E-news for the Construction Division August / September 2008

Upcoming Web Seminars for the Construction Engineering Professional

"Slips, Trips, and Falls: From an Engineering and Legal Perspective"

Edward L. Fronapfel, P.E., CFCC, M.S., EDI Third Party
Professional Investigative Engineers

September 17, 2008
1:30–3:00 p.m. Eastern
Presented by the Professional Engineers in Construction

Slips, Trips & Falls Part II (1.5 PDH)

In Part I of Slips, Trips, and Falls: From an Engineering and Legal Perspective, participants will develop an understanding of the why slips and falls occur. Moreover, they will learn about injury statistics and trends as well as gravity, friction, and ergonomics. This Web seminar will also examine the requirements and codes set forth by the various governing agencies that help to keep us safe including state “premises liability” laws and standards of resonable care and analyze different types of surfaces that most commonly cause slips, trips, and falls in residential and commercial settings including walks and ramps, hazardous weather conditions, such as snow and ice, stairs, floor and wall openings, and holes.

October 15, 2008
1:30–3:00 p.m. Eastern
Presented by the Professional Engineers in Construction

Slips, Trips, and Falls Part II (1.5 PDH)

Part II of “Slips, Trips, and Falls: From an Engineering and Legal Perspective" will explore the history of slip and fall litigation as well as legal and ethical issues such as notice of condition, duty of care, reasonable diligence to inspect property, and documenting a case. Participants will gain a better understanding of how to prevent accidents from occurring and learn about commercial/industrial workplace safety, residential safety issues, cleaning of surfaces and how to use equipment safely. There will also be a discussion of selected cases and their outcomes from both the engineering and legal viewpoints.

To register for either of these Web seminars and/or to view all Fall 2008 NSPE educational opportunities, visit the
NSPE Web site.


New Faces of Engineering Program Seeks Nominations

Engineers Week recognizes the accomplishments of all engineers. The New Faces of Engineering program highlights the interesting and unique work of young engineers and their resulting impact on society. Young engineers, two to five years out of school, are the focus of this recognition program. As an Engineers Week sponsoring society, the National Society of Professional Engineers is looking for young working engineers who are NSPE members to nominate for this program. More information about the requirements is provided on the nomination form. Deadline for submission is October 31.

Visit the
NSPE Web site to download a 2009 Nomination Form. [ return to top ]


Need a Building? Just Click ‘Print’

At the University of Southern California, the Center for Rapid Automated Fabrication Technologies (CRAFT) is working on just that. Behrokh Khoshnevis, a professor in the industrial and systems engineering and civil and environmental engineering departments, is leading a team of 11 researchers at work on the mega-scale fabrication technology he developed and calls “contour crafting.” The ultimate goal: building a custom-designed house in a day with a machine that has the ability to “print” buildings.

Eventually, the technology will not only build walls, but also embed components such as reinforcement and electrical, plumbing, and sensor systems. But for now the focus is on the “integrity of structures, speed of fabrication, and the geometrical varieties,” Khoshnevis says.

For the full article, refer to your 2008 August/September edition of PE magazine. [ return to top ]


Top 10 Ways to Motivate Employees

10. Get Rid of the Naysayer
You know who they are. They complain about everything — and loudly. They complain to anyone who is or isn't willing to listen. The complaints include the most trivial of items like "Why do we only have Starbucks coffee in the coffee room? Shouldn't we have more of a choice?" I have also heard them complain to others in the office about fluorescent lighting, heating, cooling, and the quality of the bathroom tissue. While these complaints are minor, it becomes a real problem when they appoint themselves to be office shop-steward to rally against company policy. They complain about the company holiday schedule: "Why should we have to work on Monday and Tuesday when Christmas falls on Wednesday?!" "As a matter of fact, why aren't we shutting down for the entire week?" — with nay of course! I can deal with a complainer, but I can't deal with them rallying the other employees against the company.

9. Cut the Deadwood
Yes, you are busy, but having unproductive people around only adds to the perception of accomplishing the company workload. The reality is quite different. More time is spent in reworking drawings than is saved by having them in your company. Worst of all they drag down the whole office morale.

8. Family Events
Yes, the company that plays together stays together. Many of my client companies have family days, barbecues, or sports outings that involve both the employees and their families. While I was skeptical of these events earlier in my career, in recent years I have come to appreciate their role in creating a happy workforce. It helps the office morale and recruiting beyond what could statistically be quantified.

7. Leave the Expensive Toys at Home
If you are an owner or partner in a firm, resist the temptation to flaunt your toys at work. I am talking about the two sports cars parked in the company garage, the life-size mural of your yacht, or the 360 degree video tour of your country home in the Hamptons (as produced by your IT staff). Your employees will not be impressed; they will be annoyed. They already think you make 10 times more than you actually do.

6. Lead by Example
If you want your employees to get to work early, be a team player, and put the company's interest first, you need to set the example. Don't show up late, hand in your time card two weeks after the fact, and waste your time surfing the Internet. Keep a smile on your face and meet the challenges of running a business with a positive attitude. Whatever is important to you will become important to the employees.

5. Incentive Compensation
This actually should be number one, but I harp on it so much I moved it to number five. There is nothing more motivating to employees than the opportunity to be financially rewarded based upon their performance.

4. Provide Opportunities
If your company is to succeed over the long term, you must provide meaningful opportunities for your employees to show what they can do. Allow them the opportunity to succeed and to learn from their mistakes. Remember that someone once gave you the opportunity to succeed — do the same for your employees.

3. Reward Extraordinary Efforts
Be sure to reward extraordinary efforts. Be generous (and public) with your praise for working long hours, meeting unreasonable deadlines, completing major projects, and producing great design. A team dinner upon completion of a major project is a great way to reward a team and boost morale. And an American Express gift card or dinner-for-two gift certificate are great ways to thank individuals. If you are familiar with my incentive compensation program, you may be surprised to see that I am rewarding effort rather than results. Just to be clear, I have nothing against rewarding effort, I just don't include it in my formal incentive compensation plan.

2. Hold Employee Reviews on Time
As an employee, there are few things in this world more frustrating than not having a review held as scheduled. Far too many firms take a casual approach to scheduling the annual review. In fact they often need to be reminded by the employee that the annual employee review is way overdue. It is easy for those of us who have been executives or owners for a long time to forget what it was like when we were rank-and-file employees. If you want to motivate your employees to look for employment elsewhere, then constantly put off their reviews for something "more important."

1. Consistent Reinforcement Expectations
Employees want to know what is expected of them. If you want them at their desk ready to work at 8:30 a.m., let them know. If you want a standard title block used on all your sheets, let them know where to find it. If you value design over all else, please let them know — but don't be angry when they blow the budget. If your expectation is great design and a 20%+ profit, please let them know. Whatever your expectation is in any area of the practice, let your employees know what is expected and then stick to it. When owners constantly move the target of expectations, it causes dissension among the troops.

Herbert M. Cannon, president of AEC Management Solutions Inc. and publisher of AEC Managing Partner Newsletter, is a management consultant, seminar provider, and speaker exclusive to the A/E industry. He is available to speak at company meetings and conferences. For more information, contact Herb via e-mail. Or visit his Web site.

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2008-09 PEC Executive Board

James Goedert, Ph.D., P.E.
University of Nebraska 
Omaha, NE

Immediate Past Chair
Arthur DeWit, P.E., F.NSPE
Baete Forseth HVAC 
Lake Havasu, AZ

David Hunley, P.E.
Connico Inc. 
Burlington, KY

Paul Bakken, P.E.
Utility Engineering Corp. 
Centennial, CO
Northeast Region Vice Chair
Jon Drosendahl, P.E.
Glenshaw, PA
North Central Region Vice Chair
Paul Harmon, P.E.
University of Nebraska 
Lincoln, NE
Southeast Region Vice Chair
James Harper, P.E.
Hillsborough County PWD 
Tampa, FL
Southwest Region Vice Chair
Thomas L. Paxson, P.E., F.NSPE 
Pax-Sun, Inc. 
Lufkin, TX

Central Region Vice Chair
Carl Meglan, P.E.
Meglan Company Inc.
Columbus, OH

Western & Pacific Region Vice Chair
David Shields, Ph.D., P.E.
University of Nebraska 
Henderson, NV

PEC Staff Liaisons:
Kim Granados, CAE

Erin Reyes

PEC Homepage 

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If you would like to sponsor the next edition of PEC Reporter, contact the Professional Engineers in Construction for more information.



PEC would like to thank all of our 2008 PEC Sustaining Firms for supporting our programs and services.  Visit the PEC Web site for a full listing of PEC Sustaining Firms and/or to download a registration form.

S Seltzer Construction Corp

Sparwick Contracting Inc

WB Equipment Service Co

ABC Paving Co Inc

Blitman Building Corporation

Brookfield Power

CBD Design and Construction

Glynn Geotechnical Engineering

Paul J Gallo Contracting Inc

Port Authority of New York & New Jersey

Riverso Assoc Inc

Rohde Soyka & Andrews

Statewide Aquastore/New England Tank Inc

STV Incorporated

Zetlin & DeChiara LLP

Alber & Rice, Inc.

HR Gray & Assoc Inc

The Bernard Company

Thorson Baker & Assoc Inc

Abriola Co

Buchart Horn Inc

Fuellgraf Electric Co

Lundy Construction Co Inc

Trumbull Corp

Juan Charles & Associates

RB Construction Group

Tamrio Inc

Fitts & Goodwin Inc

Metromont Prestress Co

Snyder Electric Co Inc

Baete Forseth HVAC LLC

Sioux Falls Construction Co

JEI Engineering Inc


For more information or to contact us directly, please visit www.nspe.org.
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