Engineering Inc. - May/June 2007 - (Page 40)

BusINEss INsIGhts fRoM ACEC’s INstItutE foR BusINEss MANAGEMENt The SecreTS of a Good PM TeaM; IS ‘Leed’ ouT of daTe? The STrenGThS of BIM ModeLInG Latest Trends in Project Management In this fast-paced information age, projects are being initiated under a more challenging combination of tight budgets, demanding time constraints and inadequate resources than ever before. Project managers with strong leadership skills, technical acumen and effective collaboration techniques are critical to every successful job. And a project management team should be skilled at both design management and construction management, which, while they are similar in many ways, also differ in important respects. “All management activities involve applying the processes of planning, organizing, leading and controlling to accomplish the organization’s goals,” says Patrick Little, professor of engineering management at Harvey Mudd College and director of the college’s Engineering Clinic. But, “in the case of construction management, both the goals and the activities are usually well understood; in design, on the other hand, determining the goals is often the starting point, and the activities involved may vary by organization and project type.” “Construction projects are usually most concerned with efficient application of resources in well-understood ways,” Little adds. “Design activities … require the team to generate alternatives and select among them in an intelligent way. Because there is inherent uncertainty in this, design teams often use the classic PM tools to separate out the things they know from the things they don’t.” “In my experience, teams with good PM skills make the transition easily between design and construction, and teams without them … fall into trouble,” according to Little. ACEC will offer a course on Project Management for Project Leaders June 11–12 at Northwestern University. Green Infrastructure and Sustainable communities building owners overstating the environmental and resourcesaving benefits of their projects,” says Wallace. However, the LEED process focuses “on collecting points to reach some LEED award level, away from the overall objective of achieving sustainability,” Wallace adds. “The second generation of LEED must be well-connected to the realities of society’s nonsustainable behavior and must push the industry in the direction of more holistic solutions.” One suggestion, Wallace says, is to “change the LEED framework to one based on holistic design principles. Critics have pointed out that LEED has a single-building focus. What is needed is a framework that encourages multidiscipline participation in design and integrates single-building projects with infrastructure and communities.” ACEC’s summer institute on Green Infrastructure and Sustainable Communities will be offered in conjunction with Colorado State University, July 16–19, at CSU Denver. Building Information Modeling: What’s It all about? The “green” concept is showing up everywhere these days, and more and more engineering firms are LEED-certified (i.e., certified under the U.S. Green Building Council’s “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” rating system) and are looking for green projects. But does LEED go far enough? “Currently, there are over 5,000 LEED-registered projects across the U.S. and Canada,” says Bill Wallace, president of Wallace Futures Group. “However, along with its growing popularity are growing concerns about LEED’s utility in achieving real progress toward sustainable development.” LEED’s original premise was to prevent “greenwashing, or 40 ENGINEERING INC. MAy / JuNE 2007 Building Information Modeling (BIM) provides a single, integrated three-dimensional model of a building structure. Design information related to all engaged disciplines—from architecture to structural and mechanical systems—is contained within the model. “BIM [is] revolutioniz[ing] the way building professionals work together, because it creates a virtual model before construction starts on the site,” says Alexandra Koepl of Korda/ Nemeth Engineering, Inc. “Each element is modeled by one discipline and not duplicated,” Koepl adds. “Changes and updates are made in this shared environment, which promotes coordination. BIM produces a well-coordinated model that brings architects, engineers, contractors and fabricators together.” Also, the owner of the structure benefits because fewer errors are made and because the construction schedule is shorter—all of which means overall project cost savings, Koepl points out. ACEC will offer a course on BIM, June 7–8, in Philadelphia. n The ACEC Institute for Business Management provides comprehensive and accessible business management education for engineering company principals and their staffs. Visit for a complete listing of ACEC programs.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Engineering Inc. - May/June 2007

Table of Contents
From ACEC to You
News & Notes
Market Watch
Legislative Ac tion
Interview with Congressman James Oberstar
Port Security
Water: Managing our Precious Commodity
Engineering Excellence Awards
“Smart” Concrete
Business Insights
Members in the News
One on One

Engineering Inc. - May/June 2007