Archive for the ‘Project Management’ Category

Nick (William) Miller joins the VN Services’ Team

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019

Please say hello and welcome to Nick (William) Miller!

Nick has joined our VN Services team as an Associate who will be stepping into the void left by Richard Leach’s retirement.

Nick brings several new skills to the VN Services team, and is working hard with Richard to learn about our clients and their projects, in order to ease the transition.

We look forward to working with Nick and to the new services that Nick’s addition to VN will offer our clients.

 

Construction Scheduler Wanted/Full Time

Thursday, March 14th, 2019

VN Services is seeking a self-starter with friendly and confident people skills who has a minimum of 5 years experience in project management and/or project controls. Candidate must be willing to travel, walk job sites and be proficient in scheduling with a professional knowledge of scheduling software including Primavera/Oracle products including P-6 and Microsoft Project.  Position requires strong reading and writing skills, with expertise in MS Excel spreadsheets, MS Word and Outlook.

Forward resumes and salary requirements to mail@vn-services.com or fax (440) 729-0804.  Please be sure to mention reference # 190313a when responding.

Managing Bridge and Infrastructure Projects

Friday, December 16th, 2016

Let’s face it, people’s eyes start to glaze over as soon as we begin talking about bridges or infrastructure construction. It’s unfortunate because this type of work is incredibly challenging and important. We worked on a complex claim including analysis, report writing, and deposition on the Mackinaw Bridge, and it was just for the painter! Another project we worked on was a highway. Sounds simple enough, right? That highway ran through multiple local jurisdictions, utilities, bridges, and rights of way; and that doesn’t even scratch the surface (ha ha) of unforeseen soil conditions.

With more discussion occurring about improving the country’s infrastructure, we need to remind ourselves of project management processes that can help control the time and cost of these often mega-sized projects. Obviously, the primary process that we’re talking about is pre-project planning.

  1. It’s hard to imagine that you could ever have enough subsurface conditions investigations. Clearly you can’t put a test bore down every foot (or meter); but, it’s imperative to get as much information as possible on soil types, rock formations, contamination, buried structures, etc. In one case we worked on, the owner knew that there was a high probability of mineshafts underneath the building footprint. They made the decision to begin construction anyway with the understanding that they would handle any mine issues as they occurred. One could make the argument that they made an informed decision on how to address the risk of mineshafts (notice I didn’t use the word “mitigate”). On the other hand, allowing for the possibility of random and intermittent delays to construction might be costlier than carrying out a detailed subsurface investigation, which would have mitigated the risk.
  2. Work out a detailed mapping of aboveground and underground utilities. Most people think that utility companies know where their underground lines are running. They would be wrong. Utility companies often know where the lines are, but there are so many times that their maps are either out of date or the lines weren’t actually put in exactly as specified. Understand that there are many, many examples of water or sewer lines that are 50, 60, even 100 years old. Excavations don’t have to physically hit a utility to cause a problem; even coming too close to a utility line can cause it to shift and rupture.
  3. Explicitly require contractors to track costs and labor hours to a sufficiently detailed schedule, and include an earned value system. This recommendation goes to a number of things.
    • It promotes transparency. Transparency is the daylight that discourages outright corruption or just lazy management, which creates its own set of problems.
    • It allows for early problem identification. As soon as a drop in productivity occurs, this system helps zero in on where the problem is occurring and act proactively to make any corrective action.
    • Use of enhanced project management practices is good business. Not only does it increase your probability of finishing the project on time and on budget, it also helps you (as I often tell clients) “make money on purpose”. You don’t want to wait until the end of a project before you know whether or not you’re going to make a profit; you better know how you’re doing at 10% or 20% completion. While public owners may not be interested in making money, they definitely want to get a beneficial use out of the project as soon as possible.
  4. Seriously consider employing a Dispute Review Board to resolve conflicts as close as possible to the point of origin. The closer in time to the start of a dispute that a resolution can be reached, the more you’ll save the project time and tons of money. We all know that as reaching a resolution goes further out in time, the higher the costs for attorneys or experts and the lower the return (regardless of whether you’re the asserting or defending party). There are certainly fights worth fighting, but using a Dispute Review Board can take some of the emotional energy out of the equation such that a reasonable settlement of differences can be reached. I’m a member of the Dispute Review Board Foundation, and would be happy to answer any questions you might have on this valuable tool.
  5. Keep in mind that approaches to bridges or entrance/exit ramps often go through someone’s neighborhood. Never underestimate community engagement. Local populations can be a great ally or your worst nightmare. Early involvement of local people can help assemble a work force or short-circuit possible protests of the work by addressing concerns.

As always, please call us if there’s anything VN Services can do for you!

 

I75 - Toledo

I75 – Toledo

Highway Sys. 022301 28

Pittsburgh North Shore Project

845 AAS Mackinac bridge

Mackinac Bridge

8250

Wheatly Bridge

Windsor-Essex Parkway

Windsor-Essex Pkwy.

Nuevo Cleveland Opens

Monday, August 29th, 2016

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Congratulations to Snavely Group, the Design/Builder, on the successful, on-time completion on the new Nuevo Modern Mexican restaurant on Pier 9.

VN Services is proud to have done the CPM scheduling for the new restaurant, which is phase 1 of 3 of the redevelopment, located near the Rock Hall of Fame and Great Lakes Science Center.

The two-story eatery is all modern glass, wood and steel and has stunning views in every direction of City and Lake. A main floor dining room and bar seats 100 with wraparound patio seats another 100, with overflow dining and private event space that can accommodate another 250 in and out.

Be sure to stop by and have a great meal and see on of the many beautiful sights in Cleveland.

30 year Anniversary of Chernobyl Nuclear Accident

Monday, April 18th, 2016

We’re coming up on the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl Accident.

Tucker Elliott worked briefly on the sarcophagus stabilization project, but thankfully never had to go there. The photo is of the nuclear fuel that melted onto the operating floor like a lava flow. The person in the photo actually survived, but you reached your lifetime exposure limit in 40 seconds!

Nuclear fuel on operating floor.

Nuclear fuel on operating floor.