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Capital Projects Industry Celebrates Engineering & Technology Innovations

AUSTIN, Texas (April 20, 2011) - FIATECH, a member-led, industry consortium that provides global leadership in identifying and accelerating the development, demonstration and deployment of emerging and innovative technologies and practices, recognized and honored 13 organizations and individuals for their extraordinary work in developing and deploying innovative engineering and construction technologies last night at the 5th annual CETI Award Gala in Chandler, Arizona. FIATECH established the CETI (Celebration of Engineering & Technology Innovation) Award in 2006 to promote and showcase innovative construction-related technologies that benefit the capital projects industry. The CETI Award is given annually to organizations that have conducted new and emerging technology implementations as well as research and development.

 The panel of jurors who reviewed and evaluated the nomination included John McQuary, vice president, knowledge management and technology strategies, Fluor, (CETI chair); John Fish, director of project support services, Ford, Bacon & Davis; Mani Golparvar-Fard, Ph.D., assistant professor, Virginia Tech; Lisa Grayson, program advisor, ExxonMobil; Kevin Hart, vice president and business information officer, Kaiser Permanente Information Technology; Tom Sawyer, information technology editor, Engineering News-Record; S. Shyam Sunder, Ph.D., director, Engineering Laboratory, NIST; Duane Toavs, director, Human Centered Design Institute, Emerson Process Management.

2010 CETI Recipients


Patient Care Pavilion IPD Team
Next Level Hospital Planning

This project used an integrated project delivery approach coupled with the philosophies of scenario-based planning on the patient care pavilion at the Alta Bates Summit medical campus in Oakland, California. The project team utilized the latest BIM tools to continually coordinate the multitude of disciplines needed in a state-of-the-art healthcare facility. 

All team members were able to access the live model through the use of multiple off-site servers. The entire team met early in the process to identify the key elements to be included in the model relative to the projected value from coordinating that information. Team members were able to collaborate, in person or virtually, in real time while identifying conflicts and design priorities. By keeping the model live, changes were streamlined, reducing the design schedule even further.

The team invested a significant amount of time to model and coordinate the exterior wall system, a scope historically not modeled. More than 4,000 clashes have been identified and resolved. The team undertook a cost study based on the top 17 clashes that were identified as issues that would have been otherwise undetected and consequently unresolved prior to on-site installation and construction. That study resulted in an estimated cost savings of more than $1.8 million in problems that the team resolved prior to construction starting. Due to the phased-review process, the team adjusted the construction drawings during permitting, saving an estimated $500,000 in change orders.



CIFE (Center for Integrated Facility Engineering)
Structural Design Optimization, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed National Stadium

Before CIFE researchers got involved with the project, Arup engineers completed 39 design cycles on the stadium roof project before they arrived at a design solution they were satisfied with and planned to submit. The project team then implemented the computational design optimization (CDO) method. As a result, Arup engineers were able to reduce the total steel weight of the roof structure from 2,828 tons to 2,292 tons, a 19 percent reduction resulting in a cost savings to the owner of about $2 million at the time of the estimate. 

The CDO method represents a significant advancement in the area of design automation on FIATECH’s Capital Projects Technology Roadmap because it demonstrates that CDO is scalable to large problems typically encountered in practice and capable of being implemented within “real world” project schedule constraints. 

By reducing design cycle latency by orders of magnitude compared to traditional design processes, CDO radically alters how project teams collaborate. Rather than waiting days or weeks to receive performance feedback on a given design option, project teams are able to interactively perform “what if?” analyses in a concurrent environment with almost no latency (three seconds, in this case). As a result, engineers and contractors can provide accurate performance feedback much earlier in the design process, helping project teams to develop innovative, performance-based solutions.

GSA BIM Program

Circulation and Security Analysis Modeling Application

GSA developed and implemented automated BIM-based circulation validation to evaluate the design of federal courthouses with respect to security and occupant movement requirements. Automated circulation validation embeds occupant-based rules from the U.S. Courts Design Guide into BIM-analysis software applications to analyze human circulation under various spatial configurations and conditions within a federal courthouse. Circulation validation BIM allows for highly efficient and accurate assessment of circulation design and custom visualizations of circulation paths, resulting in enhanced quality design.

To date, GSA has successfully implemented the circulation and security analysis on three new courthouse projects across the nation, ranging from 33,000 to more than 390,000 gross square feet with multiple tenant agencies. The analysis has provided early and valuable design feedback to the project teams. For example, on one project, the results of the automated feedback enabled the design team to resolve a major circulation issue related to the movement of prisoners.

The results have provided design teams with accurate validation of circulation design, reducing potential design problems later in the project life cycle, saving money; more timely and accurate circulation path-checking on each project; and faster feedback, allowing more time to be spent on design, not checking circulation paths.



Consolidated Contractors Company
Optimization of Resources for Optimum Construction Timing

A consortium led by the Consolidated Contractors Company has been appointed by the Oman ministry of transport and communications to build the New World-scale maritime gateway on the sultanate’s southern coast. This project includes two breakwaters. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ CORELOC units have been selected to build the single-layer breakwater armoring. POSIBLOC is a topographical 3D real-time system for multi-layer breakwater armoring unit placement. CCC used the system to place the CORELOC units on the two breakwaters and managed to triple the planned production rates. 

The project was planned to be completed in May 2012, but was ahead of schedule as of May 2010. This was the result of effective project management, an efficient construction team, and use of the latest technologies in terms of submarine unit placement aid systems, leading to cost and time savings. The client benefitted from the POSIBLOC system through accurate installation of the concrete CORELOC units, accurate digital as-built data for the completed work, cost savings, double and triple improved productivity. It also positively impacted safety by eliminating the use of divers in a harsh monsoon area with limited visibility. Fixing the CORELOC units is dangerous above water and underwater with limited visibility would have been extremely dangerous. Improved productivity eliminated idle/standby time on heavy machinery such as crawler cranes. Finally, the project team successfully implemented the newly developed system where other construction companies failed.

A recent cyclone proved the breakwater stability which suffered no damages during the cyclone’s high waves and three consecutive tough monsoon seasons.


LATISTA Technologies, Inc.
LATISTA Automates Construction Quality Management for Eli Lilly & Co.

In 2005, after struggling to qualify new facilities, Eli Lilly began to examine the impact of construction quality on commissioning and qualification. They determined that commissioning should not be the first step of quality control for construction and that a solution was needed to allow their project teams to control quality on projects under construction. LATISTA Field web-based and mobile construction automation software was a central part of the technology solution selected for a new Eli Lilly manufacturing plant in Kinsale, Ireland. Using LATISTA’s proprietary on-line off-line synchronization technology on a tablet PC in the field, an inspector can access and update all information in the LATISTA database, manage deficiencies, reference documents, create photo-illustrated reports, and communicate with project stakeholders. Modules include QA/QC, punchlist and turnover, production tracking, BIM-field integration, safety, commissioning and materials tracking.

Eli Lilly recognized several benefits from implementing a strong, automated continuous quality management (CQM) process, including rework savings of $4.3 million (off a projected $9.3 million cost); project delivered 2 ½ months ahead of schedule; rework addressed by contractors instead of the owner; issues identified during construction would not have otherwise been found until operations had begun; under budget on commissioning and qualification delivery and overall project cost; and zero punchlist items open at the final turnover to owner.

As part of the automated CQM process on the Kinsale project, Lilly kept detailed issue information in LATISTA, including severity information and the expected impact of the issue on commissioning and qualification. As a result, they were able to identify and resolve 78 percent of deficiencies, 66 percent of which would have impacted commissioning, before transferring the facility’s care, custody and control from the project team to Lilly. Overall, the strong commissioning and qualification and continuous quality management programs resulted in a faster, cheaper project.


ProStar Online

In the United States, more than 20 million excavations are performed annually. By law, excavators must communicate information about planned excavations to the utilities that have underground facilities in the area through a state ticket management and call center system called, “Call Before You Dig” or 811. The current system employs antiquated practices and is reactive and disjointed. It fails to store any data gathered during the utility locating and marketing process, thereby failing to promote the sharing and updating of data. 

The challenge was to develop a platform that uses state-of-the-art technologies to provide a solution that will support all facets of the utility asset data management network and encourage collaboration of all stakeholders in order to improve the collection, storage, management and distribution processes currently plaguing the industry. The system needs to be open architecture and leverage global technologies and development standards, including cloud computing and XML, as well as integrate with current hardware and software systems in order to adapt to current industry practices, processes, strategies, and methodologies.

The benefits of fixing the problem would include an improved data life cycle from data location through data distribution, including data sharing and notification process to stakeholders across all required disciplines. This decreases one-call ticket notifications, damages to utilities during construction activities, reduces loss of life and limb, damages to the environment, the need for redundant locations and relocations as well as reduce damages caused during construction.

Guardian ProStar created a solution to accurately capture, compare, value, and distribute asset data in an acceptable format across all required disciplines and address all of the serious ramifications associated to poor quality of data. The system improves the data life cycle and reduces locates and relocates as well as reduces damages caused during construction. Companies can also leverage the improved data for other operations, such as planning and design, tax assessment, and emergency disaster planning.

The data management system is accessed through a portal from a cloud network and operated through the internet, both in the office and in the field. The system is embedded into Google Maps and operational on mobile platforms, including smartphone apps.

With this information, engineers will more efficiently design their projects, locators will provide more accurate marks, and contractors will dig safely. Accurate underground utility mapping will save the industry time and money and ultimately will save lives.



Zachry Construction Corporation
123 PUNCH List Process

The project team wanted a more efficient way to track and manage punch list items for a hotel it was building. It had been listing punch list items in notebooks and eventually re-entered the data into a spreadsheet that proved to be very time-consuming and redundant. In addition, the location of the punch items was not always evident to the subcontractors. The project team implemented an electronic punch-list system, significantly improving the overall punch process. Project team members could access the system from the field on a tablet PC, iPad or iPhone. The IT department provided a clear 4G spot router for field WiFi connectivity.

Zachry developed a new process that combined software with workflows developed for the construction industry, cloud computing via Dropbox and a combination of smart devices. The employees attributed the success of this system to the flexibility and seamless integration with the different components. The punch list files were synched between the users and their devices via Dropbox. As the documents were updated, the group would see a notification of the updated files. This allowed even home office employees to remain updated on the punch list progress. During its implementation, Bluebeam PDF Revu had a product update that added a free service, Bluebeam Studio, that allowed the firm to collaborate on the same punch list with all project stakeholders in real time.


Stanford University
CE 226 Life Cycle Assessment Methods for Complex Systems

This ongoing academic/industrial partnership program introduces graduate students at Stanford University and industrial partner firms to the methods of life cycle assessment and the technology tools that can be used to carry these studies out. Started in October 2008, more than 150 Stanford graduate students and 28 corporations have participated in the partnership program. Each summer, a professor and graduate students solicit corporate partners with compelling, sustainability-focused decisions. Major firms that continue to participate in the program include Hewlett-Packard, Cisco, DPR Construction, and Webcor Builders. 

Over the course of the three-month academic quarter, five-member student groups partner with industry sponsors and mentors to formulate a project scope, collect primary data on social, environmental, and economic factors of the project, analyze the findings, and present the results at an annual symposium on campus. Groups interact through conference calls, WebEx meetings, Skype, and archived online discussions.

Graduates of the program work at Degenkolb Engineers and Walt Disney Imagineering while Ashland Performance Materials, the 50th-largest corporate producer of air pollution in the United States in 2002, has been active in company-wide sustainability efforts. The program has trained Stanford graduate engineers in the tools and technologies of quantitative sustainability assessment, engaging and educating firms interested in sustainability metrics and decision-making, and enabling long-term partnerships between academia and industry focused on new technologies to support sustainability assessment and enable a workforce fluent in sustainability science. Each year, the program results in firms reducing their environmental impacts, improving their decision making, and increasing their sustainability-focused employment opportunities for students.



Life Cycle Building Data Management

The Texas A&M University Health Sciences Center project consisted of two buildings, a $68 million health professions education building and a $60 million medical research and education building, plus a central utility plant. The university wanted to receive a complete set of building information and use it for facility management. The computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) was not selected at that point, so the university wanted to make sure that the data would be in a format that may be used for any CMMS it chooses. Also, the project was contracted out before BIM became a requirement, so the university wanted to use 3D intelligent facility management, even if the model was designed in old CAD format.

The university wanted to use open standards, such as COBie and Omni Class, to collect data during design and construction. This project was the first large project in the world to use COBie. The savings from using the COBie process, managed by Broaddus & Associates, Inc., and EcoDomus software reached 45 percent of the standard handover costs. In addition, EcoDomus software enabled connection of the 3D CAD model to the collect COBie dataset, enabling creation of an intelligent BIM model from the 3D CAD.

The university wanted to use this project as a test case for the implementation of COBie for all future construction projects. After the project demonstrated a high-quality vendor-neutral dataset of building information, other university project managers put the COBie requirement into their contracts, and the Broaddus/EcoDomus team signed two more projects with the university’s other campuses. 

Element 9 of FIATECH’s Roadmap, Life Cycle Data Management and Information Integration, focuses on the problems solved within this project.



Jochen Teizer, Matthew S. Reynolds
SmartHat: Self-Monitoring Alert and Reporting Technology for Hazard Avoidance and Training

In the past two decades, more than 26,000 U.S. construction workers have died at work. That equates to approximately five construction worker deaths every working day. Of these fatalities, 25 percent involved heavy equipment, most being categorized as struck-by incidents.

It is assumed that significant improvements can be gained in construction safety once technology is applied to existing safety management practices. The primary goal of the research team was to demonstrate how technology can be used to pro-actively warn and alert construction personnel of the presence of hazards in real time. The secondary objective was to explore how emerging technology can revolutionize safety by taking advantage of automated work site monitoring, data collection, visualization, and reporting practices that transfer data to information and information to knowledge. Knowledge is finally applied at all safety levels, including advanced work task planning and training best practices.

The researchers first designed and built a novel UHF passive RFID SmartHat device that is intrinsically safe, can be calibrated for distance, and has a very low to zero worker nuisance alert ratio. The SmartHat device is battery free, can read distances up to 19.5m, is reliable to use, and maintenance free. Feedback of 143 workers, superintendents, foremen, and safety managers who tested it was 100 percent positive. Ninety-six percent of the workers would wear the device again if provided.

The “learning curve” of a worker can be automatically calculated through the SmartHat devices and the proximity to an overhanging load can be visualized in a real-time 3D immersive tool. Effective and efficient learning and training is envisioned in the future to boost safety and productivity performance of workers. The proposed devices have the ability to record historical safety data.


Dr. Mario Bergés
Instrumenting civil infrastructure to increase its resilience, adaptiveness and self-monitoring capabilities.

Dr. Bergés is interested in instrumenting our civil infrastructure to increase its resilience, adaptiveness, and self-monitoring capabilities. He is interested in making use of cost-effective sensor systems to automatically create models and generate insights that can be used to improve the behavior of infrastructure systems, prevent failures and better plan for the future.

He is currently exploring the possible applications to the problem of improving the energy efficiency of buildings. He has been working on three different approaches related to this: appliance-level energy feedback through minimally intrusive strategies, sharing sensing and actuation resources at Internet scales, and unsupervised sensor fusion for proactive energy management.

In the first approach, the main objectives are to create a framework for obtaining disaggregated, appliance-specific feedback about electricity consumption in a building by extracting high-value information from low-cost data sources like the building’s overall powerful consumption as measured at the main feed; and to investigate and develop data mining and machine learning algorithms for making use of appliance-specific electricity data, in order to provide users with recommendations on how to optimize their energy consumption and understand the effects of their energy-related decisions.

In the second approach, the Sensor Andrew project proposes a collection of hardware and software components that form a virtual instrument for large-scale sensing and actuation. Professor Bergés’ research in this area is in both the design of the software architecture and the models for the system, as well as the development of applications that consume the generated data.Finally, Bergés has been interested in utilizing a variety of sensor streams to automatically create models of how buildings, their owners, the environment, and the energy consumption patterns are related. He has developed algorithms to find statistical correlations between signals coming from a variety of environmental and power sensors in a building to understand typical consumption patterns and detect instances of wasteful energy demand.




Dean Feniosky Peña-Mora
Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science


The collaboration process is a crucial area that must be examined for the A/E/C industry to survive and prosper in this new era where costs are increasing while gains are decreasing as a result of changes in the construction processes that threaten collaboration among the parties involved. To assist the A/E/C industry with the collaboration challenges, Peña-Mora's research focuses on crucial elements that define and defy collaboration in global A/E/C projects: the collaboration, management of change during a project, automated and visual progress monitoring, integrated and intelligent sustainable construction, and the handling of conflicts.

A number of researchers, educators, and practitioners in several countries are using 
Peña-Mora's research to further the understanding of collaboration, implementing it in their academic programs and construction projects. In particular, researchers and practitioners are using the interaction space theory to improve the telepresence, work space design, and performance of globally dispersed teams, as well as the experience of remote students participating in “distance learning” programs. In addition, Peña-Mora findings on collaboration, change management, automated progress monitoring, sustainable construction and conflict resolution have been tested in several important large-scale infrastructure projects throughout the United States, including the Central Artery/Third Harbor Tunnel project in Boston and the Tren Urbano project in Puerto Rico. 

His work has received numerous awards and grants over the years, including a Best Paper Award in 1995 from the Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering, the NSF Career Award in 1998 in recognition of the importance of the current and future direction of his research, the White House PECASE Award in 1999 given to a select group of young scientists each year, and the ASCE Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Prize and ASCE Computing in Civil Engineering Award in 2007 and 2008, respectively. 

Peña-Mora says he envisions his methodology becoming an industry standard for the management of global projects that are challenged with the constraints associated with the protection of the natural, social and political ecosystems