. It is very important to keep a record of the date of receipt of changes to the plans and specifications. You may have to prove that a design change was made after the original design was installed. If revisions and changes to the plans and specifications will increase your cost of performance and/or time of performance, prepare a change order. Ask the owner or prime contractor to sign the change order before you perform the extra work. The other party's incentive to sign a change order will never be greater than when it needs the extra work performed.
The owner implicitly warrants the sufficiency of the plans and specifications. If the plans and specifications are followed, the work should meet the performance requirements of the contract. If the plans and specifications are defective, send a written notice to the other party, document the claim and track the additional costs. When value engineering is offered, it should be carefully worded so there are no ambiguities. To avoid disputes, the parties should state in detail exactly how the plans and specifications are to be revised. Time limits must be established for acceptance of the value engineering or the original scope of work should be installed to prevent schedule delays.
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Industry's Need for Women Will Spark A 'Transformation'

Women taking top construction roles to fill skill needs is spurring "a major transformation in this industry," said construction-management educator Barbara Jackson at the National Association of Women in Construction's annual gathering. "I'm convinced beyond any doubt that, at this moment in this industry, there has never been a more critical need for women to be leading."

The traditional command-and-control style of leadership still in the industry today has proven ineffective, said Jackson, director of the University of Denver's Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management. "Today, leaders must influence a wide range of groups, and extensive research shows how women are better suited to this kind of leadership by far," she noted.
But women need to push harder to wield that influence, said Jackson. They remain on the "sticky floor" of corporate hierarchies because they do not promote themselves and often assume gender is a problem in a business such as construction, said the educator. "We already come from the perspective that there aren't as many of us out there or [that] we're going to be looked at differently. That's coming from ourselves," she noted.

To battle barriers facing women today, NAWIC seeks to expand outreach to industry women and their employers, said newly installed President Connie Leipard, who is also president and treasurer of a Columbia, Mo.-based drywall-installation firm. "NAWIC wants to begin a dialogue with construction employers and industry leaders to discuss ways we can partner to recruit and retain more women in the industry," she said, adding that the advocacy group of women business owners and managers aims to offer new leadership programs to help members "for their next career step."

According to Leipard, NAWIC's push to enhance women's leadership skills in the 4,000-member group and in their own workplaces will boost their numbers "at an executive level where we can set pay rates and sign paychecks. We need more of us in those positions," she told the event's nearly 400 attendees.
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Terex AC 1000 Crane Dominates High Altitude
Having the right piece of equipment for any job not only makes it safer but easier as well; it saves time and money. When there is a demand to erect fourteen wind turbines at a high altitude the right equipment is paramount. For this particular project Prangl, an Austrian crane service provider, knew this daunting task would need something to successfully scale up to 18% slopes and an altitude of 1,600 meters. The team at Prangl knew that the Terex AC 1000 was perfect to trek up narrow and mostly unpaved winding roads. With the conditions of steep bums and deep depressions it was estimated that the climb take less than three hours.
Terex AC 1000 has a nine-axle, independent suspension design in order to handle the tough terrain like the one Prangl has taken on. The crane operator really boasted about the performance of the equipment and how it has great straight-line stability and excellent handling performance.
Once the crane had successfully made the climb it was all a matter of the two day setup to get it ready to start lifting. Since the weather at the location only allowed for a short time frame in order to get the operations completed it was vital that the crane move quickly and with little effort. All was a success and the team has nothing but positive reviews for the AC 1000.
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Close down of Construction Project in New Jersey
Projects in New Jersey are expected to remain shut down for at least one week due to a situation in which no progress is possible due to a disagreement between Governor Chris Christie and New Jersey Senate on how to offset an increase in the state’s gasoline tax.
Gov. Christie ordered a shutdown of transportation projects until an agreement is met. This shut down will directly affect all projects currently being paid for by the Transpiration Trust Fund. What will not be affected are all federally funded programs; projects those deemed necessary for public safety are exempt.
This halt of projects throughout the state will total over $646 million for NJDOT and more than $2.7 billion for New Jersey Transportation along with many other costs incurred by others. There has been agreement of raising the gasoline tax by $.23 per gallon. The conflict is due to difference of opinion on which taxes should be cut. Gov. Christie wants the plan to be to cut the state sales tax from 7% to 6%. However, Senate President Steve Sweeney wants the same gas tax increase but to phase out the estate tax. A compromise is being worked on and they will reconvene on July 11.
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Extreme Heat Adaptations
It is not uncommon for summer heat to reach 100 degrees in Phoenix. Recently the temperatures have been at record highs of up to 118 degrees. This is due to it being a large city that doesn’t allow for heat to escape making it a heat island.
The work being done to complete a wastewater treatment plant has been greatly impacted due to the unusually high temperatures. In order to adapt to this year’s extreme heat construction schedules have greatly shifted. The compromise that allows the projects to continue and remain on schedule is working at night. The idea is to place concrete below 90 degrees. This is due to higher temperatures cause the set up time to be shorter making it extremely difficult to work it into place.
Another reason that this new work schedule is beneficial to the employees is that it helps prevent overheating. Even working through the night workers are sweating nonstop but without the sun beating down on them helps tremendously. Plus there is a large amount of metal on the project and that gets hot enough to burn people.
There are city regulations that dictate when construction work can be done if it is close to neighborhoods. Since this particular project is not that close it is not a huge issue. However, they are still courteous to the neighbors and keep them informed on what is going on.
This change guided by the moonlight, reflective vests and glow sticks on the ground is proving to be the solution through these dangerously high temperatures.
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Upgrades for Grading
Setting hubs on projects is very time consuming. A hub is a 6 to 8 inch piece of wood with a square on the end. It is required to be driven into the ground every 10 foot and has a marker ribbon tied at the top. This can become extensive since some areas that need to be graded could be more than 500 to 1,000 ft. After this the contractor relies on string lines and tape measures to do a physical layout. No materials are allowed to be moved to the project until this process is completed.
Komatsu has introduced intelligent machine control. This new technology being incorporated is being referred to as “smart construction” and is being referred to as “smart investment.” In a recent job in Mobile Alabama a large amount of the project required grading. The Komatsu D41Pxi machine was introduced. With some hesitation, the new equipment was put into use. The veteran operator however quickly warmed up to the new addition stating “I can cut the shoulder and road grade without any laborers for site set up, the machine does all the work by itself”.
Now a year and a half later the company’s crew has not driven another hub. According to the operator, inside the Komatsu dozer one can see everything on the monitor in the machine. This piece of equipment is moved from job site to job site as need for the company’s projects and the technology is paying for itself. After more than a year with the machine they are expecting to break even shortly. It has saved between 30 to 40 percent on time, labor and equipment costs. This has made the workdays not as long as before and more work is getting done with this technology.
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Panama Canal Installing Newly Expanded Locks
The Panama Canal was inaugurated on August 15, 1914 and underwent construction between 1904 and 1913 with a cost of $375 million. Many people lost their lives during the span of construction with an estimated 20,000 workers during French control of the project due to diseases such as malaria. Another 5,600 more lost their lives during U.S. construction. The canal was under U.S. control from 1977 until December 31, 1999 which now is under Panamanian’s free control.
The canal has generated $10 billion in direct income for the Panamanian state between 1999 and 2015. This has also directly related to economic activity which is responsible for 40 percent of the country’s GDP, Gross Domestic Profit. This is the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country's borders in a specific time period. On average 35 to 40 vessels pass through the canal each day and contribute to an estimated 6 percent of the world maritime commerce.
The new locks being installed will accommodate the so-called New Panamax-class vessels that are seen to be the future of global shipping. They measure 1,200 ft. long, more than three football fields, and are as high as the Empire State Building. With that size the capacity increases to allow 2.5 to 3 times more cargo containers than the current ones currently using being used.
The cost of the expansion is $5.25 billion. The project was scheduled for completion in October 2014 for the 100-year anniversary. But it has been delayed due to different factors such as slow approval for the concrete to be used on the locks, strikes and some leaks that were detected late last year. With this expansion it is estimated to reduce global maritime shipping costs by $8 billion a year.
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New Simulation to Prevent Construction Project Delays
Large construction projects are vastly complex with many moving parts that are only successful when all the necessary components align. It is well known that these projects usually have delays due to issues such as scheduling conflicts. However, this soon may no longer be an issue. It is being reported that a new simulator is going to soon be put into use to alleviate the multiple issues that in turn has a ripple effect on these project that causes slowdowns and setbacks. This new simulator will work with large public work and reconstruction projects to easily solve problems by ensuing there is a balance between public use and building crews on transportation reconstruction projects. As we move forward there is now a higher demand in expanding and rerouting transportation structures that are used for high volume traffic. However, demolition is not an option. The simulation helps transportation planers transition traffic flows from old infrastructure to new. The systems engineer at Concordia, states that this 4D approach allows decision makers to better schedule construction and demolition activities to avoid any conflicts that may delay the project and increase the cost.
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