Key Personnel Leave in the Middle of a Project
Has this ever happened to you? What should you do? Some states (in their regulations of professional licensing boards) have language regarding that situation. It is usually measured by the effect the person leaving would have on the quality of the services provided. If this happens it is one thing to have Board disciplinary action and another to have a civil lawsuit filed against you. Notwithstanding a "key man clause" cases have been brought based on the theories of fraud, negligent misrepresentation and/or bait and switch. It is important to take great care in naming key personnel to a project. Any changes in key personnel should be communicated to the owner to avoid potential liability for breach of contract. As one judge put it however it is very difficult to quantify the loss arising out of the departure of one individual.
In Competition with Big Name Firms
Big name firms are going after every project. Pay close attention to the "relevant experience" section of the proposal. Possibly get an independent review of your proposals. Take the extra step to explain to the client why size does not matter on the project. You can always try teaming with a large firm to develop a track record. No one is against big firms but clients need to be reminded that it is the small firm that keeps expenses down and eliminating them from competition will result in fewer proposals and higher costs.
Comply With All Codes, Standards and Regulations
This is common language in many contracts. The problem is with "all". There are thousands of laws and regulations are on the books. They change frequently and are open to interpretation. In some cases they conflict with one another. As a professional you are already required to comply with codes and laws and if you don't it's negligence per se (an act that is considered inherently negligent because it violates a statute or regulation). If you can, delete this clause from your contract and delineate your obligation in your scope of services. If you can't delete the clause try to delete the word "all" or put in a finite date when this responsibility ends.
The Engineer is a Business Solution
What engineers do better than most everyone else is organize and manipulate various creative and technical skills necessary to produce a desired result. Not all projects run smoothly. By virtue of the nature of the process, engineers must continuously evaluate continuously from multiple perspectives and to formulate solutions. Smart leadership finds a way to extract the best from the brightest. Preparation is key: the potential for error increases as the time spent in preparation decreases.
Global Desalination Capacity Jumps; Expected to Double Within Five Years
Increased demand for water by the power, energy and refining industries spurred a 50 percent jump the annual growth rate of desalination plant capacity worldwide, according to a new report by the International Desalination Association. "You could see this as the water-energy nexus in action," said Christopher Gasson, publisher of Global Water Intelligence. "The energy industry needs water, both in refining and power generation as well as upstream. The water industry also needs energy, and the two seem to be coming together in increased demand for desalination.
EPA Ordered to Decide on New Nitrogen/Phosphorous Pollution Limits in Mississippi River
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been ordered by the U.S. District Court in eastern Louisiana to determine whether it will set new limits on nitrogen and phosphorous pollution in the Mississippi River basin. Several states with tributaries feeding into the basin do not have limits. If the EPA were to impose new limits, the wastewater industry in those states would require substantial retooling.
Brookings Study Estimates U.S Transportation System Inefficiencies to be as High as $180 Billion
A recent Brookings Institution study contends that the monetary value of the many inefficiencies in the U.S. transportation system could be as high as $180 billion annually. "Our hugely important transportation system has been compromised by policies that have resulted in inefficient pricing, suboptimal investments and inflated production costs that are manifested in congestion, delays, budget deficits, and excessive money and time costs to users and excessive government expenditures on transportation," wrote report author Clifford Winston. The report estimates car traffic costs at $45 billion annually, road damage ($87.3 billion), inefficient highway funding ($13.8 billion), air traffic ($16 billion), transit subsidies ($10.6 billion) and economic regulations ($7.4 billion). Winston proposes two fixes: improving public-sector management by fixing the gas tax and investing more in infrastructure; and expanding the role of the private sector through deregulation. To read the report, click here.