E-news for the Construction Division Winter 2013

$3,000 PEC Hightower Fellowship

The George B. Hightower, P.E., Fellowship is awarded annually to a current student or a diplomate of an ABET-accredited graduate engineering program. NSPE’s Professional Engineers in Construction established the fellowship in recognition of the contributions that Hightower made to the construction engineering profession. Hightower’s dedication to professionalism, ethics, and construction engineering resulted in him serving as a founding member and the first national chairman of PEC.

Visit the NSPE Web site for an application.


15 New Free PDHs Coming January 15



The new lineup for 15 free professional development hours will be available beginning January 15. See the complete list below.

For more information on how to sign up go to: http://www.nspe.org/MemberBenefits/fifteenfreepdhs.html. Don’t forget to click on the FAQ button at the bottom of the page for answers on how to "purchase" the PDHs.


2013's 15 Free PDHs

1. Conflicts of Interest: Will Proposed Federal Rules Impact Engineering Practice?

2. Engineering Ethics: What is the Impact of the Ongoing Economic Crisis on Engineering Ethics 

3. EJCDC Construction Contract Documents: Key Clauses and New Approaches

4. Got BIM? It's Not Just About 3D Models

5. Harnessing the Power of Change

6. How to Conduct Effective Meetings

7. IT Solutions for AEC Professionals

8. Key Federal Contracting Laws that Everyone Must Know

9. Legal Realities of Project Scheduling

10. Ethics Forum: Maintaining Objectivity, Truthfulness, Non-Deception, & Preserving Confidentiality

11. Pending and Current Legislation, Rules, and Programs that Will Change How We Manage Storm Water

12. Project Management and Ethics

13. Ethics Forum: Protecting the Public Health, Safety, Welfare & Demonstrating Professional Competence

14. Strategic Planning

15. Ethics Forum: Whistleblowing: What Are the PEs Obligations to Report Misconduct?

The Spring webinar series will begin mid-February. You can find more information on how to register for webinars on the NSPE Education Web site.

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Last Chance to Get Free Company Listing!

There has never been a better time to get exposure, and more business, for your firm than now. Become a 2013 PEC Sustaining Firm and ensure your firm is listed in PEC's online searchable directory. When your company becomes a PEC Sustaining Firm, it will help to support the efforts of Professional Engineers in Construction (PEC) as we strive to promote the hard-earned professional engineer (PE) designation and enhance the image of the PE in construction.

As a 2013 PEC Sustaining Firm, you will link more business to your future while receiving the following benefits:

  • Engraved PEC Sustaining Firm plaque to display in your office.
  • Free advertisement on NSPE Facebook and Twitter pages: Companies can provide a non-self-promotional tip of the day (250 words or less) to be featured on the NSPE Facebook page and Twitter page with a direct link to your firm's Web site and/or social media platform. Please e-mail to pec@nspe.org.
  • Free company listing: You'll be included in a searchable directory that includes a complete description of your firm's specialties. Let owners and other customers and partners find you! All PEC Sustaining Firms are listed at: http://www.nspe.org/InterestGroups/PEC/Supporters/index.html.
  • Free company advertisement: Listing in an issue of NSPE's PE magazine (circulation is over 40,000) and in PEC Reporter, this very newsletter, which is sent to more than 5,500 PEC members.
  • Valuable discounts: 25% discount on ads in PE magazine, NSPE Update, NSPE Web banners, and NSPE Job Board postings.

Please click here and complete the enclosed forms and MAIL or FAX back today! Your participation will not only help you reach potential clients and partners, it will also provide valuable support for our industry and profession. Please visit www.nspe.org/PEC for a complete list of PEC programs.


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U.S. Surgeon General to Serve as FEYA Keynote Speaker

On February 21, 2013, at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., federal engineers from across the country will be recognized for their commitment, innovation, and value in service to our nation. This year we are honored to have Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, U.S. Surgeon General, serve as keynote speaker.

The Federal Engineer of the Year is selected by a panel of judges established by NSPE-PEG who consider engineering achievements, education, continuing education, professional/technical society activities, NSPE membership, awards, honors, and civic and humanitarian activities. Candidates are nominated by their employing federal agency. The agency must employ at least 50 engineers worldwide.

All agency winners will be honored at a FEYA luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., in February 2013. The 2013 NSPE/PEG Federal Engineer of the Year is selected from the "Top Ten" and announced the day of the event.

For more information on the Federal Engineer of the Year Award Program, including how to purchase tickets to this year's event, visit the www.nspe.org/FEYA.

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Aggressive Project Safety Enforcement to Pervade in 2013

Steve Storts

As the federal government begins tallying construction safety statistics for 2012, the Construction Safety Council says continued aggressive enforcement tactics by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will continue in 2013. The organization contends that OSHA has become increasingly more assertive in its enforcement activities, pulling back on collaborative safety partnerships with employers and favoring higher citation classifications and enhanced penalties.

Labor and employment law attorneys at the Chicago firm of Seyfarth Shaw L.L.P. substantiate CSC’s forecast. They note that OSHA’s findings of “serious” violations, which carry steeper monetary penalties, have been on a steady rise during the last four years of the Obama administration. Even more noteworthy, between 2010 and 2011, the last year for which penalty information is on record, the citation penalties for serious classifications more than doubled. Between OSHA issuing more citations and increasing the penalty assessments for serious citations, an employer could easily find itself facing monetary liability well into six figures, without any accident or employee injury in the workplace, according to Seyfarth Shaw.

In its brief report titled Goodbye Carrot, Hello Stick: OSHA to Continue Aggressive Enforcement in 2013, Seyfarth Shaw says OSHA has also become more aggressive in placing employers into the Severe Violators Enforcement Program. SVEP was developed to focus on and heavily penalize employers whom the agency believes have shown indifference to its safety and health obligations. The firm warns that an employer under SVEP can expect increased and more comprehensive inspections, the results of which can be substantial penalties and other enhanced abatement practices if violations are found. Between July 2011 and July 2012, the number of employers placed within SVEP doubled, and OSHA has shown no signs of reducing the pace, the report states.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded 4,609 on-the-job worker fatalities in 2011 (3.5 deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers), almost 90 a week or nearly 13 deaths every day. This is a slight increase from the 4,551 fatal work injuries in 2009, but the second lowest annual total since the fatal injury census was first conducted in 1992. Of those fatalities documented by BLS in 2011, 4,114 were in private industry, including 721 in construction. The leading causes of worker deaths on construction sites were falls from heights (35%), followed by electrocution (9%), impact by falling or moving objects, (10%), and caught-in/between objects, primarily in excavations (3%). These four causes alone were responsible for nearly 60% of construction worker deaths in 2011, BLS reports, and workers between the ages of 25 and 34 were the most likely to be injured in a construction site accident.

It is also estimated that the construction industry experiences nearly 500,000 nonfatal injuries and illnesses annually. Aside from potential physical injuries, the main health hazards on a construction site that are responsible for causing illness include solvents, excessive noise, asbestos, and other abatement activities requiring the handling of invasive chemicals.

As a result of potential threats to injury and other implied dangers at construction sites, safety remains a contested issue. OSHA Assistant Secretary of Labor David Michaels recently reflected, “Passed with bipartisan support, the creation of OSHA was a historic moment of cooperative national reform. Forty years of common-sense standards and strong enforcement, training, outreach, and compliance assistance have saved thousands of lives and prevented countless injuries. Just look at the difference. In 1970, 38 workers were killed on the job every day in America; now it’s 13 a day. This is a great improvement, but it’s still 13 too many.”

Because falls from heights are still the most common cause for injury in the construction industry, OSHA continues to require and enforce fall protection in areas and activities that include ramps, walkways, excavations, runways, hoist areas, holes, formwork, leading-edge work, work on unprotected edges, overhand bricklaying and related work, roofing, precast erection, residential construction, and wall openings. When implemented to prevent injuries from falls, construction safety practices must provide a project site with guardrail systems, personal fall arrest systems, safety net systems, warning line systems, and positioning device systems.

In addition to utilizing OSHA’s educational resources, construction companies and project owners interested in bolstering their safety campaigns can access eLCOSH: the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health. Hosted at the Web site www.elcosh.org, this online tool offers more than 2,000 reliable documents, videos, images, and podcasts related to worker safety and health that have been generated by researchers, unions, trainers, trade organizations, equipment manufacturers, government agencies, and other industry stakeholders. Developed by The Center for Construction Research and Training—known widely as CPWR—this information repository is endorsed by both the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the AFL-CIO’s Building and Construction Trades Department.

CPWR also offers a comprehensive construction hazard awareness training program called “Smart Mark,” which satisfies the guidelines and requirements of OSHA’s Construction Outreach Program. Since its inception in 1998, hundreds of thousands of construction workers have been trained using Smart Mark, and many contractors and facility owners now specify that employees complete the Smart Mark program, which is instructed in 10- or 30-hour training modules. Another online resource, www.ConstructionSafety.org, provides news on construction safety, products, and services focused on construction safety, and organizational resources for safety training.

To prepare for OSHA’s stepped-up enforcement activity for 2013 and beyond, Seyfarth Shaw advises that employers should revisit their safety policies and procedures to ensure their comprehensiveness, and that all employees have been properly trained and that safety policies are being enforced, with disciplinary actions for infractions fully documented. In particular, the legal firm recommends close attention to job hazard analyses, maintenance and retention of all OSHA compliance records, and the establishment or review of policies regarding workplace violence and whistleblower protection.

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EJCDC Special Offer!!

The Engineers Joint Contract Documents Committee (EJCDC) is finalizing the 2013 edition of its construction related set of documents and plans to release them in the first quarter of 2013. The new edition is updated to reflect current business practices and includes three entirely new documents. Prices will be raised accordingly. To ensure that each customer who buys the full set of construction related documents (C-990) receives the latest edition, beginning December 14, 2012, anyone who buys the 2007 edition will receive the 2013 edition upon its release at no additional cost.

EJCDC documents:

- Are created and peer-reviewed by experienced industry experts;

- Reduce conflicts and litigation;

- Contain balanced and fair provisions;

- Are published in user-friendly MS Word format and are easily customizable;

- Available for multiple project use at no additional cost, unlike competing documents; and

- Are the most thorough and best organized standard documents available.

For over 30 years, each EJCDC contract document is systematically prepared, reviewed, and analyzed by committees of experienced engineering design and construction professionals, owners, contractors, professional liability, and risk management experts, with the participation and advice of legal counsel.

Purchase the C-990 at http://www.nspe.org/ejcdc [ return to top ]


NSPE Seeks Honor Awards Submissions

NSPE Honor Awards promote the engineering profession's contributions to society and recognize the achievements of the profession's very best. The NSPE Honor Awards deadline is January 31, 2013. If you wish to make a submission, visit the NSPE Web site for further details and applications for the following awards.

NSPE Award: The NSPE Award is the highest award given to an individual by the Society. It is presented to an engineer who has made outstanding contributions to the engineering profession, the public welfare, and/or humankind.

Young Engineer of the Year Award: This award recognizes young NSPE members who have made outstanding contributions to the engineering profession and their communities during the early years of their careers.

NSPE Distinguished Service Award: This award recognizes an NSPE licensed member for exceptional contributions to the engineering profession, to one's community, and specifically to NSPE.

For more information or question please e-mail awards@nspe.org. [ return to top ]


201213 PEC Executive Board

Thomas L Paxson (Chair)
Lufkin, TX

Lee M Alexander
New Orleans, LA

Paul J Bakken
Centennial, CO

Paul E Harmon
Lincoln, NE

Douglas J Holdener
(Vice Chair)
Jupiter, FL

Thomas Korman (Vice Chair)
Arroyo Grande, CA

Colin J McKenna (Vice Chair)
Arvada, CO

Glen R Schwalbach (Vice Chair)
De Pere, WI

James J Yarmus (Vice Chair)
New City, NY

Donn Richard Zang
(Vice Chair)
West Chester, PA

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