Delivering Durable Transportation Assets with CEI
CEI is a helpful service to verify that transportation designs are transformed into lasting resources that travelers and infrastructure owners alike can rely on. Whether transportation agencies are in need of administrative back-up or construction management support, CEI services verify that roadway, bridge and other mobility projects are constructed according to design specifications and on schedule and budget. We rounded up CDM Smith CEI technical delivery managers Dan Cogan and Jon Gibson to talk more about how CEI adds value throughout the lifecycle of a project.
What benefits will transportation agencies get from hiring a CEI team?
Jon: Having a CEI consultant on board reduces the client’s day-to-day construction management responsibilities. We can verify that the work being done is in accordance with all standards and regulations required. CEI provides a level of comfort for clients that contractors and subcontractors are delivering quality consistent with the price being paid.
Dan: Since taxes collected from citizens contribute to transportation infrastructure improvements, CEI also provides an “insurance policy” to agencies, allowing them to confidently communicate to the community that their funds are being used to produce quality results that will positively impact their daily travel.
If an agency is on a tight budget, should it prioritize CEI?
Jon: Based on the client’s needs, we provide scalable and customizable CEI services in prioritized areas of focus. Whether they need extra support in one area or multiple areas, we provide that support.
Dan: Sometimes clients don’t have the available budget to tap into the full array of what CEI offers. When a client doesn’t have the monetary resources, they can still choose those CEI services that best support their project. For instance, if a client is building a marquee or complex bridge, they might choose to bring in a CEI team to provide additional construction management oversight, to provide support to their own field inspection staff. CEI consultants become an extension of staff, strengthening resources in areas the client has prioritized.
Jon: We can be as involved as the client needs us to be, providing anything from a full team to oversee all project aspects to administration or management staff to oversee internal operations. We can even simply provide consulting or advice as needed.
With a CEI consultant, controlling the unknown and responding effectively to changing conditions becomes easier.
How does CEI help move projects forward?
Dan: CEI teams that provide construction management help guide projects throughout their lifecycle, overseeing project activities to verify plans are built as close to the intended design as possible. Staying on course with plans is important; however, it’s normal to encounter change orders on any roadway or transportation infrastructure project. With a CEI consultant, controlling the unknown and responding effectively to changing conditions becomes easier, and the client knows they are still receiving a quality end-product.
Jon: Constructability reviews help identify potential issues. Before plans go to bid, we look for opportunities to reduce schedule, optimize design and phase work in a way that will help to lower bid costs. For clients, such as toll agencies, relying on revenues from the job, reducing the timeframe for construction is a top priority.
Dan: For federally funded projects, CEI consultants help obtain compliance with any environmental or permitting requirements. This way the client knows the design is constructed in compliance with all standards and they will continue to receive funding. Having a consultant on board is a big relief for projects relying heavily or wholly on this type of funding.
What, ultimately, is the return on investment for using CEI services?
Jon: We verify that the project is constructed to the design standards originally set and also confirm quality materials are used to meet all of the owner’s requirements. High-quality materials typically lead to fewer maintenance issues and full functionality for the intended life of the design. CEI services are available after construction is completed, too. Clients can have a warranty period to follow-up on any issues or concerns that arise.
Dan: It’s easier and more cost-efficient to make alterations to the design before construction is completed. Implementing a change to the design during construction might only cost a fraction of the amount it would take to repair or replace a finished product. A change order may cost you $20,000 during construction, but resolving an issue could cost $2 million down the line if not addressed immediately.
Dan Cogan is a technical delivery manager of 80 CEI staff, as well as a senior civil engineer. He has nearly 30 years of industry experience, is a licensed professional engineer in eight states and is also is certified as a Associate Value Specialist by the Society of American Value Engineers.
Jonathan Gibson is a technical delivery manager of 80 CEI staff, as well as a senior project engineer. He has 16 years of construction management experience in every level of CEI from inspector to senior project engineer.